Picante Mexican, S & S
Maybe you can try the Ethiopian place that's right near Picante on Mass Ave. in Central Square. I believe it is called Asmara? I've never gone with young children, but I imagine it could be fun for them to eat with their hands, the food isn't so unusual that it would scare kids, and the servers are warm and friendly. I guess it depends on how gastronomically open-minded the kids are.
I like Picante as well, but it is a small space. I've enjoyed most items I've gotten from there (I vote the lime aid over the horchata). Interesting that a few may see the food as bland - I find it perfectly fine, and rely on the salsa to give it the extra seasoning. I hate the over seasoned (read: overly salted, over-sauced and over-cheesed) stuff that a lot of Tex-Mex places serve. I like their fish burrito (pescado burrito), but it's a big serving for one person.
I guess I'm an outlier but I think Picante is pretty lame. I work down the street and I try them every few months for lunch but I always find everything rather tasteless. I do like the salsa bar, but that only helps so much. Chips are tough rather than crisp, tacos are gringo-ized with lettuce and tomato, which I wouldn't mind so much if the fillings weren't so bland to start with. I stopped ordering the enormous starch-bomb burritos altogether after repeatedly finding crunchy beans, underseasoned rice, and those same bland fillings, all of it poorly wrapped and ready to fall apart.
I've never tried the enchiladas or soups that got good reviews above, so I'll give those a chance next time. But overall, I'd vastly prefer to have an Anna's or a Boca Grande in the neighborhood, not to mention one of the really good Mexican or Salvadoran places.
Also, it's just wrong that they advertise their slow-cooked pork as "trimmed of fat". Oh the humanity.
Sorry, bit of a rant. I wish I could be more helpful for the OP's query, lots of good suggestions already. If it wasn't already on the agenda, definitely take the kids to Christina's (ice cream) for dessert.
Definately give the enchiladas a try, especially with the mole sauce. I often come to close to licking the plate. I don't like the ranchero sauce, but I think it's more of a taste thing than it being bad.
I also like the flautas (I think they are AKA taquitos). Fairly authentic but quite starchy. The tamales are also nice, if, again, rather starchy.
I don't care much for the burritos or the gringo-tacos though, how they screw it up is beyond me.
I like Picante, but seating a Utah sized family would be difficult, a small family would be fine. While most menu items don't "wow" me, I am very fond of the enchiladas with mole sauce, (chicken or spinach are both good), and the kids might like the horchata.
Could you send the kids to eat at S&S and have the adults eat at ECG?
Hmmm, well, for child-friendly places in the area, S&S may be a good bet even though the food is pretty average. It is definitely a family-oriented place, and the food, while not exactly great, is better than what you'll find at a chain (not a ringing endorsement, I know).
I like Picante a lot. It isn't quite as child-friendly as S&S, but the food is definitely good there.
How about Johnny's Luncheonette or Dolphin? Both are on Mass. Ave. between Harvard and Central Squares, and both are very child-friendly. Johnny's is a decent 50s-style diner, and Dolphin is a family-oriented seafood restaurant.
I think S&S is absolutely horrendous.
I've never been to Picante for anything but breakfast, so I can't comment.
In Inman, East Coast Grill would be great, but is one of the pricier options in the area. Magnolia's Southern Cuisine, also in Inman, is good southern food and is definitely kid friendly.
Ditto the S&S sentiment, but not everyone feels the same way.
Picante is fine for lard-free fast-food type Cal-Mexican. It's not going to wow anyone, but it's good (I just had the chicken rice soup there yesterday, soothing the hangover from the martini-fest the day prior). Since you order at the counter and pick up your food, it will be FAST, which might help with kids that age. They do serve beer, which might help the adults. ;-)
Is this lunch or dinner? Depending, I'd offer some other ideas:
Ole in Inman Square, though I haven't been in a good long while
All Star Sandwich would have good options for the kiddies, but best to go during a non-peak time
The Druid (for lunch since it is, after all, a pub--but certainly family-friendly)