I hadn't really heard a lot about this restaurant, and was rather wary since it was located in Harvard Square.. but, the menu looked tempting, and my friend and I figured, why not give it a go.
It's located next to the former House of Blues (now a BBQ place) in Harvard Square, on Winthrop Street. Indeed, it is a red house - and this motif they feature over and over again, on their business cards to the stickers they use to seal their takeout boxes to their napkins. There is a small bar area up front, and I presume it's the kitchen we walk by to the rear dining area. There is an absolutely lovely skylight in this back room, and it would make daytime dining so much fun. Dimly lit, but not overly so. Some booths, some tables.
The menu is two pages - on the left are the appetizers and the entrees they serve every day. Most of these entrees can also be ordered in appetizer size, to encourage the tasting of multiple dishes. The right side has the special dishes of the night, both appetizers and entrees.
Olives and bread were set out on the table. Bread was very good - some slices of a cheesy bread, some of an olive-studded loaf. My friend and I started with a proscuitto cotto salad, which we split - proscuitto cotto, poached pear, caramelised onions and gorgonzola atop a bed of mixed greens. It was very good, the perfect melding of flavours.
She then got the swordfish (a special), which I think was grilled. (I really need to start paying attention to what other people order.) It was served with some asparagus and mashed potatoes - I tasted the latter and they were lovely and creamy and buttery. I believe she enjoyed her dish a lot, but I was more fixated on mine, for I had ordered the lobster risotto (a daily dish, only served in entree size). It came in a large bowl, a small ramekin of shredded parmesean on the side so that I could sprinkle cheese on at my leisure. Lovely good-sized chunks of lobster, in a slightly creamy but not overly heavily risotto, which also had asparagus and I want to say edamame. My friend tried some of my dish and approved. It was a large serving - I could only finish half of it, and brought the rest home. (As a matter of fact, I think I'm ready to finish it now..)
We also got a glass of wine apiece - and I have to say, I'm not generally picky, but I don't like the glasses they served them in, short-stemmed, small and a little thick. This is a nice place, why not serve wines by the glass in nice stemware?
The waitress recited the desserts - a key lime pie, chocolate mousse cake, and a tiramisu, as well as an ice cream and lychee sorbet, but nothing appealed and we were rather full, so we ended our meal there.
When we arrived at 6:15 (yes, early, I know), there was only one lone diner. By the time we left, around 7:15 or so, the restaurant was starting to fill up, probably about 2/3rds full. Service was prompt and polite. The tab came to about $30/person, before tax, for 2 glasses of wine, 1 appetizer and 2 entrees. I would definitely go back to this place - it's elegant and scrumptious, without breaking the bank - whoever knew you could find this sort of dining in Harvard Square?