East Cambridge has a new spot for cocktails and al fresco dining, just in time for patio season. Loyal Nine opened recently on Cambridge Street, and for someone like me who works in the area, it is a very welcome addition to the neighborhood.
First off, I loved the space. It’s bright and open and urban and a little bit gritty, in a good way. An expansive dining area makes way to a cafe and then out to a large patio, which was a total, delightful surprise.
Loyal Nine’s concept is pretty cool too, reflecting our area’s colonial heritage in the menu. Local seafood is well-represented, and plates are made for sharing, which is the best way to discover a new restaurant.
We kicked off our meal with oysters with a tangy smoked porter vinegar. The oysters tasted of the sea, and the vinegar added that perfect zing.
Loyal Nine’s cocktail list is imaginative and had us wanting to try everything on it. The Bread & Breakfast, for a Manhattan lover who needs a coffee fix, had a perfect hint of coffee flavor to it. It was potent but smooth and delicious.
We feasted on a good portion of the menu and enjoyed every single bite.
Arostook Savory Supper – Potatoes, Onions, and Salt Pork with a Soft Egg – This little crock of comfort was full of flavor and warmth. The runny egg brought it all together.
Grilled Pork Ribs with Chestnuts and Molasses – We heard from a few sources that the ribs were a must-try, and I was glad we went for them. They were perfectly cooked, meaty, tender, fall-off-the-bone, and smoky sweet.
Scituate Lobster Braised with Hickory Nuts and Mead – Sigh. Perfectly cooked lobster was presented in a rich, honey-scented sauce, served with grilled bread for soaking up every last bit of deliciousness.
Salt & Vinegar Chips with Finnian Haddie Mousse – If there are chips on a menu, I have to try them. These were light and crispy with the perfect touch of salt, served with a light, fluffy smoked fish type mousse. Divine.
A giant grilled clam chilled with pickled ramps provided tender clam meat with a nice contrast of vinegar-y ramps.
Harvard Beets with Charred Cabbage, Cultured Cream, and Barley – This was a nice light course with great bite from the beets and barley. I love beet salads and this one was definitely a winner.
By the time we got to the dessert menu we were full but tempted by the interesting options. We went for the Chocolate Sourdough Brewis, a delectable bread pudding like dessert with chocolate and caramel sauces and different brittles. This was my dream dessert, not too sweet, chewy, chocolate-y and divine. I paired it with a perfect espresso. After smelling the fresh coffee throughout dinner, I had to have some. It meant I was bouncing off the walls until midnight, but it was well worth it for the smooth, rich flavor. i will dream of this espresso.
Loyal Nine is doing lots of great things over in East Cambridge, and I can’t wait to go back. Our one negative was that we thought plates were a little small for the price, but the quality, creativity, and expertise is all there, making us want to return to eat the rest of the menu.