I guess it makes sense in the Boston area, where weirdly shaped roads and pedestrian-filled squares can hamper efforts to quickly drive a few miles to the town next door.
Which is why it's been over a decade since I last visited EVOO in Somerville (next town over). Not only that, I totally forgot about the restaurant soon after that one time (out of sight, out of mind?)
Not too long ago, I was reminded of EVOO when I saw EVOO's executive chef Peter McCarthy compete at Eat Drink Be Fair, a Top Chef style cook-off between four prominent Boston chefs where they had to cook something with the secret ingredient of coffee. In fact, Peter was crowned the winner of the contest that night with his Dark Roasted Coffee Marinated Hudson Valley Mouillard Duck Breast with Verrill Farm's Parsnip Purre, Pete's Pickled Pumpkin, Gala Apple, and Espresso-Vanilla Chimichurri.
EVOO moved to Kendall Square earlier this year (Woo-hoo!) and I finally found myself sub-consciously putting it back on my radar as "a place to try." Isn't it funny how much of a difference a mile makes?
Coincidentally, I recently had a chance to finally try Peter's food at EVOO during a round table discussion with Gary Hirshberg, CE-Yo of Stonyfield and several other local food bloggers. EVOO tries to source as many local ingredients as possible. It was very evident that the menu was very locally inspired, filled with seasonal vegetables such as asparagus, ramps, fiddleheads, English peas, and parsnips.
Here's a peek into the meal that the food bloggers enjoyed.
New Jersey Asparagus Soup with Parmigiano Reggiano, Red Chili Flakes, and EVOO
Rustic, slightly fibrous, but very flavorful. I enjoyed this soup a lot, although I would not have minded if it were blended to be just a bit finer.
Asparagus, Peas, Fiddleheads, Radish, and Arugula with Great Hill Blue Cheese, Herbed Yogurt Dressing and Course Crumb Crunch
I bet this salad tastes just like spring, as it's filled with so many local seasonal vegetables. I ordered the soup (not the salad), so I was not able to try this one!
Chinese Box Full of Mustard Glazed Tofu, Asparagus, Gingered Vegetable - Cashew Salad and Organic Brown Rice from EVOO
Several food bloggers said that they really liked this dish. A few commented on how the deep fried tofu was perfectly cooked, and how they could never achieve something like this at home.
Seared Atlantic Tilefish Fillet with Organic Potatoes, Wild Ramps, Cilantro, Curried Potato Broth, Fiddlehead Ferns, minted Carrot Salad
Many of the food bloggers commented that this dish was delicious, although I personally did not love it. I think this is mostly personal, as I don't like carrot raisin salad, nor am I that crazy about curry. You can see why I might not love this dish!
Seared Misty Knoll Farm's Chicken Breast with Red Fire Farm's Spring Dug Parsnip Manicotti, Orange Segments, Parmigiano Reggiano, Shaved Fennel, Arugula, Garlicky Chicken Jus and Hazelnut Crunch
The girl next to me, Athena from Forays of a Finance Foodie =, actually ordered this. It looked great, although I did not try any!
Stonyfield Organic Yogurt Tart with Balsamic-Basil Glazed Strawberries
I loved this tart! The lemon-y yogurt tart was fantastic, and the strawberries and cream on top were a perfect complement. This was probably one of my favorite dishes.
I can hardly call this a real "review" for several obvious reasons. One, I only tried one appetizer and one entree, so it's not really a good look at the restaurant as a whole. Second, we had a special menu which included dishes that may not be standard menu items. For example, some of the dishes were specifically made with Stonyfield yogurt. Although EVOO does use Stonyfield yogurt in its dishes, I'm not sure if these are all regular menu items. Finally, most of the dishes pictured are dishes I did not try!
So, see this as a "first look" (literally!). I definitely plan on going back. The new space is bright, airy, and beautiful. The adjoining pizza place next door, Za, also looks like a fun place to visit. Can't wait to report back!
350 3rd St
Cambridge, MA 02142
Disclaimer: I did not pay for this meal
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