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Posted by gustav at 12:01PM, Sunday, October 31st, 2004

Rustic Kitchen (restaurant review; Porter Square, not Fanieul Hall)

1815 Massachusetts Ave, Cambridge, Massachusetts

This is convenient to us, and we've been loving it. Bonus points for having the La Spinetta Barbera d'Asti, Ca di Pian, on the wine list. Huge bonus points for cooking the juiciest, most perfectly-done piece of pork I've ever seen. This is a relatively cheap place for lunch, and you can spend as much as you want at dinner. Friends are inexplicably drawn to the pizzas which, while good, are by far the least interesting things on the menu. We usually get a selection of Tapas, rather than the entrees. Their fish and oysters are generally superb. Meat they tend to do nicely, too. Order any dish with prusciutto; it will be spectacular, particularly if it comes with pomegranate seeds. One or two people can eat at the bar, and chat with the amiable bartender. The service, initially sketchy, has gotten much better with time, and is generally great. (Still, don't believe anything they tell you about wine.) There's a lot of pasta on the menu, although we're generally more tempted by the lovely oysters or salmon, or olives or other strange little pear and fig concoctions.

The original Rustic Kitchen, in Boston, was a venture between Todd English and Jim Cafarelli, who worked with Lydia Shire to make Biba. Cafarelli and English, evidently, no longer work together, but there are more than a few similarities between this and English's new place, Bonfire.

The atmosphere can be a little loud, but it's generally fun. Sit at the bar, or one of the high tables. They have outdoor seating in Summer; conversely, the Tapas menu shrinks in Winter.

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