IMAGE BY AUSTIN DICKEY
Keith Pooler, owner of Somerville’s Bergamot and the forthcoming 50-seat, first-date-worthy spin-off spot, Bisq, is itching for 2015.
“We were shooting to open this weekend, but it’s now looking like early January,” he says. “We’ve been training staff at Bergamot, and we’re ready to make the jump as soon as the space is finished.”
Bisq, short for “Bergamot Inman Square,” will be a no-reservations, low-price-point, small-plates affair (nothing over $20, according to Pooler). The focus will lean heavy on charcuterie of various sorts (think: beer-braised pig trotter and duck liver flat bread), raw bar offerings for oysters, and a constantly-evolving vittles menu featuring BBQ beef on brioche with fried pickled green tomatoes, and smoked mussels with braised endive and pancetta. If you’re worried that the new venue will deviate from what you’ve come to know and love at Bergamot, don’t be.
“We opened up Bergamot as a neighborhood restaurant, and we just want to add another—but smaller—space to focus on a great wine program,” says Pooler. “It’s a reasonable evolution for us.”
And the staff, largely made up of the people that have been with Pooler and his team for the four years that Bergamot has been operating, are ready to take next step with Bisq. “Our chef, Dan Bazzinotti, has been with me the whole time at Bergamot, so it’s definitely his time. We’re here to provide that opportunity to watch them shine,” he says, adding, “which I’m sure they will.”
The charcuterie will be sourced from whole animals in Maine, along with same-day picked farm produce and fish hailing from New Deal Fish Market out of Cambridge. Pooler says the new place will even be turning out a “stylized bread program” with composed bread plates.
The eclectic small plates will be placed on just-as-eclectic mismatched plateware hand-picked by the team from areas around New York and catered to match the wine program overseen by Bergamot veteran Kai Gagnon.
The space itself will be broken up into a front and back room with scattered banquettes, a marble charcuterie bar in front of the kitchen where diners can watch the action, two communal tables, and a lot of Mexican tile work, vibrant colors, and what Pooler calls “wine barrel” nuances, from iron accents to aged wood. But not all wood.
“We wanted to get away from that reclaimed wood trend that’s been around a while,” says Pooler. “Home Depot wood just doesn’t have character, [and] the vibe we’re going for is something you see in Greenwich Village in NYC. We want it to feel alive.”
BISQ. SLATED TO OPEN IN EARLY JANUARY. 1071 CAMBRIDGE ST., CAMBRIDGE.