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May 11, 2014 05:57 AM

Kendall Sq Lunch?

Kendall is an area that I haven't spent a lot of time in recently.

I have reason to be there at lunch time a few times in the near future. looking for "sit down,nicer places" for this inquiry.

I went to A4 the last trip. had a clam bacon pizza and chicken salad that were both delicious.

Looked at Catalyst and will probably go there next. Also saw West Bridge and have that pencilled in.

I know about Atasca and Mulan.

Any others that I should have on my list? Or any place I should avoid?


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  1. Catalyst and West Bridge are great choices. I'd add Commonwealth for sure. Great sandwiches.

    5 Replies
    1. re: mkfisher

      Would smoked rabbit confit salad sound good to you? Then consider EVOO for lunch. (Check the menu first to see if it's on that day; it's one of their "medium" plates.)

      I just had this salad for dinner on Friday -- two days later, my husband and I are still talking about how delicious it was.

      The day we dined at EVOO, the rabbit confit salad was a delicious tangle of small wild greens, shreds of smoked rabbit confit, cherries (soaked in port?), laced with bits of nuts and cheese. I was too busy swooning over the greens/rabbit/cherries combo to note the particular types of nuts/cheese, which were background players anyway. Moderate portion size. (You could enjoy another course or share dessert too if you're on the hungrier side.)

      To offer you a comparison, my husband had a grilled haloumi salad at Tatte for lunch the same day. He really enjoys that Tatte salad, but at a price of just $1 more, was blown away by the smoked rabbit confit salad at EVOO. He thinks the Tatte salad might be bigger than the EVOO salad, FYI.

      The smoked rabbit confit salad ran $14 at dinner. That salad plus a glass of the dolcetto ($11) that was on the menu would be my idea of a light, heavenly lunch. That would be a splurge for me at lunch, but oh those luxurious flavors.

      1. re: tomatotomato

        tomtom, that amazing fantastic salad has been on the menu sice they opened (where Bergamot is now) and the only problem with it is that My Love and I HAVE to have it whenever we eat at EVOO. We have never grown tired of it!

        1. re: opinionatedchef

          Many thanks for the tip, opinionated chef! The promise of rabbit confit salad will surely woo us back to EVOO. (If there are any other dishes that stand out for you there, do feel free to mention them! Yes, I'll take note for a future visit.)

      2. re: mkfisher

        Which sandwiches do you recommend at Commonwealth? I've only been there twice, but I've found the sandwiches I've tried to be better on paper than in reality. It's a decent option if in Kendall, and the sandwiches are good, just not great. I've had the roast beef, which looks incredible, but ate somewhat bland. The beef was lacking in flavor and the sauce didn't have enough horseradish kick for my taste. I'd definitely opt for the roast beef from Flour (toward MIT/Central) every time over the Commonwealth version. The hot pastrami Rachel was more enjoyable than the roast beef, but not something I'm racing back for. It's tough to go wrong with the sum of those ingredients, but the pastrami itself was a bit lean. Perhaps I just got a bad cut. There is no direct comparison in Kendall, but for context I'd rank the pastrami below LaGrassa's or even Michael's Deli, and not in the same league as Moody's (but not much is).

        1. re: black_lab

          I agree on the roast beef. I quite liked the pastrami, but agree the pastrami does fall on the lean side. I've also really enjoyed the turkey sandwich. That's what I usually order, mainly because it feels a little healthier than the pastrami.

      3. Catalyst is my favorite but Abigail's might have a place on your list. I had a nice lunch there but have only been once for lunch. Mostly because Catalyst has become our "go to lunch: lady's choice in Kendall.

        1. Love EVOO and Catalyst. Maybe Abigail's as another option?

          6 Replies
          1. re: teezeetoo

            We live in the hood and haven't been to Abigail's in over a year. It's perfectly fine, but there are so many other better places for your dining dollars.

            1. re: teezeetoo

              Catalyst is a nice space but in my experience inconsistent. It gets tons of love here though.

              mkfisher we will agree to disagree about Abagail's, I am very fond of it. It has an innovative seafood and pork theme going, nice bartending, it's my current favorite in Kendall.

              Kendall is a square, in my humble opinion, that continues to miss its potential given the number of tech hipsters of means in the area.

              Oh, agree that West Bridge is very good.

              1. re: Carty

                What have you not liked at Catalyst?

                Funny, inconsistent is how I would describe Abigail's. I've had good stuff, but have had some misses. Also, the bartending is very uneven. Had a bartender free pour a negroni. Have also had to return an Ommegang Witte that was all kinds of funky off a fresh keg. Small sample for sure. What innovative seafood and pork dishes have you liked at Abigail's? All I remember is some BBQ-ish stuff like the breakfast sandwich and ribs, and some pretty basic fish tacos. It's been awhile since I visited, so clearly things could have changed.

                1. re: mkfisher

                  I'm with you. Catalyst wins this one. My last 2 experiences at Abigail's were poor enough that I decided not to return until I start reading lots of positive things. I really wanted to love it. I walk by it every day.

                  If you like sushi and are in the Kendall Square area, give Fuji at Kendall a try. They are very popular around here. Just down the street from Abigail's, but on the other side.

                  1. re: mvi

                    I love Fuji, and Tatte is VERY good. I particularly like the arugula avocado salad with chicken and the tomato tarte tatin. Really fresh and delicious. Fuji can be pricy for lunch ($14 for the lunch bento box, e.g.) but it too is good and fresh.

                    I will third the relative sloppiness at Abigail's both in service and in food quality. Which is too bad - I want so much to like it and have given it every chance - it is next to my building so we often have work lunches there. I can't say I have ever been really happy. So sad. :(

                  2. re: mkfisher

                    I go to both a lot (I get stuck in Kendall for lunch frequently) and just wanted to share my general and highly subjective assessment. I don't have a good mind for recalling specific dishes.

                    Consistent with the "pork and seafood" thing on the current menu at Abagail's would be the pulled pork hash, the fried porkchop sandwich, well handled oysters, stuffed squid.

                    As for Catalyst inconsistency my lovely wife joined me for lunch recently, she's a pescatarian, on that particular day she had few choices, she went with a risotto that was uninspired, flavorless.

                    I am not a Catalyst hater, for me Abagail's a little more real, Catalyst a little more precious. Apples and oranges, you like oranges, that's cool.

              2. Thx all. That gives me plenty to work with.

                2 Replies
                1. re: 9lives

                  I like Aceitun, which is never CH mentioned. When they do their special, Rice w/lentils and beef (toum or something like that) I am in heaven. Colorful decor, light filled, comfortable, but not white tablecloths.

                  1. re: opinionatedchef

                    Yes, Aceituna is my favorite lunch spot around here. But I thought the OP was looking for something more formal. Aceituna is self-serve and the line at 12:30pm is out the door most of the time.

                    I usually get the chicken plate and ask for rice and lentils instead of regular rice. This doesn't go over well with the people working the line, but they do it.

                2. I like Amelias for sit down casual but Day-um that room is loud!