I’d already read about Tory Row, and passed by it several times (it takes up the location formerly occupied by The Greenhouse, a popular breakfast spot) by the time Ben and I stopped in for dinner. We were both looking for something light – and inexpensive, as always. There were a few appetizers, ranging from $3-6, and the mains were generally $10-12, with the exception of the Lobster Plate ($24) and the Hanger Steak ($21). We chose quickly – the Duck Confit Salad ($13) and a glass of malbec, and the bacon, white cheddar, spinach flatbread ($10) and a Gritty McDuffs Black Fly Stout. To start we shared the chevre stuffed peppadews.
The front of the restaurant can be opened up almost completely, letting diners stare into the constant movement of Harvard Sq. Makes for perfect people watching. Most of the tables are hightops, made from the same material as scientific lab benches. Turns out the owners have made this a theme, as they use it at their other establishments: Cambridge 1, Adoubon Circle, Middlesex, and Miracle of Science. The stools have no backs – the owners want you to have to lean in and get close to your friends. Fine by me. Just to emphasize their focus on design, four book behind the bar have the names Eames, Bauhaus, Frey, and Gropius on their covers. Didn’t quite seem like a row of tories to me, but what do I know?
The peppadews showed up instantly – even before our drinks. Ten or so sat there, atop a wilted bed of lettuce. The peppadews looked like they had been stuffed a few days ago and were sitting on this plate waiting for someone with a weakness for goats chees and amusingly-named vegetables to order it. You got me peppadews, 1 point for you. Despite looking funky, they were tasty – slightly piquante, softened by the cool creaminess of the goat. Pretty basic. We happily ate them all. So I guess we beat the peppadews in the end.
Drinks arrived, and we waited for a few minutes until dinner arrived. The duck confit salad was a mound of crispy duck confit next to a bed of greens, picked onions, poached dried cherries, and a whole grain mustard. As others have said, this dish was the stand-out. Well-balanced and satisfying – the sweet, soft cherries blended with the vinegar from the onions and mustard, and married the savory of the duck.
The flatbread, while presentation was fun on a wooden platform, was just flatbread, nothing amazing. Don’t get me wrong, everything with bacon is better than otherwise, but this wasn’t crap-myself-good. They seriously need a cheese consultant. You could barely tell it was cheddar, other than the fact it was sweating oil, as cheddars do. But it didn’t taste like much. I added plenty of salt and pepper and felt better.
All told, we spent $50 including tip. We felt satisfied, but not too stuffed, which was just what we were looking for. We would return, until it becomes too popular and impossible to get a stool.
Enjoyable, but nothing outrageously wonderful. Another 1.5 pans.