By Molly McDonough · 05/22/2018    Cambridge · New American · Wine Bar · $$$

It would be easy to pass Bisq without noticing it; just outside the bustling centers of both Inman and Union Squares, the spot is squeezed into a pint-sized storefront on Cambridge Street. But follow the rest of the neighborhood, and stop in on a whim for a glass of wine one night—Bisq’s loveable personality will woo you and keep you lingering all evening.

Wine from BISq

The cozy bar in the back of the restaurant is the place to start with that glass of wine, most likely a French vintage chosen from a regionally organized list. Or ask the bartender for that just-right off-menu recommendation—like a Chenin blanc from Division Wine Co. in Oregon, the perfect quaff on a warm spring evening alongside a platter of $1 oysters.

Under the dim wine-bottle-chandelier lights you might also order one of the plant-centric small plates: maitake mushrooms atop a dark spinach puree, roasted cauliflower with a pine nut dukkah, or broccolini sprinkled with tempura bits—proof that chef Alex Saenz (formerly of Puritan & Company) knows what he’s doing, enough to persuade anyone who’s on the fence to stay for a meal.

Fried chicken from BISq

Bisq’s more substantial dishes place quality meat front and center. The Double Cheeseburger’s stack of juicy beef patties is sprinkled with crispy fried shallots and balanced with a mix of melty cheese and special sauce. Chef Saenz channels his South Carolinian upbringing into an irresistibly crispy Fried Chicken. And periodic specials dive deep into carnivorous nerdery, with rare heritage-breed pigs and whole animals roasted and broken down into tapas plates.

Come full circle and end your meal the way it began—with a final vino. Or in our case, a final fino, a super-dry variety of sherry that, like everything else at Bisq, made us feel like lingering even longer.

Double cheeseburger from BISq

Bivalve alert! Oysters are $1 each from Tuesday to Thursday, all night long until they run out.

Order a few days ahead of time, and Chef Alex Saenz will cook an entire animal for you: pig, goat, duck, lamb, chicken, or fish—your choice. Expect two savory courses and one sweet course.

Order the Ricotta and the Fried Chicken at the same time for ultimate dinnertime.

Must Haves

  • One of the most fungi-centric dishes in town, the petals of this savory ‘shroom—also known as hen of the woods—are cooked to a caramelized crisp.

  • The pillowy-soft fresh cheese and a dollop of honey atop toasted brioche is the perfect vessel for that boneless, extra-crisp poultry. (These dishes are separate on the menu, so be sure to ask for them to come out together.)

  • It’s simple, but it’s anything but basic.

Fun Fact

Sorry soup lovers, this restaurant is not named after a creamy puree. It’s an acronym based off the spot’s sister restaurant a mile down the road: Bergamot in Inman Square.

Tastes of BISq

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