There is a truly choice short list (12 taps) of draft beers, of which the Jack's Abby "JabbyBrau" ($4/eight ounces; $6/16 ounces; $20/64 ounces) was a standout. This Framingham lager has an excellent hop hit at a modest 4.5 percent alcohol, and is just delightful with food. My cocktail, "the Sazerac" ($11), may have been distorted by using the 92-proof Redemption Rye. Even with Peychaud's bitters and the traditional wash of absinthe, this cocktail is "hot" with bare alcohol despite a nice sequence of sweet and bitter impressions.
Leaf tea ($2.25) service is top notch, and yes, you can have French-press coffee and decaf ($5), each arriving with an hourglass egg timer so you know when to plunge. The decaf thus produced is about two and a half six-ounce cups of hot, fresh beverage, though not so strong or aromatic as the very best. But the technique is impeccable.
The chef-owner's French side pops out again with the apple-almond galette ($12), a terrific piece of pastry with just enough apple filling. Ignore the scoop of mascarpone on top, which looks like vanilla ice cream but tastes like cold unsweetened cream cheese.
Do not, however, miss the whipped crème frâiche on top of the olive-oil chocolate cake ($8), as it lends both lightness and a tart note to a powerfully dense flourless cake.
This is an all-day restaurant, and many people working in the area may never get to much of the dinner menu. On a recent early Saturday night, there were quire a few families with small children. The room gets darker as the world does, since the tables are dark wood, and the lamps are fluorescents bounced off more dark wood, creating a warm but limited glow. Despite many hard surfaces, it is not the loudest restaurant around, and one can hear some classic rock and soul through the din.
Robert Nadeau can be reached at email@example.com.
AREA FOUR |500 TECHNOLOGY SQUARE, CAMBRIDGE | 617.758.4444 | AREAFOUR.COM | OPEN MONDAY–WEDNESDAY, 7 AM–10 PM; THURSDAY AND FRIDAY, 7 AM–11 PM; SATURDAY, 9 AM–11 PM; AND SUNDAY, 9 AM–5 PM | AE, DI, MC, VI | FULL BAR | FREE PARKING IN TECHNOLOGY SQUARE GARAGE (800 TECHNOLOGY SQUARE) WITH VALIDATION | STREET-LEVEL ACCESS TO SOME TABLES