My boyfriend and I dined at Highland Kitchen on a Sunday night – it was hopping. Tables were packed, and there were plenty of patrons mingling around the bar. I ordered the drink special of the night – the Pimm’s Cup and braced myself for a long wait. We snagged a table after waiting just 10 minutes because it was just the two of us.
Sitting just inches from the table next to us, it was cozy. Expect to find tables for two really close to the next table. The ambience at the Highland Kitchen is, well, loud. The music wasn’t all that loud, but perhaps the low ceilings and the fact that the restaurant is one big room filled to the brim with chatty diners made it seem that way. It was about as easy to listen in on the awkward first date at the neighboring table as it was to hear my boyfriend. At least the close proximity allowed me to peer at what others were eating – the Caesar salad with grilled chicken was quite a large portion. Grilled pork short ribs was an impressive tower of meat over grits, served with green beans.
We started with the pork belly tacos – succulent fatty pork meat topped with queso and cilantro, on soft corn tortillas. Absolutely yummy.
The Shrimp, Chorizo, and Fried Yucca appetizer came with four perfectly cooked shrimp and plenty of chorizo in a buttery wine “mojo sauce”. The green olives paired well with the chorizo, and fried yucca rounded out this garlicky dish.
For our entrees, I had the wild mushroom ragout with triangles of polenta that were creamy on the inside and crispy on the outside (above). This is possibly the best polenta I’ve had in Boston. The ragout itself was flavourful, speckled with spring peas, crunchy asparagus and lima beans to balance the creamy polenta and delicate mushrooms.
He had the spicy curried goat stew – tender pulled goat meat, yucca, squash, and very sweet fried plantains served with jasmine rice.
Our food came out quickly, though we never felt rushed. Service was friendly and attentive, and our water glasses never more than half empty.
The Final Word: The Highland Kitchen serves the kind of food you’d find at much fancier and more upscale places, at much higher prices. It’s not the kind of ambiance that’s good for a romantic date, or a first date (unless you expect to find your date so boring you want to drown them out with the noise); it’s the place to enjoy a few drinks with friends and revel in amazing food.