Category Archives: Kendall Sq

Craigie on Main, Kendall / Central Sq

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Craigie on Main – 853 Main Street Cambridge, MA 02139

We’ve all heard about Craigie on Main’s famous burger but I hadn’t met anyone who had actually eaten it. Every time it came up the response was “Ohh I’ve heard it’s the best, I need to get there” or people would talk about their failed attempts. They had gone and tried to get the burger but it wasn’t on the dining room menu, they couldn’t get a seat at the bar, they were sold out, etc. These are the types of stories that usually get my hopes waaayy up ensuring that I am disappointed when the time actually comes around. But not this time, my friends.

I had somewhat randomly ended up at Craigie on Main after a few drinks (at Cuchi Cuchi) with my (now former) colleagues on a Tuesday night. As soon as Craigie was mentioned I started going on and on about their burgers and how I have heard so much about them and read articles, etc. Now they wanted to try their burger as much as I did. Excellent plan.

Miraculously, as we were entering Craigie someone was leaving, freeing up 3 seats together at the bar. BOOM. We took them, ordered 3 beers and 3 burgers rare. JLo got his au cheval, which is with a fried egg on top. Delicious but I wanted to taste the burger in its simplest form for my first time.

This photo really doesn’t do it justice (guess I will have to go back and retake it?) but this was a damn good burger. Damn good. You can taste the quality of the ingredients, especially the meat. The cheese was sharp, the bread a perfect combination of soft and toasted (and buttered, obvi). The burger is simple and flavorful. I get it now. You don’t find a taste like that in your average $8 burger (hence the $14 price tag -well worth it, btw).

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Overall, I liked the atmosphere of Craigie with the open kitchen and friendly staff. The bartenders were whipping up some awesome creations too, which I’ll have to get back for some time. I think we got lucky with finding seats so quickly as there were people waiting once we sat down so be prepared for that.  I’ve never eaten in the dining room and, honestly, probably never will as I’ll be wiggling my way up to the bar for a burger the next time I go in there.

How did Craigie on Main measure up? 4.75 Spoons!

West Bridge, Kendall Sq

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Where: West Bridge – 1 Kendall Square, Cambridge, MA

I haven’t spooned anyone in so long! Actually, that’s not true, I have been spooning like its going out of style but just haven’t polished up any drafts to a postable state in a while.

You know its been too long when you are writing about a menu item that no longer exist, as the case here at West Bridge in Kendall Sq. A colleague and I headed across the street from our office to West Bridge for lunch on one of those fall days where the sun was no where to be seen and the chill of the rain goes through you right to the bone. Obviously I got soup. And a glass of prosecco on tap. Just kidding, I would never do that during the work day…

I started with the Sunflower Chowder featuring a Woodbury clam as an ode to the traditional clam chowder. I had emailed Jared at West Bridge who told me that Chef Matthew Gaudet blends sunflowers into a familiar cream-based broth and finishes it with smoked pork shoulder. This chowder was… simply amazing. It was creamy and salty but not heavy. It was so damn good I regretted ordering a meal on top of this as I wanted another bowl. I don’t think a rainy day goes by that I don’t think about this dish. They also feature a larger portion for dinner, thank god.

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I then got the GLT, which is the item no longer on their menu. The GLT stands for Guanciale (an Italian style of unsmoked bacon), Lettuce and Tomato. Its a glorified BLT, which is probably one of my favorite sandwiches. It came served with thinly sliced fried chips and some pickled veggies. I loved the flavors of this sandwich but the Guanciale was a wee bit too fatty for me. Don’t get me wrong, I love fat, but this was Fatty with a capital F. Even putting aside my concerns about having a heart attack on the spot, I couldn’t eat more than half of it as it was just too much for me. I ended up wrapping up the other half and eating it later on a flight. It did travel well.

