Fuse News Food Review: The Hungry Carp Has Brunch at Area Four

By The Hungry Carp.

Brunch at Area Four, 500 Technology Square, Cambridge, MA.

Area Four — all glass and metal

Imagine a space designed by engineers. Wide open. Light and airy. All glass and metal. Nice view of neatly-mowed lawns. But inside, impersonal. Long, loud tables with intense conversations in both ears. Knowledge-burdened Ph.D.’s and passionate, young mothers, deep into their problems and their futures. You had to compete to converse.

And the sequence! Before you order, you get a huge sticky bun. It’s like getting dessert before the meal. OK, it’s free and that’s nice. But the bun . . . heavy, sticky. Cloying. If you’ve ever had an Entenmann’s right out of the box, you know what you’re in for. Area 4 slathers it with icing, perhaps to distract your attention. “C’est la sauce qui fait passer le poisson.” And this within a few miles of Japonaise and the Danish Bakery. A second basket of free baked goods, also present at the beginning, contained excellent tid-bits.

Our main dishes were good. We each ordered the Hot Mess. Fried eggs, sunny-side up, sitting on top of potatoes, bacon, and various tasty ingredients, served in an iron skillet. Entertaining and tasty. The lattes were OK but hardly Peets quality, and they materialized some undetermined time after the Messes first arrived at the table. Not what you’d expect from efficiency-minded designers.

We were four and we were given four seats at one of those long tables but right over our shoulder was a smaller table with exactly for four chairs. Reserved, we were told, by and for the owners. They never showed up.

The wait-staff did their best. They were uniformly polite even though any reasonably gifted future therapists among them probably sensed our impatience.

As an excursion into the world of soft- and hardware, not too bad. But for wet-ware (the human brain and its need for nice), go elsewhere.

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