ML - Boston Common

2013 - Issue 4 - Fall

Boston Common - Niche Media - A side of Boston that's anything but common.

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Page 81 of 155

TASTE RIGHT: The Conant's Island cocktail is made with cucumberinfused vodka. BELOW: Exotic ingredients stud the menu. TAKING WING Bartender Josh Taylor creates a refreshing green cocktail, garnished with history. continued from page 78 From there, the duo masterminded the spirits menu, first hiring bartender Josh Taylor from Eastern Standard. "I call him 'The Wizard,'" says Gaudet, "because he's experimenting all the time." In addition to crafting in-house infusions, cordials, and syrups, Taylor concocts barrel-aged cocktails made from tequila and Drambuie. "I am nerdy but also experimental," says Taylor, who wants his drinks to be cool, but with no attitude. "My most intense undertaking is a house aquavit, recently released, which I'll use for martinilike stirred cocktails." As for food, Gaudet, who was named by Food & Wine as one of the Best New Chefs of 2013, creates seasonal menus based on what he likes to eat. "I usually order five appetizers versus one entrée, because it's really dull to get just one plate," says Gaudet, who's so keen on vegetables he uses them as the foundation for most of his small plates, with animal proteins as garnishes. To wit: his outrageous warm "egg in a jar," which LEFT: Amy Adams he can't take off the menu. Generous has dined at enough to share, but too good to do so, West Bridge. 80 the little mason jar arrives layered with rich potato purée, a soft duck egg, meaty hen of the woods mushrooms, and a garnish of salty, crisp duck skin. Pop the yolk, give it all a stir, and you'll get this creamy, gooey, crackly, salty deliciousness in every bite. This is just one of the 15 or so small dishes that comprise most of the menu. "The social aspect of dining is different nowadays. People sit and share and spill and get excited to eat with their hands," says Gaudet. And jars and small plates of yummy stuff make that easy. What isn't easy is making sense of Gaudet's cryptic food descriptions. While some diners may feel they need a PhD in gastronomy to interpret the West Bridge's menus, which are peppered with ingredients like shishito, saba, chickweed, and daisy leaf, Gaudet aims to make his food adventurous but accessible. Take his roast duck, for example, served with carrot purée, black rice, vanilla-cream-cooked turnips, and garnishes of burnt-orange oil and poppy seed crumble. "You get this cookies-and-cream taste with meat; a blend of acid, butter, salt, and sweet," says Gaudet. "It tastes familiar but sounds esoteric." Then there is his latest lamb dish, which includes macadamia nut and parsnip purée, crispy tempura fried figs, and Japanese eggplant braised in sweet Indonesian soy. "You don't know why you like it, but you do. If you eat the various parts, they might suck, but put it together and wham! It works." Just like West Bridge, where the whole is greater than the sum of its masterful parts. 1 Kendall Square, Cambridge, 617-945-0221; BC PHOTOGRAPHY BY ANDY RYAN While Josh "The Wizard" Taylor makes tremendous cocktails, his number-one-selling drink—no matter the season—is the Conant's Island, a savory green concoction made from one and a half ounces each of cucumber-infused vodka and cucumber juice, a half ounce each of simple syrup and rice wine vinegar, a pinch of salt, and a dash of green Tabasco, shaken over ice and poured into a martini glass. Its name nods to the former moniker of Boston Harbor's Governors Island, a lush, green atoll that became Logan International Airport. BOSTONCOMMON-MAGAZINE.COM 078-080_BC_SC_SMD_Fall13.indd 80 8/2/13 2:44 PM

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