Over Columbus Day weekend I had a chance to try out Abigail’s, another recent addition to the Kendall Square restaurant scene. Abigail’s is located a few blocks down from Kendall on 3rd Street. Inside the restaurant, a long bar faces a wall of windows that look out onto 3rd Street. Opposite the bar are tables and booths and a domed ceiling that reminded me of The Wizard of Oz.
The menu features several raw bar offerings in addition to small plates, sandwiches, salads and entrees. Dave started off with a half dozen very fresh Island Creek oysters. For his entree he chose one of the specials that day, shrimp and grits with stewed okra and braised greens. The shrimp were plump and perfectly cooked. I absolutely loved the okra, which was soft and sweet and cooked with diced carrots and red pepper. The grits were smooth and cheesy, but not overly so. They were delicious combined with the saucy okra mixture. The greens included a mix of chard and mustard greens. Some of them, particularly the chard, were lovely and tender. Others though were undercooked and rather bitter.
I was deciding between the three grain salad with carrot dressing and the veggie burger with housemade tomato jam and mozzarella. Sadly I completely missed the green bean sandwich with white bean puree. Our server, who was lovely and very attentive, recommended the veggie burger. I rarely order veggie burgers, usualy opting instead for something more exciting, but I went along with his recommendation. As with most things, I am picky about veggie burgers. I don’t want any fake meat product in them, but I like them to be hearty and a little chewy. Grains, beans and mushrooms usually achieve this texture best. The patty was rather mushy and could have used more body. It was also lacking in flavor, something that the mozzarella and tomato jam compensated for, except that there was not enough of either.
The menu offerings changed somewhat since our visit. The burger I got has been replaced by the fall veggie burger with hubbard squash, kale, chickpeas, cheddar cheese, green tomato relish, French roll. I was a fan of the toppings on my burger and would have loved it had the patty been heartier, but I do appreciate the kitchen adapting it to the changing season. Though not quite blown away, I did enjoy my experience at Abigail’s and am curious try other menu offerings. The green bean sandwich sadly is no longer available, but a farro risotto with roasted squash is, as is a sticky toffee pudding. If they succeed in their renditions of those two dishes, Abigail’s will have done right by me.
291 3rd Street
For my meal at Abigail’s, I paid using a new app called LevelUp. Instead of a daily deal that you print out, LevelUp partners with restaurants and other establishments to offer users varying discounts, and they get the discount by paying with their phone. LevelUp provided me with credit to try out paying for a meal using LevelUp. To use LevelUp, you create an account, link a credit card to your account, and download the app to your phone. When you open the app, it displays your own unique QR code. When we were presented with the bill, I told our server that I was paying with LevelUp. He brought over a handheld scanner to scan the QR code on my phone. You can also pay the tip with LevelUp. Before your servers scans your QR code, you can enter in a certain percentage tip. Sometimes it takes a couple of tries for the scanner to scan correctly, but overall it’s a very smooth process. The amount of your bill is then charged to the credit card that you linked to the account, minus whatever discount that particular restaurant offers, which is usually about $5. Immediately afterward, you can log onto your LevelUp account on your computer and view your transaction. So why go through this process instead of just paying with cash or credit card? The more you use it, the bigger a discount you get. After you spend $100 at a certain location, for instance, you might then get a $10 discount to apply to your next purchase there. Sound intriguing? Try it out. https://www.thelevelup.com