Boston Bar Bites – Russell House Tavern

steak tartare

Meat and scotch. No reason necessary.

Last night I went to Russell House Tavern, situated in the heart of Harvard Square. I had been for lunch before and had been unimpressed, but wanted to give the restaurant another try. The evening began well as the downstairs bar and dining room have a more relaxed vibe than the smaller, upstairs dining room.

the dining room

dinner and drinks at the bar

The bar was busy for a Tuesday night, filled with Harvardians and Cantabrigian business-types. Beer seemed to be the drink of choice for most, and Russell House offers a good selection of drafts, 12 oz, and 22 oz bottles, many of which are local to the Northeast. The wines were tempting, especially the Pinot Noir and Chardonnay that are on tap. I have yet to see many bars in the area try kegged wine, but I will definitely be returning to try it here. But, last night I went with my favorite – Balvenie, 12 year, neat.


Cures what ails ya

I wanted a small bite before heading home for the evening, so I perused the appetizer menu, looking for something substantial to hold me over.  There are a lot of classics on offer, like crab cakes, caesar salad, and fried oysters, all which would have fit the bill. But I chose one of my favorite indulgences: steak tartare, served with a quail egg yolk and toasted brioche. The description sounded amazing, but the actual product was a little lackluster. The tartare was pleasantly herbaceous and light, but the brioche was only lightly toasted – very lightly. I wanted something crusty and crunchy to complement the soft texture of the raw steak, but the bread was just boring. The quail egg yolk ended up being my favorite part of the whole dish, but I’m a sucker for the sexy ooze of a golden yolk.

sexy oozy egg yolk

If it wasn’t for the ambiance and drink menu, I probably wouldn’t return to Russell House since better food for better prices is available at nearby restaurants like Tory Row and Cambridge 1. But for a good drink in a sleek bar, Russell House will do.

Russell House Tavern

Boston Bar Bites – Russell House Tavern