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Russell House Tavern

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Russell House TavernRussell House Tavern

Type: Bar, Eatery

14 JFK St
Cambridge, Massachusetts, 02138-4909
United States

(617) 500-3055 | map

No notes at this time.

Added by morebeergood on 05-04-2010

View: Place Reviews | Events
User Reviews
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Reviews: 3 | Ratings: 12
Reviews by BearsOnAcid:
Photo of BearsOnAcid
4.58/5  rDev +13.6%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 5

Been here many times and everytime I'm still blown away by every visit. This place is more about the overall careful selection of food, beer, wine, and liquor than focusing on one thing.

First thing I want to say is that the chef is just outstanding. Locally sourced ingredients, very fresh, and not afraid to put some stuff on the menu that you need to look up on your phone or cuts of meat out of the norm. I'm not a huge foodie but I'm all for trying new things. I had a pork trio that literally melted in my mouth. If a pig was made out of succulent bacon butter that is what it was like to slice through and eat it. I also really recommend the anti-eggs benedict. It's a slow poached egg (for an hour I think) that is breaded and flash fried. The slow poaching gives the white of the egg this creamy texture then there's a nice contrast in texture from the crunch of the breading and the yolk is still all runny, gooey and delicious since it cooks at a higher temperature than the poaching liquid. They are Chip-In eggs and the menu also offers a small plate/app with the deep fried poached egg with pancetta on top of toasted bread if you can't get there for brunch to try the benedict.

The beer list is nothing to geek out about but I do really like the selection. It's pretty extensive compared to many other bistro type restaurants and lots of locals. I do like that I've gotten Sixpoint Bengali a few times there. And they have one cask but sometimes it isn't operating. Corked and caged bottle prices are oddly inflated (I suppose presentation really does mean everything) but I think for the atmosphere and location the draft prices are reasonable. There's some $5 options and the most expensive I've seen is $7 (Opa-Opa milk stout of all things which is strange).

They have a nicely sized wine list with some bottles in the affordable $20-$30 range and there is local wine on tap. I've bought some bottles before and was pleased with the quality. I have yet to delve into the giant list of tequilas, whiskies, cordials, whiskies, gin, whiskies and other assorted whiskies. From a careful glance at the menu they offer much more than some of the better cocktail bars around town and I believe there is whisky available. To round out beverages, you also get a choice of sparkling or still house water that is served and left at the table in large swing-top bottles.

The service is usually very attentive and timely. I've only had one problem but it was towards the end of the night and I think my server was relying on runners, that were doing other things, to get dessert out. The upstairs is pretty cool if you want to eat quick. Downstairs is much more appealing for a meal with low lighting and high ceilings or you can even sit at the large bar. I'm a fan of the indie music and it's not really that loud when the place gets full.

Yes, the food can get pricey but there's still lower priced options like pizzas for around $12 and a locally sourced, grass-fed beef burger with cheese, bacon, and fries for $11. I will stress that you really get what you pay for with the food.

 3,098 characters

More User Reviews:
Photo of Ela
3.83/5  rDev -5%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 3.5 | service: 4 | selection: 3.5 | food: 4.75

Photo of jeanphoenix
3.59/5  rDev -10.9%
vibe: 3.75 | quality: 3.5 | service: 3.75 | selection: 3.5 | food: 3.5

Photo of costanzo_mike
4.25/5  rDev +5.5%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4.25 | food: 4.25

Photo of SveNss0N
4.16/5  rDev +3.2%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 3.75 | food: 4.25

Photo of aking32753
4/5  rDev -0.7%

Photo of Stagga_Lee
4.75/5  rDev +17.9%

Photo of doremite
3.75/5  rDev -6.9%

Photo of dubdrop
4.5/5  rDev +11.7%

Photo of tegelaar
4.5/5  rDev +11.7%

Photo of morebeergood
4.33/5  rDev +7.4%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4.5

My wife and I took a relative from the west coast to Harvard Sq on Sunday to visit, and we went to RHT for brunch. A bit of a crowd, so we were told there would be a 30 min wait. The hostess took our cell number, so we were able to shop a bit more. Right at 30 mins, she called and our table was ready. We got a sweet table right up front near the windows overlooking JFK St. The inside of this place is pretty cool. Upstairs, there's a bar that has an old school brasserie feel to it. Wooden tables, subway tiles, black and white photos. Downstairs, there's another bar and seating that has a more modern gastro pub feel to it. Our waitress was very friendly and attentive to our table. Beer selection was all around good. They have cask, which is tapped on Thurs and usually kicked by Sun I was informed. They have a nice menu of draft beer, canned beer, and bottled beers (12oz, 22oz, and corked bottles). Prices were quite reasonable. Some cans were $5, and most drafts were $5-6. I started with a bourbon bacon bloody mary (awesome $11) and a 21st Amendment can of Fireside Chat winter warmer ale $5. Food here was kickass good. I had the Pitmaster Omelette, which featured smoked brisket. Delicious. My wife and relative loved their food too. I can't wait to come back for dinner and drinks. The bar scene might be a bit cramped space-wise here, but I see ourselves coming back here often for a table. Easily the best new thing in Harvard Sq.

 1,448 characters

Photo of Jason
3.65/5  rDev -9.4%
vibe: 4 | quality: 2.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4

Think $6 beers in 14.75 oz water glasses, minus out the head and you get about 13oz of beer. Other beers were a bit more expensive to a little outrageous. But that is what you can expect from an up-scale bistro in the Harvard SQ area.

The upstairs bar did not look too inviting, but the downstairs definitely had a cool vibe. Service was fine, bartenders were on their game for a somewhat new establishment. The beer list was pretty diverse, not the usual suspects which was refreshing.

One word of warning, smell your beer / glass before you tap a sip. First beer we got smelled a little bit like rinse solution and the second beer I ordered was in the bottle and an empty glass was given to me. Reeked of chlorine to the point that it made me cough, glad I did not drink that. The bartender was very apologetic though this is something that should not happen. He took care of the matter quickly and gave me a beer clean glass.

All in all there is a ton of potential for this place. I would love to come back ... sit down for a session and try their food.

 1,059 characters

Russell House Tavern in Cambridge, MA
4.03 out of 5 based on 12 ratings.
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