RESTAURANT REVIEW: ‘ Modern Menu Shift the Focus to Vegetables ‘


MICHAEL SCELFO used to be the ultimate man’s cook. At the Russell House Tavern in Harvard Square, the 290-pound chef turned out all manner of charcuterie and innards, and enormous portions of everything else.

' Russell House Tavern in Harvard Square '

‘ Russell House Tavern in Harvard Square ‘

Before he opened his new restaurant, Alden & Harlow, also in Cambridge, Mass., in January, Mr. Scelfo put himself on a diet.

He cut carbs and dairy, started eating a lot more vegetables and lost 95 pounds in a year.

“It dramatically affected the way I cook,” he said. His menu still features a burger and a steak.

But most of Mr. Scelfo’s dishes use meat as an accent, if at all.

Among Alden & Harlow’s current offerings are smoked burrata crostini with fried kale, burnt honey and a thin slice of cured pork loin; crispy baby bok choy topped with a slow-cooked egg; and charred broccoli with squash hummus.

“At the beginning, I’d have to send the broccoli out to people,” he said—free of charge.

And they loved it. “When I see that feedback, my next question is: How do I up the ante?”

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