by Christine Liu - 156 Reviews - 111 List
Cambridge's Kendall Square, home to some of the finest geek scenes we know in the city (MIT, Google and Microsoft, to name just a few), has a dining scene as smart as its tech-savvy denizens. Rosemary fries! Almond joy pancakes! Gin cocktails to believe in! Seek these local restaurants for a quick, astonishingly tasty bite on the go or a leisurely late-night graze. We're engineering a future--a tasty, tasty future.
(Photo: Emma's Pizza by Christine Liu)
Updated: November 19, 2009
We'd go to hither and yon for Hungry Mother's addictive French-technique-on-Southern-cuisine delights, but the diminutive restaurant and even more teensy bar is only but a sweet little stroll from the square. Between luscious bowls of grits, pickled beef tongue canapes and a formidable drink list that spans both gorgeous Bourbon cocktails and a 40-ouncer of Miller High Life (served in a brown bag, no less), this comfort den is easily one of the most lovable restaurants in Boston.
The subterranean Blue Room has been quietly executing its intensely market-driven menu (featuring local ingredients and housemade everything) before all these old-school trends jumped the mainstream bandwagon. Its mutable vibe is relaxed yet upscale, rustic yet sophisticated, to the tune of wild boar and barley vegetable soup and a Moroccan-spiced roasted Giannone Farm chicken. Head in for dinner or Sunday's lavish brunch with a cult following.
Breakfast all day? We're sold already. But this place doesn't just "do" breakfast, it careens into it full-blast with belly-busting action. The Friendly Toast, a kitsch-filled restaurant that's a gewgaw explosion, serves up heaving platters, from an Omelet Built to Kill with three types of meats and red-chile pecans to Le Petit Monstre chicken burrito with Tabasco cream cheese. Go hungry, we beg you.
No matter when you go, Emma's will be packed. It's a given and rightfully deserved, so be patient (wine or beer helps bide the time) while daydreaming about the blistered thin-crust pizzas and delectable Italian sandwiches to come. Alternatively, one can always sidle to the by-the-slice counter, which services the hungry in a hurry. Emma's gorgeous cracker crust, an addictive rosemary pizza sauce and the homey atmosphere make it a win for any eating opportunity.
Yes, it's a truck. Yes, it doles sandwiches and soups. And yes, it is one of the most status-quo-crushing kitchens we've witnessed in a long time. The savvy business with playful branding, engineered by an MIT alum, not only uses technology effectively (with menu updates on Twitter and a streamlined iPhone-based ordering system), but also stresses local ingredients, vegetarian-friendly options for a quick, conscionable meal on a student's budget.