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New Kendall Square Restaurants

e
Elyssa Nov 23, 2011 07:24 AM

My boyfriend and I are going to be visiting Boston for Thanksgiving (I'm originally from the Northshore). We were thinking about catching a movie or two on Saturday and then grabbing dinner in Kendall Square. My usual go-to place is the Blue Room but I noticed that there are a number of new restaurants in the area.

Has anyone checked out Catalyst, Think Tank, or Area Four? Is one better than all the rest? We will be wearing jeans, obviously not looking for a super heavy meal since we will be coming off of 2 days of Thanksgiving leftovers. Which would you choose?

Thanks!

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Blue Room
1 Kendall Sq Ste B2001, Cambridge, MA 02139

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

Area Four
500 Technology Square, Cambridge, MA 02139

  1. m
    mkfisher Nov 23, 2011 07:54 AM

    We like Area Four the most of that group. Just love the general feel of the place. Some of the small plates like the cauliflower and pretzels are incredibly addictive. The food at Think Tank has been very hit or miss. They do have the best cocktail program of that bunch. Catalyst will probably be ok on a Saturday. The after work crowd there tends to turn me off to the place. Have enjoyed the garganelli with chicken oysters. The burger is solid too. We also liked the hiramasa appetizer. Better cocktails than Area Four. The Blue Room has a somewhat new chef, and I don't think we've been since he took over.

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    The Blue Room
    Hampshire and Portland streets, Cambridge, MA 02139

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

    Area Four
    500 Technology Square, Cambridge, MA 02139

    2 Replies
    1. re: mkfisher
      e
      Elyssa Nov 23, 2011 08:13 AM

      Our plans are obviously pretty dependent on the movie times, but do you think we would need reservations at any of these places or can you usually just walk right in and find a table (again, it's the weekend after Thanksgiving as well....)?

      1. re: Elyssa
        b
        Bluebell Nov 23, 2011 08:51 AM

        We've been to Area Four many times, never needed a reservation. The small plates there are very good, and the cake w/ salted caramel sauce is amazing. Think Tank is closer to the movie theaters, and they never seem too crowded. Ate there once and the food was ok, cocktails are very good and creative. Haven't made it to Catalyst yet.

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

        Area Four
        500 Technology Square, Cambridge, MA 02139

    2. c
      cbcpapa Nov 23, 2011 08:46 AM

      See if you can get a reservation at hungry mother. They even have a movie deal I believe.

      1. a
        AndOne Nov 23, 2011 09:16 AM

        Love Area 4, great apps and pizza, wine by carafe. If you like craft and belgian beers I'd make it a two-fer and stop in Lord Hobo which walking distance from the theater.

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        Lord Hobo
        92 Hampshire St, Cambridge, MA 02141

        1. t
          Taralli Nov 23, 2011 10:56 AM

          If one of your movies is at the Landmark Cinema, you should check out Hungry Mother about a block away: http://www.hungrymothercambridge.com/

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          Hungry Mother
          Cambridge, MA, Cambridge, MA

          1. Boston_Otter Nov 23, 2011 12:30 PM

            If you're going to Think Tank, try to visit on a night when Brother Cleve is working the bar -- he's a great bartender and lots of fun. The food is very hit or miss (the Seoul Burger, Sriracha wings, and pork belly were all tasty, but nothing outstanding) and the atmosphere is sort of bizarre, like a school basement that's been partially decorated in 70s funky rec-room style but with large parts of the restaurant completely unfurnished. I enjoyed my meal at the Friendly Toast, next door, much more.

            1. opinionatedchef Nov 24, 2011 01:38 AM

              elyssa,if you decide to further explore any of these, many of them have recent threads if you do a CH search. I did a thread on think tank, and area four and catalyst and friendly toast and hungry mother all have been done w/ good details.

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              Hungry Mother
              233 Cardinal Medeiros Avenue, Cambridge, MA 02141

              The Friendly Toast
              1 Kendall Square, Cambridge, MA

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

              Area Four
              500 Technology Square, Cambridge, MA 02139

              1. e
                Elyssa Nov 28, 2011 09:00 AM

                We ended up going to Catalyst for dinner (with a small snack and cocktails at Blue Room before the movie). We loved Catalyst! What a great addition to the neighborhood. The restaurant is very large with cool decor. The tables are far enough apart to allow us to have a private conversation and the service was very good (the only problem we saw is the restaurant is so large that sometimes you lost your waiter. It might take him a long time to go from the table to the bar to fill a drink order and in the mean time you can't flag him down to add something to the order for example).

                For appetizer I got the roasted beet salad with the goat cheese croquettes. A really lovely take on a salad that you see on most menus these days. It had shaved fennel and mixed greens dressed lightly in a lemony dressing. A really nice start. My boyfriend got the artichoke soup. Really delicious! We also samples the squash soup at Blue Room and I preferred this soup to the other.

                For the main course my boyfriend got the famous tournados....what a stellar dish! It's served with Tallagio raviolis and swiss chard. When you tried all 3 elements together it was delicious. I had the scallops with pea shoots and pumpkin puree. A really nice dish, perfectly cooked scallops. Just lovely.

                For dessert we shared the rootbeer float, which was a lot of fun.

                I couldn't believe how many great options are in Kendell Square now. We would have liked to explore some of the other places but Catalyst was a great place to start. Next time we are in town maybe we'll check out Area Four.

                -----
                The Blue Room
                Hampshire and Portland streets, Cambridge, MA 02139

                Area Four
                500 Technology Square, Cambridge, MA 02139

                2 Replies
                1. re: Elyssa
                  opinionatedchef Nov 28, 2011 10:11 AM

                  elyssa, thanks so much for the detailed report! it's disappointing to me how few people report back after asking CH advice, so your effort is a pleasure! there's another catalyst thread active now, and positives about some of those same dishes. yumm!

                  1. re: Elyssa
                    t
                    Terriwth4 Dec 1, 2011 08:53 PM

                    We went to Area Four the same night you went to Catalyst....better choice I am guessing. We waited for an hr for a party of 6....They told us 20-25 minutes then after an hr seated us in their empty room that I think is where all the morning activity takes place.

                    It eventually filled up with all the other people they told to wait a long time! I really did not get this. Wait staff was ok not great.

                    Appetizers and pizza are delicious. I would suggest sticking to them. There are really 3-5 other items. My husband and daughter ordered the braised pork and were both disappointed besides a bad value....(small portion for the price) they both commented it was just ok.

                    We walked by The Catalyst on the way back to the car and said next time we will try that!

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