HOME > Chowhound > Greater Boston Area >
What are you cooking today? Get great advice

Think Tank

rchudy Jul 7, 2010 07:25 AM

Anyone been? how's the food?

  1. Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. barleywino Jul 11, 2010 04:37 AM

    saw on the news it was flooded by yesterdays' flash floods and might be a few months before it gets back up and running

    2 Replies
    1. re: barleywino
      LindaWhit Jul 11, 2010 08:37 AM


      It could be more than a few months. :-(

      1. re: LindaWhit
        hckybg Jul 11, 2010 03:13 PM

        Here's another story--too bad:

    2. s
      sourcandy Sep 28, 2010 10:06 AM

      Looks like they're back open now! Anybody been yet?

      1 Reply
      1. re: sourcandy
        michela Oct 1, 2010 10:42 AM

        Saw that they are now also serving lunch. Menu looks interesting.

      2. s
        shellicopter Nov 3, 2010 06:23 AM

        There's a Groupon at Groupon.com today for half off at Think tank, the menu looks promising as I tend to love asian flavors and interesting preparations, but I'd love to hear what people have to say about it before I impulse buy! Has anyone been yet? thanks!

        9 Replies
        1. re: shellicopter
          MC Slim JB Nov 3, 2010 06:44 AM

          Devra First reviews Think Tank today in the Globe, I think captures it nicely: http://bit.ly/bGYrSi


          Think Tank
          1 Kendall Square, lower level, Cambridge, MA 02139

          1. re: MC Slim JB
            barleywino Nov 3, 2010 07:31 AM

            is the Seoul burger ground beef or bibimbap?

            1. re: barleywino
              jgg13 Nov 3, 2010 07:34 AM

              Ground beef. It doesn't taste particularly korean to me, tasted more teriyaki. It was still good though.

              1. re: jgg13
                barleywino Nov 3, 2010 07:41 AM

                thanks. i prefer burgers over cheesesteak sandwiches, anyway :)

                1. re: barleywino
                  jgg13 Nov 3, 2010 08:07 AM

                  I forgot to say though that they do give a pile of kimchi on the side. Not sure if this is what they intended but I used that as a topping. We both agreed that the burger itself didn't taste particularly bulgogi-ish (granted they say 'korean bbq', but ...). Liked the black sesame seeds but thought the sirracha sauce was understated.

          2. re: shellicopter
            Small Plates Nov 3, 2010 11:37 AM

            We've been both antediluvian and prediluvian and absolutely love everything there. Service is excellent. Fun vibe - good iPod. We had mostly apps - wings, spring rolls, beet salad and banh mi - fresh ahnd delicious. Best of luck to them - so glad they rebounded. They are a really nice option for lunch here in Kendall Square. (This said after a tortured lunch today at Za, which reminded me yet again that I would rather stick needles in my eyes than eat there again. Service is stupid and the food is so blah.)

            1. re: Small Plates
              barleywino Nov 3, 2010 11:46 AM

              you mean post-diluvian, right? they should have cocktails named Antediluvian and Postdiluvian...one will have dry vermouth and one will have (not-dry) vermouth

              1. re: barleywino
                Small Plates Nov 3, 2010 11:54 AM

                Haha - yes, I did mean post. What a good idea - perhaps Vince or Jay will read your idea and use it!

                1. re: barleywino
                  opinionatedchef Nov 6, 2010 01:18 PM


            2. t
              Taralli Nov 3, 2010 07:17 AM

              I'd like to hear about the coconut sticky rice. http://thinktankcambridge.com/

              1. almansa Nov 3, 2010 12:48 PM

                I see that they market themselves as local, sustainable, etc. Someone should let them know that the skate fishery is far, far from sustainable. Just a thought.

                1 Reply
                1. re: almansa
                  opinionatedchef Nov 6, 2010 01:20 PM

                  al, plse educate us about this;th.you.

