SAUCE -- H and I were in Davis Square last Thursday and opted to try out Sauce in lieu of our usual trip to Gargoyle's. We arrived around 8:30pm to find the room about 2/3 full. The room is kind of neat -- multi-leveled and cool looking. It was quite loud in there (music, general noise).
The waiter came over prompty to take a drink order (glass of Shiraz for me, martini for h). He explained the concept and said that most people get 2-3 of the small plates each if that's going to be your meal.
We ordered 5 things and while I've read about small portions at Sauce, I have to say we left with one item nearly completely untried (wrapped up to go) and well fed. We could have certainly gotten 4 things and been perfectly happy -- maybe even 3.
What we had:
Fried calamari with hot sauce -- I only had a bit of this but it was a good sized portion of so-so calamari. The hot sauce was a nice touch and the calamari wasn't overcooked but the batter was a bit heavy.
Mussels and fries -- a large portion of both. Mussels were good with a garlicky broth. Fries were salty and tasty with rosemary. A bit thicker than I like them but quite addictive.
Wings -- I didn't have any of these but h ate them all up. I think it consisted of 8-12 good sized pieces.
Pizza Bianca -- The star of the night! Pizza with carmelized onions, garlic, 3 cheeses (no sauce). Crust was crispy and delicious. This plus a salad would be my staple here!
White Bean and Rock Shrimp salad -- this was the one that was left largely untouched. I think it's still in the fridge!
The above plus 4 drinks (2 wine, 2 mixed) came to $77.00 pre-tip -- higher than I'd like but as I said, we could have gone without 1 if not 2 of the dishes which would have reduced the bill by $5-15 dollars. The food was a mixed bag but I would definitely go back for the pizza and the mussels. It would be a nice "back up" for when Gargoyle's bar is too busy.
One thing they did really well at Sauce was the pacing of the food -- they brought out 2 things, then 1, then 2 with perfect timing.
Za -- (Mass Ave, Arlington)
We went to Za following a movie Friday night. Arrived at 9:30. The place was 1/4 full.
The concept is pizza and salads. We split the beet and orange salad (requested the goat cheese on the side). The vegetables were very fresh and the goat cheese good but the dressing it was tossed in wasn't particularly flavorful.
Then we split 2 pizzas -- the plain cheese and tomato and the "potato one".
The cheese one was very flavorful as a result of very nice tomato sauce and a nice amount (but not overwhelming) of cheese.
The potato pizza was OK but it made me yearn/crave/strongly desire the potato pizza at Cambridge 1 which is much more flavorful. h said it improved as it sat there so maybe I was just in too much of a hurry.
While the toppings were nice I have to say I found the crust disappointing. It actually reminded me of closer to greek style than the crispy, thin crust I was expecting. It wasn't a crust that was head and shoulders above one's local pizza place...not sure if that's the norm or if we hit them on an off night.
Service was fine. Our waiter was pleasant and someone I assume was the owner came by at least once to see how it was going.
With the above plus 1 beer and a glass of wine, I think the bill was mid-30s.