Beat Brasserie: The Place to Be

Beat Brasserie 2

The appetizer Cesar salad and the American Breed.

Tucked away in one of the corners of Harvard Square is the Beat Brasserie, a chic, sixties-inspired restaurant that might just become your go-to dinner spot in Cambridge. Extending the simplified coolness of their sister restaurant, The Beehive, in Boston’s South End, the Beat Brasserie makes serving eclectic American dishes look easy.

Formerly known as the Beat Hotel when they opened in 2013, they recently changed their name to ward off any confusion of guests asking where they check-in upon arrival. Located on Brattle Street underneath the Gap, it may be easy to walk right on by in the midst of a shopping spree in Harvard Square.

Once you go, however, you’ll never walk by it again without craving to head down the stairs to grab a bite and a tall glass of wine. Let them fulfill their mission of “satisfying the local community as well as vagabonds passing through,” and serve you a hippie-inspired dining experience.

Food and Drink at Beat Brasserie

Beat Brasserie

NY Sirloin Steak Frites

After being greeted and seated at a table close by the stage for the complete ambiance of the restaurant, my
guest and I were handed two big floppy menus each. One was a complete wine and beer list, the other with the food.

To wet my whistle, I went with the American Breed, a cocktail comprised of Maker’s Mark, St. Elder Elderflower Liquor and apple cider. I’m generally not much of a whisky drinker but I love cider so I thought I’d give it a try. The drink was refreshing, but I’ll definitely try something else my next visit. Any regular whisky drinker would quite enjoy it!

Wine connoisseurs rejoice, as this place is somewhere you need to try! Their bar is tailored for wine-lovers, as it is stoked with American artisanal wines crafted by small-batch winemakers.

We glanced over the menus for quite some time before deciding to keep it simple and split a Cesar salad (pictured above) to start.

The presentation of the salad was quite beautiful, as it was a whimsical take on a classic. Romaine hearts were topped with dressing, bread crumbs, radishes and a crisp, long crouton.

Beat Brasserie

Braised Boneless Beef Short Ribs

There weren’t many options for main courses, as the Beat Brasserie uses fresh, seasonal items in their dishes that draw influence from around the world. Their signature Earth Bowl, with 5-grain pilaf, chickpea and tomato stew, roasted vegetables and choice of protein, sounded delicious, but I went with something a bit different.

I chose the NY sirloin steak frites, served with a peppercorn jus, green bean salad and cornichons. My guest decided on the braised boneless beef short ribs with whipped potatoes, grilled broccolini and red wine jus.

My steak, ordered medium rare, was a home run. It was juicy, yet tender and the peppercorn jus was the perfect sauce for it. I could have done without the whole peppercorns, but the jus was very tasty nonetheless. The frites were crispy, yet fluffy inside – just what you want from a french fry! On the side, the green bean salad was a nice crunch to round out the plate.

My guest was thoroughly pleased with her meal as well; the beef was fork tender and seasoned well. The red whipped potatoes were tasty on their own, but complimented well by the red wine sauce. The broccolini was grilled well, with a nice bite still to it.

Atmosphere at Beat Brasserie

Beat Brasserie

The quirky, yet sleek interior design of the restaurant mirrors the staff working within the walls of the Beat Brasserie. The lack of uniform allowed the individuality of each staff member shine. As someone who also works part-time at a corporate restaurant, this was refreshing (albeit jealousy-inducing).

The pale purple hair of the barback, rose-colored lace-lined sweater of our server and the tan jacket of the general manger reflects the array of art and decorations inside.

Among the various shaped tables, high-top seats and full bar is a short stage for various musical guests to entertain patrons as they eat. The night of my visit was their weekly Big Band Beat! series, where they welcome a different big band every Sunday.

The Brian Thomas & Alex Lee-Clarks Big Band provided the musical entertainment for the evening. The music was loud, but exactly what you expect from a big band. It was a bit difficult to chat during dinner, but the music was exciting and entertaining.

They have different live events every night of the week, so the party never ends at the Beat Brasserie!

 – Alicia Lazzaro, Editor-in-Chief