                2. opinionatedchef Nov 6, 2010 01:41 PM

                  we had a very late 5pm lunch there on fri.
                  highlights were:
                  * beet salad with ginger yoghurt dressing and pistachios
                  * the B bento box's: spareribs (with the only kimchi i've ever liked) and fried pickles (seemed to be only cukes; i thought carrots and onions were supposed to be in there...); fresh herbs salad

                  * duck confit was refreshingly pure flavored and succulent , not weighted down with spice or herbs; but did not care for the inclusion of gorgonzola on that plate( on ugh iceberg, tasteless whether grilled or not.)
                  was told that the coconut sticky rice was just coconut milk and rice, so didn't order(How I miss the delicious complexity of Stan's jasmine coconut rice at Salamander). fine sweet potato fries were much better with the thai basil aioli i requested (than w/ the ketchup).

                  not the most attractive room (skylight space off the entry and lounge); rather flavorless. GM friendly and welcoming; service was good and helpful. lots of other menu items i'll try next time. Certainly seems like a winning idea for this area full of office workers.

                  1. 5
                    5thAndNowhere Jul 13, 2011 07:57 AM

                    Thought about this place walking by the other day. I always forget about it. They have a $5 happy hour menu. I think all the apps are $5? not bad.

                    Looking fwd to getting back to try the Seoul Burger lauded by Boston.com. Also saw MC Slim's take - Bento Box looks nommy. Everything I've had is very good (the lemongrass sticky ribs and wings are fabu!) and miles better than what this space has offered previously.

                    14 Replies
                    1. re: 5thAndNowhere
                      cannedmilkandfruitypebbles Jul 20, 2011 03:00 PM

                      Went here last Friday night.Thought it was a good place for a drink and some affordable apps (all $5 from 5-7PM).

                      we were being indecisive about ordering so the bartender bought us a plate of wings. They're fantastic. A mix of sirracha and Cymbal (sp?). we ordered another plate when they were gone. Also had an order of the salt and pepper shrimp. They were fine for $5 but would have been dissapointed if i had paid the $12 they're normally charging. mussels were decent as well.

                      we had a good conversation with the bartender and the other bar staff. Try the black manhattan (rye, amaretto, barrel aged bitters, brandied cherry) very good. They were touting their Tiki night on Mondays. said people start showing up around 7pm and they get a wave of people later at night as it's a lot of industry types.

                      interesting vibe and I'd go again.

                      1. re: cannedmilkandfruitypebbles
                        dfan Jul 21, 2011 07:33 AM

                        "Cymbal (sp?)" is probably sambal.

                        I definitely want to check this place out, especially with Brother Cleve involved on the cocktail front.

                        1. re: dfan
                          cannedmilkandfruitypebbles Jul 22, 2011 05:50 AM

                          sambal, yes. That is correct. I'm such a bad speller that I've accepted it and no longer apologize for it. I will be making my way there some Monday- it's right outside my building- and I'll report back.

                      2. re: 5thAndNowhere
                        opinionatedchef Aug 2, 2011 10:46 PM

                        5th, the 'miles better' remark - you were referring toThink Tank's previous food or to the restnt that preceded TT in this space?

                        1. re: opinionatedchef
                          opinionatedchef Aug 20, 2011 09:07 PM

                          We stopped in tonight after a Kendall film, and I think their menu is the same as it was last year.We had a number of good things. Ever since short ribs became a Boston menu standard (back when Ana Sortun was at Casablanca) we have certainly had our share of them, but i do think Think Tank's are some of the very best we've had. Generous portion, well charred glaze, well balanced Asian flavors (not too sweet or salty). meat tender but not at all too fatty. The Sriracha wings were a bit too hot/spicy for us, but they were moist and meaty and perfectly cooked, with a tasty garlic thai basil aioli. The Korean burger actually may have been, along with a similar daily special at All Star Sandwich Bar, the best burger I've had in Boston: rich moist meat, tender silky texture, bright Asian flavors, with a sriracha aioli on a grilled poppy seed bun. My cosmo was delightfully perfect.

                          Just fyi, while the place was rather unbustling for 9pm on a Saturday, the kitchen was incredibly slow.We found the room very unappealing/drab/dank and the staff unusually lifeless, but we really enjoyed our food.

