Let chef William Kovel be the Catalyst to a love connection

Catalyst owner and seasoned chef William Kovel relaxes in his environment.  PHOTO BY ERIN BALDASSARI/METRO
Catalyst owner and seasoned chef William Kovel relaxes in his environment.
PHOTO BY ERIN BALDASSARI/METRO

Catalyst chef and owner William Kovel has been whispering culinary sweet nothings to Boston palettes since his tenure at the defunct Aujourd’hui. Catalyst, which celebrated its first birthday last fall, is much more in keeping with the less showy times, but it’s not neighborhood-casual. With a simple menu of salads and fish and meat tidbits to start, a trio of intriguing pastas to chomp as desired, several entrees and a handful of tantalizing desserts, the airy, open-plan beam and girder-framed restaurant is refined.

Kovel seems to know when to act, when not to, and when to reinvent the wheel. Take a side of roasted seasonal vegetables: Big, tasty carrots are cut into chunks, turnip is cubed, and Brussels sprouts sweetened by frost on the stalk are perfectly cooked through, as they should be. Nothing is added, but time and attention. Conversely, finely diced mushrooms are wrapped in al dente pasta, which is topped with sautéed Hen of the Woods and a little Parmesan. But it’s tarragon — an unusual soft but pungent herb with a meadow-y, hay-ish flavor — that forms a remarkable complement to the mushrooms.

Catalyst’s roasted blue cod sitting on a bed of olive oil crushed potatoes is a winter menu star, too. It’s surrounded by de-shelled mussels and clams and finished off with lots of creamy sauce. No wonder the waiter left a spoon with the knife and fork. It’s a riff on clam chowder, of course, and an excellent one at that.

Valentine’s specials

Every February 14, food and love are paired as perfect mates. But eating is one of the least romantic pursuits on the planet. Really, how romantic is it trying to get food in your mouth and keep it there whilst trying to impress your date? Once you’ve gotten the food part out of the way — and however awkward it might be, here you won’t want it to end — curl up by Catalyst’s fireplace with a glass of oak-y St. Supéry and guzzle some local oysters. Aphrodisiac? Who cares?

Catalyst

Entrees: $15-$30

300 Technology Square, Cambridge

617-576-3000

www.catalystrestaurant.com



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

Drive charged in fatal hit and run, police…

The NYPD has arrested a man they say is responsible for a fatal hit and run in Manhattan last weekend. Doohee Cho, 33, was hit…

Local

Mayor de Blasio raises minimum wage for some…

Mayor Bill de Blasio signed an executive order Tuesday morning that will raise the minimum wage for workers employed by private companies that receive more…

National

3 myths about the working poor

Linda Tirado works to debunk some common stereotypes about the working poor in her new book, "Hand to Mouth."

Money

Lawsuit funding advances: friend or foe?

Reporter was commissioned to write this in-depth article Many plaintiffs awaiting resolution of their lawsuit or legal claim often find themselves in a tricky financial…

Going Out

Which NYC restaurant lost its three-star Michelin rating?

A record 73 restaurants in New York City collected coveted Michelin stars on Tuesday as a mix of trendy spots and fine-dining stalwarts underscored the…

Entertainment

Interview: Metro chats with filmmaker Meir Kalmanson, man…

A New York filmmaker hands out smiles to its residents.

Television

TV watch list, Tuesday, Sept. 30: 'Selfie,' 'Utopia'…

'Selfie' This modern day take on the "My Fair Lady" story stars John Cho in the Henry Higgins role. Perhaps instead of "the rain in…

Music

Can't-miss weekend events continue to attract the masses

Reporter was commissioned to write this in-depth article Earlier this summer, the Firefly Music Festival drew crowds of tens of thousands of people to Dover, Delaware.…

MLB

Mets 2014 report card

The Mets wrapped up their eight straight season without a playoff appearance last weekend. Needless to say, they fell a bit short of general manager…

NFL

NFL Power Rankings: Cowboys, Packers, Ravens, Chargers climb

NFL Power Rankings: Cowboys, Packers, Ravens, Chargers climb

NFL

Ryan Quigley making a big impact for Jets…

Ryan Quigley, now in his second year as the Jets punter, had an exceptional afternoon with six punts for an average of 51.7 yards per punt.

NFL

3 positives to take from Jets loss to…

The Jets suffered another loss Sunday — 24-17 to the Lions — but the reason why it hurts so much for Jets fans is that…

Style

Products that support breast cancer awareness and research

Asics GT-1000, $100 Asics’ third pink collection in collaboration with Christina Applegate’s Right Action for Women includes this pink-accented version of its best-selling GT-1000 3…

Wellbeing

Bees' stingers hold new hope for cancer cure

A promising new lead in the search for a cancer cure has turned up in a place that most people naturally avoid. A team from…

Home

Emily Henderson on small space design

Design expert Emily Henderson shows us how to upgrade our cramped quarters.

Home

Emily Henderson's pet-friendly style tips

Design expert Emily Henderson shows us to live with pets in style.