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Overall, the chowder was phenomenal, the service was great, loved the clean simple design of the restaurant, and they have prosecco on tap (so I hear). The sandwich was good but I don’t think I could get it again (and I don’t have a choice as they don’t have it on the menu anymore anyways) as it was just too fatty for me. I’m happy to have West Bridge just around the corner for many more lunches, dinners, and after work libations.

How did West Bridge measure up? 3.75 Spoons!

Amelias Trattoria, Kendall Sq

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Amelia’s Trattoria – 111 Harvard Street ,  Cambridge, MA

Girls night!! I had really been looking forward to this particular girls night out with some of my favorite women in development and was excited to try Amelia’s Trattoria, which happened to be just a couple blocks from my new office. Perfect.

Amelia’s is tucked away on Harvard Street near Kendall Sq just behind Tech Sq. Its unlikely that you would find it just wandering around which is what contributes to the fact that you can actually get a table easily. We made a reservation and trickled in slowly just after. We were promptly seated and had had a very patient waiter as we mulled over the menu while waiting for our party to arrive. The chef even agreed to make us bruschetta even though it wasn’t on the dinner menu.

So we started with the Bruschetta -Grilled foccacia bread, marinated tomatoes, fresh basil & red onion. Personally, I didn’t love this dish. I thought the bread was a little hard and a little too big (hence making it messy). The marinated tomatoes were delicious though, I could eat that right off the plate – who needs bread anyways?

We then split two dishes to get more variety for our buck. We started with the Baby Spinach Salad – Baby spinach, caramelized balsamic shallots, crispy pancetta & Vermont goat cheese. Re-read that. I mean, can it get any better than that combination? This salad was delicious – salty, crispy, tart, and creamy.

We then shared a Lobster Ravioli dish which was one of Amelia’s daily specials that night. If I can give Amelia’s one piece of unsolicited advice it would be to get this item on the menu permanently. It was delicious. The raviolis were tender and meaty and the sauce creamy and bursting with flavor. I loved how saucy it was as there was just enough leftover for me to mop up with some bread. Its a keeper.

Overall, I was impressed with the ravioli and salad dishes but a little let down by our starter. Service was great and I would recommend Amelia’s for lunch, dinner, groups, or a date. The restaurant is small, giving it a cozy feel, and I can imagine sitting by the window watching snow fall with a big hot plate of pasta. I’ll be back.

How did Amelia’s Trattoria measure up? 3.25 Spoons!

 

Amelia's Trattoria on Urbanspoon

Area Four, Kendall Sq – Revisited

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Where: Area Four – 500 Technology Square Cambridge, MA 02139
When: July, 2012

Its really not easy working right across the street from Area Four. Its constantly calling my name tempting me to come over for lunch and, more often then not, cocktails. Like I need that extra temptation…

I’ve been to Area Four many times but this particular trip was worthy of another post. This is the first time I had been this summer so we were able to snag a table outside on the patio. I tried the Sparkling Malbec which was really lovely, especially on a warm summer day. It was much like a Rose – light, refreshing and not too sweet. After cocktails we started with their famous Garlic Knots which are smothered in garlic, pecorino and gremolata. These are amazing and worth all the calories – I promise.

For pizzas I decided to split one of the specials, on the bottom, with a friend but as soon as I saw the Mushroom and Fontina pizza come out for our other friend I knew I had to get in on that.  I ended up abandoning my pizza and eating half of hers as it was just that good. Thank goodness for generous friends. Typically I am not a huge fan on fontina but it just went so well with the mushrooms. The saltiness of the pecorino on top was perfectly balanced with the gremolata, which I am turning into a huge fan of. I think I have been back to Area Four for the Mushroom Fontina pizza twice since this trip. Do it.

20120707-151238.jpgGarlic Knots

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The Mushroom Fontina pizza is on the top and one of the specials is on the bottom (sorry, what is is has escaped me as my mind went blank after trying the Mushroom Fontina one!)

If you are in the area, try to make it to Area our for some of their homemade ice cream that they pop up on the sidewalk. I recently had the Peanut Butter and it was pure heaven. Oh, and don’t even get me started on their croissants! My heart and brain are grateful to Area Four but my waistline… not so much.

