Let your inner fat kid rejoice: West Bridge in Kendall Square is now open and they serve…
… (wait for it) …
Fried Chicken Skin.
Yup, shards of salty, crispy, fried chicken skin served in bowls, with a side dipping sauce of… aioli.
Uh huh. My cholesterol levels may have gone through the roof, but so did my serotonin and taste buds, because the rest of the food was sublime.
We started with the artery clogging dish, shared a few small plates of deliciousness (there are a lot of healthy options, by the way, so don’t get turned off – or get too turned on, whatever floats your boat) and we ended with what could possibly one of the best desserts I’ve had in recent memory.
Let’s talk about the chicken skins first and get it out of the way. Out of the way and into my mouth…
These arrived on our table, compliments of the chef, and as soon as my tablemates and I saw the bowls, we started ooohing and aahing. All of us, all nine of us, are from the Philippines, where fried chicken skin is sold by the bag (by the bag!) in roadside stands as street food. So you can imagine the nostalgia and happiness we all felt as we crunched away and vowed to work out the next day.
I ordered a cocktail to wash it all down: the King Carnival - rum, St-Germain, dry curacao, lime, bitters. Yup, I saw St-Germain on the description and I was sold. This was nice and light and perfect for warm summer nights.
Our table shared a few of the small plates:
Peas & Favas – with shitake bacon, goat cheese cream, and red quinoa. I read Jacki’s review at Just Add Cheese and knew I wanted to try it. This is definitely a stand-out dish, and one I would attempt to recreate at home.
Crispy Pig’s Head – with pickled rutabaga and mustard aioli. This tasted more like pulled pork in a crunchy coating, and it was actually my least favorite dish of the night. It wasn’t bad, in fact the meat was very tender and has a strong umami taste, but when I hear crispy pig’s head, I am expecting more crunch and chew, like Filipino sisig.
Cauliflower – with grapes, bone marrow and harrissa, and a sherry vinaigrette. This beautiful dish has crispy slices of cauliflower and a lot of well-balanced flavors: the sweetness from the grapes, the almost spicy flavor of harissa, and the tang of the sherry dressing.
Egg in a jar – duck egg, hen of the woods, pomme puree, crisp skin. I have a slight obsessions with mason jars so this is extra appealing to me. I really liked the soft texture of the mashed potatoes and the poached egg, which paired well with the earthy mushrooms and slivers of that magical chicken skin.
And then four of us shared two bigger plates:
Black back flounder – with white bean, chorizo, and black pernod jus
Bone-in Rib Eye – with confit potato and mushroom glace
Oh yes. Simply seasoned, and cooked to perfection.
You’d think after ingesting fried chicken skin and steak that I would practice restraint and skip dessert, but the logical part of my brain reasoned out that we shared everything anyway so I only took a few bites of each dish (and small bits don’t count, right?) so…
This happened. The special dessert of the day: Chef’s version of S’mores. Chocolate panna cotta, miso syrup, homemade marshmallow fluff, more miso syrup, and a graham crumb topping.
I am placing this dessert on a pedestal, besides Oleana’s Baked Alaska, as one of my top restaurant desserts that really blew me away. It was Spectacular with a capital S.
West Bridge serves New England cuisine with a French twist, and it’s helmed by two Aquitaine alumni.
If you can, get yourselves to West Bridge soon and indulge your inner fat/French/New England/MIT kid. Of course there’s quinoa and flounder and scallops and duck and all sorts of other lighter dishes too, but I suggest going first for the chicken skin. And the S’mores. Oui!
PS – Dear West Bridge, please make that S’mores cup a regular item on your menu!