Area IV - early price creep?
Went to Area IV about a month ago and had a very tasty meal, and also a great value. Entrees were $14-18. But now their website is showing entrees at $19-25. Sides were $5-6 and now they are $8-11. Maybe portions (or something else) has changed, but if it's simply price creep, that's pretty lame of them. The early menu we had was hitting that mid-range perfectly and offering great value, having to pay 20% more for the quality of food we got really eats into that value. I hope they still offer 500mL of solid wine for about $16.
Another note - the roasted chicken entree is just the Zuni Cafe recipe, or slight variation, which is a good thing. The one I had on a recent trip was good (flavorful but a bit dry, with a great bread salad), but I'm not sure they were giving the chicken the full two-three days of pre-salting they should. It's $19 now, was $16. I'm interested to hear if anyone has had it recently and what their thoughts were. I've been long puzzled why more places haven't used the Zuni technique on their chickens, and I was happy to see Area IV do so, even if they weren't quite nailing it.
I understand restaurants need to pay their bills, but it's still disappointing to see prices change so quickly. At least Barbara Lynch would wait a little while before having prices go up 30-40%.
This looks like a pretty new business for the people involved: a daytime bakery/cafe in addition to a traditional lunch/dinner service. Lumiere only does fine dining dinners, as did Persephone. It's also on a larger scale than either of Leviton's other ventures.
I'm guessing their initial prices just didn't deliver the necessary margins, and they decided to bite the bullet sooner rather than later. Lynch tends to raise her prices once a place is established and has a loyal following, simply because she can, not because she has to, which I suspect is a little different from what's going on at Area Four.
I've had very good initial impressions of this place as a dinner destination so far. It's not cheap, but I didn't question the value.
1293 Washington St., West Newton, MA 02465
500 Technology Square, Cambridge, MA 02139