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Cheap, late night eats near Harvard?

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My friend and I are going to have a huge lunch on Saturday (the bbq @ the Formaggio Kitchen... yummm) so we are most likely going to want a late, lightish, cheap dinner. We are going to be in Cambridge, but something near Harvard would be best. I was thinking that we could try the bar menu at Chez Henri. Any thoughts?

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  1. You could hit the bar at the Garden on Mass Ave and split some small plates. I don't know if it exactly qualifies as cheap (neither does Chez Henri), but the prices are certainly reasonable.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Gabatta

      Sorry, I should have clarified... Cheap is under $15 (not including drinks). I checked out the Cubano bar menu at Chez Henri and it looks pretty reasonable... are the portions tiny or do you think they will work? Thanks!

      1. re: thunderbug84

        i like to split the cuban sandwich and the spinach salad with duck tamale with my wife. It's definitely more than enough food. just be prepared to wait for a little while until a table opens up.

    2. nothing is better than eating a double cheeseburger at charlies and washing it down with a huge hoeegarden the size of your head. Now that's cheap

      the key is you have to be slightly inebriated when eating at charlies

      12 Replies
      1. re: bitsubeats

        I think that can be arranged... I've heard a few things about Charlie's lobster rolls. How are they?

        1. re: thunderbug84

          Well, the key is you have to be REALLY inebriated when eating the twin lobster rolls at charlies

          1. re: Dax

            I suppose you'd have to be tripping to eat the processed salmon burger I was served. :shudder: Maybe there's something to be said for the place, but I've never considered going back after that experience 3 years ago. I was thinking, WTF, this is what Harvard Square has to offer? Then I discovered the Greenhouse Cafe.

            1. re: aventinus

              Greenhouse Cafe is closed, is it not?

              1. re: heathermb

                Say it isn't so.

                1. re: aventinus

                  it is so ... sadly.
                  no more slices of chocolate cake the size of your head.

                  1. re: oystershucker

                    Hadn't heard this, but honestly, I never had a good meal at the Greenhouse, which should have been a solid neighborhood diner. I hope a comparable restaurant moves in, just not another jean shop, please.

                    1. re: wontonton

                      The cake was the best thing I ever had at The Greenhouse. All else was pretty ordinary. Also did not appreciate hearing the woman behind the cash register tongue-lashing one of the waiters within full earshot of the dining area. I don't like patronizing places that treat their employees disrespectfully, so it was my last trip there.

                      Won't miss the place much.

            2. re: Dax

              Sorry, but I'm going to disagree, Dax. I like Charlie's lobster rolls.

              1. re: bachslunch

                Some people do and I tried the two times I ate them but they taste more like tuna salad with processed lobster instead of tuna, using lots of mayo, celery, etc (fillers). I mean what can you expect for the price, but they just weren't what I craved when I thought lobster roll. Not terrible I guess, just not a lobster roll to me.

                1. re: Dax

                  I dunno, "processed lobster" just doesn't jive with my experience there. Maybe it's time I go back, get one, and do a detailed report.

          2. re: bitsubeats

            A Hoegaarden the size of one's head? Does Charlie's have draft Hoegaarden?

          3. Bar menu at Chez Henri. Yes. Good.

            Might be too far for your purposes, but my go-to late/lite in the general vicinity is steamed dumplings at Wangs, about a 10 minute drive from Harvard (definitely not a walk).

            Kaya in Porter Square isn't exactly my favorite for Japanese or Korean, nor is it particularly cheap, but they're definitely open late, and you can certainly get out of there for a $15 snack if you keep an eye on what you order.

            Christopher's in Porter has a few light items on the menu, and their kitchen is open fairly late too. I really like their homemade veggie burger with pesto and roasted red pepper.

            1. I'd go for either a carnitas burrito at Felipe's, or a couple slices of Sicilian pizza from Pinocchios (open till 1AM).

              2 Replies
              1. re: Prav

                I believe these are the best truly (cheap) late night suggestions.

