Where to Waypoint, a somewhat circular and slightly subterranean affair on the outskirts of Harvard Square. It’s the latest from Alden & Harlow chef Michael Scelfo.
What for Seafood, caviar, unusual pizzas, pastas, and roasts.
The scene Loud and jubilant. Thumping, throbbing, slinky rap booms in the background, pulsating more intensely as the night progresses. When the sun sets, tables of families give way to rowdier groups of ladies in skinny jeans, men in skinny ties, and bewildered-looking students in statement eyewear. Scelfo is visible in the back of the room, manning a counter by the open kitchen; a bar area toward the back of the restaurant is festooned with neon signage, pendant lights, and swoony couples. Servers mingle in profusion; never will your water glass go untended.
What you’re eating There’s a pizza on nearly every table, but not just any pizza — these are topped with curiosities like duck tongue, pig’s face, and smoked whitefish. There are also smaller plates, as at Alden & Harlow, and three or four per table are plenty. Opt for the counterintuitive marriage of bone marrow and lobster salad with tarragon, or splurge with clam cakes dappled with bacon fat aioli. Lighter diners will find a full raw bar (clams, crab, crudo), snacks like peanuts and crostini, or roasts for splitting, like whole branzino or lamb shoulder. Those who came of age in the 1980s will be amused to note that checks arrive in a “Choose Your Own Adventure” book.
Care for a drink? Seth Freidus helms the bar program here, as at Alden & Harlow. There are several permutations of absinthe; gin mixed with zucchini and mezcal mixed with cherry pepper; milk punch; and local beer. Thoughtfully, there’s an ample mocktail list, including a spicy Peter Piper, featuring the aforementioned cherry pepper swirled with ginger ale, lime, and honey.
Overheard Familial discord; literary confessions; follicular plans. A teen in baggy shorts slumps in a booth with his napkin over his head, trying to avoid his parents. “You do this whenever we’re out,” his mother hisses. A collegiate-looking chap holds court at a table of friends. “I have a copy of that Colson Whitehead book. I didn’t read it, but I do own a copy,” he declares. A fast-talking guy outlines his weekend for his date. “I might just roll out of bed and go to Starbucks, then get a haircut. But no product for my hair! Just a haircut.” She smiles benignly. A chipper valet appears on the sidewalk, bowing. “Have great nights, dudes!” he cries to a departing gaggle.
1030 Massachusetts Ave., Harvard Square, Cambridge, 617-864-2300, www.waypointharvard.comKara Baskin can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @kcbaskin