Dinner at Bergamot

Bergamot is a fruit the size of an orange, with a yellow color similar to lemon. It’s also a small restaurant on the edge of Harvard Square and Inman Square, square and intimate, with food similar to home. That is if your home is owned by a couple of classic, comfort-loving, fun-seeking, pros-at-entertaining world-travelers. Yup. Everything feels warm and homey, but with just enough flair.

At Bergamot, the food is locally-sourced and everything is presented simply, without much flourish; but in every dish, there seems to be a little accent of wordliness, of chic, of flair. It’s not flamboyant, it’s not in-your-face extravagant, it’s just very subtle. And you don’t realize it immediately, because you’re already so at home the minute you walked in.

actually the minute I walked in, I ordered a cocktail at the bar: the Beacon Fix, with Reyka vodka, lemon, Luxardo Triplum, and bergamot-roobios syrup

I was at Bergamot recently for my friend Sabs’ birthday dinner, and we had such a lovely time. It really did feel like we were home, but better. When you walk into Bergamot, you’re immediately welcomed by the warm host. The hospitality and service is on point: friendly but not overbearing, smiley but not too-perky-that-it’s-annoying.

We took some time deciding what to get. The menu is small but tempting. And there’s a blackboard menu too, which Chef Keith Pooler changes several times a week, depending on their fresh from the farm deliveries.

we were presented with a complimentary amuse bouche of cod escabeche

we shared a few appetizers, including the lobster pierogi

the glazed veal sweetbreads with stinging nettle risotto

and the night's special of braised pork shoulder ravioli

The flavors were familiar to me and my friends, especially because growing up in the Philippines, escabeche, sweetbreads, and anything pork were regulars in our households.

for my entree, I chose the sole goujonettes with marinated smoked baby artichokes (blackboard special)

This was simply delightful. Soft, buttery fillets of sole, with sharp and tangy artichokes, tempered by chewy barley and peppery arugula. I almost didn’t want to offer my friends some bites of this dish, but I knew I shouldn’t keep something this good to myself. Plus they let me taste their plates as well hehehe.

after our entress were cleared, we were given a palate cleanser from the kitchen, a teeny scoop of olive oil gelato with basil tapioca

You know me, I like my gelato as sweet (and hazelnut) as possible but this tiny scoop was the perfect segway from savory entrees to the best part of the meal. The basil tapioca was delicious as well, lending a fresh and jelly-like bite to the gelato. Again, the flavors were familiar, and yet it seemed like a such a fun novelty.

And then, dessert. If you can make it to Bergamot, please be sure to save some room for dessert. The few times I’ve been there, each and every dessert was fantastic. Pastry chef Stacy Mirabello does wonderful things for sweet items. For our dinner that night, since we were celebrating a special night and all, our table decided to split several desserts. (Actually special night or not, I always somehow manage to finagle my friends into ordering desserts to share…)

we had the Taza Chipotle-Chocolate cake

I used to not like spicy chocolate desserts but I’m growing to appreciate it. Taza chocolate is perfect for these kinds of dishes, with its grainy texture and bittersweet flavor. The scoop of banana ice cream complimented the creamy chocolate cake, where the chipotle flavor is only evident after you savor the sweetness. It reminded me of the flourless chocolate cake at Russell House Tavern but with stronger, punchier flavors.

we also shared the carrot cake with rum-soaked raisins (yum)

and for the birthday girl, we had the peanut butter mousse

This was the icing on our cake. You see, Sabs is one of those crazy people who do not like desserts that much (those people are crazy, I’m telling you!). However, she absolutely loves peanut butter. So a week before our dinner, I called Servio Garcia, the general manager extraordinaire (and co-owner with Chef Pooler). I asked if there might be a peanut butter dessert for the night, because if there won’t be any, I would bring in a little thing for Sabs (I was thinking of making something small and not obnoxious, like a small peanut butter bonbon for her to end her birthday meal with). Well Sergio called me a few days before our reservation and informed me that they are having peanut butter mousse on rotation for a few days! This was great, and it was wonderful seeing our birthday celebrant gleefully digging into the mousse.

Our meal ended with some raspberry pate de fruits, which was another lovely touch by Bergamot (“we know you’re paying the bill already, but here are some more delights for you”). Between the amuse bouche, the palate cleanser, and the jelly candies with the bill, Bergamot created a flawless – and tasty – flow of courses. And it wasn’t showy at all (we’re not at at L’Espalier), it was all low-key and friendly. Just the right amount of flair.

We had a quiet night of celebrations with dear friends, and Bergamot was the perfect home to do it.

What’s your favorite neighborhood restaurant?

Bergamot on Urbanspoon


10 Responses to “Dinner at Bergamot”

  1. #
    MelissaNibbles posted May 21, 2011 at 5:44 pm

    The meals looks amazing. The ravioli is right up my alley. My favorite neighborhood restaurant is a Thai place in my town called Sweet Ginger. They only do takeout, but it’s delicious!

    • #
      Bianca Garcia posted May 21, 2011 at 6:09 pm

      Thanks Melissa! I think you and I are still due for a dinner date :) Maybe we can go to another homey, neighborhood joint together!

  2. #
    Alaina posted May 21, 2011 at 6:48 pm

    Thank you so much for commenting on my blog! I love finding Boston area bloggers. :-)

    Bergamot is right down the street from me and I had no idea what a hidden jewel it was! And I have to get to Dali too.

    • #
      Bianca Garcia posted May 21, 2011 at 7:08 pm

      Hi Alaina, yes it’s definitely a hidden jewel! I forgot to mention in my blog post that the prices at Bergamot are very reasonable too. I love Dali but I tend to order too many small plates (hehe) and end up with a huge bill!

  3. #
    Megan posted May 21, 2011 at 8:00 pm

    Bergamot is my favorite neighborhood restaurant! I love it every time we go. We almost went this weekend because I saw a soft shell crab special, but we changed our minds when we found out the only reso available was after 9. The desserts are always spectacular… and how great that they happened to have a pb dessert that night!

    • #
      Bianca Garcia posted May 24, 2011 at 9:58 am

      Megan – ooooh soft shell crab sounds great. Hopefully they’ll have it sometime again soon. And yeah, it’s always packed!

  4. #
    Michelle posted May 21, 2011 at 11:09 pm

    I’m a huge fan of Bergamot! As much as I enjoy their dishes, I also really love their service – always so friendly, kind and hospitable.

  5. #
    Audrey Ellen @ My Scene and Herd posted May 24, 2011 at 9:36 am

    The ravioli with braised pork shoulder looks like the epitome of comfort food for me. Salty, tender meat, and cheesy pasta. Looks like a fun night!

    • #
      Bianca Garcia posted May 24, 2011 at 9:57 am

      Audrey Ellen – yes, definitely comfort food! I almost wish I ordered it for my main course :)

  6. #
    Daisy posted May 25, 2011 at 4:19 pm

    Loved reading this review! I too adore Bergamot and since the menu is always changing it’s great to see what Chef Pooler whips up when others are dining there.

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