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Jan 19, 2011 05:22 AM

What's the deal with the new Clover space in Harvard Sq.? Anyone tried it yet?

I've walked by but only peered inside.

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  1. Of all the Clover food I have had, I've had the best here. I find the food at the trucks to be very inconsistent and this is not the case the few times I've been to the Harvard Square location.

    The only negative was the pour over coffee, it's right by the door way, which makes for cold coffee, and it's poured too fast which makes for weak coffee.

    1 Reply
    1. re: ponyboy

      I've been 8-10 times since they opened and have been really happy with what I've ordered--the chickpea fritter sandwich, the egg and eggplant sandwich, lots of french fries. I have also had pour-over coffee and didn't have problems with temperature, so maybe give it another shot. It actually took quite a long time for them to make it, so it might have just been whoever made yours.

      There are a couple things, besides the food, that have really satisfied: the staff is extremely nice and welcoming. They aren't overly precious and seem to really care. It is easy enough to say that but in all my interactions I have been unusually impressed by the attitudes of the people working there. The space is also really unique and comfortable, and they don't seem to care if you linger or come between meals, etc. It is a good place to have lunch but I have also worked there in the afternoon and met people just for coffee. I think that is a niche that Harvard Square needed to fill. I have actually felt guilty because I have gone there so much over the last couple months that I have been neglecting Oggi.

    2. I agree that the Harvard Square Clover is a lot more consistent than the trucks. I really enjoy all their sandwiches, and most of their soups. I would rank them a bit below Crema/Darwin's on quality/taste, but higher on value and convenience and ability to find a seat.

      I can't say I've found the coffee to be either cold or weak, although I can easily imagine there might be some inconsistency in prep depending on how busy they are and who is manning the coffee station.

      1. Stopped in for breakfast on Saturday morning - first, will say that the food is quite good - two fresh filtered coffees, corn fritters (could have used a dip though) and cheese grits with egg - All satisfying.

        However, how the service is set up and run is like a class project gone awry. You are greeted at the door with someone with a device in hand, ala Apple Store? There are two digital sandwich boards, which look cool, but the regular menu was displayed on one but you could not order off it. Why have it running then? There is also no clear organization as to how food was expedited, people standing around like a tour group waiting to place their order, etc. Just quiet chaos. Eventually, we had to sort of take charge ourselves, asking for the food, which came...and was good...just really stressful!

        7 Replies
        1. re: Bob Dobalina

          Went on Saturday for lunch and I'd agree about the service. It was confusing and I didn't like how the sandwiches had to be explained by the cashier; why not just write what is on each sandwich next to it so the cashier doesn't have to spend 3 minutes explaining every option to every patron? That said, the staff was all super friendly and now that I understand the routine it will be easier going back.

          The food was delicious and the portions large AND it's very reasonably priced. I had the chickpea fritter sandwich and loved the pickled onion, cabbage, and carrot which really added crunch. The iced coffee was a bit of a disappointment. They do pour-over (WOO!) but for the iced coffee they put three ice cubes in a clear plastic cup and then brewed coffee into the cup until it was 1/3 full and then dumped in ice. Basically it tasted like super-acidic, coffee flavored water. That said, the food, price, and nice space will definitely keep me coming back!

          1. re: Klunco

            I noticed that the menu actually had a blinking cursor on it! And there was a Mac and a keyboard stowed behind the menu, so next time, you could just edit when they aren't looking... ;)

            1. re: Bob Dobalina

              I do think that any confusion from a first visit is gone by the second. I usually just order and then get my seat, and they shout loudly enough that you can hear them when your food is up. I find the happy demeanor of pretty much every employee makes up for any novelty in their approach. It's become one of my favorite places to go to.

          2. re: Bob Dobalina

            The upfront ordering can be a bit confusing for a first timer and I can see desiring a more complete description rather than having to ask the person taking the orders. However, based on several visits, I have never encountered or seen an issue with the food coming out. It may not be have been clear to you how the food is expedited, however it is actually quite organized. The orders are electronically parsed up and sent to the prep station(s) with the shortest queue. The estimated (and generally accurate) time for each prep item is listed on the live monitor, which also feeds to the internet. From that point on just listed for them calling out your name (maybe multiple times if different prep stations are handling different items from your order).

            When you go for a 2nd visit, it will all seem more straightforward.

            1. re: Gabatta

              Appreciate the tips from you both and will keep that in mind for the future.

              1. re: Gabatta

                Absolutely. On my second visit it was bam-bam-bam and out the door with food in 5 minutes. I LOVE the chickpea fritter sandwich, great flavor and the fritters were perfectly fried and crispy. As I mentioned before the pickled carrots and cabbage add a nice tang and crunch and the whole sandwich is a steal for five bucks. I really want to try the other sandwiches but I love the chickpea fritter too much! Make sure you try the hot sauce (by the cream, lids, napkins) if you like some spice.

                I want to explore the rest of the menu (definitely the bbq seitan). What else are people loving?

                1. re: Klunco

                  I tried the BBQ Seitan for the first time last week and liked it. I am not a big meat substitute fan and especially Seitan-y bites were somewhat mono-textural, but the overall taste was nice and the sauce is a good combination with the seitan. My favorite there is the Egg and Eggplant sandwich, which I like even more than the chickpea fritters. Nice fried, custardy eggplant goes really well with the hard boiled egg.

            2. I was there around 2 on Friday, it was moderately busy and only a bit chaotic. The bbq seitan sandwich was really good, I didn't realize I like seitan. Chicory coffee was good too. Big loud space, enthusiastic young staff. Seems like they are still working out service kinks, but they were fast. I'd go back, absolutely.

              8 Replies
              1. re: Aromatherapy

                It's a good option for Harvard Sq., reasonably-priced real food. The space is pleasant, and the overall vibe is perhaps best described as college food coop meets GSD.

                1. re: WilderPenfield

                  I love this- since my only association with "GSD" is "German Shepherd Dog", all I could think of was sending in a trusty companion through the thicket of college students, with my order on a chalkboard around its neck, to bring me back an egg sandwich and some rosemary fries...

                  1. re: WilderPenfield

                    I thought the exact same thing--I just know that a GSD alum is responsible. That said, it is a nicely designed, unique space and a good use of a modern building. I hope the ivy gets up that wall eventually.

                  2. re: Aromatherapy

                    Haha, I said the same thing when I tried it. I still am not sure if I like setian or if it is just their bbq sauce.

                    It would be nice if they offered a few more menu options. Everything is good, but it gets a bit repetitive. I did notice that they just added 'plates' (eggplant and sweet potato).

                    1. re: Gabatta

                      If I'm remembering correctly from my vegetarian days, their seitan -- which they make themselves -- tastes different (better) than most seitan. So it's possibly you don't like seitan even if you like theirs.

                      1. re: Gabatta

                        I wish they would add... PLATES! My friends and I went recently and the food was delicious, but holy moly what a mess to eat a bbq seitan pita sandwich with just a wax paper wrapper to control the gluck.

                        1. re: djd

                          Try doing it at your desk at work after schlepping it back from the truck! :)

                          1. re: stomachofsteel

                            I hear you. I took it back to my lodging...where I was without napkins! But the food was outstanding!

                      1. re: FoodDabbler

                        Holyoke Street between Mass Ave and Mt. Auburn.