The word forage incites visions of groups of gatherers searching for rare edibles on the forest floor for a feast. Fortunately for us, Cambridge’s Forage is a modern take on this concept. It is designed as a local bistro serving innovative dishes created from seasonal ingredients supplied by local farmers, fishermen, and foragers. At the time of this blog post, Forage is two years and a few months old, built from the metaphorical ashes of Ten Tables-Cambridge, a sister restaurant of the Jamaica Plain location, where the GM, chef, and bar manager had all worked together over the last decade.
T and I enjoyed a delightful four-course dinner tasting on a cool Saturday evening in August (after the day’s downpour), paired with cocktails made with spirits from local distilleries. We made a reservation at 6:45PM, arriving via one of the best Lyft drivers we’ve had. (Beth, thank you for driving safely, keeping your interior clean, and engaging in interesting conversation. We actually felt comfortable with the ride to the city, for once!) Joe Choiniere, Forage’s bar manager, took care of us with his team over the course of our two-hour tasting experience. And what a lovely experience it was!
We started with rye and bourbon cocktails, a “Dark Wings, Dark Words” and “Forest Floor”, respectively.
They arrived after Joe brought over some fresh sourdough bread and olive oil to stave off our hunger. After seasoning the oil with a pinch of sea salt from the bowl on our table, we devoured these individual slices, as our current meal plan doesn’t include bread as a staple. The bread was warm and quite soft, absorbing the flavorful oil and going down the gullet easily. Of course, we both asked for seconds.
We then placed our order for the Omnivore 4-Course Tasting Menu, which ended up being more than the typical tasting portion that we anticipated for each course. (As I write this post, I am still digesting the remnants of the meal.) We each started off with a platter of the House Charcuterie, a perfect portion of crispy toast, thinly sliced lomo, creamy liver mousse, and smoked peppers, with a couple bites of green watermelon to clear the palette.
Then came a heaping bowl of mussels steamed in white wine. You best believe we asked for even more sourdough to sop up the broth after we finished off the mussels!
Before our main course, we ordered a second round of cocktails, this time focusing on gin as the base:
Our main course was a perfectly roasted piece of skin-on chicken, atop of an artful pile of tabouleh and garden vegetables. Honestly, this was the best chicken I’ve ever eaten, and even though I struggled to finish this plate, I savored every bite. At this point, I could feel the sourdough expanding and taking up space in my belly.
Finally, we enjoyed a piece of chocolate cake topped with minty ice cream and szechuan cashews. Our nightcap consisted of a coffee, rum, and house made cream concoction; a sweet way to end our meal.
The Omnivore Tasting is $50 per person, not including cocktails. It’s quite a value when taking into consideration the variety of plates we had the opportunity to try. I’ll be sure to visit in the fall to taste the season then!