Onion dip at The Lexington
Will Gilson, the chef and owner of Puritan & Co. in Inman Square, has fully reopened two of his three new Cambridge Crossing restaurants, Café Beatrice and The Lexington. Geppetto, his take on fine Italian, will reopen this fall in a booming development that looks to be the next Seaport or Kendall Square.
The thing that amazes about the so-called Cambridge X is the gorgeously landscaped green space at its center, an inviting urban park with ponds, recreational facilities and a bike path through it. Gilson’s eateries are in a spartan, Alpine-esque structure known as The Shed that overlooks the verdant, rolling greens. Café Beatrice, Gilson’s breakfast and lunch stop serving savories and confections, stayed open for takeout during the pandemic. The Lexington, an upstairs diner sibling, did too, but felt like more of an experience – a confluence of cuisine and ambiance – so I waited. I’m glad I did. The light-infused modernist space is blessed with a spacious roof deck and glorious vistas that say summer as much as any deck overlooking Boston Harbor, and while its menu is not deep, it is nuanced and varied. I was told that the yellowtail crudo and wagyu steak frites were popular choices, and the seared scallops atop a bed of corn succotash, chanterelles and parsnip looked like a gourmand home run.
I was in for a flash cocktail and a nibble, though: the joint’s spin on a Manhattan and the onion dip. If that nosh choice sounds a bit boring, this wasn’t onion dip like your mom used to serve at cocktail parties. The dip is lavished with trout roe, dill, egg and capers, and your dipping chips are golden-light potato waffles. (And you really need to spread the dip on them.) If the notion of onion dip turns you off, whether for the dairy or onions, it’s still a win if just for those sublime potato waffles.
If you’re still Covid-averse (and many of us are, or going back that way), The Lexington’s whole glassed-in facade opens up so there’s constant airflow. You feel like you’re in an urban, Ikea-styled version of a tiki bar. Also during the visit it was great to see old friend Joe McGuirk mixing it up behind the bar; Joe’s something of a Cambridge institution, having serving libations at Chez Henri (and its pop-ups at Noir), Highland Kitchen and Lord Hobo over the years. He’s also one of many running for City Council to address the widening economic divide among the city’s residents.
Tom Meek is a writer living in Cambridge. His reviews, essays, short stories and articles have appeared in the WBUR’s The ARTery, The Boston Phoenix, The Boston Globe, The Rumpus, The Charleston City Paper and SLAB literary journal. Tom is also a member of the Boston Society of Film Critics and rides his bike everywhere.