Review: Ledge Kitchen & Drinks

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

DUMB DELIGHT Most of the fare at Ledge is uninspired, but the desserts — like these Eskimo bites — rise above. 

The idea of Ledge Kitchen & Drinks is fantastic: Irish contractors take over an old neighborhood bar in the most distant reaches of Dorchester, fix it up, and hire some young chefs to make it a gastropub. Even better, they put on a green roof so you can eat right from the garden, and they set up a 60-seat outdoor patio inside the block, so you are insulated from street noise. They have a good list of beers and wines, and even classic cocktails. Yet the food turns out to be the same mix of comfort favorites and little cheffery all the gastropubs are doing, and while it's not bad, it's seldom inspired. In fact, until dessert, I was pretty much entirely uninspired.

One problem is that I don't like to eat seriously outdoors. My palate is not fabulous, and the wind blows everything away from my nose. I concede that the patio is one of the best in Metro Boston, right up there with Oleana's, and if you like outside, you will have a really good time on a nice night at Ledge.

I also may have compromised my enthusiasm by starting with the most classic cocktail on the short list, "Mike's Sidecar" ($11). A sidecar is a Parisian device for getting brandy (here, Hennessy) into the bloodstream more quickly through the catalytic use of orange liqueur (here, Cointreau), a splash of citrus, and a cocktail glass with a sugared rim. The Ledge bartender did all of this impeccably, and after a long day, sitting in a lovely patio at twilight, I quickly took myself somewhat out of my designated taster role.

They have warm white rolls with a pour of olive oil laced with pepper and herbs. Good. Thinking about the roof garden, I tried a special salad of watermelon and heirloom tomatoes ($14). Nope, come back in August. Flatbread pizza with seasonal vegetables ($12)? I guess it's always the season for green peppers and onions somewhere. It's an excellent pizza, with lots of cheese and some winter basil (probably not off the roof). Baby back ribs ($12) were fair enough. The menu admits they are "slow roasted" and thus not really barbecue, but they were delicious and fun to eat.

The lobster roll ($18) was good, generous, but not great in terms of that really sweet live-lobster taste. What makes the plate is house-made potato chips. Clam chowder ($6): I used to close my eyes and taste the broth. Sometimes it would taste like clams, sometimes like celery or chicken or even beef. This "broth" is thick as wallpaper paste and tastes like bacon, bacon, bacon.

Fish and chips ($17) are heavily battered, excellent fish in the Anglo-Irish style, with a nice scoop of nice coleslaw, but limp fries. Memo to chefs: potatoes are fried at a higher temperature than battered fish or chicken. So you need at least two fry machines, and three if you use the popular twice-fry method on the potatoes.

1  |  2  |   next >
Related: Review: Camie's Bakery, Review: Area Four, Review: The Maharaja, More more >
  Topics: Restaurant Reviews , review, Metro Boston, restaurants,  More more >
| More

Most Popular
Share this entry with Delicious
  •   REVIEW: BONCHON  |  August 10, 2012
    What am I doing in this basement in Harvard Square, reviewing the second location of a multi-national franchise chain?
  •   REVIEW: CARMELINA'S  |  July 25, 2012
    After a good run with "Italian tapas" under the name Damiano (a play on the given name of chef-owner Damien "Domenic" DiPaola), this space has been rechristened as Carmelina's — after the chef's mother and his first restaurant, opened when he was an undergraduate in Western Mass — and the menu reconfigured to feature more entrées.
  •   REVIEW: TONIC  |  July 06, 2012
    Bad restaurant idea number 16: let's do a neighborhood bar-bistro where there already is one.
  •   REVIEW: HAPPY’S BAR AND KITCHEN  |  June 20, 2012
    In a year of bad restaurant ideas, one of the better bets is to have a successful fancy-food chef try a downscale restaurant.
  •   REVIEW: GENNARO'S 5 NORTH SQUARE  |  June 18, 2012
    In year of bad restaurant ideas (often done well), this the worst idea — and best meal — yet.

 See all articles by: ROBERT NADEAU