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Fair Find, Middling French

Seventh Sinners

By Robert D. Luskin and Tina Rathborne

The Green Turtle

Cambridge food-eaters are out more for the find than the food. Evidenced by the nightly lines. The Green Turtle seems Cambridge's find of the spring. But The Green Turtle will never be to its discovers what Gigi was to Gaston. Jackie Robinson was to Branch Rickey, and Fanny was to Flo Ziegfield.

By day The Green Turtle, on Cambridge Street two blocks past Inman Square, is a greasy spoon. At night it turns into a hippie-chic restaurant complete with suburbanites in double-knit flares. But the spoons are still greasy, the tablecloth soiled, and the ashtrays overflowing.

The Iced Cucumber Soup ($.50 small; .90 large) was tepid, and had an unusual but forgettable taste. The Ratatouille, filling for Omlettes ($1.75) or Crepes ($2.25) was a mockup of zuchinni and tomato paste.

The entrees have big names and offered little. The Beef Korma With Rice was a good excuse for beef Stroganoff, with a dash of cumin and coriander. If you order Roast Beef With Nicoise Sauce and Marinated Vegetables ($3.00) you get three small slices of round roast, an anonymous sauce of ketchup, mayonnaise and sour cream, and a collection of cold, precooked vegetables: one string bean (inspired), one carrot, one broccoli spear. (If the vegetables were marinated in anything it was boiling water).

The meal comes with home-cooked bread; it was fresh and sweet. Beverages are coffee, tea, and cider. The cider ($.25) came in a small, three-quarters filled tumbler and wasn't cold enough.

The desserts--Blueberry Gateaux ($.50), Apple Tart ($.35) and Chocolate Pie ($.30) were sumptuous. The cheesecake ($.50) was luxurious, very rich and not oversweet.

After a good meal some where else, The Green Turtle is a good spot to stop for coffee and dessert.


Ferdinand's at 121 Mt. Auburn St. has long been regarded one of the better Cambridge restaurants; that impression is wrong. It is a pretentious restaurant which charges excessive prices for mediocre food. It calls itself continental for no apparent reasons other than the extensive wine list and the French on the menu.

The restaurant is open for lunch from 11 to 2 and for dinner from 5:30 to 10 Mon, Thurs, and until 11 on Friday and Saturday. It's open for dinner until 10 on Sunday. A hostess shows you to the nearest table with a view of Mt. Auburn Street, with its trolleys, parking lot, and Treadway Inn. Passersby peer at you from the sidewalk, through unwashed windows. The three dining rooms are oaken, motel style with Dubuffet reproductions on the wall.

The tables are too close together; the claustrophobic atmosphere was aggravated when the only two other patrons were placed at an adjoining table. The girl at the next table knocked our breadbasket on the floor when she removed her coat. The waiter watched as the slices of bread rolled under the adjacent tables; when I got up to leave I found myself stepping over the still unretrieved pieces of bread.

Ferdinand's postures as a dinner restaurant. But it is an amiable place for lunch. The lunch menu offers light entrees--quiche, omlettes, and chicken livers--and is reasonably priced.

The chicken livers Provencale ($2.25) were tender, cooked in garlic and tomatoes. The omlette Paysanne ($1.75) was golden, faintly liquid on the inside and generously filled with diced vegetables, potatoes and ham. The entrees were preceded by a salad (a trick they couldn't have picked up on the continent) made of rubbery, dog-eared lettuce, a slab of cucumber, and an unripe slice of tomato. The simple vinegar and oil dressing was unpleasantly sweetened with pickle relish.

A stale piece of french bread, topped with cold melted cheese and bloated with dressing loomed like King Kong on the pile of lettuce and called itself a crouton.

The prices on the dinner menu are outrageously hiked from lunch. It does, however, contain an assortment of fish dishes. The salmon ($4.75) was bony and overcooked. Although delicately herbed, the sauce was runny and insipid. The Soft Shell Crabs ($4.95) came swimming in butter. What should have been the crispy claws and backs of these unusual creatures were soggy.

The desserts were no more successful. The fresh fruit in kirsh ($.95) wasn't really; the fruit was canned, topped with a lone fresh strawberry, and what may have been a fresh banana. The custard of the creme caromel ($.60) was rich but the caramel was sugary and not browned sufficiently. The Babas au Rhum ($.95) tasted like a sponge soaked in other

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