REVIEW

Russell House

Russell House is a very busy restaurant that is located directly in the center of Harvard Square, so you could be forgiven for thinking that it would be mediocre in quality and overpriced.  Actually it is a very fine casual restaurant that serves an eclectic menu (raw bar, house-made charcuterie, offal, pizza, regional New England specialties and more traditional New American cuisine) at affordable prices.  The bi-level space is always bustling:  there is an upstairs bar area with more limited seating that serves a fine selection of beer and an expansive downstairs with seating that orbits around a large central bar. 

The restaurant offers options for both the staid (roasted chicken, an excellent burger, steak frites) and adventurous (hickory smoked lamb’s belly toast, crispy pigs head cake, braised beef tongue meatballs), and serves extremely high-quality interpretations of standards like sandwiches and pizza.  Take, for example, the Hickory-Smoked Pork Loin sandwich, which comes with melted sharp cheddar, crispy onions, sweet apples and a ginger-maple aioli.  In a city that specializes in artisanal sandwiches, this is the best that we have found.  This is served alongside items like the crispy soft poached chip-in farm egg, which gets poached in an immersion circulator, then sprinkled with panko crumbs, fried and served with pecorino aioli, toasted brioche and house pancetta.  There are nicer restaurants in the Cambridge area, but in the intersection between quality and value, Russell House is hard to beat.

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INFORMATION

Cambridge
14 JFK Street
(617) 500-3055
Sun-Wed, 11:00 am–1:00 am; Thurs-Sat, 11:00 am–2:00 am
    Michael Scelfo, Chef

    TAGS

    • Boston
    • American (Nouveau)
    • Pizza
    • Best Bars
    • Best Brunch
    • Best Value

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