The Cambridge fries and fires it up

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Neighborhood bar and eatery The Cambridge has a few years under its belt but it is currently bringing heat and sizzle to the neighborhood with a new menu.

The cozy space between Broad Street and the former Graduate Hospital strikes the perfect balance between pub and bistro. And the menu backs up the vibe with comfort dishes that mostly hit the spot. The one lone misstep on our visit were the sweet-potato hush puppies ($9), an excellent idea that either had an off night or suffered in execution. Glazed with hot cinnamon, the sweet starter looked like a winner but, once bitten, proved disappointing. Inside the crusty exterior, the hush puppies had lost all the warmth and fluffiness one would expect.

Fortunately, things rebounded quickly. The pierogies ($10) were pleasantly light and crisp, topped with generous amounts of caramelized onions and spicy sour cream.

Even better were the ranchero fries ($11), piled high and deep with jalapeños, chorizo, lime crema and cheddar, giving the starter layer upon layer of bold smoky, spicy flavors. The Cambridge makes some outstanding wings ($13) as well, available in garlic hot or chili dry rub. We tried the garlic hot wings and they had the perfect level of spice and a comfortable heat that lingered pleasantly on the palette.   

As good as the starters were, they were just setting the stage for the excellent entrées. The one we tried showed off how skilled The Cambridge kitchen is with a deep fryer. The ale-battered fish and chips ($17) was perfect classic pub fare with thick, perfectly crisp slabs of fish. The 1/2 fried chicken ($19) was juicy, with a hint of sweet spiciness, drizzled with sriracha garlic honey butter, and buttermilk chive dressing. A cool and creamy potato salad, buttermilk biscuits and grilled leeks rounded out the bonanza and gave this meal a Southern charm.

The Cambridge definitely has their mojo working with its new menu. If you find yourself on the quieter, classier stretch of South Street, duck into The Cambridge for some deep-fried deliciousness.

If you go

The Cambridge

1508 South St.

267-455-0647 http://cambridgeonsouth.com/

Mon.-Fri.: 4 p.m.-2 a.m.

Sat.-Sun.: 10 a.m.-2 a.m.