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Dinner near MIT/Kendall this Friday?

Our son and a friend are attending camp on the MIT campus so we would like to able to walk to dinner if possible. How crazy will it be to try to get a table around 6:00 pm this Friday night? Long waits? Most places seem to not accept reservations and I know these kids are going to be starving.

I don’t know the Kendall Square restaurant scene at all anymore. Doing some searching on here a couples places I remember still seem to be mentioned-Thailand Café, Hungry Mother, Miracle of Science and Blue Room. Though there one recent “down hill” review about the Blue room. Any thoughts for trying to get a table 6:00 an at any of these? And how long walk wouldbe?

Atasca takes reservations but our son’s friend is clearly in the chicken finger/plain pasta camp and not a thing on the menu would appeal to him. Anyone been there with a picky eater? Do they have a kids menu?

Was thinking as a last resort we could get takeout pizza from Emmas. That space is so tight I don’t think we would have a chance at snagging table but I am sure the kids would be fine eating the car on the way home. However the ‘rents were hoping to sit and relax-anyone been there at 6 on Friday night?

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  1. It shouldn't be that bad at 6. Area 4 on Broadway or Za on 3rd for pizza. Cambridge Brewing Company also has simple food. All three have outdoor seating. Hungry Mother would probably be difficult without reservations. Distance depends on where at MIT but probably a 5-20 min walk.

    2 Replies
    1. re: viperlush

      Great, thank you. Both are Four and the Cambridge Brewing company seem like a good neutral choices.

      I really like the sound of A4 fennel sausage and banana pepper pizza!

      1. re: foodieX2

        That's a great pizza - we've had it several times! :)

    2. Emma's shouldn't have a long wait at 6pm on a Friday.

      Some other places you can try (that are most likely a shorter walk) are Za, Abigail's and Firebrand Saints. There won't be waits at Za and FB, and I'd doubt you'll have to wait at Abigail's either.

      Area Four is fantastic, but you'll have to wait there.

      Miracle of Science won't be relaxing for the parents. Hungry Mother will be fully booked. The Blue Room is just not good right now.

      4 Replies
        1. re: foodieX2

          Do let us know what you pick. I will say that Firebrand Saints probably gets the least pub of any of the places I've mentioned, but it's actually a pretty good option. They do nice sandwiches and roast meats (the porchetta is really good). They also do a cheese dip with Jack D'or that I really enjoy. Not the most adventurous menu for sure, but a good solid place with reasonable prices and 5 minute walk to MIT. They also have very cool video installations that are worth seeing once.

          1. re: mkfisher

            I vaguely remember people complaining about the noise when they first opened. Is that the case?

            1. re: viperlush

              I've never found it to be that loud to be honest. Definitely not as loud as West Bridge for example. Then again, noise isn't something that really bothers me in restaurants, but I know many feel otherwise. I know Devra (and a few others) reviewed them when they first opened, so that might be an answer.

      1. There's still the Legal there, if you are jonesing for seafood..

        1 Reply
        1. re: grant.cook

          Has it improved at all. I find Legal boring at best but have heard nothing but complaints about that location. Last time I was there 5? 8? years the bathrooms were filthy.

        2. I can't speak to kids' menus at any of these places - but I'm fairly certain Catalyst takes reservations, and Amelia's Trattoria definitely does. Cambridge Brewing Company food isn't anything special, but Area 4 is supposed to be great. Friendly Toast could be another option with many kid-friendly options.

          If you're looking at takeout, Bon Me is also pretty great and I'm a big fan of Emma's.

          1. you can always play it safe with the Asgard on Mass Ave, pub food, but in my opinion, very good pub food, nice beer selection, and large enough should not be a problem getting seated.

            1. We haven't seen any slippage at Blue Room, but I'd second the suggestions for Za/EVOO

              3 Replies
              1. re: L2k

                The Blue Room is still very busy, so I know there are people that disagree with my sentiment that it's just not that good. I do always feel like the median age of the clientele might skew my opinion a little (fairly or not) as the crowd tends toward the older side for sure.

                  1. re: mkfisher

                    Ever since Jorge left the kitchen, it has gone downhill, in my opinion. This coincided with Reggie's departure from behind the bar, so to us it was a double whammy. We ate there on the order of once a week. I do not care for the new menu or Chef Grant's flavor profiles. I think Jorge was much more inventive and exciting. I miss the shrimp and chourizo dish like mad. And that's just the start of a long list of waxing nostalgic for the old Blue Room. {sigh}

                1. Our party of 4 turned into a party of 7 so I managed to get reservations at Firebrand Saint. Menu looks good, hope the picky kid can find something. Any must haves?

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: foodieX2

                    Everything on the Meze menu is delicious! As are the crispy onion rings. I loved the tartare, the tuna nicoise, the lobster salad, the chicken sandwich, and the mushroom burger. Dying to try the lamb sandwich as it looked delicious. We have only been for lunch since it is next door, so don't know how busy it is as night. The food is good, however! Good choice. (There are burgers and buffalo wings - you should be good with the picky eater! :)

                    1. re: Small Plates

                      Thanks! I was eying that lamb sandwich...

                  2. Just back from a great dinner at Firebrand Saints. We got their even earlier than expected, around 5:20 and were able to snag an outside table. It was a little hot but we managed, LOL.

                    We orders apps-the deviled eggs, onion rings and wings. While we waited 2 on the party had mojitos and I had the spicy margarita. Talk about a kick! It was wonderful. Everyone else had ice teas and they had some great flavors.

                    We ordered another round and ordered our dinner. We waited for a while and the waitress came over to admit she put in our dinner order and completely forgot our apps. We were ready to pass but she offered them free of charge . Not necessary at all but a nice gesture.

                    Our meals came and I have to say the entire table went silent as we tucked in. I had the lamb burger with cheddar cheese and a fried egg. Perfectly cooked and juicy it made swoon-I didn't even mind the brioche roll. 3 others got the porchetta sandwich and not a complaint among them. My son got a burger and it was gone in minutes. The picky kid only got french fries but they were "too fancy". <roll eyes>

                    Apps came soon after and even though we were full we continued to eat. One of the 11 year olds devoured the deviled eggs, the onion rings were assorted onions-scallions purple onions and sweet. The batter was more tempura like, which I love and there were also fried apple slices and pickles. The wings were topped bacon (!!) and had a mustardy coating. I was too full but everyone else loved them.

                    Overall a great meal and great way to wait for the traffic to calm down.

                    Pet Peeve alert! The tip was included even though there was no notification anywhere. Not a biggie but I prefer to know up front. And it was only 15% which seemed really skimpy, we would have left more but we had handed her the credit cards to run and didn't look at the bill until afterwards.

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: foodieX2

                      Many restaurants will include a tip (15% or 18%), but only for parties of six or more, so it's not surprising either that there was such a gratuity included on your bill or that it wasn't mentioned more prominently.

                      1. re: owades

                        legally, that charge needs to be stated someplace. it's usually in small print on the bottom of a menu.

                        1. re: hotoynoodle

                          My understanding as well. It was not on the menu.

                        2. re: owades

                          It was not mentioned nor noted on the menu. I have issue with policy but expect it to be noted.