The pandemic has not been notably favorable to restaurant proprietor Grafton Group. All through the Covid shutdown, Russell Home Tavern has continued to maneuver away, pivot and spin, proving a dependable benchmark in Harvard Sq., and its sister within the again, seafood restaurant Hourly on Dunster Road, ultimately reopened and adopted. However others remained darkish: the founding restaurant, the cornerstone, the Grafton Road Pub on Massachusetts Avenue and Arrow Road; Temple Bar, up in the direction of Porter Sq.; and Park, down on JFK Road. Temple Bar is now completely closed and will quickly open its doorways as a Barcelona wine bar (sadly, its lengthy and exquisite steel bar is gone). Grafton Road opened briefly within the spring and closed once more, and shortly after an indication was put up asserting that the location was to grow to be a Pleasant Toast. It was not the tip for Grafton Road, nevertheless: the previous park premises closed and reopened as Grafton Road. The rebranding is attention-grabbing as a result of the previous Grafton was a high-ceilinged open house with big-screen TVs above the bar; Park is darkish and subterranean by comparability, with no TVs, however it opens onto JFK Road and has a comfy library vibe that claims scotch, cigars, and knowledgeable educational discourse — classic Harvard, if you’ll.
The brand new Grafton additionally has a strong menu with giant plates (half slow-roasted chickens, streaks, apple cider braised farro and, after all, fish and chips and a burger) and shareables (a mezze plate and a platter of cheeses). Small plate lists assist you to order two (or three, in case you’re actually hungry) culinary curiosities for a considerable meal fueled by a zesty potpourri of flavors. The grilled lobster tail with nation corn pudding is elegant. Grilled lobster itself is a straightforward promote to this man, however it’s straightforward to overcook and wreck; whoever lights the grill on the Grafton will need to have a doctorate. in lobster grillology. Corn pudding is nice and hearty as a dip or post-lobster deal with. The opposite neat twist on shellfish is the Coconut Curry Shrimp, which options giant tender frivolously fried prawns with a puckered curry sauce for dipping. A stunning little dish winner, though it may be a bit salty, is duck egg carbonara. Others on the tapas menu that catch the attention are tempura-fried Chinese language lengthy beans, smoked wings (made with a dry rub and served with a poblano buttermilk dip) and French onion soup – a contented discover, as I had an actual wrestle to discover a good french onion soup. Grafton additionally has mashed potatoes on the facet, one thing I anticipate finding on menus today.
Additionally notable are the Japanese puffed pancakes, rooster and waffles, and the Redline breakfast that includes eggs and a slew of breakfast meats, a nod to the area’s nickname below the group. Grafton earlier than his Park incarnation. Grafton is barely open for dinner and weekend brunch, which has lots of the identical small plates; a few of the Grafton menu gadgets you may discover at accomplice eating places, however with totally different signatures.
Though you’ll be able to now not stroll into the Grafton to look at sports activities, you’ll be able to have good and intimate conversations, sip and browse the most recent novel you are studying, and eat decently. In my reminiscence, the menu and high quality elevated with the switch of websites.
Grafton Road pub (59 John F. Kennedy RoadHarvard Sq.)
Cambridge author Tom Meek’s critiques, essays, brief tales and articles have appeared in WBUR’s literary journals The ARTery, The Boston Phoenix, The Boston Globe, The Rumpus, The Charleston Metropolis Paper and SLAB. Tom can also be a member of the Boston Society of Movie Critics and bikes all over the place.