The glorious pizza, pasta or salad of Source
A weekly notebook about dining options during the Covid-19 shutdown, with a focus on quality and ease of pickup and delivery.
With the pandemic lasting longer than anyone imagined and restaurants imperiled by a prolonged shutdown – and many shuttering for good (Cuchi Cuchi, The Friendly Toast and Bergamot, to name a few) – it seems unlikely many would open. But joining the brave in Harvard Square is Daniel Paul Roughan and executive chef Brian Kevorkian, who opened Source in the wide-open space that was formerly Cambridge, 1. I missed its wood-grilled pizza, and the good news is that the new place serves wood-fired pizza – and the interior is the same with a bit of touch-up. Opening late last year, the restaurant, which you can see becoming a hive of activity during different times, offered less grab-and-go fare and more mains such as poultry, meat and fish. Those are off the menu for now, and what you are left with is some glorious pizza, gastropub appetizers (chicken wings, salads and burrata) and gourmet pasta worthy of comparison to Gran Gusto and Giulia. Among the pastas, the bucatini carbonara is solid, with succulent noodles in a zesty but not overpowering (and perfectly meted) sauce. But the winner is the Creste de Gallo, homemade pasta in the shape of a rooster’s comb with fennel sausage and a light, Bully Boy bourbon creme sauce that isn’t too creamy or cloying. The portions are manageable, so you could have a pasta order and split a 12-inch pie.
A pie could also be a meal on its own, with a slice or two to save for later. They’re very cheesy, and the pizza chef will add a red wine reduction to offset the pepperiness of the pepperoni and keep your buds on the base of crust, sauce and cheese. It’s a unique and pleasing changeup. The best best is the New York-style thin crust – just add your three ingredients (pepperoni, sausage and mushrooms for me, please).
Source also serves up really solid gourmet twists on bar classics at reasonable prices. The offering I still marvel at is the Source Chopped: I am not sure I have seen a Cobb styled salad before in an individual dinner salad size offering – it’s usually a meal-sized bowl with chicken, egg and bacon. This isn’t that Cobb, but it’s close; what’s special about it are the chickpea crisps offsetting the smoky meatiness of the bacon and adding a nice textural accent. Here too, as with the pastas, less is more: The salad is not drenched in dressing, and yet you never wish you had more to pour on.
The food is prepared with care and pride. The young ownership list the restaurant online in the plural, as Source Restaurants. That’s future thinking, as there’s only the Harvard Square locale now, but given what’s cooking, those thoughts of tomorrow could become a reality.