Le Laboratoire Cambridge recently moved into the first floor of an office building in Kendall Square (for the locals confused by the vague google maps directions, it's across the ice skating rink from Aceituna). Le Laboratoire is a museum and learning center dedicated to the arts, creativity, and science. They recently opened a flagship restaurant that melds their motto into food, called Cafe ArtScience.
We ended up sitting at tables in the bar area, meaning we could order from both the bar and dining room menus, which was a great choice.
I ordered the Johnny C to drink, and the combination of vodka, lime, chartreuse, St. Germain, and orange bitters was far more balanced than the tiki drink I had the first time (there was mango pulp formed into discs throughout the drink, making it look cool, but they didn't dissolve until the very end, giving me a very dry drink and then very sugary ice water...not good). Sadly, they were out of the Waft-Tiki, a drink with a vapor component and special ice cubes - so that's something for next time!
They focus on French dishes, and since I'd never tried leeks aux vinaigrette, I went for it! The leeks were good, but honestly, I could have eaten about three pounds of the crab they used for garnish, it was definitely the star of the plate.
We were also delivered the most devastatingly good salt-kissed focaccia, and ordered the cheese plate from the dessert menu to come out as an appetizer. A small wheel of cheese, a schmear of honey, and marcona almonds, it was delightful. The mixed nuts we ordered were tasty, but on the oily and messy side.
The desserts of the evening were great! Sarah and I shared a cherry wood smoked cake with angostura geleé, maraschino cherries, angostura toile, marshmallo, and a cherry puree.
All in all? I'm thrilled that there's another addition to the Kendall Square roster. My strategy next time would be to gather up some moderately hungry friends, order the cheese plate and one entree (to make sure that there would be lots of bread), drinks, and lots of dessert. Though the main courses were tasty, they are expensive for what you get. In comparison, the $12 desserts or drinks are a better value. And if you have really hungry people, there are better places to get a good deal (Area Four!)