How did Area Four measure up? 4.5 Spoons!

Area Four on Urbanspoon

Emma’s Pizza, Kendall Sq

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Where: Emma’s -40 Hampshire Street Cambridge, MA 02139
When: April, 2012

Happy Pizza Week!

I’ve been to, and enjoyed, Emma’s quite a few times so was excited to go back and get to write about it. I had plans to go to the Kendall Square Cinema to see Bully beforehand which was great as that gave us plenty to discuss at dinner, not like we need more topics. If you haven’t seen it, I would recommend Bully. Its a great documentary about bullying although I need to warn you that it will make you mad. Some kids, and adults I may add, are just damn mean. Be kind, people. Be kind.

Ok, I’ll leave the movie reviews to the movie critics and stick to food.

We got to Emma’s Pizza around 8:30 on a Saturday so expected the worst – a wait. Surprisingly, we only had to wait a few minutes before being seated. Lucky us! I love the atmosphere at Emma’s – its small and cozy, bustling but not loud or crowded. We had a groupon to use but, surprisingly, couldn’t order enough to make it worthwhile to use so we decided to save it for another visit. We got the large Artichoke Hearts, Garlic, House Roasted Tomatoes, Rosemary Sauce, Light Mozzarella, and Ricotta Pizza with the intention of taking some of it home. That, of course, did not happen. I don’t eat a ton of pizza so wouldn’t consider myself anywhere near a connoisseur but have to say I really like the rosemary sauce on this pizza. All the toppings worked really well together as well. As far as pizzas go, its a good one.

Overall, I think Emma’s is such a sweet little place perfect for a date or a night out with friends. The pizza is very good and service serious and swift. I’ll definitely be going back and would love to try one of their salads or something a bit lighter as I always tend to overeat and roll out of there thinking I can’t possibly eat again.

How did Emma’s measure up? 4 Spoons!

Emma's Pizza on Urbanspoon

Evoo, Kendall Sq

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Where: Evoo – 350 3rd Street  Cambridge, MA 02142
When: March, 2012

How is it April already? March has been dubbed Munch Madness as I feel like all I did was eat, whether at home or out. I must slow things down as at this rate I will be plump but broke by the end of the year.

Having never taken part in Boston’s restaurant week I was eager to do so this round. Having wanted to go back to EVOO after a business dinner there last year (where I couldn’t even tell you what I ate as I was too busy being businessy) Libby and I decided to try it out.

I had made a reservation although when we showed up they didn’t even look it up so not sure that was necessary. We were quickly seated and greeted by our waiter, Wes, who was helpful and professional. The space is open but cozy, very welcoming.

20120329-180533.jpgFrom the restaurant week menu Libby started with the Maine Mussels Steamed with Potatoes, Onions, and Thai Green Curry and I had the Cornmeal Crusted Fried Oysters with Goat Cheese Fondue and Apple-Bacon Salsa. Libby liked the mussels saying it was a well prepared flavorful dish. I loved the fried oysters, I could have eaten another dozen of them. The cornmeal crust gave them a nice texture. The goat cheese fondue was really flavorful although a little thicker than I expected – less of a fondue and more of a creamed cheese I would say. Very heavy. I was not a fan of the Apple Bacon Salsa though – the apple was very firm and in large chunks and it was just a strange flavor combination.

For our entrees, Libby had the Seared Arctic 20120329-180543.jpgChar Filet with Celery Root Puree, Curried Roots and Creamy Apple Salad which she said was cooked nicely with a crispy skin but was was on the watery side (which I could see). A “B-” she stated. I had the Braised Lamb-Potato Croquette with Roasted Peppers, Cremini Mushrooms, Pete’s Sweet Pickles, Fried Egg and Lemony Lamb Juice. I actually couldn’t taste much lamb in this which was surprising as I would have thought that flavor would have dominated the others if anything. The sauce was not particularly flavorful and everything was very brown which was a bit unappealing. The egg on top was great. Overall disappointing though.

