Bergamot–restaurant review

Last night, Adam and I were joined by Katie and Mike for dinner at Bergamot in Somerville. This place has been on my “must go to” list for ages (well, probably around the time it opened about a year ago in the old EVOO space in Sommerville. Side note: EVOO now has a gorgeous, much larger space in Kendall Square. You can find my review of my last meal at EVOO here… I need to come back asap). The desire to finally try their food got even stronger over the past few months, as I read countless reviews from my local blog friends Jen and Megan). Finally the stars aligned when on our way home from our last dinner together at Journeyman, Katie and I spotted a sign for Bergamot. Our next dinner spot was decided! :)

Bergamot is a new American restaurant with a focus on local ingredients. Clean decor and white tableclothes make for an elegant space, while dim lights (at least at dinner time) make the space feel very cozy. The perfect balance!

We were all in the mood for different drinks. I started with a glass of a 2009 Bergerac, Tours de Genres, which had very strong fruit notes (it actually took me by surprise but I absolutely loved this wine… another glass followed later 😉 ). Mike had a cocktail, Katie a glass of white wine and Adam had a Pretty Things white fluffy rabbit beer to start – everyone was very happy with their drink choices. The one thing I’d note is that the website says they have “value-priced wines” but $10-$13/glass seemed pricey to me (maybe the bottles are expensive so this is a good value? I couldn’t find this wine online).

After some fresh sourdough bread with a butter spread, we were ready to dig into something a little more hearty :)

Yellow split pea soup with chicharron and marinated pearl barley salad

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There were so many delicious sounding options but I chose this soup because Megan was raving about it in her review. Plus, it’s probably been at least 10 years since I’ve had my mom’s split pea soup and I thought this would be a fun, elevated version of it. I was surprised at how thin the split pea broth was (in the past, I’ve only had chunky split pea soup… I guess that’s more rustic?) with the barley salad adding some of that textural contrast.

Unfortunately the barley salad was also mixed in with some tiny raw red onions (which are a big no-go for me) so the waitress kindly replaced it with another bowl, sans barley this time. I was a bit disappointed that the salad was pre-mixed and they couldn’t replace it with anything else that added some more texture and bite but the broth really was flawless – well balanced with a smooth split pea and almost slightly smokey taste. The friend pork rinds (chicharon) were too big for me to enjoy although I see how conceptually they would add some welcomed fattiness to the dish (I tasted one and picked out the rest). If you like onions, I’d highly recommend this dish, especially on a cold snowy/rainy day like we had last night!

Pan roasted rainbow trout with savoy cabbage, celeriac, apples and beet fondue

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Apples? I think they forgot those… but I didn’t miss them! I’m sure you can tell from the picture that the rainbow trout was perfectly crispy on the outside (and I can tell you that the “meat” was still very tender) but the veggies (which so often are an afterthought!) stole the show for me. I’ve never had celeriac like that – I loved the mild taste of the little cubes which welcomed the beet “fondue.” The cabbage had a similar role – it soaked up the beet sauce which was bright and delicious. The trout was clearly seared in butter, which added a lot of richness. I personally did not love so clearly tasting the butter (I want it to enhance the dish without really knowing their “secret”) but something tells me I’m in the minority here.

Overall I really enjoyed my entree but after tasting everyone else’s choices (Katie’s duck had the most amazing green garlic and mushroom sauce <– I LOVE garlic, Adam’s pork tenderloin with oyster mushrooms and mole sauce – which he said was one of the best entrees he’s had in a long time!!, and Mike’s scallops with black beans and avocado) I had some mild food envy as well (Katie’s duck was my favorite of the bunch).

With drinks and conversation flowing and our bellies very happy, we could have stopped here, but I knew that Bergamot had a dedicated pastry chef (Stacy Mirabello) which meant our dinner was not quite over yet.

The desserts sounded pretty funky and nothing particularly jumped out at me (the biggest dessert fan!). But we pushed through and ordered 3 desserts to share.

Meyer lemon beignets with tequila ice cream, espresso glaze and cocoa nibs

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Carrot cake with rum soaked raisins, cream cheese frosting and crispy carrots

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Cinnamon chocolate cake with peppadew ice cream, marshmallows and graham crackers

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All I have to say is WOW. I am SO glad we didn’t skip this course. Dessert is actually my favorite course but I do have pretty high standards so I’m often disappointed… especially with “funkier” desserts (sometimes they seem to be creative for the sake of creativity… even at high end restaurants like Menton). But at Bergamot, each dessert was special and the fun twists added interest, a bit of excitement (I mean tequila and peppadew ice creams?? How often do you see that on menus?) and they actually worked!

The lemon beignets were filled lemon curd (so bright, so delicious!) and the tequila ice really tasted like tequila. A few good-sized scoops of the stuff, and this would be quite the pre-gaming snack 😉 The carrot cake was moist, perfectly complemented by the light (and not too sweet – very important!) cream cheese frosting. The chocolate cake was the one I was almost afraid of because I’m very particular about my chocolate desserts. Luckily, it was dense and rich (yesssssss) and a bit spicy (fun) with the peppadew ice cream reminding us all that this was not just a tired chocolate dessert we’ve all seen before. Stacy, I’m your new fan :)

A few lychee candies came with the check and were a delicious last bite of the night (we call these “marmelad” in Russian but I’m not sure what they’re called in English… the waitress mentioned something French sounding 😆 Anyone know what they’re called? They’re sugary and a little gelatinous. Edited to add: Yup, they are pate de fruit – thanks for clarifying this ladies!!).

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I’m really happy we finally made the trek to Sommerville to dine at Bergamot (Katie, our plan worked 😉 ). I hope we’ll be back again some day! 😀

And just for fun – what’s the craziest ice cream flavor you’ve ever had??

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If you enjoyed this post, check out my restaurant reviews page for more.

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