Very nice dinner with friends! The roasted kale salad was definitely something very special. I paired that with a half order of the linguini with artichokes - very nice, in fact I ended up putting them together, in the same bowl, yes, yes I did, and it was delicious! At the table, the things that were ordered and each enjoyed tremendously were the oyster appetizer, the sea bass dinner special, the cod, the lobster fra diavolo and the caesar salad. The oysters were extremely fresh and briny and the lobster far diavolo was well balanced - lobster cooked just as it should be, and not too much spice which would have overpowered the delicate nature of the lobster.
My issues are not with the food. The building, the "red house", is super quaint, historic - and we thought, mistakenly, that the main dining room would reflect that historic nature - the photos on the website, the appealing ones that make you think that you'll be eating, well, in a building built in 1802, are deceptive - the room where the fireplace is - the best photos on their site - holds maybe 10 people, it's primary purpose being a bar. The patio, which also would be nice, well, it was too cold to sit outside. And the private dining rooms, which are of historical note and look "period", are well, private - I went snooping in order to see them, which I did, but you have to reserve them ahead for an event or function. The main dining room is a major league disappointment. It is dull, nondescript, and frankly boring. It wouldn't take much to bring it up to the character of the building - we went to The Red House sure that the food would be very good, based upon the reviews, and it was - but we also expected an historic dining event, not unlike the atmosphere you would find in The Colonial Inn in Concord or The Wayside Inn in Sudbury. The Red House has everything it needs - an authentic 1802 landmark home, an amazing location in the heart of Harvard Square and a capable chef - they only now need an interior designer to do something with the main dining room to make the experience authentic. It's just not right, the room is incongruous, it looks like it was "decorated" and I use that word loosely, in the 70s, based upon the skylight in the room - to me, the owners are missing a great opportunity here.
And also, the service - nothing special, nor was it bad, but not the service that one would expect of a destination restaurant. Plates were routinely removed even though one or two at our table were still eating, and we in general felt rushed. Still, I must give them four stars because the food was very good, and the venue is special, but only if you eat in the bar area - the main dining room is a lost opportunity for the owners.
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