Review: First Printer

Southern success via strong statements
By ROBERT NADEAU  |  April 23, 2012
2.0 2.0 Stars

You also wouldn't go wrong with a side dish of "caramelized root vegetables" ($4), which threw fennel bulb in with onions, parsnips, thick slices of turnip, and just a few carrots. They really got some roasting on this dish.

main2_boar_480
FULL BOAR First Printer plays it safe, then busts out with a bold dish like this wild-boar carbonara.

The pub part of First Printer leans toward a long list of drafts, but we were in the mood for wine, and a bottle of 2010 Bodini Malbec ($7/glass; $28/bottle) was a nice surprise, with quite a lot of fruit and color, and tons of aroma despite being less than two years from harvest (the 2011 is already in some markets). Bodini is a new name blending some old-vine malbec with 10 percent bonarda to soften it into something quite drinkable without the bare alcohol of many malbecs in this price range.

Desserts are a relative weakness, although the chocolate strawberry shortcake ($6) is a beautiful presentation, with powdered sugar silhouetting a crossed fork and spoon, and a deconstructed shortcake. But at the end of the day it was winter strawberries, some pureed, some sliced, and chocolate cake. It's hard to make bread pudding ($6) I'm not crazy about, but this was it — decent, stodgy stuff and that's all. An apple crisp had all the ingredients — baked apple, pastry, vanilla ice cream — again served without distinction. But someone does know how to make good decaf coffee ($3) and near-great decaf cappuccino ($3).

Chef-owner Kurt Vogel has an unusually commercial résumé for someone launching a restaurant. He's never worked with any of the famous names, but he has sound training and a clear plan to capture a young audience. I'm rooting for his market-measured dishes to sell well so he can make stronger statements, like that wild-boar carbonara.

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

FIRST PRINTER |15 DUNSTER STREET, CAMBRIDGE (HARVARD SQUARE) | 617.497.0900 | THEFIRSTPRINTER.COM | OPEN DAILY, 7 AM–1 AM | AE, DI, MC, VI | FULL BAR | SIDEWALK-LEVEL ACCESS | NO VALET PARKING

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