20120329-180550.jpgFor dessert we decided to split the Chocolate-Banana Bread Pudding with Warm Buttermilk Caramel and Spiced Toffee Parsnip Cake with Pistachio Ice Cream. I had high hopes for the bread pudding as I have had some wonderful ones at Chez Henri and Temple Bar but it was really not good. The actual bread pudding was fine but the buttermilk caramel was very strange tasting. It just didn’t work. It was too sweet and had a unnatural taste it, like something you would find at a carnival stand. Dislike! The Spiced Toffee Parsnip Cake on the other hand was delicious.

Overall, the atmosphere and service at EVOO was great but I would not recommend it because the food was inconsistent. Some of the dishes we got were really good but then others were not. What a shame.

How did EVOO measure up? 2.75 Spoons!

EVOO on Urbanspoon

Think Tank, Kendall Sq

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Where: Think Tank– 1 Kendall Square  Cambridge, MA 02139
When: March, 2012

With our team all in town for an offsite training I was charged with choosing where we would go for dinner two nights in a row. The first night was easy, we went to Area Four right across from our office in Tech Sq. For our second night I needed to find a place  close to our office with a variety of menu options and capable of holding 14 of us. Easy! I first tried Emma’s Pizza but they don’t take reservations. Bummer. I then tried the Cambridge Brewing Company but they said they were full and couldn’t take our reservation. Mmmm ok… I love a lot of the other restaurants in that area, like The Friendly Toast, Hungry Mother, and Atasca, but didn’t think they would work for such a large group with such a variety of backgrounds and tastes. Then I remembered Think Tank. I was looking forward to trying Think Tank when it opened in June of 2010 but within a month it was flooded when Boston was hit with one of our crazy tropical storms so they had to shut down for a few months to renovate. I did go there for a drink sometime last year and played trivia at the bar which was something a little different. I remember Think Tank being really empty though so hoped it would be a bit busier this time.

We showed up for our reservation and the hostess seemed to have no idea I had made a reservation which was a little strange as I spoke to an actual person on the phone a couple days earlier (makes you wonder what the point is, right?). Regardless, they were able to quickly pull a table together and seat us in the back where we had the whole room to ourselves. Our server was awesome – he was attentive, efficient, informative, and very friendly (and even commented on my awesome Costco kids glasses – flattery will get you everywhere).

Our meals came out quickly and everyone seemed really pleased with what they ordered. We had people ordering burgers, noodles, steak, salads, pork belly, a little of everything. I ordered the Seoul Burger, the restaurants’ most popular dish (which I can now see why). The Seoul Burger is a Korean BBQ marinated beef patty with lettuce, tomato, a fried egg, with sriracha aioli, on a poppy seed bun. To round it out I got the garlic fries.

This was a damn good burger. Not your traditional burger but also not so crazy that you forget you are eating a burger. It all worked well together. The beef was cooked just the way I ordered it – medium – and the smokiness of the BBQ sauce mixed with the aioli creating this creamy sauce with a bit of a zing (there wasn’t too much of it either which is good – less is more in this case). The fries were exactly as they were described – garlicky. I’d definitely get both of these items again if I were to go back.

Overall, the service was fantastic and Think Tank has a great atmosphere. Photo booth, anyone? The downside, and maybe I’ve just been unlucky, is that it always seems really empty which doesn’t give it a very lively vibe. As we were leaving they were converting the back room into a dance area and the place was filling up quickly so I’m thinking its more of a late night spot. I’d recommend Think Tank for large groups and casual dinners with friends or colleagues. I don’t think it would be my first pick for a date night although I’ve definitely been to less romantic places.

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How did Think Tank measure up? 3.75 Spoons!

Think Tank on Urbanspoon

Area Four, Tech Sq

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Where: Area Four – 500 Technology Square Cambridge, MA 02139
When: March, 2012

Last week our field staff were in town for a two day training so I was put in charge of choosing where our large group would be eating dinner – no idea why they picked me as I can’t stand thinking about food.

