I am loving the boom of new and exciting restaurants in Kendall Square. It's happening so quickly that I feel like I just can't keep up. When I look at the list of my favorite restaurants in Kendall, I realize that none of them were around five years ago. The dining landscape in that neighborhood has improved dramatically, and I love it.
A couple weeks ago, we celebrated a friend's birthday at Study, yet another new restaurant in the Kendall Square. Study is the the third venture for owners Diana Kudayarova and Tse Wei Lim, who opened Journeyman in Somerville in 2010, followed by Ames Street Deli and Study in Kendall Square in late 2014. Ames Street Deli is the more casual sister, serving gourmet sandwiches, coffee, pastries, and cocktails. Study is meant to be a space for "academic exploration." Expect an ever-changing menu where the chef plays around with seasonal ingredients and other fun food concepts.
The Study food menu only takes up a single page. It's mostly made up of small plates ($4 - 24), though there are a few Large options meant to serve multiple people. There's also a tasting menu option ($100 for 10+ dishes) as well as a Dinner for Two ($82) and Dinner for Four ($156). The server recommended getting around three small plates per person.
We considered getting the tasting menu. The server told us that the tasting menu consisted mostly of items from the regular menu, though there would probably be 1-2 off-menu items. Since we had four people among us and there were 12 items on the menu, we decided instead to order all twelve and supplement with one "Large" item, the Oxtail ($79), which came with blue cheese and fig. We felt we could have more variety this way (13 different dishes!) compared to the 10-course tasting.
Note: we did order 4 oysters since each order only comes with one.
The drink menu is quite unusual. For example, it has a lot of interesting sherry choices.
Bryan decided to try a fun Sherry flight where he got to try three different pours.
We started out with a fun amuse bouche of Crab Apple filled with black tea mousse, dusted with tea powder, and served over a bed of dried tea leaves. The outside was tart and crunchy while the filling was airy and whipped. The cranberry flavor was much stronger, and we couldn't really taste nearly as much black tea essence. Still, it was an enjoyable bite and a nice way to start the meal.
Oyster ($4) is a single raw oyster topped with shaved foie gras and mango vinegar pearls. The flavors were good, though the oyster had just a hint of fishiness that I didn't like.
I loved the next dish, Beef Tendon ($5) served with horseradish foam and wood sorrel. The beef tendon was airy and crunchy, reminding me a lot of chicharrón, or fried pork rinds (which I love).
The next dish, Lion Mane Mushroom ($7), was one of my favorite courses. The main ingredient, deep fried lion's mane mushrooms, contributed salty, earthy umami to the dish. Gravestine apple jalapeño foam provided a spicy tartness, and crispy kale chips added textural contrast. A walnut aoli finished off the entire dish. I loved it. I found balance in the intense mix of flavors - the tart apple jalapeño foam, the earthy mushrooms, and the vegetal kale. It all came together perfectly.
Another winner was the Fluke ($7), slices of fluke sashimi served with different interpretations of peas. Elements included snap pea ice cream, snap pea tempura, pea foam, pea oil, and pea juice. The entire dish was decorated with purple shiso leaves and scattered shiso seeds. I loved the exploration of pea flavors in different elements. Overall, the dish was gorgeous, nicely seasoned, and very enjoyable.
Corn ($14) was essentially a "study" on corn. It started with fried corn crisps layered with corn cream, bone marrow, and topped with sliced matsutake mushrooms. The dish is accented with husk cherries (gooseberries).
Rabbit ($16) was a study on various interpretations of rabbit. Scattered across this huge plate was rabbit jerky, smoked rabbit loin, and rabbit confit wrapped in leaf. Grilled fairytale eggplant added the creamy, vegetable component. Dollops of a curry yellow sauce, a blood pudding sauce, and plum completed the picture.
Lobster ($25) consisted of an elegant seafood tomato broth filled with chanterelle mushrooms, grilled peaches, and chunks of lobster. The dish had a really pronounced rosemary flavor that dominated the dish. All in all, I found the dish to be fine, but it wasn't my favorite.
