Have you been to Assembly Row in Somerville, yet? Did you know that it has its own T-stop now? Maybe like me you totally missed that, but let me tell you big things are happening in Assembly Square. What used to be a movie theater and vacant lot have now become an upscale shopping village with outlet stores like Kenneth Cole and Lucky Jeans. There’s even a Legoland; you can’t miss the full sized Lego giraffe welcoming you inside. The “broken down palace” of a movie theater has gone high-tech and now is an I-Max theater. At the end of the row, I made it to my destination for the grand opening of Earl’s Kitchen + Bar. The restaurant is a franchise has over 65 restaurants across the U.S. and Canada, and this restaurant is a part of their new concept of restaurants keeping with their theme “upscale casual”. Each restaurant design keeps in mind the area in which is located, adding little touches so that the patrons feel at home from the moment they walk through the doors. When I first walked into the space. I was taken aback by how large it was. It’s completely open; you can even see through the kitchen. There are a variety of seating opens from booths, to tables, to long slabs of wood where you can just lean and gather. The space is sectioned off by architectural points like a wall of lights, an artistic interpretation of Somerville intersections, and a large light installation. The flat screens that are atop the largest of the two bars also act as a space designator. This area will be great for game nights, yet it still leaves plenty of room for diners who aren’t interested in keeping tabs on the scores. The hospitality was on 100 for the event. “Would you like another?” came when a drink was a quarter or more full. I literally got offered a drink every ten to fifteen seconds. Seriously, I counted. I also felt like I was in the land of the beautiful people – well celebrity HGTV designer Taniyak Naya was in the room :), but you could tell you have to be a certain caliber of attractiveness to be able to work there, and they were not short on diversity. The food sampling unfortunately wasn’t veggie friendly, but there were lots of mini lobster rolls, hearty sliders – which seemed to be a crowd favorite, sushi, and a unique crispy tuna sushi scone. There was even a sushi chef station where guests could try freshly made creations. I would describe the food as upscale bar food that runs the international gambit: wings, tacos, sushi, spinach dip made with local ingredients when possible.
Let’s talk about the drinks for a minute, how cute where they? My favorite on the cute scale has to be the Bees Knees (Hendricks gin, Cointreau, honey, fresh lemon and Angostura bitters) that was served in honey bear shaped glasses and garnished with honey dippers. Adorable! Another highlight was the Mad Hatter (Smirnoff vodka, pear, black tea, lime leaf and coconut water). It comes in a teapot and serves 4; a clever opulent twist on the traditional pitcher drink. The bartenders took extra special care about the immaculate creation of each drink; not a mint leaf was out of place.
I’m excited to see the changes in Somerville with Assembly Row. I mean getting their own T-stop says a lot in itself. I encourage you to take the Orange line out there (or drive- if you’re not drinking, the parking is free) to check out the happenings; especially Earl’s. Fab!
. Thanks for the invite Lindsay!