Executive chef Devin Broo’s fingerprints can be found on many items on the forthcoming En Boca’s menu. The back of the menu, however, is where you can really see his impact. That’s where he’s added a list of more than a dozen farms, foragers and friends that the restaurant will rely on for sourcing when it opens its doors in the old Sandrine’s space in Harvard Square in September. He’s also providing definitions for some “words to know,” ranging from a couple of sentences about cloumage to a large paragraph about nasturtium.
“It’s a bit of an education for people when they go eat,” says Broo, a Bar Boulud alum. “They see something they like and they haven’t tried, an interesting word or spice they haven’t had before.”
Broo will have executive sous-chef Ben Lacy, formerly of Ten Tables, by his side as the kitchen turns out Mediterranean-inspired small plates. The menu includes bites such as pardon peppers with a romesco crumb and garden dishes such as slow-roasted beets and charred cauliflower. Dishes in the sea section of the menu include stuffed baby squid and bacalao croquettes, while crispy veal sweetbreads and wood-grilled bavette are part of the land section. A few shareable plates and a selection of charcuterie and cheeses round out the dinner menu.
“I like the small-plates style of menu. I think it’s a lot more fun and a lot easier for people to be creative,” Broo says. “There are a lot of tapas places around, and it’s growing. So it’s nice to venture away from that a little bit, but at the same time, still have a lot of the good qualities of it.”
The space has been overhauled from its previous incarnation, with a 32-seat private dining area downstairs and a 100-seat dining room upstairs. The midcentury design is a mashup of Mad Men-meets-Morocco, according to Broo. The team behind the Asgard and the Kinsale, who had ambitions for a more food-focused spot, tapped him last year to head up En Boca, and Broo couldn’t be happier with the concept or the location.
“It was something I stumbled on. When they started explaining it to me, the only aspect that was still to be determined was the menu and the food,” he says. “I’ve never worked in Cambridge. It’s an eclectic area with a good clientele.”
En Boca 8 Holyoke St., Cambridge