garden at the cellar


Don’t let the Cellar’s lusterless location and sorry wine program fool you. This Cantabrigian haunt serves exceptional, inexpensive farm-fresh fare. Snagging a prime-time table ain’t always that easy either, and especially now, since the young chef, Will Gilson, recently retooled his gastropubby menu. Tasty standbys from the popular old lineup—such as chicken-thyme croquettes and steak with rosemary-truffle fries—mingle on the menu (there’d be a riot if they didn’t) with sophisticated new dishes like seared foie gras, doughnuts, and rhubarb. A subtle touch of baharat elevates that dish from whimsical to cosmic truth—no joke…and, oh yeah, it’s 11 bucks. Gilson shows off more high-brow ideas on his small plate special, which changes daily, and his charcuterie is as well-crafted as what you’d find at Bar Boulud (the duck liver mousse and chicken-sweetbread terrine are remarkable). Other, more down-to-earth, additions include a beautifully executed Berkshire pork schnitzel and an arctic char with fava beans, Jerusalem artichoke rösti, and charmoula. One word of advice: Don’t save room for dessert; they don’t serve it (artisanal chocolates do come with the check). Not a bad thing though: You could always order more foie gras and doughnuts.

Garden at the Cellar 991 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA (617-230-5880;


When it comes to the joys of summertime eating, you expect the usual suspects—berries, tomatoes, corn at its peak. You don’t really think of tripe, but at Abattoir, Atlanta’s newest Anne Quatrano production, the often overstewed offal takes a decidedly featherweight turn. It’s braised, sliced thin, and teamed with a chunk of crisp-tender pork belly, fresh romano beans, and tomatoes in a light broth. Texturally, this tripe is similar to oyster mushrooms, with just a wee bit more meaty spring, and represents Quatrano’s “snout to tail” philosophy in her new enterprise. The opening menu features a good range of cured meats, bistro favorites (frites with mayo; leeks vinaigrette), pickled specialties served in jars (lamb rillettes; spicy cabbage; shrimp and onions), and a fried pie stuffed with summer berries and cooled with buttermilk ice cream. Abattoir’s mod/retro atmosphere fits well in the adapted space—a former meat-packing plant in the city’s Westside neighborhood.

Abattoir 1170 Howell Mill Road, Atlanta (404-892-3335;


Every year, hundreds of food lovers who have been lucky enough to get a reservation at El Bulli, just outside the northeastern Catalan coastal town of Roses, check into the local Almadraba Park Hotel. So do thousands of vacationers without a precious table at Ferran Adrià’s legendary restaurant—people who just want to enjoy the Almadraba’s comfortable rooms, immense pool, stunning sea views, and excellent traditional dining room fare, which glorifies the best local raw materials and wines. Since late spring, there’s been an added attraction: The hotel bar has been renamed Raspa & Wine, outfitted with new furnishings, and given an irresistible new menu of, as we say in the States, “little plates.” (Raspa means “spine,” as in the bones of anchovies, which are sometimes deep-fried into exquisite little treats here.) Prices start around $5 (for olives or tapenade-like garum) and go up to about $22 for a generous portion of local clams; agreeable house wines are just $3 to $8 a glass. Croquettes of chicken or seafood, mushroom-laced pork sausage with sautéed mushrooms, fried fresh squid, imaginative combination plates of French and Spanish cheeses, and the hotel’s famous crema catalana ice cream are among the other treats.

Raspa & Wine Almadraba Park Hotel, Roses, Spain (972-256-550)
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