quick bite: The Longfellow Bar

March 24, 2023

Just on the edge of Harvard Square, right on top of Alden & Harlow, in the space which housed Cafe Algiers for over fifty years, sits The Longfellow Bar. A sister restaurant to its downstairs neighbor, The Longfellow Bar shares several menu items with Alden & Harlow including Michael Scelfo’s famous burger.

You can’t go wrong with the Alden Burger. It’s one of the better burgers in Boston and has been for almost a decade. It doesn’t come with anything but a pickle, so get an order of fries to go with it. They have both a traditional version and “messy” ones, loaded with rotating toppings. Consistently on the menu are Crab Rangoon “Nachos” and Deviled Eggs. I have enjoyed both. On another visit, lightly fried stuffed squash blossoms were on the menu, and if they come back, they are a don’t miss.

I visited again on Wednesday and at 7:30 the bar was packed. We ended up getting a couple of seats at the far end. I ordered a Letherbee and Tonic which is one of my favorite gins, but not in the collection. The Longfellow Bar is the only place in Boston I have ever seen it and it isn’t on the menu, you just have to know it’s there. But please don’t go there and order it because then what will I drink when they run out.

For dinner Wednesday, I had the steak tartare with pickled garlic scapes, smoked egg yolk, and potato chips. The lightly smoked flavor was very delightful and the housemade potato chips we the perfect vehicle for the saucy tartare. It was enough food for me for a light dinner.

I really like Alden & Harlow, but I find myself drawn to The Longfellow Bar more often. It’s a beautiful, sophisticated space with excellent but accessible food. It’s a more casual version of the wonderful restaurant below it and I’ve never left disappointed.

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