west bridge

June 28, 2012

Last week I had the pleasure of shooting a local establishment: West Bridge, a hot, new restaurant in nearby Kendall Square. The latest from Boston restauranteurs Alexis Gelburd-Kimler and Chef Matthew Gaudet (both formerly of Aquitaine), West Bridge is a mixture of the best of New England and contemporary French cuisine, all served in a modern factory setting.

Taking its name from the original moniker of Boston’s famous Longfellow Bridge, West Bridge is housed in the former Boston Woven Hose Factory. To transform the industrial expanse into an inviting, yet oh-so-hip space, co-owners Gelburd-Kimler and Gaudet called on the proven talents of Crème Design, who have transformed many a restaurant in Philly and New York. Keeping much of the original features of this soaring loft, Crème used many reclaimed as well as locally sourced goods and materials to create a space that is both steeped in history and unique to contemporary Boston.

The serene space in the private dining area is punctuated by Atelier 688‘s dramatic, rope chandelier.

The Boston-based firm of Loki Custom Furniture created the long tables using recycled bowling alley floors.

To maintain the open feel as much as possible, the private dining area is demarcated by generous glass doors which can be opened all the way.

A seamless space: the view from the private into the main dining area culminates in an original work by Boston-based artist Thomas Tietjen of ASIZ Industries. Except for Tietjen’s work, co-owner Alexis Gelburd-­Kimler, wanted the palette at West Bridge kept to a minimum, with touches of warmth provided by natural elements: recycled woods and ropes.

An homage to the building’s original product: vintage woven hoses flank the bar.

Bar Manager, Josh Taylor (formerly of Eastern Standard Kitchen & Drinks), prepares for the evening rush behind a bar made from reclaimed barn wood. The dark honey wood floors are recycled too.

“Conant’s Island” a summery libation of house-infused cucumber vodka, rice vinegar and green Tabasco (which was totally delicious and refreshing) sits atop West Bridge’s long, slate bar. Taylor works closely with Chef Gaudet to source and capture year round New England flavors through house-­made infusions, bitters, and syrups.

Crisp white bar stools by Brooklyn-based Chair Factory line the bar. Photo by Matt Demers.

Informal seating by the bar features stools from Pottery Barn. Photo by Matt Demers

Downstairs at West Bridge, the words of Longfellow’s poem, “The Bridge” are artfully stenciled onto a brick wall. After his death, the West Boston Bridge (which spans the Charles from Boston to Cambridge) was renamed the Longfellow Bridge in honor of this famous Cambridge resident.

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