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Monday, July 16, 2012

Area Four: Pizza, Ice Cream and Salad oh my!

Area Four is one of my favorite new discoveries of 2012. It’s the second time I’ve been for dinner, and it is consistently tasty and well-priced. The restaurant is located in Kendall Square and is a bright space with beautiful exposed brick and many chalkboards around the restaurant.

We went on a Saturday night and arrived slightly before 7 after trying to go the Sunday before (they are closed for dinner). I was surprised that we had our pick of tables given how good it is. The highlight of my meal last time I went was the low fat soft-serve ice cream, so instead of ordering a drink to start, I asked about the ice cream flavors. Our server indulged me and brought me a taste of their berry ice cream. While it was good, it was more sherbet then it was ice cream and I didn't end up ordering it in the end. I was appreciative that they were willing to let me taste the sherbet even though I was acting out of order.

To start we ordered a watercress salad with farm fresh beets, feta and Greek yogurt dressing. Originally we were going to get the more simple salad with lemon vinaigrette, but after seeing the beauty of this salad at a table next to us, we ordered it. Given that the dressing was creamy, I was surprised at how light and perfect the salad was. There is something special about a colorful dish that makes the food that much more exciting. I appreciate knowing that whatever salad we ordered, it was all made with local ingredients.

Next, we ordered the summer vegetable and pancetta pizza. The pizza had a seasoned oil, cheese, pancetta, asparagus, peas and arugula salad on top. The combination was perfect. Coming from New York, I am extremely cautious when it comes to ordering pizza and this was some of the best pizza I’ve had in Boston. The crust was moist and flavorful, the peas that popped made the pizza that much more interesting. The pancetta added some extra flavor but not at the expense of added grease. The arugula salad on top had a bite the complimented the other ingredients well. The large is big enough to share!

I am a huge dessert fan and I love ice cream especially a banana split. Since my dining buddy and I were both going to order sundaes, we decided to up it a notch and share a vanilla banana split. This banana split was no plain vanilla dessert. The bananas came out caramelized with a crust like a perfect crème brule. There was hot fudge, candied nuts, fluff, whipped cream and liquor soaked cherries. The ice cream is dreamy and apparently is low fat!! This split was an adult version of my childhood favorites—creamy soft serve ice cream and cape cod banana splits—but better. I would say children beware because the cherries are soaked in some type of liquor and there was enough fudge to make a small child run around in circles for hours. It was my first ever fluff experience and I enjoyed the additional topping. I could go on and on about how much I love the ice cream at Area Four.

My advice to you—go to Area Four and run, this way you can eat more food because you burned the calories getting there. Just don’t run there for dinner on Sunday because you will find yourself sorely disappointed as they are closed. The food is delicious and affordable. The pizzas were low teens, ice cream sundaes priced comparably to ice cream stores and the salads are extremely sharable at under ten. The service was great, the manager friendly and I got to use Level Up to pay, which always makes me happy. I can’t wait to visit again soon and try what is supposed to be a delicious brunch. As long as I can get ice cream for dessert, I’m in!

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