BISq, the Inman Square sister restaurant to Bergamot down the street in Somerville, is going whole hog, literally, with its continuation of Pig Roast Fridays.
As part of its whole-animal dinner series, BISq offers a Friday night $16 shareable suckling pig dish. Last week, we shared a generous portion of juicy, slow-roasted, fork-tender pork and cracklings in a light broth of white wine, onions, stewed tomatoes, and pork jus drippings, with roasted sunchokes, and, for a bitter counterpoint, wilted chicory.
Open since last May, BISq is the inspiration of a chef who likes to play with his food. Chef Dan Bazzinotti was sous chef and Kai Gagnon the wine director at Bergamot when they launched this date-night spot with small plates and charcuterie matched up with a wine list of organic and bio-dynamic wines, mostly from France and Germany. The rustic yet refined sharable dishes and charcuterie uses locally sourced ingredients, including Merrill, Drumlin, and Brambly farms to create an American-eclectic .
BISq, meaning Bergamot Inman Square, features sleek, dark wood finishings, brick walls, and wine-bottle decor to create an intimate atmosphere. You can sit in the front for food with a view of the open kitchen, but we hung in the separate cozy back bar, on comfy corner banquettes complete with fluffy pillows, and lit by Edison bulbs hung inside wine bottles.
I started with the scallop ceviche ($14) with tiny bits of charred cauliflower, ahi amarillo, satsuma, and avocado, that was paired with a L’Heritage d’ Azium Touraine Rouge 2013 from Pascal Pibaleau, as chosen by the attentive and knowledgable waiter.
Other snacks, starting at $5, included oysters with a red wine mignonette, birdseed bread with pickled kumquat, and black mint butter, and anticuchos grilled duck hearts and quinoa salad; grilled avocado with grapefruit, frisee, bacon jam, peppercorn vinaigrette, spring brook farm tarentaise with chutney and walnuts.
For charcuterie, we went tapas and shared the Spanish blood sausage morcilla ($9), dressed in chimichurri and accompanied by tostones (fried plantains) and fried egg. The Bazz Hook-Up Board ($26) looks like a savory choice for my next visit, featuring an assortment of house-made charcuterie; a la carte, there was also chicken liver mousse ($6) on toast, with sauce gribiche; pate de maison with chestnut mustard ($12); and for sausage, there was sobresada ($9) with sauce gribiche and poached egg.
We loved the small plates of N’awlins barbecue shrimp toast ($8) with “sexy scallions” atop what tasted like a creamy étouffée sauce, and the smoked lamb ribs ($16) with sour-orange glaze, veggie XO sauce, and sweet honey. The waiter paired this with a glass of the versatile red 2014 Beaujolais-Villages P-U-R.
Other small plates, ranging from $8 to $16, included king oyster mushroom carpaccio, brussels sprouts in buttermilk read curry with quince and cashews; tagliatelle with beluga lentil; pierogi with vermont cheddar; and pan-seared skate wing with golden beets in a beurre rouge.
For dessert, we shared a “dessert charcuterie” plate ($6 a person) filled with house-made honeycomb, citrus jellies, lemon shortbread cookies, and slices of chocolate “salami” marbled with white chocolate and dried fruit. I also ended with a pot of Shire Highlands whole-leaf pu-er tea, sourced from Malawi, by the Rare Tea Company. Coffee is also sourced and roasted by 4A Coffee of Brookline.
For dessert wine drinkers, there’s a selection of sweet wine, aged madieras and sherry.
All in all, this is a great date-night spot; as I brought my 12-year-old, who woefully only liked the Muddy Buddies, I’d recommend leaving the kids, and your less-adventurous friends, at home.
Suckling Pig every Friday night from 5:30pm to 12amOpen for dinner daily, and Sundays from 11am to 2:30pm for brunch
1071 Cambridge Street
Cambridge, MA 02139