                I have considerable experience with another suggestion involving immoderate inebriation. Try to lose sight of the "cheap" part, and order delivery from Fugakyu. This is BY FAR the best late night eat available without leaving the Harvard area.

                1. re: Prav

                  Hey, thanks for the reminder! I used to go to Felipe's every Friday when I was in college, but I totally forgot about it! That seems like the best bet so far! (I knew I loved Felipe's b/c when I walked in for the first time I glanced in the kitchen and saw a MOUND of fresh avocados. Heaven.)

                2. You better get there early cuz they run out of stuff. And I'm not sure how huge lunch will be cuz it's just one item per $6 or $8. That said, I'd go to Cambridge One for an interesting pizza later on. I assume it serves til 11 on the weekend but can't for the life of me find a web site for them or any of the MOS/Audobon/Middlesex conglomerate. I can't imagine they don't have one, does anyone know it?

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: Joanie

                    How about Smile Thai (above--egads--the IHOP)?

                    1. re: Pemmican

                      science partners have no web sites
                      but c-1 serves till 12 seven days a week

                      1. re: Pemmican

                        Chez Henri is great, but I wouldn't fancy your chances of finding a table in the bar late on Saturday night. You can only have the bar menu IN the bar. I would go there on a quieter weekday night at some point (unless you really don't mind waiting).

                        Noir (the bar in the Charles hotel) serves until 11. Good simple salads, skewers and sandwiches. Excellent mixed nuts with golden raisins and wasabi peas (free before 7, worth paying for afterwards).
                        Casablanca is another place with a good bar menu with some inexpensive items (I like the burger there more than the Chez Henri cubano, which is just too gluey and rich for me to enjoy after the first half.) Very good soups.
                        Smile didn't have a liquor license the last time I was there but perhaps that has changed. How about a bowl of pho (or watercress soup--my favorite) at Le's in the Garage? If you sit at the front by the window onto the street it's more atmospheric that one might imagine.
                        Other choices: the cafe at Z square, a burger at Shay's (other items are not always good), bar menu at Upstairs on the Square (not super expensive).

                        1. re: Pemmican

                          Didn't like Smile Thai at all when I went. 9 Tastes and Spice Thai are both much preferable to it.

                      2. if this was ten years ago , i would tell you to go to the Tasty (but i think there is an abercrombie and fitch there now) Bring back the Tasty!!

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: lennyb

                          Oh wow....I'd forgotten all about the Tasty! Thanks for bringing a smile to my face.

                          1. re: lennyb

                            Thankfully, the Abercrombie and Fitch closed... but now it's a Citizen's Bank. But at teller station #2, sometimes, in cloudy weather, you can hear the Tasty ghosts murmuring over the sounds of frying...

                            On topic, Pinocchio's is often hopping late night for decent pizza; Cambridge One for more of a sit-down interesting pizza experience. Down Chez Henri way, the West Side Lounge seems to have recovered a bit after a weak spell a while back.

                            Get to Formaggio's on the early side-- they can run out of some items. Also, last Saturday they were only selling single bones for the ribs, rather than half- or full-rack. That's all well and good but I did feel that some of the moistness was sacrificed in the pre-cut single-bone form. Skip the Niman Ranch hot dogs-- not nearly as flavorful as they should/could be and the artisan-style bun is dry dry dry. They are doing a pulled-lamb sandwich which I haven't tried but sounds intriguing. Do try the grilled peaches--

                          2. I might suggest Cambridge Common, which is on Mass Ave past the law school a little bit. Kitchen is open until midnight, so it's been a standby after rehearsals for me for years. Not food to ponder life's deeper mysteries by, but some very serviceable salads, a tasty meatloaf, decent burgers, and other generally tasty bar food. Excellent beer selection too.

                            John Harvard is also open late, though I personally would opt for Cambridge Common given the choice.

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                            Cambridge Common
                            1667 Massachusetts Ave, Cambridge, MA 02138