Crispy Baby Bok Choy? Cambridge, MA

Had dinner at Alden and Harlow last night, it was my first visit for dinner. I must say, it was a disappointment. I will just assume it was an off night since the restaurant is highly lauded and the brunch I had there was quite good. Even my husband, who is easy to please, said there wasn’t anything he would go back for. There were four of us so we tried quite a few dishes, many were good, none were great. One thing that puzzled me was the pickled green strawberries. I was really excited about these, to me it sounded like a hint of spring, pickled. I couldn’t remember which dish it was on and didn’t detect it anywhere. Later, looking at the menu, I found it (on the polenta dish) but didn’t at all detect that taste while eating. The biggest failure was the crispy baby bok choy, the description sounded delicious to us. In reality it was a burnt oily mess that someone forgot to sprinkle salt on at the end. Not a hint of bok choy in the taste. The 60 degree egg on top had whites that were just a shade beyond clear - the texture didn’t work for me at all. I saw this dish on many other tables so I’m wondering - was it just us - did other people enjoy this dish?

I’ve had A&H’s crispy baby bok choy and found it very tasty, lacking neither salt nor flavor, but that was a while ago. Mine had some charred ends but just enough to be in balance, not burned and oily overall. And since they make such a fuss about the egg it should definitely be cooked right. Either there was an error preparing yours (which the expediter should have caught), they were having a bad night (which happens), or they’re not being as careful now that their rep is made (a sadly-common phenomenon).

I’ve found their brunch to be a better bet in the taste and consistency department and enjoyed the one I had a few weeks ago. I’ve had some good dinner dishes there (a previous version on the polenta was a big hit) but haven’t been back for that since last April. Other places have just felt more interesting and welcoming since.

“Food is a pretty good prism through which to view humanity.”

― Jonathan Gold