Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Thursty: Abigail’s nails it

  COURTNEY SACCO/METRO


Another month, another new Kendall Square restaurant. Forget technology, this is the new dining hub of Cambridge. The most promising of the lot, so far, is Abigail’s, a craft beer and cocktail gastropub from co-owner and chef Jason Ludwig, formerly of East Coast Grill (my favorite restaurant, by the way).

Like many of the other spots in the area, there’s a certain minimal, science lab aesthetic at work here, but it’s tempered by organic touches. The long wooden bar made from English elm rescued from a barn in Western, Mass., takes in tons of light from big windows that span the length of the space.

“The whole thing is windows everywhere you go,” says bar manager Rob Iurilli. “There’s not a place where you can’t see out.”

Makes for good sight-lines, but you’ll want to place your focus on what’s going on behind the bar. The drinks menu is broken up into categories like Tall N Cool, Slushies or Shots and Combos. In the latter, the Hostile Take Over, with a mist of Green Chartreuse over Cambridge Brewing Company’s Hefeweizen, is aptly named. Post-shift industry workers take note: A PBR tallboy and Four Roses Bourbon is only $8. The fact that the place is open until 1 here, serving food late, should help draw that crowd as well.

There’s also the fact that Abigail’s is one of the few recent openings touting “craft cocktails” that seem to live up to the name. Classics and riffs abound, but one standout is the Manhattan variant Mr. Grant, with Rittenhouse rye, Melettti amari, Carpano Antica and Jerry Thomas’ Decanter bitters. It’s Iurilli’s favorite too.

“That one is turning out to be gangbusters,” he says. “We supplant the regular sweet vermouth with Carpano, which has a little bit bigger flavor profile. The bitters add that touch of spice, and the amari has notes of chocolate.”

Topped off with a flamed orange peel, it’s got great spice and citrus on the nose. So far everything at the bar here seems to be right on the nose as well.

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