Thursday, September 04, 2003

The Restaurant I Ate at Last Night XXI

When my friend Joanie was in town not too long ago, she recommended that I meet a friend of hers. We messaged via Friendster a couple of times and then took the conversation to email. Last night, we met face to face for the first time. The setting? The West Side Lounge on Mass. Ave. between Harvard and Porter squares. I don't spend a lot of time in that stretch of Mass. Ave. since I moved to Central Square, and it's interesting to see how posh it's gotten. West Side Lounge, while posh, also focuses intently on the nosh. Attracting a clientele that's a mix of after-work business people who live in the neighborhood, older area residents (which was nice to see), and -- later -- a younger crowd, the restaurant and bar is highly designed and darkly lit but not at all pretentious. Unfortunately, my new friend had already eaten dinner , so I ate alone -- we'd discussed coffee or drinks, but I hadn't eaten, so there we go. I was so glad I ate there. The menu is reportedly largely Mediterranean in nature, but I opted for the salmon dish. The salmon was cooked well and seasoned sensibly, and it rested on a bed of absolutely fabulous garlic mashed potatoes. The accompanying side salad didn't do too much for me, though. We sat at the bar, which is relatively short -- my friend described it as comfortable enough that you can almost always get a seat, but you're lucky if you do -- and the booths looked even better. Cozy, intimate. Perfect just to meet up with friends who don't always follow the funk -- or for a quieter, romantic dinner, perhaps. If you like Christopher's but don't quite go for Temple Bar, try the West Side Lounge. It's stylish enough that it's appropriate for a special night out -- but comfortable enough that you could eat there every night, easy.

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