Russell House Tavern in Harvard Square

Steak frites with creamy mashed potatoes
Steak frites with creamy mashed potatoes

I was out to dinner earlier this week with my dear friend Erica when I realized that I’d never written about one of our favorite spots to grab a bite: Russell House Tavern in Harvard Square.

Grab a bite probably isn’t the best way to describe this place. You don’t just “grab a bite.” You savor a heavenly meal. Erica and I have probably been to Russell House about 30 times. Why you might ask? Because every time we go it is consistency good—no matter what we get. Honestly, it never lets us down.

So I guess it’s about time I tell the rest of the world about this favorite spot. The thing I love about Russell House is that there are basically three different seating areas. You have the upstairs tavern area with a bar; the outside seating area with a few two-person tables; and the downstairs dining room with large bar.

House-cured guanciale toast with grilled peaches and basil
House-cured guanciale toast with grilled peaches and basil

But who really cares about the décor. Let’s get into the food. I could talk about every menu item (since I’ve basically eaten my way through it), but instead, I will just focus on what we ate this week.

We decided to start with the house-cured guanciale toast with grilled peaches and basil. Then Erica went to a regular go-to: the Maine Family Farms steak frites, which is composed of a 10-ounce Maine co-op flat iron steak, asparagus, smoked cipollini, and mashed potato (not her regular side of fries), and I went with my regular order—the R. House burger, which is an 8-ounce Brandt Farms ground beef patty on a Stone & Skillet english muffin with sharp cheddar, bacon, and caramelized onions.

R. House Burger with cheddar, bacon, and onions on an english muffin
R. House Burger with cheddar, bacon, and onions on an english muffin

The appetizer was a new one for us—but it will definitely be a regular dish to order moving forward. The guanciale was salty, the peaches were sweet with that perfect grilled bite, and the basil lightened everything up. Then it was on to our main meals. As always, Erica’s steak was a perfect medium-rare. She normally gets the fries with it, but decided on mashed potatoes this time. They were smooth, creamy, and luscious—the perfect accompaniment to that steak. As for me, the burger was as glorious as it always is. It is consistently cooked to perfection at my medium-rare preference and the cheese oozes off of the patty. The onions are soft and sweet, which works well with the crispy saltiness of the bacon. I know I’m making a bold statement here, but it is one of the best burgers in Boston (and yes, I’ve eaten a lot of burgers).

There’s no need to ever order dessert because the meal is always filling and just what we need. It really is the best place to go after a long week to enjoy a much-needed cocktail. Or, in our case, after a brutally tiring Monday.

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