500 Technology Square | Cambridge, MA 02139
The sick bug that had been going around campus for the past few weeks finally caught up to me on Tuesday. With a mild fever and a pounding headache, I only crawled out of my bed for a math midterm and food, and all I wanted was to be back at home in Pittsburgh with my family. Fortunately, my roommates, Justine and Alex, are two of the sweetest people I’ve met so far this year, and they kindly helped me through my time of sickness. From bringing me apple cider, to patiently dealing with my mid-conversation coughing spasms, I figured that this weekend would be a good time for all three of us to get off campus and try a new restaurant.
Located in Technology Square near Kendall Square, Area Four was a fifteen minute walk from dorm row (about three minutes away from the Stata Center). The tables were full, (not surprisingly, considering that it was 11:30 on a Sunday morning), so we chose to sit at the bar that was also full service. Young, rustic, and contemporary, the restaurant was peppered with wooden accents, and the coziness of the area pleasantly contrasted the chilly outside Boston weather.
I decided on Mac & Cheese topped with croissant crumbs, which I figured was the ideal choice for a recovering sick-person. And it was. The skillet was only about six inches in diameter, and an inch deep, but it was the perfect size for my appetite (though I would understand if a ravenous teenage boy’s diet would find the portion size much too small). Weirdly enough, the Mac & Cheese was made with shell pasta, but I actually appreciated the shells, because they had a greater surface area to pick up the cheese.
The cheese was slightly stringy, slightly creamy, but the croissant crumbs definitely completed the dish. Because the skillet was only one shell deep, each shell got a generous share of the crumbs. I’m not sure if I can confidently say that the dish was worth $12, simply because of the smaller-than-expected portions, but I am glad to have tried it.
Justine requires a gluten-free diet because of her celiac disease, an autoimmune disease which affects the small intestines when gluten is ingested. Thankfully, the bartender was extremely attentive to Justine’s dietary restrictions, and checked with the kitchen to make sure that Justine’s choice was gluten-free and would not be cross contaminated with other gluten-containing dishes. She got a mocha and The Hot Mess, which was a skillet with home fries, bacon, sausage, caramelized onions, cheddar, two sunny side up eggs, topped with scallions and pickled banana pepper relish. The mocha was beautifully presented in a small glass cup with a leaf design in the foam on top, and her entrée was also quite attractive in the small skillet on a wooden slab.
Justine: I think the banana pepper relish on top… made it.
Tara: Made it?
Justine: Yeah, I don’t usually like banana peppers, but I actually think they brought out the other flavors in the dish.
Tara: So it was a good choice?
Justine: Definitely. It was also layered, so I got a bit of everything with each bite. And the cheese didn’t cover up the other flavors, which happens a lot with breakfast dishes I think.
Tara: Do you think you’d get it again?
Justine: I think so! I wouldn’t get it all the time, because it was $12. But, it was $12 well spent because I’m full, but not overly stuffed.
Alex got The Breakfast Sandwich, which was an egg frittata, maple-sage breakfast sausage, and aged cheddar on an English muffin.
Alex: I love breakfast sandwiches.
Tara: Do you like this breakfast sandwich?
Alex: I feel like I’m a connoisseur of breakfast sandwiches.
Alex: And this one’s good. First of all, everything fits on this sandwich, which doesn’t always happen. I can definitely taste the sage in the sausage, which makes this one unique I’d say. The English muffin is fluffy and soft, and cheddar is my favorite kind of cheese. So this was awesome.
Tara: Worth $7?
Lastly, we all decided to share a dessert called Affogato, which was vanilla ice cream topped with Barrington Gold Espresso. The ice cream was served in a little cup, and the bartender poured the even littler cup of espresso over the ice cream in front of us. The espresso by itself was too bitter for my taste (though I imagine that’s what espresso is supposed to taste like), but when coupled with the vanilla ice cream, the dessert tasted like a sweet, creamy, iced coffee.
Overall, Area Four is a great once-in-a-while restaurant: It has delicious food, but moderate/high prices for the smaller portions. I would definitely not make a weekly trip here, but I’d be glad to visit again sometime in the future and try something new. 8/10