T.W. Food – Kitchen Improv

T.W. Food is a name that’s been thrown my way so many times in the past two months. It’s been high on my list of To Tries, but it was finally Edgar who got me committed. He mentioned the restaurant’s weekly Wednesday night tradition, Kitchen Improv where the kitchen takes local seasonal ingredients and spits out whatever you can chew, literally.

I’m always one for a good first impression, so why not let the kitchen dazzle me with their spontaneity my very first go? We looped our mutual friend and food enthusiast Kim into this dinner to enhance the experience.

This very small restaurant is nestled in residential Cambridge between Alewife and Harvard Square. I would know it was residential because I showed up early for our 8:30 reservation and was told no, there really aren’t any bars nearby after I was also told that no, there is no bar in the restaurant you can sit at. Cue screeching halt sounds. WHAT?!

I was appeased with a nice glass of cidery oxidized white wine while I waited for my dining mates. Amazing call by the restaurant’s wine director, Holly. I studied the October 3rd menu, which introduced muscovy duck, Vermont veal, Island Creek oysters, local swordfish, broccoli, heirloom tomatoes, Maine celery, native corn, local melon, Japanese eggplant, pickling cucumber, Jimmy Nardello peppers, and chicken mushrooms as the night’s grab bag.

When Kim and Edgar arrived, we were seated and asked whether we preferred the omnivore or vegetarian option. We all went with the former as well with the wine pairing. The wine pairing is a novel idea as the front of the house selects blind. Their concept is to bring you two glasses of white and red wine that they think will pair nicely with the ingredients, but it’s up to you how you’d like to pair them with your finished plate.

Edgar and his vino friends

With Kim

Kimbo: Cauliflower soup with apples, caviar, and pork cracklin

Edgar: Tuna confit with preserved olive

Katie: Charcuterie with duck liver mousse, chestnut paté de campagne, and crème brûlée foie gras

Kimbo: Linguine with calamari eggplant and pineapple

Edgar: Tomato trottole with ginger and scallion

Katie: Squid ink regina with Lobster

Kimbo: Chicken ballotine — terrible picture, I know

Edgar: Halibut with pineapple

Katie: Pork belly

Kimbo:Mango sorbet

Edgar & Katie: Cheeses – Manchester, Twig Farm Mixed Wheel, Landaff, Bayrischer Blauschimmelkase (favorite cheese ever, how did you guys know?!)

Kimbo: Espresso crème brûlée

Edgar: Saffron ice cream with cookies and cream

Katie: Tobacco ice cream with scotch syrup and chestnut cream

One more treat for the road

It may have just been love at first sight. I had to try really hard not to let myself say bite. That line is just way too cheesy. I was blown away by the whole experience, particularly the fact that the kitchen really celebrates the improv spirit and no one had the same dish.

I believe I need to give this place another try for a less grand meal to get a full effect, but I’m not complaining. No one would have to twist my arm to go back.

T.W. Food
77 Walden St
Cambridge, MA 02138
(617) 864-4745

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