Boston Eats: The Red House @ Harvard Square

As a post-semester/graduation (not me… yet!) treat, a few friends and I decided to hit Red House Restaurant in Harvard Square for some oysters. Red House probably has the cheapest fresh oysters in the city; at 2 for $1 (from 12pm – 6pm on weekdays only), that price is really hard to beat. However, my grandmother always says 一分钱一分货, which loosely translates to “you get what you pay for”, implying that the oysters have to be of inferior quality because of the price. However, this is completely untrue, because I ate 24 oysters and was perfectly well the next day.

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I guess that proves that the oysters were fresh, but “were they good?”, one might ask. Well, the oysters are Island Creek Oysters from Duxbury MA (basically just next door!) and they were delicious! The oysters were a tad saltier than some other oysters I’ve had before, but paired with some horseradish, cocktail sauce and lemon juice, they definitely hit the spot for me. I had 24 oysters! That sounds like a lot, but really, it was barely anything.

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A little shy to order another dozen oysters for fear of being judged, I ordered something off the appetizer menu to keep me satiated, and also to try out something there other than oysters. I decided to go for the mushroom phyllo because everything from butter to scallion-vermouth cream hollered at me. (OK, to be honest, the scallops also waved hello, but I decided that one appetizer was probably good for me, especially after 24 oysters!)

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Mushroom Phyllo ($9) – The mushroom phyllo was delicious! The mushrooms (can’t really tell what kind of mushrooms they were, because they were sliced up in little bits) were definitely buttered and sauteed. I might be wrong, but somehow there were tiny seeds that reminded me of eggplant seeds in there, but it didn’t bother me at all. However, the pastry was not evenly baked, so there were some parts that were not as crisp as others, and the pastry did not taste buttery at all (maybe because the mushrooms were so buttery?) I would have liked the pastry to have some flavoring, but the scallion-vermouth cream sauce more than made up for it. It was one of those TAKEMYMONEY moments, that cream sauce. It was so so so good, I would have that cream sauce with anything – meatballs, pasta, as a soup – you name it!

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Shaved Asparagus Salad ($8) – This salad came with a lemon-caper dressing and a parmesan crostini. My friend ordered this and I managed to steal a bite. The shaved asparagus was delicious – so light, crunchy and fresh – but not very lemony or capery! The parmesan crostini, however, seemed like it had been sitting around for a while, and did not have the crisp and crunch of freshly baked bread. My friend was very disappointed in the crostini. Also, I have to add that this app was tiny compared to my mushroom phyllo, so go for the mushroom phyllo instead!

My overall experience at The Red House was positive and I can’t wait to come back for more oysters!

The Red House
Address: 98 Winthrop St, Cambridge, MA 02138
Phone: (617) 576-0605
Price: $$$ ($20 – $30 per person)
Hours: M | Closed
T-Th | 12pm – 11.30pm
F, Sa | 12pm – 12.30am
Su | 12pm – 11pm
Overall: Good!!

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