Last weekend, my husband and I tried out the latest opening from Will Gilson, Geppetto located in Cambridge Crossing. You may recall one of my earliest restaurant reviews here on the blog was Gilson’s Puritan & Company that continues to thrive, also in Cambridge.
Geppetto is actually the third of three new concepts Gilson has opened at Cambridge Crossing since October, 2020. I’m not sure what you were doing a year ago, but I am pretty sure I was at home in stretchy pants and waiting for relief from the pandemic. Can you imagine setting out to open three new restaurants during that time? Maybe crazy but from the looks of things on our visit last weekend, it seems to have paid off.
All three restaurants are located in a building called The Shed at Cambridge Crossing, a mixed use development close to Kendall Square. Cafe Beatrice was Gilson’s first concept, serving breakfast and lunch every day except Mondays. If you happen to work or live nearby, or are visiting the neighboring REI Coop, this looks like a great spot to grab a bite and a cup of coffee. Restaurant number two is located on the upper floor of and is named The Lexington. The Lexington’s menu is New American with a great cocktail program and a rooftop deck that has wonderful views. Back on the ground floor is concept number three, Geppetto that just opened in early October.
The restaurant is not large, maybe twenty tables in all but is quite lovely and comfortable with reasonable distance between you and your neighbors (ours happened to have just become engaged so that was fun!). Depending on where you are seated, you may be in a comfy banquette with views of the kitchen or of the skyline. The room is warm and inviting with soft lighting and soothing paint colors. Add to that an incredibly knowledgable and attentive waitstaff and some delicious food, we came away very pleased!
Serving only dinner, Geppetto features dishes inspired by Italian cuisine, while celebrating local ingredients. Starters include several crudo offerings and a variety of breads. Appetizers range from Fried Mozzarella, wrapped in a shredded katafi dough to Smoked Short Rib Carpaccio and Scallops Casino. There are several salads available and a broad selection of pasta dishes, using house made pasta. Finally, there are several main course sharing dishes ranging from a Pork Chop Milanese to a Grilled Swordfish and Lamb Shank.
For beverages, Geppetto only offers a few cocktails but pours some beautiful wines. I enjoyed a lovely white from Umbria while my husband partook of the Barolo magnum they had opened. Our server was extremely knowledgable as I mentioned, not only about the food selections, but also about the wine which was terrific.
Here are the dishes we enjoyed…
If you put the words pesto and bread together, I’m going to have a hard time passing that up so we ordered this Pesto Pull Apart Bread with White Bean Dip that was a delicious way to start our dinner. Other breads on offer were a black truffle and Taleggio cheese cornetto and a salumi stuffed lumache.
We decided to order from the Crudo, Appetizer and Pasta sections of the menu since there were so many wonderful offerings that were unique to Geppetto. I chose the Scallop Casino, a play on the traditional clam dish by the same name, but prepared with diced scallops, garlic-basil butter, some mashed potatoes to bind and crispy pancetta all served in a shell as you see below. Perfectly seasoned and not terribly heavy, this dish was so good, I may have to try something similar at home…
My husband ordered the Yellowfin Tartare which is underneath that beautiful bed of thinly sliced cucumbers and seasoned with lemon and gin with some finely chopped pistachios for texture. The dish was light and refreshing and really flavorful…
Knowing the pasta is made in house, it was easy to go this route for our main course, but all of the offerings were intruiging. Beet Cavatelli with corned brisket, thyme and parsnips, Rigatoni Amatriciana, Pumpkin Agnoletti with wild Mushrooms or Porcini Parpardelle – it was hard to choose!
We decided to order the Spinach Tagliatelle with Mussels, basil butter, confit garlic and lemon. This dish was just right in every way from serving size to preparation. The fresh spinach pasta was cooked al dente and combined with the tender mussels and the huge flavor from the confit garlic and basil butter, it was a winner in every way. I wish I could have it again right now!
We also love Cacio e Pepe so my husband ordered that (and took the photo!). The fresh spaghetti was able to stand up to the decadent flavors of the sauce made with a combination of pecorino cheese, black pepper and pasta water. You can also add some black truffles to this dish if you are so inclined…
Also at Geppetto, they have a delightful dessert menu and an Amaro cart from which they will prepare all kinds of after dinner drinks using the Italian herbal liqueur. We are not big dessert eaters but I was intrigued by the gelato flavored with Fiori di Sicilia. Fiori di Sicilia is an extract combining the flavors of citrus with vanilla that imparts a floral note. It was a uniquely perfect flavoring for a vanilla gelato to take it to the next level and we were very glad we ordered it…
Since we were in and out of our dinner reservation so early, we decided to end the evening by going upstairs to The Lexington to have an after dinner drink. The restaurant and bar were quite busy with lots of people sitting outside on the roof deck. The menu (and the food we saw passing by) looked really great so we are planning to go back and give it a try sometime soon as well, although on our way out my husband joked that The Lexington was cooler than us 🙂
I hope if you are comfortable dining out you will give Geppetto a try in the near future! Until next time…
One Year Ago: Cook Group Campfire
Two Years Ago: Sarma Restaurant in Somerville, Massachusetts
Three Years Ago: Comfort Food Round Up
Four Years Ago: Plum Blueberry Crisp
Five Years Ago: Falafel Bulgur Salad
Six Years Ago: Tuscan White Bean and Kale Soup
Seven Years Ago: Fettucine with Lamb Ragu
Always enjoy your restaurant suggestions, Val. And lentil and butternut squash soup as soon as I get home!