Ladies out there, you will understand this. You know those nights when all you need is some time with your gal pals? A night of gabbing, gossiping, and laughter? A night where you gleefully alert your waitress that you will, in fact, be lingering, not wanting the evening to end? After a few stressful weeks, with all sorts of good, bad, and exciting things going on, a night with girlfriends was exactly what I was craving. Luckily Ms. Jen and Ms. Aimee were feeling similarly and so an evening was booked, an evening to indulge in good food, a cocktail or two and good friends. The destination for such a soiree? The Highland Kitchen located in Somerville, MA.
Highland Kitchen has been on my "must visit" list for ages it seems. I'd say one out of every five recommendations I receive for restaurants to check out (FYI- please send recommendations- I love them!), is for Highland Kitchen. Out of sheer laziness (lets call a spade a spade folks) I kept putting off my visit, but was thrilled when Highland was suggested as our girls night location.
Highland Kitchen is on the busy corner of Central and Highland Streets in Somerville, and immediately upon entering the restaurant, you can tell that this is a "neighborhood" spot. From the friendly hostess, to the relaxed atmosphere, to the "all ages" patrons (seriously toddlers to the wise), this place seems to fit every need. Their menu seems to fit every need as well- with appetizers, small plates, sandwiches and full entrees spanning the globe, and the desire.
We finally settled on starting our meal with the North African Dip Plate-which was grilled pitas served with a variety of dips. On our plate were hummus, a carrot and almond dip and a roasted red pepper and walnut dip. The hummus was classic in flavor and texture. Thick, creamy and clean tasting with the flavor of chickpea strong, and the flavor of tahini lightly supporting, it was a delicious and simple hummus. The carrot and almond dip was my favorite of the trio- pureed sweet carrots with the richness of almonds combined into a wonderfully sweet, but full bodied dip. The roasted red pepper and walnuts, enhanced with some parsley, did similarly- sweet but robust, this was a flavorful creation. The North African Dip Plate was a wonderful starter, satisfying, creative, delicious and easy to share.
I've been on a bit of a pulled pork kick lately, so I selected their North Carolina style Pulled Pork Sandwich, served with side salad for my entree. Now, if I had my druthers, I would have North Carolina style pulled pork every time I have pulled pork. The sauce is vinegar based, which cuts through the fatty pork meat perfectly. It is paired with a creamy coleslaw, which is the perfect, crisp, accompaniment. Highland Kitchen did a really nice job with their rendition. Great chunks of hand pulled pork, slathered in a wonderfully tangy sauce that had a slight kick, and really nice, creamy coleslaw. As normal, the sandwich was a bit too messy to pick up and eat as a normal sandwich so I picked at it with my fork and then took a bite or two of the soft, fluffy and lightly toasted bun it was encased in. While the bun was tasty, it had been buttered before it's toasting, which in theory was nice, but was over done here. I also could have used more of the coleslaw in my sandwich. Otherwise, this was a delicious sandwich which conjured up wonderful memories of my trips to North Carolina and the barbecue I have enjoyed there.
Highland Kitchen was well worthy of it's recommendations and acclaim. The menu, though not large, contained enough range to satisfy any one's palate. It was comforting and welcoming, and allowed us girls to linger over cocktails long after our plates had been cleared. A perfect location to catch up with friends, and fill your belly all at once.