Foundry on Elm
Happy weekend! Marc and I had a very social weekend this weekend — more than we usually do, in fact. We got to reconnect with friends and co-workers over meals, Marc played tennis, I got new sneakers to help with my extremely painful plantar fasciitis, we got Mother’s Day presents for our mamas, and watched footage from the Royal Wedding (who couldn’t have loved Kate Middleton’s wedding dress? Seriously). All in all, a great weekend — and we kicked it off with dinner at a new local hot spot, Foundry on Elm in Davis Square with some friends.
Foundry on Elm has been open for a few months, and we’d both heard mixed reviews about the restaurant. We heard that it had some potential, but maybe wasn’t fully there yet — that the food was a little off and the menu not quite developed, and that it was SO loud, you could not visit with people or hear yourself think. Regardless, we were still curious about what this restaurant had to offer, considering that it is close to home, and is slightly more upscale than other options in Davis. On top of that, we were able to get reservations for four, late in the week. Not bad.
Marc and I arrived on time, but our dining companions were running a bit late, thanks to hectic Cambridge traffic (no surprise there). The hostesses were very kind, and seated us without the rest of the party present, which isn’t always a given in our area. The restaurant was so big and spacious, it was hard to remember that we were in Davis Square, where restaurants can often be tight. The decor was dark and cavernous, but still felt homey. There was certainly a similar air of the South End eatery, Gaslight, at Foundry on Elm. True to a Davis Square trend, the front windows (floor-to-ceiling) were wide open, letting in the early spring breeze. The restaurant was definitely full of hustle and bustle, but not loud at all — just very lively. I’m sure the bar area was much louder, but where we were seated, near the rear of the restaurant, the volume level was not overwhelming at all. We got cozy in spacious and comfortable booths and ordered drinks. There was a sizable beer selection, and Marc had a hard time picking just the right one. I zeroed in on a Natasha Rose, a sweet and citrus-y drink that was a bit spritzy and hit the spot! Our friends also selected their drinks, and had plenty of options to pick from.
By the time our friends arrived, the server stopped by with chewy, delicious bread. We were super hungry and ordered two appetizers, house-made pickled vegetables and calamari. Both appetizers were just so-so. They were definitely tasty, but nothing very special. We might have picked the wrong options — there were plenty to choose from! — but I wasn’t entirely impressed with what we had.
We waited quite a while for our entrees, but because we were with such good company, I didn’t really notice at all. The manager did come by though, and apologize for the delay, saying that one of us (likely Marc) had ordered a new menu item, and they wanted to perfect it before sending it out. The manager also let us know that because of the wait, he’d like to buy us another round of drinks. Very friendly! (Though in the end, we had already had 2 rounds of drinks, and didn’t want to add a third, so they ended up comping our appetizers. So nice, and made up for the fact that they were only so-so).
Our entrees arrived at last, and were definitely worth the wait. I can only speak to Marc and my entree, since I tried a bit of his, though our friends certainly seemed to enjoy their dishes (Cobb salad and salmon with some fantastic duck confit, respectively). I had a delicious Croque Monsieur, bechamel sauce on the side, that was full of nutty grueyere and juicy ham, thinly sliced — but not deli style. I had a salad on the side, which was small, but full of flavorful greens and arugula, and tiny, sweet grape tomatoes. The salad was pre-dressed, but with the perfect light amount that didn’t soak or soften the greens. Marc had caramel baby back ribs, served with Vietnamese pickled vegetables over a sticky rice cake, covered with tangy, sweet, vinegar-y sauce. The bites I had of this dish were really delightful — and completely up Marc’s alley, flavor-wise. All in all, delicious and worth the wait.
I absolutely thought that Foundry on Elm was definitely worth it. The entrees are moderately priced, around $18 – $22, but for a special occasion, or a night out on the town with friends or guests, I would definitely recommend this restaurant. It was a lot of fun and the food was great!