Friday, October 28, 2011

Catlyst


I'm not usually one to visit restaurants right when they open, but a chance to dine at Catalyst with some fellow bloggers made me think twice.  Why?  Chef/owner William Kovel was aiming to create a modern space where simple, delicious food is made from the best ingredients from local farms and food producers.  Sign me up!


Located in Kendall Square, Catalyst occupies a huge space with a dining room, bar, outdoor patio, fireplace, and even areas for private parties.  A fan of simple, modern design, I thought the space was beautiful.

photo courtesy of Daisy

Elizabeth, Emily, Megan, Bianca, Daisy and Bridget were welcomed by Chef William and treated to a sampling of the menu.  Appetizers and entrees were brought out to share, and then once we were full, individual dessert platters came out to make sure we left sufficiently stuffed!


The rosemary potato foccacia was deliciously salty and I couldn't keep myself from a piece.  Ok, two.  And then the appetizers started coming out...


(L) grilled scallions (R) hiramasa  (courtesy of Daisy & Megan)
The grilled scallions were dressed in a walnut pesto, and were a favorite of the table.  The seared spice crusted hiramasa was served with a cucumber radish salad and an orange-yuzu syrup.  The citrus was a good pairing to the fatty, mild fish.


(L) veggie salad (R) quail  (courtesy of Daisy)

I was a little underwhelmed by the farmer's market vegetable salad with peppercress and crispy onion.  The vegetables were solid, it was just described as pickled vegetables to us and I was left wanting more bite (barely detected vinegar).  I've never tried quail before (at least that I recall), but I did get a small, tasty bite of crispy quail, served with black mission fig, gastique, mizuna and autumn berry jam.


(L) sunchoke soup (R) chicken liver mousse (courtesy of Daisy)
The Jerusalem "Sunchoke" Artichoke Soup we tried was served without the lobster that normally accompanies it, but it was still delicious and creamy.  Not a huge fan of liver, the grainy mustard served with the chicken liver mousse seemed like a great accompaniment to cut the richness of the liver.


(L) garganelli w/chicken oysters (R) mushroom ravioli

We started our pasta tasting with garganelli (a ridged egg pasta) that was served with chicken oysters, bacon and finished with black truffle butter.  The pasta was cooked perfectly and chicken oysters tender and tasty.  The mushroom ravioli were another winner, served with hen of the woods mushrooms and a rich sauce.


While all of the pasta dishes were good, the Georgia candy roaster squash tortellini were my personal favorite.  The only thing I didn't like on the plate was the braised escarole, as it was drowning in butter.  A lighter hand with the butter would've been appreciated so one could actually taste the greens.



Secretly wishing we were done, I quietly let out a sigh as the entrees made their way out to the table.  First up was the chilled pork.  I can't recall all the components here, but there was the smoothest of apple purees underneath some room temperature pork that was perfectly cooked.  On top was an apple cilantro slaw of sorts.  Very well executed, I was happy to take home leftovers!




For the last savory dish of the evening, we tried the lemon sole, served with roasted baby fennel, creamed leeks and lobster vermouth butter.  At this point I mustered a small bite of the sole, which was cooked well and had notes of lemon, but I had to save room for dessert, right?




(clockwise from top L) pear cake, creamsicle ice cream bar, butterscotch pudding, cantaloupe sorbet
(courtesy of Daisy and Megan)

So glad I did  :)  I don't even know where to start...  The cantaloupe sorbet (served with hazelnut butter) was delicious and light, a great palate cleanser.  The one dessert I thought fell short was the ice cream sundae...  the creamsicle ice cream was so mildly flavor it couldn't stand up to the chocolate "magic shell".  I really enjoyed the Bosc pear tart, simple and unassuming.  And then there was the butterscotch pudding.  Rather, butterscotch and passion fruit pudding with a warm pound cake crouton.  Holy heck.  I didnt' think I liked butterscotch pudding, but I cleaned out this little cup!!  Absolutely amazing.


(courtesy of Daisy)

And with that our night at Catalyst ended.  I can envision another visit, perhaps sitting by the fireplace with a bowl of caramelized onion soup!  And pudding, definitely won't be leaving that out :)

Thanks to Elizabeth for organizing, Daisy and Megan for letting me use some of their photos, and for Chef William for the meal!  To see what everyone else thought, be sure to check out their reviews (linked above)!


Disclaimer:  While the meal was complimentary, the opinions are all mine.

18 comments:

vanillasugarblog said...

I love that fireplace...is that what it is?
I always scroll down to the desserts first. Bad I know.
Looks good. Haven't been to cambridge since my sister graduated from harvard; I do miss the eats there.

Daisy said...

Glad the photos came in handy! This was such a great meal, i love reliving it!

Fun and Fearless in Beantown said...

The restaurant's decor looks so beautiful!

Elina (Healthy and Sane) said...

Sitting by the fireplace with a bowl of caramelized onion soup is my idea of heaven too ;)
No seriously, the meal looks phenomenal and I love the modern feel of the space. Right up my alley!

Joanne said...

Kendall Square seems to have gotten a serious upgrade since I left. I think I need to return for a visit.

Laura said...

Wow. That sounds like quite the feast. Thanks for the link to chicken oysters. I was totally out of my depth with them.

Jenna said...

Wow!! I also love the fireplace, and the food looks excellent. I think I would have rolled out of there myself after all those tastings though!

Erica said...

I love the look of the restaurant! I'm a huge fan of clean, modern spaces. The grilled scallions sounds awesome! Bummer that a lot of the other dishes were just so so!

Megan said...

Those pasta dishes were so good! I actually have plans to go back next week, and I'm dreaming about having the squash pasta again. It was good to see you at dinner!

Emily @ A Cambridge Story said...

See, Megan and Daisy had some great photos :) This was a fantastic meal.. unfortunately I went back for dinner and a few things were off. But hopefully they'll work things ou!

Biz said...

I wouldn't have passed up that deal either Shannon - looks like a wonderful night - and glad you saved room for dessert!

Elizabeth said...

I definitely want to go back, the food was so good! So nice seeing you there!

Simply Life said...

oh what a fun place!

Miz said...

happppy halloween Lady!

xo

Sam said...

This looks very nice, great surroundings + great food = Great Meal!

Bianca @ Confessions of a Chocoholic said...

It was such a lovely meal! I've been thinking about their pasta and I think I'm due for a return visit this weekend ;)

Reeni said...

Almost everything looks delicious - especially the pastas and desserts! Not a big fan of liver either...

Kerstin said...

You got some great shots! A works in Kendall Square so maybe we'll check this place out!

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