East by Northeast’s pedigree has had hounds salivating for months: the chef is Phillip Tang, late of T.W. Food and Hungry Mother. There have also been intriguing bits of information dangled in local publications (Tang gets whole pigs from Vermont!) that amped up the anticipation.

Well, now it’s open. Was it worth the advance buzz? Yeah, says DoubleMan, an early adopter: “Given the quality of the food and the lack of hiccups in service during the first week, this place definitely has the potential to be something really special. I can’t wait to go back.”

The focus is on small plates, with a small but carefully considered list of cocktails and beer to accompany them. Prices are quite low ($4 to $10 per plate), but portions are correspondingly tiny, expect to order several dishes per person. The regular menu is short, but there are normally at least three specials on offer as well.

Recommended items include:

• Housemade dumplings, particularly the shrimp.
• Smoked pork meatball noodle soup, with a savory/smoky broth and “toothsome” noodles, according to DoubleMan
• Crispy Maine shrimp: “actually crispy,” reports barleywino
• Pickled daikon, beets, and rutabaga
Man tou bread with pork belly: “It compared well to the exemplary version of the dish at Shangri-La in Belmont, but had a deeper pork flavor with a great crispness on the edges,” says DoubleMan

East by Northeast [Cambridge]
1128 Cambridge Street, Cambridge

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