                          All Star Sandwich Bar
                          1245 Cambridge St, Cambridge, MA 02139

                          Think Tank
                          1 Kendall Square, lower level, Cambridge, MA 02139

                          1. re: opinionatedchef
                            MC Slim JB Aug 20, 2011 09:19 PM

                            Glad to see some positive notes for Think Tank. I find the food mostly good, but there are misses, in ways I can't predictably suss out. For instance: great veggie burger, terrible house-made kimchi.

                            Nadeau just reviewed it in the Phoenix (I did the same for Stuff a few months back): his experience mirrors mine, though he had more words and dishes to work with.

                            I'm mainly happy there when Cleve or his best lieutenant are tending bar, when the cocktails can be extraordinary.

                            Worth noting that on a Saturday night in the South End, some of the most popular restaurants in town are not as packed as one might expect. It's August, vacation time, folks feeling the summer hourglass running out. This is one reason Restaurant Week is scheduled at this time. I walked into a place tonight that is normally packed at prime time and got seated in a few minutes: busy, but slow by autumn standards.


                            Think Tank
                            1 Kendall Square, lower level, Cambridge, MA 02139

                            1. re: MC Slim JB
                              jgg13 Aug 21, 2011 07:02 AM

                              Was there last Monday (which either wasn't a tiki night, or I grossly overestimated the level of theme-ing they were doing). I should have paid closer attention when I sat at the bar, just grabbed the first pair of open seats I saw - all of the seats near Cleve's side were jammed and all of the ones for the other bartender were empty. Bad sign.

                              It was pretty clear that there was a big difference between the two sides. Cleve was going to town with the drink making, he was chatting people up, and appeared entertaining. Our bartender barely went through the motions, didn't give the attention that Cleve did, and pretty much ignored us even when our drinks would be empty for a while.

                              In the future, I'd only sit at Cleve's station. Based on the distribution I saw but didn't notice at the time, I guess I'm not the only one.

                              1. re: jgg13
                                opinionatedchef Aug 21, 2011 05:48 PM

                                is cleve med. height, shaved head?, band tatoo on arm?

                                1. re: opinionatedchef
                                  jgg13 Aug 21, 2011 06:15 PM

                                  You can find some images of him at this site:

                                  1. re: jgg13
                                    opinionatedchef Aug 22, 2011 08:42 PM

                                    thank you jg. no,i guess i missed him, but the cosmo was still excellent!

                                    1. re: opinionatedchef
                                      MC Slim JB Aug 22, 2011 09:05 PM

                                      I suspect the Cosmopolitan ranks among the highest-risk drinks to order in most bars. It's often a disaster: cheap spirits, crappy artificial sour mix, and a hefty dose of HFCS, all thoughtlessly free-poured and diluted to fill an overlarge cocktail glass. Its association with the phony martini-bar culture that immediately preceded the craft cocktail revival doesn't help much: all those Carrie Bradshaw wannabes drinking sugary, watery, pastel-tinted shaker drinks from room-temperature 14-ounce glasses.

                                      But it's not at all a bad cocktail when made with a craftsman's care. It's basically a classic sour, after all, and a pretty one at that. Put it together with decent vodka (by which I mean filtered but not expensively packaged or marketed), fresh lime juice, a quality orange liqueur, pure cranberry juice, and a big shaving of lime peel, shaken vigorously over fresh ice and strained into a properly chilled, not-too-big cocktail glass or coupe, and it's a lovely drink. (Ask my grandma: I make hers that way at every family gathering.)

                                      If you're going to order one, I can't think of many better places to do so than a bar that Cleve is tending. With any luck, he'll have the time to try and inveigle you into something in the same flavor family but made with pisco, cachaça, genever, light rum or silver tequila.


                                      1. re: MC Slim JB
                                        opinionatedchef Aug 22, 2011 10:14 PM

                                        slim, thanks. i don't know what HFCS is, but i thought you might get a kick out of hearing what my mind spontaneously came up with: wHotheF..ckCareS. funny,eh?! because i'm always careful about the type of vodka used and the fresh lime, i've never been served a bad cosmo, but it is v interesting to me how much they vary.

