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About Permanently Closed - Self Portrait (T.W. Food)
This restaurant is permanently closed. Self Portrait is an elegant French Bistro located at 377 Walden St., Cambridge, in a lovely residential neighborhood just a few minutes outside of Harvard Square. It’s a tiny and super-creative restaurant that presents Chef Tim Wiechmann’s (Best Outstanding Chef by Boston Magazine in 2015) elevated Paris bistro cooking with modern interpretations of classic Cuisine Bourgeoise like Whole Duck Roasted for Two with Lychees or Charcuterie Soup with Pistachio Mousse. The menu draws further from greater France with dishes like Foie Gras and Pork Jowl Rillettes or Swordfish with Provencal Sauce Raito. A Prix Fixe and Tasting Menu are available, with options for vegetarians. The restaurant is hidden and tucked away from the mainstream, like a true Paris “boîte”, and emanates a romantic, creative and artsy feel. Self Portrait has an exciting World Music Brunch on Sundays and also features the highly popular “Wine-Series” on Tuesdays that highlights different wine regions of France.
Cambridge, MA 02138
French, Modern European, Contemporary French / American
Hours of Operation:
Sunday - Thursday 5:30 - 9 pm
Friday - Saturday 5:30 - 9:30 pm
Sunday Brunch 10:30 - 2 pm
$50 and over
AMEX, Discover, MasterCard, Visa
On-street parking is available on both Walden street and on Concord avenue labeled as ‘visitor parking.’
Beer, Cocktails, Full Bar, Non-Smoking, Weekend Brunch, Wine
Self Portrait (T.W. Food) - Permanently Closed Ratings and Reviews
We went for the delightful mushroom dinner and each course was made with a different mushroom so it was educational as well. Glowing review of the food and service. My only constructive feedback is we did not find these new modern chairs comfortable for a long sit down dinner.
We read another review praising the restaurant on its full bar. We should have dug deeper, as this referred to the offerings, not an actual bar. Not a big deal usually, but it's pretty far out of the way, and we got there earlier than expected, figuring we could sit and grab a cocktail while we waited. It's so small in reality that we were told to go away until our reservation time. It was mild night, so we walked around the quiet, dark, residential neighborhood for a while, then sat on the lone bench outside until we were welcomed inside. It would have been nice to know in advance that there's literally nowhere to wait before your table is ready.
The small room is packed pretty tight with tables, so it got noisy and I felt a little bit like an eavesdropper.
The hostess was lovely, but the other server seemed in an obvious rush to move us along.
The food was fantastic for the most part. Inventive, flavorful, fresh. If you're in the neighborhood, I can see this as being a favorite.
Self Portrait replaces T.W. Foods (run by same folks) with a more trendy atmosphere but still wonderfully imaginative food. I found the ambience brighter than before, though the trendy music is not easy for a classical music fanatic. In all, a terrific place, and I am sure I will dine there many times.
Self Portrait (and previously, TW Food) is always consistently great or really great. We come for the Tuesday night wine pairings, which is a great way to try different wines over 4 courses. Overall our meal was delicious, although the cheese course didn't sit well on our palate, but we did hear other tables really enjoy it. And while the restaurant is small, we had the unfortunate luck of having a boisterous group choose the table right next to us, so it was challenging to have a conversation among ourselves. Not all tables are like that in the restaurant, just the way the cards fell that night. I highly recommend this restaurant if you enjoy wine and deliciously made food.
Five of us ordered 3 appetizers, 5 entrees, and 3 desserts; and each of us sampled all of these. Without exception, all of us thought that everything was really delicious. The consistent quality across all the various dishes was most impressive. Service was excellent: friendly, helpful, unobtrusive, and well-paced. A really great little place with nice ambiance, though the noise level when the restaurant was full was louder than I would have liked. A great place to celebrate a special occasion.
We had a wonderful dining experience. Excellent cuisine and attentive service. The flavors were exquisite. From the tomatoes and the wild huckleberry vinaigrette on our salad to the scallops and salted cod potatoes to the red currant and pear sorbets, we tasted a delicious combination of spices and flavors. The ambience was ideal for conversation. I highly recommend Self Portrait for a small gathering or a date who desire an evening of great food and good conversation.
