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Review: Nubar

You’ve seen the sign, but have you actually been in the building? The Sheraton Commander sign, that is—the iconic roof-topper most prominently visible from Cambridge Common. The hotel’s new bar and restaurant, Nubar, has less luck with signage—historic preservation regulations keep its name and logo off of the awnings and instead on a placard affixed to the brick front of the building.

But once you’re inside, it becomes clear that Nubar has fully arrived. The hotel-beige room is elevated by safe but chic details—leather banquettes, an in-wall fireplace, a couple of cowhide pillows and a bar that literally glows. The space is surprisingly large, with separate areas for dining, lounging and bellying up to the bar.

Both the lunch and dinner menus feature a wide array of appetizers such as the brothy grilled calamari with chickpeas ($11) and the asparagus, golden beet and goat cheese terrine ($11). Sandwiches and flatbreads are always an option—we went with the black olive, seasoned ricotta and dressed arugula flatbread ($12) and found it pleasantly salty and crispy.

Available entrees include grilled steak frites ($21) and pappardelle pasta with braised lamb shoulder ($20). Our delicately-flavored roasted Gloucester cod ($20) struggled to hold its own alongside our salty apps and (ahem) strong cocktails.

Cheat sheet
Eat this: We couldn’t get enough of the meze plate ($11)—which packs tender strips of grilled flatbread and sizeable dollops of seasoned ricotta, lentil and bulgar dip, olive tapenade and eggplant salsa to share.

Drink this: The cocktail list is stacked with locally-sourced ingredients, most notably the basil in the tangy and oh-so-green Basil and Lime Gimlet ($10).

Sit here: If you’re able to resist the sea of leather armchairs arranged in front of the fireplace, park it at the glow-y bar, which is lit from below and controlled by a dimmer switch.

Conversation piece: The Commander is a historic building. Erected in 1927, it still maintains a lot of the authentic touches from back in the day. That shiny trim in the lobby? It’s real gold leaf.


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