Review: Ledge Kitchen & Drinks

A fantastic idea that needs inspiration
By ROBERT NADEAU  |  June 9, 2011
2.0 2.0 Stars

Ledge's fans are a burger, pizza, steak frites crowd. But let's see what the chef can do with the gastropub grub. Grilled wild salmon ($21) might have been grilled, but not for long — I like undercooked fish, but this was so close to raw we sent it back. The salmon was possibly wild, although the richness suggests that this particular wild salmon fattened up just outside the aqua-farm nets. (There is virtually no wild Atlantic salmon marketed.) It came with a swell "summer succotash" of sweet corn and black beans.

The grilled pork chop ($18) was okay, not conceptually that different from steak frites, but my favorite because a bone-in chop more than two inches thick is tricky to grill right, and excellent sweet-potato fries are a genuine rarity. A special on sea scallops ($18) had them seared with a little flour, always yummy, with a loose shrimp and vegetable risotto.

I was with friends, which always makes a restaurant better, and they were drinking a bottle of 2008 Pierre Sparr pinot gris ($8/glass; $28/bottle). One of the really fun things to do with people who always order pinot grigio is to move them up to the drier, crisper, Alsatian rendition of the same grape. But my friends were ahead of the trick. The Sparr firm makes some terrific high-end whites, and here, on a secondary label, contributed one of the lighter and less distinctive Alsatians in a somewhat rainy vintage.

Tea ($2) includes an excellent Irish bag among the choices. Decaf espresso ($2) is respectable, coffee ($2) good, and decaf ($2.25) fair.

Desserts jump above the gastropub average, especially the crème brûlée ($6), flavored with orange liqueur, textured with coconut, and decorated with coconut cookies. Eskimo bites ($6), despite the politically incorrect name, is the best dumb dessert I've tasted since my last Anthem fried Twinkie. You take a little layer of brownie, and a little layer of ice cream, and you encase the whole thing in fondant chocolate and freeze it. This is way ahead of more fattening brownie sundaes. Pineapple upside-down cake ($7) was decent, but stodgy next to the others. Chocolate molten upside-down cake was just a cupcake of the usual near-flourless type, turned upside down, and some hard-to-place but delicious gelato. I guessed black raspberry.

Service was excellent despite a full patio of a weeknight, until after the main courses, when our waitress disappeared — vanished like a child on a milk carton. We found a waiter to take our dessert orders and serve them, and then he was abducted by the same aliens. So we paid another fellow, and probably sealed his doom, too.

The patio is the refreshing place to be in season. Inside there are dark panels and a lot of TV sets, but decent spacing and not too much noise.

Robert Nadeau can be reached at robtnadeau@aol.com.

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