It seems that every time I visit the Union Square area, I find a new spot that makes me wish that Somerville neighborhood was closer to campus. Highland Kitchen was a find that reaffirmed that sentiment. With well-executed and unique renditions of international comfort food as well as a modest and fun vibe, this restaurant is one that I could see myself returning to night after night.
After a short walk from Andrews station on the Red Line, you may find yourself thinking you are in Poland when you walk into the tiny room that houses Café Polonia. You will be greeted warmly by a strong Eastern European accent and menus written both in English and Polish. The Slavic comfort food delivers on authenticity as well as quality, making the quick trip down to Dorchester worth it any day of the week.
Shabu-shabu, the Japanese style of hot pot, actually translates to swish-swish, echoing the sounds that the ingredients make as you stir them in the soup at your table. It makes sense that Swish Shabu has evoked this auditory experience with their name, as they provide a dining experience that is a treat for all of the senses. Not only are the cook-it-yourself meats and vegetables delicious, the presentation is excellent and the pleasant service adds to an overwhelmingly positive meal.
Caribbean food, with its warmth and traditional spices, seems like the perfect way to escape this never-ending Boston winter, at least for an hour or two. Some ‘Ting Nice, located in a run-down building right on McGrath Highway in Somerville, attempts to provide some respite, but fails to fully deliver on that promise. While their menu has a wide variety of Caribbean options, the dishes themselves were uneven and left me wishing this restaurant could live up to its potential.
Craigie on Main has held the position of the upscale restaurant near MIT since before I arrived. Recently, the restaurant’s chef Tony Maws opened a more casual eatery out on Washington Street in Somerville. His new brainchild, The Kirkland Tap and Trotter or KTT, is an excellent choice if you are looking to celebrate a little bit without breaking the bank.
Sonia Almeida, a local artist originally hailing from Portugal, created the works displayed in the LIST Visual Arts Center to examine the contrast between how we experience color and our scientific understanding of the theories of color (though I’m not sure I would have figured that out without reading the wall text in the exhibit). This theme was expressed with varying complexity throughout the exhibit, as some of the paintings featured simple gradients while others used wide contrasts of hues and forms to speak to the interplay between art and science. While some of the compositions successfully questioned the separation between my understanding and experience of color, a few of the works missed this mark.
Gastropubs are on-trend right now, and Stoddard’s Fine Food and Ale near Downtown Crossing has certainly embraced the spirit of that movement. With a menu that features comfort food, an extensive cocktail list, and (unsurprisingly) ale, this quirky restaurant is a solid choice if you are near the Common. The first thing you notice is the building itself, which is narrow (as are so many restaurants downtown) but which features two floors of bar space. Stoddard’s proudly embraces its history as the former home of a corset factory, decorating the walls with some samples straight out of the 19th century. The bar itself is lively and welcoming. You definitely get the feeling as you walk in that this is a restaurant that wants you to stick around, but anyone looking for a somewhat subdued dinner may want to turn around and walk right back out the door.