Boston Restaurant Blog -- August, 2009
Thursday, August 6, 2009
Joe Sent Me in North Cambridge is another one of those places that I used to go to all the time several years back, but had kind of forgotten about it of late. A shame, as this neighborhood restaurant and bar has food that is a cut above that of your basic watering hole. And what always impressed me most at Joe Sent Me was the plate of steak tips, as the marinade was tangy and delicious, and the tips themselves were lean and tender. Ironically, in a recent return to the place a couple of weeks ago, the steak tip plate was the one dish that I thought was the least memorable, but hopefully it was an off-night for them. The rest of the food? Very, very good indeed.
If the name "Joe Sent Me" brings to mind the prohibition years, there's a reason for that; according to the restaurant's Web site, the term was actually a password that people used to get into speakeasies during that era. And Joe Sent Me does have a bit of that feel, with its dark and moody interior, exposed brick, black and white floor tiles, and pressed tin ceiling. A bar takes up most of the left side of the place, while the right side has a small dining area up front and another area with tables toward the back.
On our recent trip to Joe Sent Me, four of us grabbed a table toward the back, as the front room was full. We skipped appetizers, though we did order some beers, including an excellent local brew called Rapscallion Honey. Our server soon brought our dinners over, and as I said earlier, the steak tip plate was the one item that clearly didn't impress. The tips themselves were tender enough, but the marinade was virtually nonexistent, making for a rather bland meal. Oddly enough, the turkey tips were loaded with flavor, thanks to a zesty teriyaki marinade, and there was no waste whatsoever on any of the tips. Perhaps the best dish of the night was a sandwich called Joe Montana's West Coast Wrap, which was stuffed with those same turkey tips, as well as bacon, spinach, mushrooms, and a delightful guacamole. The char-grilled swiss burger was also impressive, as were the moderately-salted handcut fries. Prices were certainly reasonable, with dishes hovering a little above and below the $10 mark, and service was fine from start to finish.
Other than the nondescript steak tips (again, this was a total surprise), everything at Joe Sent Me was satisfying, and I would surely recommend the place to anyone looking for simple comfort food and drinks at a decent price. I may try the steak tips once again at some point, just to see if it was indeed an off-night, but there are so many good dishes from which to choose at Joe Sent Me that I may ultimately decide against going this route. Stay tuned....
For those who want the address and phone number for Joe Sent Me, here it is: Joe Sent Me, 2388 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, MA 02140; the phone number is (617) 492-1116.
A few of us returned to Joe Sent Me a few nights ago, grabbing one of their outdoor tables along the sidewalk. The cheeseburger sliders were excellent--better than those at Cambridge Common, I thought. The wings were above average, and some of the beers were great, including a personal favorite, namely the Rapscallion Honey. It was a beautiful night, weather-wise, so it was tough to leave the place. Definitely another good night at this underrated spot.
Posted on 6/16/10
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