The only thing better than trying a new restaurant for my favorite meal of the week (brunch), is trying it with a new friend. My brunching pal and I met back in October through work and we've been having a blast around the city together ever since.
For our most recent outing, we decided to dine at Area Four in Kendall Square in Cambridge. As I mentioned in my Abigail's review, Kendall Square has become a restaurant mecca in the last two years. I have been wanting to try Area Four for over a year now.
We arrived at 10:30am on a Saturday morning and Technology Square was very still and quiet.
I love the overhang jutting out from Area Four's front door. I especially love that they put additional signage on the itty bitty end of the canopy.
Area Four has a mega branded front door making sure you know exactly where to join the fun.
When we walked in, the restaurant was drenched in sunlight.
To the left of the hostess stand is the bar. The modern look of the chrome and red industrial style chairs is killer.
The hostess walked us to the back of the dining room which is up a few steps. At the time we sat down, we had the whole place to ourselves.
The industrial vibe continues with the black and dark wood ceiling decor, which my dad the architect would tell you is meant to minimize the noise in the space.
From our seats I noticed the stack of fire wood climbing up to the kitchen's bar. Area Four is best known for the wood oven pizzas and I love that they worked the wood storage into the design.
We could also see the bright orange flames dancing in the oven.
In addition to the great view within the restaurant, we were also seated against floor to ceiling windows, giving us an excellent view into Technology Square. That day it happened to be covered in snow, but I would imagine in the nice weather, it's a fantastic back drop.
The Area Four menu is divided into brunch and lunch offerings. I refrained from eating all morning so I could really enjoy this meal.
At the suggestion of my brunch date we started with bloody Marys. The Area Four rendition tastes fresh and spicy, but not overly hot, and adds extra freshness with a giant spear of celery.
When our waitress put down the glasses she said, "Here are your bloody Marys, a meal in themselves." She was totally right. We both only made it half way down before we had to tap out.
I'd heard from a fellow food blogging friend that the pastries at Area Four are the star of the kitchen, so I suggested we share the basket of goodies that is offered as a starter. Our basket came with a slice of banana bread, a croissant and a chocolate chip scone.
I wanted to love the banana bread, as it was the first thing I tasted, but it wasn't moist enough. My mom's banana bread still remains queen. The croissant was flaky and buttery and the chocolate chip scone had me savoring every granule of sugar that topped it.
We both ordered what Area Four calls the Hot Mess. Such a perfect name for a brunch dish!
The mess comes in a skillet. It's two sunny side up eggs over home fries, caramelized onions, mushrooms, spinach and cheddar cheese. That delicious combination is then topped with scallions and pickled banana pepper relish.
I think I'm in love.
The hot mess was superb. Though you know there are countless delicious individual ingredients, what you taste in every bite is harmony of perfectly paired flavors, delivering you to brunch nirvana.
At this point you would think we'd had enough, but when our waitress offered a dessert menu, we had to take a look. Plus, who offers dessert after brunch?
There were four dessert choices and we went with the house made soft serve. The flavor of the day was salted caramel and our waitress recommended topping it was chocolate sauce and chocolate sprinkles.
Here is what we were handed:
The frozen yogurt was creamy and the salted caramel flavor was wonderful. The sprinkles added an extra dash of sugary goodness. My friend said she tried their mint flavor last summer and hasn't tasted any fro yo as good since. I will definitely come back for the mint.
After all that food and drinking we both headed towards the ladies room. Area Four has the most hilarious signs throughout the restaurant that point people to the bathroom. It starts here:
As you walk toward the open kitchen you see this:
And when you reach the bar up front you finally see this:
When we came out of the bathroom, we saw that the bar that was empty when we arrived at 10:30am, was now packed. Notice that the light fixtures are made of beer growlers!
Area Four also has a cafe area up front that has more of a coffee shop/take out vibe. The light fixtures in there are made from tea pots and glass measuring cups.
Though our brunch at Area Four was awesome, I can't help but look forward to my next visit when I plan to try one of those wood oven pizzas! I could see them on neighboring tables and that speckled, bubbling crust looked outstanding.
Visit Area Four at 500 Technology Square in Kendall Square. You can take the red line to the Kendall/MIT stop or park on the street at one of the many meters. In the meantime, you can follow them on Twitter, @Area_Four.