The natural first choice was Area Four which is steps from our new office space in Tech Sq. I had been there before in my pre-blogging days so was excited to be able to review it this time. We sat at the same large table in the back which is a great spot to to see everything going on from the kitchen to the outside courtyard. The restaurant has a very casual but modern feel with high ceilings and a lot of stainless steel. Even with so much space and metal they manage to make it feel comfortable and personal with their layout and details.

I was nominated to order red for the table so got us a litre of the Guintrandy Rhone Blend which went down like water after a day of meetings and trainings (read: it was good). We then got a couple orders of the Garlic Knots with pecorino & gremolata to share (per Daniela’s strong recommendation). I wish this photo did the knots justice but I couldn’t get a good photo and refused to keep trying as it was catching my boss’ attention who was starting to think it was a little strange that I was photographing our food. These little orbs were soft, chewy puffs of garlicky heaven. They were smothered in garlic so I encouraged everyone at the table to try them as not to isolate any one person who would quickly feel like the only vampire at the table otherwise.

20120314-203802.jpgAs the server went around the table taking orders everyone was trying to match up pizzas to share. Shockingly, no one wanted to share my Wellfleet Cherrystone Clam & Bacon pizza which came with clam sauce, pecorino, hot pepper, and parsley. Everyone seemed a little disturbed by the thought of clams on pizza but after having the memorable pizza with mussels at Trade I was up for it. The pizza was good! Not to sound surprised but everything worked really well together. It was fairly salty between the bacon, clams and cheese but the hot pepper, which wasn’t overly hot, cut through the saltiness and the parsley added a layer of freshness. The dough was also very good – a thin crust with puffy soft pockets. It made me want to order a side of ranch or something fatty to dip it in to but then I reminded myself that I just ate an entire pizza by myself.

The clam pizza is the one on top of the rack in this photo. The one below is the Puttanesca which has green olives, capers, anchovies, tomatoes, hot peppers, mozzarella, pecorino and parsley. I almost got this one as I love anchovies but I’m still working on loving olives so I held off. A little bit of food history for you – did you know that Puttanesca means “in the style of a prostitute” in Italian? Apparently way back in the day (what day, don’t ask) in Italy the wives complained that they didn’t want the prostitutes shopping in their markets so the prostitutes were only allowed one set afternoon a week to shop for all their food. Because of this they stocked up on nonperishable canned items like anchovies and olives that would keep longer. The prostitutes created a pasta dish with all these items and it was dubbed Pasta Puttanesca (Prostitute’s Pasta). Good for them for creating a dish that has become so popular.

Overall, the service was great and I love the atmosphere. They know how to take care of a big group although I am sure it would be a great place to go to with a smaller group as well. The food was all above par, I’d definitely go back and likely will. Often.

How did Area Four measure up? 4.5 Spoons!

Area Four on Urbanspoon

Lord Hobo, Kendall Sq

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Where: Lord Hobo – 92 Hampshire St Cambridge, MA 02139
When: March, 2012

Meg and I have been trying to get together for what seems like months but with all sorts of work related crisis coming up we had to postpone a few times. This time we managed to get on the same schedule and made a plan to go to Lord Hobo for burgers after work. I loved being able to walk there in under 10 minutes from our new offices. I even had time to head to the gym for a quick run to ease the guilt of what was bound to be a high calorie evening. Gotta love that.

I had been to Lord Hobo only once, for drinks, since they took over the B Side’s space a couple of years ago. The B Side, on the other hand, was one of my go to places for drinks and dinner.

Meg started with a beer and I went for the London 77 half based on the list of ingredients, half on the description: “Punks like pink”. The London 77 is made with Hendrick’s gin, grapefruit, St. Germain, and Prosecco. I recently learnt that the London 77 is a play off the French 75 which I am a big fan of (get it at Chez Henri next time you are there). No wonder I enjoyed it so much.

