We are finding ourselves at the bar at Cafe Art Science more and more lately. It’s tough to beat the steady service and laid back atmosphere. Even on the weekends it’s not a zoo, despite the considerable amount of local and national press they have garnered lately. Todd, Greg and the rest of the crew have been the most accessible bartenders in the city since their Clio days. No pretense, just great cocktails. It is fun and interesting to see and hear how they are putting the drinks together. It’s nice to be able to tell them general likes or wants and have them nail the perfect cocktail.
The food isn’t totally overshadowed by the bar either. Our first few visits had hits and misses, but the menu has grown more consistent over time. As might be expected, sticking to the plates the bar team recommends is usually a safe bet. The other night I particularly enjoyed their steak tartare. I’m waiting for the mushroom and egg dish from last winter to come back.
The menu is in my “special occasion” price level. Would you be willing to describe the food that you have enjoyed the most, beyond the steak tartare?
This is in Massachusetts, right? Not NH or VT?
yes, it’s Cambridge MA. It’s in Kendall Square, near MIT.
The menu does turn over quite frequently, so specific recs are a bit tough to nail down. They do a great job with fish, I enjoyed the hake on my most recent visit and had one of the most satisfying pieces of halibut ever there over the summer. Fish and meat are always cooked perfectly. I suppose it would be a letdown if they weren’t with the lab and science connotations. I’m not a dessert person, but those are another strength.
Some memorable dishes from visits past, beyond the already mentioned fantastic mushroom and egg, include the roast chicken (accompaniments change but the dish is always bursting with flavor and pleasantly presented); the smoked salmon app (again accompaniments change, but this is always on the menu, the flavor of the beautiful wild salmon always comes through); in the spring that had a beef carpaccio with lobster and truffles that knocked my head back. Desserts are always creative and worth getting, and this is coming from a non dessert fan. There was a charcuterie plate as a special on our last visit that let us down. It was all terrines and pates, some of which were quite similar. I hope for a wider assortment including cured meats on a charcuterie board.
I have never sat in the dining room, always the bar. Cafe Art Science is interesting that the cocktails, desserts and uniqueness of the concept and space share the stage with the food. However the food is right there with the other components. If you go, make it a point to check out the exhibitions at the adjacent and affiliated Le Laboratoire, they are quite interesting and the bar team always has interesting insight to add afterward.
Thank you… very helpful indeed.
I’ve gone several times, each time starting with snacks and drinks at the bar, then having a full meal with friends in the dining room.
The food was all very tasty and well thought out, and some dishes were absolutely standouts – the rabbit terrine is just amazing, and my roast chicken with truffles was delicious – but I didn’t have anything from the dinner menu that was a knockout (with the exception of that terrine!) and nothing was extraordinarily imaginative, just solid and classy. The bar, however, is Willie Wonka’s playland, and Todd & Greg are some of the most helpful, friendly, personable bartenders I’ve met. As uni says, there’s zero pretension there. It feels like kids playing in a candy store.
I’ve dined there twice for dinner. The first night I had a beautiful fish dish that had this really fantastic broth, while the fish was seared nicely with crisp skin. It came with an assortment of wild vegetables, some of which I can’t even name. The 2nd dinner was a total splurge for me and a birthday dinner for my sister. I had a lovely tuna appetizer that was paired with aji amarillo, and then a duck breast that had a nice crispy rice (think of the toasted rice pieces stuck to the bowl of bimbimbap) and a blueberry sauce. They were really good. I also had a lovely blueberry cheesecake dessert.
There are no complaints on the food from me. My sister had the huitlacoche pasta that I sampled, and it was delicious - not much of the expected huitlacoche funk. Portions are admittedly small, relative to the price, but I didn’t find the dishes too small for me. The desserts offer some of the additional molecular “cool” appeal, in terms of presentation. The three I’ve sampled were all good, and I’m not a dessert person. The drinks (alcoholic and non-alcoholic) can be crazy good and very unique.
Someone from another board directed me to this thread and I have to add my snaps to the folks at Cafe ArtScience. The drinks were fun and fantastic. The service was some of the best we have experienced in greater Boston in a long time and the food was spot on. More here with pictures and full description - http://www.pearlsandoysters.com/2015/12/08/boston-cafe-artscience/ We really loved it!