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

MTA announces service changes for Sunday

The MTA has announced service changes ahead of Sunday's People's Climate March, which will be held from 11:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Sunday. Riders using…

Local

NYPD launches Twitter account for L train

The NYPD recently launched a Twitter handle dedicated to the L train and its riders. According to @NYPDLtrain, officers went underground Thursday morning to hand…

Local

Bushwick community space offers activists a place to…

A new Bushwick community space offers community activists to meet, create, learn and throw back a few cold ones. MayDay, located 214 Starr Street in Bushwick,…

Local

Activists gearing up for Sunday's "historic" People's Climate…

If all goes according to plan, more than 100,000 people will gather near Central Park West on Sunday morning and march through midtown to raise…

Movies

Kevin Smith makes peace with the Internet

I was thinking about Ain't It Cool News and Harry Knowles last night, wondering if anyone from Ain't It Cool had reviewed my new movie…

Movies

Art imitates life in 'Swim Little Fish Swim'

There's a certain comfort to be taken in finding that young artists are still moving to New York and trying to make it — and…

Movies

Review: Terry Gilliam's 'The Zero Theorem' is better…

Terry Gilliam's latest, "The Zero Theorem," concerns a reclusive malcontent (Christoph Waltz) struggling with the search for the meaning of life.

Music

Esperanza Spalding and a being called Emily get…

Esperanza Spalding is about to spiral off in a brand new direction that may or may include an alter ego named Emily.

NFL

Oday Aboushi ready for increased role, and to…

Oday Aboushi might feel comfortable enough to engage in some trash talk the next time he is on the field.

NFL

Giants vs. Texans: 3 things to watch

The Giants host the surprising Texans (2-0) in what may already be a must-win game for Big Blue.

NFL

Eric Decker misses practice again, could miss Monday

Jets wide receiver Eric Decker missed practice Thursday as he continues to rehab a hamstring injury suffered last Sunday.

MLB

Derek Jeter still focused on baseball as final…

Derek Jeter has effectively hid his emotions for 20 years in the Bronx.

Parenting

A sneaky way to serve kids fruits and…

"My First Juices and Smoothies" gives smoothie recipes for kids.

Style

3 things we love from Day 1 of…

The highlights from Day 1 of Milan Fashion Week.

Sex

Why don't more couples use condoms?

  Call it the “condom moment.” That’s the name the authors of a new study have given to the pivotal conversation every couple should be…

Sex

Need an idea for a first date? Here's…

Picture your idea of a nice first date. Is it dinner and a movie? A visit to an interesting museum exhibit? Instead, an expert on…