I really like to plan things in my life – my job, my travel and my dining are just a few of the areas where I like to be in control. I also like to plan for others. If I am traveling with friends, it is highly likely I will have an agenda of what we should do and I will always have restaurants booked, tours planned and even when we should have downtime. It can be a problem sometimes :). So, you can imagine my stress at sometimes letting go, which I did recently when I told my friend Erika that I was in her hands for a night out. When she said I will meet you in Assembly Row I almost said absolutely not as I envisioned outlet shops and fast food. Outlet shopping yes, fast food for a night out is a big no. Who would serve me my wine! I badly misjudged this relatively new area in Somerville.
Erika’s plan for our evening was to meet early and go from restaurant to restaurant for a drink and an app. Very well then, I responded hesitantly… and so our Appetizer Adventure was on. For ease Erika suggested we meet at Legal’s on Mystic at 5.30pm. I had no idea where my Uber driver was taking me. I really do need to get out of Boston more often!! Legal’s was packed with shoppers and who I can only assume were locals from the surrounding areas. We sat at the bar and enjoyed a glass of Fume Blanc, some fresh oysters, Legal’s always great Crab Cakes and a wonderfully spicy Tuna Sashimi.
Our next stop was River Bar where we sat in the covered and heated outside bar. The funky scene makes you feel as though you are in the middle of rural Maine with bartenders dressed in flannel and woolly hats. River Bar is super casual and vibrant with lively conversation and a creative craft drinks and food menu. I wanted wine so asked to taste a Hecht & Bannier Langeudoc Piquepoul Blanc, which was fabulous and a glass was ordered. Erika couldn’t find a red she liked so our bartender patiently poured a few tastes based on her likes until she found a great Super Tuscan. Our appetizers of choice was a creamy White Bean Hummus with soft grilled sourdough and a fried feta plate with ridiculously good bread mopable chorizo cheese sauce. The extra sourdough bread from the hummus came in handy. I loved this appetizer!
The real lure of River Bar is the outside seating, which wraps the restaurant with fire pits looking towards the Mystic River. Even on this chilly evening groups of young adults sat huddled around the pits wrapped cozily in each other’s arms drinking craft cocktails and beers.
Our next stop was Southern Kin Cookhouse. Even before entering their doors we could smell the beckoning charms of Southern cuisine. We walked into the large open plan restaurant and were met with a smiley host. No seats left at the bar and a long waitlist for tables we asked to sit at one of the huge high top sharing tables. Two minutes later and the area was cleaned off and we were seated. The Supper menu is rich with southern fare that makes your arteries think about clogging even before ordering. Chicken and Waffles, Kansas City Ribs and Bourbon Chicken fill out the entrée menu. As we were on an appetizer only night and a little full we ordered the Geechee Shrimp, a lightly pickled and zingy lemony shrimp still soaking in a mason jar with a side of Alabama sauce, which reminded me of Heinz Salad Cream and a stack of ritz crackers. This is a really fun tasting dish.
Our second appetizer was the Green Goddess. Grilled romaine is made special by adding crunchy corn bread croutons, which they make in house. We raved about the croutons so much our attentive and fun waiter, Sandy gave us a serving of warm corn bread with cinnamon butter and jam. While I can’t eat cinnamon, Erika made up for the both of us with how much she enjoyed this house-made butter. A to go bag was gifted to Erika!
Southern Kin is a must return restaurant for me so I can write a full review.
For cocktails we perused their “Liquid Ledger”. I am not sure what came over me but I really wanted a Manhattan. I think it’s all because of that fabulous table side Borderland bourbon cocktail we tried at Porto. I asked them to make it with really smooth bourbon, which they did. This drink warmed my ears and didn’t burn my throat; it did however burn the bill a little as it was $19. Not being great a picking bourbons I probably should have known better. That said, the drink was the perfect nightcap before we ordered our Uber’s home.
Touring the restaurants of Assembly Row in the evening is like visiting a new city somewhere in America. It most definitely did not feel like Boston and putting my decision making in Erika’s hands led to a fun, yummy and different night out.