Very creative French influenced menu.
Very tasty artichokes, a not-your-usual collection of ubiquitous lettuce leaves,
an oxtail-scallop over-the-top surprisingly delicious dish---how wonderful were those plates! The bottle of Pinot Noire: perfect!
I enjoyed the blue fish and tasted the swordfish: yummy. The room was homey, somewhat intimate. And there were no noisy, loud clients to disturb our conversations. Simple and pleasant: a special place to dine in.
Very enjoyable evening. Service was very good and friendly. Great 3 course prix fix menu with nice options to chose from. The bread and their two different flavored butter they served was so good that we took the rest home. Their portions are very generous. We loved TW Foods and we are so happy not much changed when they renamed the restaurant to Self Portrait. We will definitely be back and can highly recommend it.
The food was delicious, and the portions were reasonable. I'm not used to such rich food, so the 3 course dinner was perfect for me. While eating, we commented on the music, that was perfect for creating a nice atmosphere but not interfering with conversation.
We met friends who were visiting from the West Coast for an intimate dinner the night before they returned home. I cannot say enough how perfect our meal was! The food was amazing, both delicious and beautifully presented and the wine was exceptional. I highly recommend this eatery.
Good overall. Visited during the Dine-out Boston with limited menu. Small space. Packed with mostly young college kids!( Dine-out Boston's affordable pricing often changes the type of customers and therefore atmosphere. ) Food was good but a bit heavy. ( Got the same impression from the previous TW Food.) Waitress/hostess did not even bring a wine bottle to the table to explain about the wines for the wine pairing and there was not even any wine information on the menu along with the food menu for the pairing. A bit unfortunate combination of the unusual college-feel atmosphere and quick wine service. Should return to experience their regular operation and the menu.
This wonderful reincarnation of TW Food is a neighborhood treasure that's also a destination. Not for the casual drop-in diner, the food is inventive, fresh, seasonal, and first-rate. We were there with an adult child and adult friend for my wife's birthday and had the restaurant-week three-course special with wine pairings. The beet salad was a hit, as was the charcuterie plate. The home-made gravlax--is their a commercial kind?--was delicate and flavorful, but overpowered by the plum mustard sauce. Maybe that should have been toned down somewhat.
Two of us had the scallop boudain, with salt-cod potatoes, one order of duck leg, and one swordfish. All cooked perfectly and matched with the vegetables that matched the meat. In the case of the swordfish, some eggplant gave it a Mediterranean twist.
Desserts were varied. THe required chocolate item was a chocolate pudding, plus sorbets, strawberry tart, and Spanish creme caramel.
The wines paired well. They were good-sized pours of Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, and Malbec, as appropriate. All was excellent value for money.
The only drawback was the noise level. We had an early reservation, 6:15, and all was calm. But when the 8:00 crowd came in, several tables felt the need to shout to each other, and the brick walls did nothing to tone them down.
Good place though some food could be hit or miss. We loved the appetizers - both the foie gras and mussels were amazing. Their bread and butter is also delish. But the entrees and desserts were a bit more "meh" : scallop was very, very lemony - all I could taste was lemon, duck was fine but not particularly noteworthy in flavor or technique, and there was a grittiness to the creme catalan which was not horrible but made it a little off-putting texturally.
It was a great experience for Restaurant week, and one of the better values in Boston. I would still recommend it to others to try for a first time, but perhaps wouldn't be a repeat type of place due to the entrees.
Atmosphere was lovely though, and service professional.
The new menu at T.W. Food (now Self Portrait) was a big disappointment. We ordered creme brûlée foie gras -> duck -> butter cake; and warm oysters/snails -> scallop boudin blanc -> fruit sorbet. Fixed price three-course meal was $55 each, plus four glasses of wine at $15 each. Neither of us finished any of the courses. The foie gras mousse was too much foie gras, too little flavor. Would be better to downsize the portion and increase the quality. The duck was unappetizing looking (I didn't try it, but dining companion said it was not good). The scallop boudin blanc had bits of grit and weak flavor. Best item we ate was the bread, but even then the accompanying butters (honey and bacon tarragon) were overpowering. We used to like T.W. Food as a great neighborhood gem, but the new menu is a mess. I hope they re-work it or go back to doing the basics well.
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