A gorgeous lobe of seared Foie Gras ($21 - perfectly cooked, might I add), came with dulse seaweed, compressed apples, and parsnip. The apples added a nice tart balance to the dish, which was definitely on the salty side.
The Duck Neck Confit ($13), came with coils of rye noodles, cured duck heart, hakurei turnip, and tumeric. Overall, it was quite good. I enjoyed the flavorful dark brown jus and how it brought everything together.
Sun Choke ($11) included a couple interpretations of this interesting tuber (also known as Jerusalem artichoke). The dish included fried sunchoke chips, which were delicious. But the star was the roasted sunchoke.
It feels like you are cutting open a cream doughnut with a surprise inside. Hello sunchoke cream! This was sooooo good. I would order this dish again in a heartbeat.
Cauliflower ($17) looked like a art piece on a plate. The cauliflower pieces, marinated in yogurt and black garlic before being roasted in the oven, gave the oven-kissed, earthy umami to the dish. Tiny pickled mushrooms added a bright tartness. Sweetness came from the candied tofu (surprisingly good!) and the sweet brown sauce. The whole dish sat on a few very flat nasturtium leaves. All in all, this was very good.
Chicken ($24) consisted of pan-seared chicken breast served in Romaine lettuce leaves with sardine, egg yolk, and licorice powder.
The final course was CRAZY. While the menu description said "oxtail" (which I've often enjoyed in soup), I totally did not expect such a large portion of the tail to come intact. A long segment of braised oxtail came on a huge wooden board decorated with pieces of blue cheese, fresh pea tendrils, and frisee.
The oxtail was really, really good. I've always loved tendon, and there's a lots of tendon in oxtail. It makes the entire piece so much more interesting to eat, with its mixture of texture and flavors. The meat was extremely tender, and the lemony pea shoots added a nice bright contrast to the richness of the meat. Even though I'm not a huge fan of blue cheese, I appreciated the quality blue cheese used here, which added a nice, funky edge to the entire meal.
One the side was a blue cheese fig tart topped with fresh figs. Again, I even surprised myself by how much I enjoyed the blue cheese tart. The blue cheese was relatively mild on the "stinky" scale but reasonably salty. I loved the sweet-salty combo of the salty blue cheese tart with the cooked figs inside the tart as well as the fresh figs on top of the tart.
All in all, this dish was very tasty.
They have a great cheese selection and we had fun picking out a bunch of cheese for our dessert.
I especially enjoyed the Montgomery Cheddar, hailed by some to be the best cheddar in the world. It was really, really good!
A simple, sweet dessert to round out the meal.
Study hosts a whiskey pop-up every Saturday evening from 7pm - 11pm called The Olde Mouldy. The day we were there, the founder of the Olde Moudy (whiskey enthusiast Nate Shumway) happened to be working at Study. After Bryan inquired about whiskeys, Shumway came over and started telling Bryan about all the exotic offerings he had.
Bryan ended up being tempted to try the 1999 Karuizawa Noh label Single Malt Whiskey. The famous Japanese distillery closed its doors in 2001, and thus its products have become virtually impossible to find.
It came at a pretty price, but trying it was indeed a treat!
We finally concluded our meal with a few sweet mignardises: salted caramel macarons, espresso chocolate truffles, peach pate fruits, and a simple sable.
We really enjoyed our meal at Study. There's a lot of creativity in the dishes, and overall, the flavors of the dishes work really well together. I personally love the many small plates, and the guys appreciated the option to enjoy a big serving of meat at the end of the meal. If you can, go with a couple friends. It's actually quite fun to sample the entire menu. We managed to polish everything off without bringing home any leftovers (!).
I am thrilled that Study is here and I'm excited to see how the restaurant evolves as it continues to "study" and experiment with different ingredients on its menu. I would not hesitate to come back again on a regular basis to see what they're up to. The food is excellent, the menu is continually changing, and they even have insane whiskey options!
73 Ames St
Cambridge, MA 02142