Sunday, September 12, 2010

Foundry on Elm: More decent food in Davis!

At the start of the 2000s, I worked for a custom publishing company in Davis Square, temptingly close to secondhand booksellers McIntyre & Moore. Their collection was broad and deep, and I spent many lunch hours browsing the shelves, which held everything from ethnomusicology to science fiction.

And then the store closed and moved to Porter Square, and apart from a brief stint as a store selling wooden salad bowls, their cavernous former location was empty.

Until this week, when Foundry on Elm opened. We went to check it out last night.

It certainly doesn't look like a bookstore any more. Though the bar does seem strangely familiar.

No, despite the marble counter, the red leather bar stools, the staff in black vests and the stacked arrangement of bottles in front of oversized mirrors, this is not Eastern Standard.

Behind the bar, however, is Andy Kilgore, formerly of No.9 Park (and Stoddard's; perhaps his departure explains why now Stoddard's cocktails are crap).

The cocktail menu at Foundry on Elm is short but thoughtful: a few new creations plus a handful of classics. I went for the Seelbock, which here was made with Buffalo Trace and came in a coupe.

The Boy chose the Sazerac — always a good test — in which the glass was rinsed with absinthe; the rye was Old Overholt.

So far, so good.

We were surprised at how busy the place was; we arrived just before 7, and Foundry on Elm was hopping. I'm glad we made a reservation, as there were a lot of walk-ins waiting.

Our table was a red-leather booth toward the back (somewhere around the fiction section, IIRC). The place was just louder than I like, in a lean-across-the-table-to-be-heard way. But the food made up for it.

A charcuterie plate of flaky duck terrine, pâté de campagne, tissue-thin and perfectly salted prosciutto and a deep, almost chocolatey duck liver mousse. I wiped the mousse dish clean with their (also fabulous, and reminiscent of my grandmother's) brown bread.

Also present: a selection of delicately pickled seasonal veggies.

And then the mains. For me, beef carbonnade, slow-cooked in beer and served with root veggies. Apologies that the photo does not to it justice; the meat was tender, the juices both sweet and savory, the carrot and parsnip just-crunchy.

The Boy had steak frites (again, sorry about not-great photo):

The fries were not the best — though tasty, they were a little dry, as though they'd been sitting around a while — but the steak.

Oh, the steak.

No special silverware needed; it hardly even required a knife.

The condiments here are garlic butter (fore) and a kind of shallot jam (aft). The Boy thought the shallots would have been better warm, but the flavor was sweet and lovely.

We were too full for dessert, but that just gives us a reason to return. Possibly not on a Saturday night, though; by the time we left, at around 8:30, Foundry on Elm was packed and a little too scene-y for my taste (hey, I'm old, I admit it).

But given the proximity to our house, the creativity of the bar staff and the skill of the kitchen, I could see Foundry on Elm becoming a regular destination. We're already planning a visit some Tuesday night in the depths of winter for the weekly coq au vin special ...

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Anonymous Kevin said...

Hey Mrs. G

Nice blog, but to be 100% truthful those "bad" cocktails you had Stoddard's were Andy's including that really weird "on the rocks" French 77, a strange Pegu Club someone else wrote about and some other strange takes he has on drinks. I think they have a new person there now and the drink list is different. Just saying here that is all and if you are going to give out the praise then you need to give out the blame. Good luck

4:29 AM  
Blogger LimeyG said...

Wow, yet more defense of Stoddards - they must have a really on-the-ball PR agency.

6:06 AM  
Anonymous Kevin said...

Haha LOL

No-no I know who Andy is, live in Somerville and have been to Foundry and Stoddard's. Both are great but just trying to add something in. I am a food geek and read this blog and others....That is all.

8:28 PM  
Blogger LimeyG said...

I shouldn't be so hard on Stoddard's, I guess - probably should go back and give it another chance!

10:47 AM  

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