Foundry on Elm Seems Oddly Familiar

Foundry on Elm opened last month in Davis Square, with a pedigree ritzy enough to make the hounds take notice: It's co-owned by David Flanagan (Temple Bar, Brasserie Jo) and Ken Kelly (the Independent, Precinct). Andy Kilgore of No. 9 Park and Stoddard's administers the cocktail program; co-owner Flanagan, whom the Globe called "a bit of a wine geek," curates the restaurant's 60-bottle wine list.

So what did all this star power create? Both the room and menu look kinda familiar, say those who have given the place a shot. "I think of 2010 as 'another year of boring comfort-food menus.' Can't blame the operators, but yeesh. Meatloaf, again?" complains MC Slim JB. "Foundry on Elm's menu looks like a mashup of Gaslight and the Gallows or Russell House Tavern: brasserie plus gastropub."

But even if Foundry doesn't reinvent the wheel menuwise, the food's still pretty good. Things start out on a happy note with warm bread and soft butter, always a plus. The spaetzle is buttery and rich and is available as a side, with butter and cheese, or as a main, with ham, crispy mushrooms, hazelnuts, and Comte cheese. The main is better, with more variation. Poutine, the dish of cheese curds and gravy over fries, is practically perfect, with crunchy fries and peppery gravy. It's a bit steep at $9, though. Plain steak frites are also crisp, thin, and hot.

Sandwiches are a high point: The burger can be unpredictable, sometimes overdone and sometimes nicely cooked to order, but it comes on ciabatta and it's juicy. natethegreek tried a lamb special sandwich and calls it "basically perfect," second only to the croque monsieur: "I honestly have never had ham that tasted so good."

Crowds of people have already found out about the place, and the waits, particularly at peak time on weekends, can be fierce: an hour, or even two.

Foundry on Elm [North of Boston]
255 Elm Street, Somerville
617-628-9999

Discuss: Davis Square's "Foundry on Elm"

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