Sidney's Grille – Review

Sidney’s Grille
(617) 555-0324

Appetizers: $5 – $9
Entrees: $13 – $28
Sides: $3 – $5
Desserts: $4 – $6

On balance, Sidney’s Grille in Cambridge was a bit of a disappointment. I had a gut feeling that it would be but with “Bon Appetit’s” praise of “it’s almost shocking to pay this little for food this good, in surroundings this gorgeous” in its June 2000 issue, NECN’s Phantom Gourmet’s above average rating, and the mere fact that it made it into Boston’s “Where To Eat” magazine, I was sure that this restaurant would deliver. And I suppose it did – on some things – but certainly not the food. Not that it was awful, but the quality no where equaled the price. The atmosphere, however, was wonderful, and the service was friendly, though a bit slow at times.

The best part about Sidney’s Grille is its live jazz music. We had the best time chatting the night away with our friends while listening to such talented musicians. In fact, if you’re looking for a place to hang out and have a drink with a group of friends where it’s not overly crowded, Sidney’s Grille may be it. You’ll find that just being in this warm and contemporary restaurant with its lively music instantaneously lifts your mood.

To start our dinner, we decided to share an order of calamari with cilantro pine nut dipping sauce. If you ask me, the calamari looked more like those animal shaped chicken nuggets that are made for kids. They tasted okay though, and the dipping sauce was great.

Our salads, which were included in the price of our entrees, were fine. I had the Caesar which was plain and basic, and my husband and the couple we were with each had the spinach salad which was tasty and mixed with Vermont chevre and spiced pecans.

The list of entrees was large and filled with a variety of meat, poultry, fish and pasta selections. Two of us ordered the lamb with roasted pear-walnut confit, my husband had the salmon with maple-thyme glaze, and our fourth person ordered the cheese tortellini seafood pasta special.

I don’t usually order lamb but for some reason it sounded good to me tonight. I should have known better than to experiment with a restaurant I had not tried before because the lamb, at $20, was just okay. The meat was cooked poorly and the pear-walnut confit was a gooey mess. To make matters worse, my side order of garlic mashed potatoes (another $4) were just lukewarm and a tad on the thick side. In hindsight, I should have sent the lamb back to the kitchen and ordered something else.

The salmon was good, though it was nothing outstanding, and the seafood pasta special tasted fine but was expensive for what it was, especially when you think about what you could’ve had at Maggianos!

We closed the meal off with two orders of fried ice cream for each couple to share. The chocolate sauce drizzled around the plate was the best part and my friend’s comment that our desserts seemed more like a cheap version of the real thing gave us all a laugh.

Anyway, even though the food, given its price, left much to be desired, the great jazz music, wonderful art deco d‚cor, and most importantly, the enjoyable presence of our friends made for an enjoyable dining experience. However, it’ll be a while before I go there again.