While we sipped on our drinks we started with an order of the daily Hand-cut Chips and Dip which today’s special was served with a caramelized onion and goat cheese dip. The dip was really good, like a fancied up version of the Heluva Good French Onion Dip we all hate to love. The chips were also very good – made to order, crispy and not too greasy. You truly can’t just eat one.

I had planned to get the burger, as Meg did, but then saw that it was taco night and they had Fish Tacos, which totally swayed me. I wanted to love the tacos but I was a little disappointed with the them. The flavors were all great with the zesty creamy guacamole and the rich black beans balancing it out but the fish wasn’t crispy at all. The batter thick, soft and a dull. I couldn’t even tell you what kind of fish it was as the flavored were so muted by the batter. It really needed that crunch as all the other ingredients were very soft.

20120306-210321.jpgMeg got the Lord Hobo Burger which came with Cabot cheddar and on a brioche bun with a side of fries. She said it was a very good burger, reinforcing that I made the wrong choice. I can confirm that the fries are excellent as I stole at least a dozen off of Meg’s plate throughout dinner (thanks, Meg).

For “dessert” we got another London 77 to split. It was delicious but that meant when I got home I would need to have a couple cookies for my chocolate fix. That’s ok though.

Overall, I still love the feel of Lord Hobo as its a lot like the B Side was – dark but cozy. Service was really great; our waitress was super friendly and attentive. Drinks were definitely awesome. Food… I need to give it another go as those fish tacos didn’t impress me at all but I think the food at Lord Hobo has the potential to based on the chips, dip, and fries that I did have. Great place to go to with colleagues or a group of friends after work, which I am sure I will be doing often. I hate to give it a low ranking but must until the next time.

How did Lord Hobo measure up? 3.5 Spoons!

Lord Hobo on Urbanspoon

Firebrand Saints, Kendall Sq, Revisited

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Where: Firebrand Saints – 1 Broadway, Cambridge MA 02142
When: January, 2012

20120127-164110.jpgI had gone to Firebrand Saints just a week ago with Meg for dinner and after the waiter told us they were known for their burgers I knew I had to go back soon. My definition of soon is apparently exactly one week.

I went there on Friday for lunch with a coworker as he had wanted to try it out as well. We went on the earlier side, around 11:40, and the place was quiet with only one other table being occupied. The restaurant was bustling by 12:10 which was a good sign (and boy were we happy we got there nice and early).

I got the Sirloin, Chuck and Brisket Burger and Mr. S got the Lamb and Sirloin Burger, both which came on a brioche bun. We ordered both with the Aged Vermont Cheddar (everything is better with cheese). We also got an order of steak fries to share.20120127-164105.jpg

My coworker’s burger came with spicy pickles, frizee and harissa aioli which he said he really liked. He had some trouble with the bun saying it was a bit on the small side so hard to hold on to. He reverted to using his knife and fork as things were getting a little messy.

My burger was your pretty standard burger, no theme or crazy toppings – just what I wanted. The actual burger patty (pattie?) was very good. The brioche bun was good as well but, I too, had a little trouble with it. It was a little too buttery for me. It was almost hard to hold on to as it was slipping out of my hands at every opportunity. We both dug the ginormous steak fries, as I did 20120127-164116.jpglast time.

To round off the meal, and to wait out the pouring rain, we got some coffee. Check out the cute little trio of milk and sugars that came out with it! The coffee was really good as well, nice and strong.

Overall, I really like the atmosphere and love that its so close to work. The service was really great both times and food was good enough. I enjoyed my meal and would definitely go back again but I’m not sure I would pine for FbS as I do with a lot of other restaurants (still can’t get Cuchi Cuchi off my mind). Its a great lunch place or a somewhere where you can go with a group of friends. I’d love to just go for drinks one of these days too.

How do I think Firebrand Saints measured up? 3.75 Spoons!

Firebrand Saints on Urbanspoon