Where: Area Four – 500 Technology Square Cambridge, MA 02139
When: March, 2012
Last week our field staff were in town for a two day training so I was put in charge of choosing where our large group would be eating dinner – no idea why they picked me as I can’t stand thinking about food.
The natural first choice was Area Four which is steps from our new office space in Tech Sq. I had been there before in my pre-blogging days so was excited to be able to review it this time. We sat at the same large table in the back which is a great spot to to see everything going on from the kitchen to the outside courtyard. The restaurant has a very casual but modern feel with high ceilings and a lot of stainless steel. Even with so much space and metal they manage to make it feel comfortable and personal with their layout and details.
I was nominated to order red for the table so got us a litre of the Guintrandy Rhone Blend which went down like water after a day of meetings and trainings (read: it was good). We then got a couple orders of the Garlic Knots with pecorino & gremolata to share (per Daniela’s strong recommendation). I wish this photo did the knots justice but I couldn’t get a good photo and refused to keep trying as it was catching my boss’ attention who was starting to think it was a little strange that I was photographing our food. These little orbs were soft, chewy puffs of garlicky heaven. They were smothered in garlic so I encouraged everyone at the table to try them as not to isolate any one person who would quickly feel like the only vampire at the table otherwise.
As the server went around the table taking orders everyone was trying to match up pizzas to share. Shockingly, no one wanted to share my Wellfleet Cherrystone Clam & Bacon pizza which came with clam sauce, pecorino, hot pepper, and parsley. Everyone seemed a little disturbed by the thought of clams on pizza but after having the memorable pizza with mussels at Trade I was up for it. The pizza was good! Not to sound surprised but everything worked really well together. It was fairly salty between the bacon, clams and cheese but the hot pepper, which wasn’t overly hot, cut through the saltiness and the parsley added a layer of freshness. The dough was also very good – a thin crust with puffy soft pockets. It made me want to order a side of ranch or something fatty to dip it in to but then I reminded myself that I just ate an entire pizza by myself.
The clam pizza is the one on top of the rack in this photo. The one below is the Puttanesca which has green olives, capers, anchovies, tomatoes, hot peppers, mozzarella, pecorino and parsley. I almost got this one as I love anchovies but I’m still working on loving olives so I held off. A little bit of food history for you – did you know that Puttanesca means “in the style of a prostitute” in Italian? Apparently way back in the day (what day, don’t ask) in Italy the wives complained that they didn’t want the prostitutes shopping in their markets so the prostitutes were only allowed one set afternoon a week to shop for all their food. Because of this they stocked up on nonperishable canned items like anchovies and olives that would keep longer. The prostitutes created a pasta dish with all these items and it was dubbed Pasta Puttanesca (Prostitute’s Pasta). Good for them for creating a dish that has become so popular.
Overall, the service was great and I love the atmosphere. They know how to take care of a big group although I am sure it would be a great place to go to with a smaller group as well. The food was all above par, I’d definitely go back and likely will. Often.