On Church Street in Harvard Square, across the street from the always busy Border Cafe, and behind an unassuming brick store front, lies a hidden jewel of the Boston dining scene - Cambridge 1.
If you haven't been let in on the secret, its pretty easy to stroll right past this extraordinary spot. In the space next to door to Lizzy's ice cream, Cambridge 1 serves only five things - wine, beer, thin crust pizza, salad, and Toscanini's tiramisu ice cream.
Cambridge 1 is of the philosophy that you should pick one thing and do it right. Their specialty of choice: pizza and salad. The restaurant menu offers 5 kinds of salad and 13 varieties of their signature thin crust pizza. On this trip, I ordered the bibb lettuce salad and my dinner date ordered the iceberg wedge. The bibb lettuce salad comes with cherry tomatoes, gorganzola cheese, a bit of cilantro and is dressed in a tangy lemon vinegarette. Yum-o!
The great thing about the dining style of Cambridge 1 is, they know you won't be able to choose just one kind of pizza, so you can order a half size. If you try two varieties, they will bring both half orders on one plate! Its like putting a topping on only one half of the pizza, without having to worry that the toppings you don't want are spilling onto your half. Come on, you know what I'm talking about.
This time at dinner we tried the roasted onion pizza and the potato pizza. Now I know what you're thinking, potato on a pizza? Sounds too carb heavy, right? Wrong! The potatoes are so thinly sliced, and placed on top of a white pizza, that it actually seems light somehow. And the combination of cheeses, plus the rosemary accent makes for a surprisingly delicious, warm, and well seasoned treat!
While feasting on these one of kind flavor combinations, you'll enjoy the modern look of Cambridge 1. With concrete floors, black table tops, chrome chairs, and wood paneled walls, it feels like you are in a restaurant in New York City's meat packing district. The restaurant has a bar with stools for food/drinks, booths down the middle, tables at the back, and another bar with stools across the front windows so you can people watch while you wait to be seated.
There are two special booths along the right wall, set into the wall itself, where birthday parties are often seated. I have yet to sit there myself, but its on my list of dining to-do's.
Most pizza leaves you feeling stuffed and ashamed while the Cambridge 1 pizza leaves you feeling satisfied and already devising a plan for which two pizzas you'll try next.
So the next time the line at Border Cafe or Fire and Ice is too long to bare, sneak on over to Cambridge 1. Your taste buds will be so happy you did.