                                        1. re: opinionatedchef
                                          MC Slim JB Aug 22, 2011 11:36 PM

                                          HFCS is high-fructose corn syrup. There are plenty of health reasons to avoid it -- I believe the studies that mark it as a major contributor to obesity. But in craft cocktail terms, you always want to use the best-tasting, most fresh / natural / pure ingredients avaiable, and among sweeteners, HFCS is never that.

                                          To add pure sweetness, cocktail nerds reach first for cane sugar in various forms, most frequently simple syrup, which is just ordinary cane sugar pre-dissolved in water for speedy mixing. The less-refined demarara sugar is a useful option when you're trying to recapitulate 19th-century flavors: highly-refined, pure-white cane sugar was unknown in Professor Jerry Thomas's day. Hardcore sleeve-garter-wearing, waxed-mustachio-type Golden Age antiquarians also often mix their own gomme syrup, simple syrup with gum arabic added for a silkier mouthfeel, a popular sweetener among the star bartenders of that era.

                                          Other options include honey syrup and agave nectar: anything more natural than the modern Frankenfood that is HFCS. That's why most cocktail geeks tend to shun commercial bottled Grenadine syrups and lime cordials like Rose's (as well as the fact that from-scratch versions have clearer, fresher fruit flavors).

                                          I'm also in the camp that thinks HFCS adds an unpleasant, tongue-coating mouthfeel to drinks, especially in mixers like tonic water, ginger beer, fruit soda, and cola. The use of cane sugar is why Mexican and kosher Coca-Colas are much preferred by some folks over HFCS-sweetened mass-market Coke.

                                          (I have a theory that New Coke was a scheme meant to obscure Coke's switch from cane sugar to the much-cheaper HFCS. That may be completely hare-brained, but it does offer a plausible explanation for what is otherwise a mystifying marketing fiasco.)


                                  2. re: opinionatedchef
                                    MC Slim JB Aug 21, 2011 08:24 PM



                        2. Boston_Otter Aug 22, 2011 05:52 AM

                          I went on a recent Tiki Monday and generally enjoyed myself, but echo a lot of the other comments here, too. They don't really "theme" the place at all; I had to ask about the special "tiki apps" and my server looked sort of baffled, and had to ask someone else about it -- really the Tiki Monday thing amounts to Br. Cleve being there making classic tiki cocktails; plus they have crab rangoon as an app. The place itself has zero theming and very little decor (kind of like eating in a basement) and the Beach Boys songs playing were the only Polynesian we got.

                          Had the Seoul Burger, which was delicious, though not very 'bulgogi' flavored. Kung Pao wings were tasty, so were the fried tofu squares and fried pickles. The pork belly app was the star of the night -- just a really excellent piece of fatty, crispy pork with hoisin sauce.

                          Cocktails by Cleve were excellent. His take on Tiki drinks harkens back to old-school Don the Beachcomber cocktails, heavy on citrus, falernum, and rums, not overly sweet or 'tropical'. He'll make pineapple-based drinks like a Mai Tai or a Blue Hawaiian if requested though -- the latter had coconut cream added, which was a really nice touch. If you're looking for scorpion bowls or that sort of Tiki kitch (which I love), Eastern Standard's a better bet.

                          4 Replies
                          1. re: Boston_Otter
                            yarm Aug 22, 2011 09:51 AM

                            Brother Cleve is the only reason I'll go there. I'll be kind and stop there.

                            1. re: yarm
                              MC Slim JB Aug 22, 2011 10:29 AM

                              In addition to Cleve, there is one lieutenant at Think Tank that that has impressed me as serious about craft cocktails, but I've only run into him once: youngish, tall, dark-haired. The others I've run into don't seem to have quite absorbed that ethic.


                              Think Tank
                              1 Kendall Square, lower level, Cambridge, MA 02139

                              1. re: MC Slim JB
                                yarm Aug 22, 2011 11:02 AM

                                The one time I was served by the regular staff, I swear that their cocktail recipes were written up with measurements "big pour, small pour, big squirt, small squirt." I stopped after that drink (and watching the other drinks being made).

                                1. re: yarm
                                  MC Slim JB Aug 22, 2011 11:31 AM

                                  The staff definitely includes some bad free-pourers and weird hospitality personalities behind the bar.


                          Show Hidden Posts