"The food is frequently beautiful and delicious," writes Devra First in a Globe review of Cafe ArtScience, pointing out a "perfectly composed" artichoke soup, tortellini with "the silkiest skins," and a carpaccio "canvas" for "shavings of truffle, bites of lobster, scattered microgreens, and dollops of XO sauce." Yet despite the restaurant's name and its background story, namely the crazy food-related inventions of co-owner David Edwards, a scientist, "things don't smoke or spin" in the dining room, and chef Patrick Campbell's dishes are "different, but not as different as one might expect." First writes:
"Dishes don't feel like science lessons. They are instead a careful scrutinizing and rearranging of traditional fare...just a little more whizbang wouldn't hurt — at least to bring the food more in line with the beverage program."
(Todd Maul's bar program veers into science territory with "vaporized spirits" and "lime juice clarified in a centrifuge." It is a "four-star bar," First declares.)
While there are pretty and interesting things to eat and drink at Cafe ArtScience, the portions can be "restrained" — "while the prices are not." Overall, she finds that "every aspect of Cafe ArtScience is lavished with care and presented with enthusiasm," and she grants it two-and-a-half stars out of four, between "good" and "excellent."
Also in the Globe this week, Cilantro Chinese Cuisine, a new restaurant in Harvard Square, gets a "Cheap Eats" write-up by Ellen Bhang. The Sichuan-style bubbling fish, a "fiery dish," is "just the dish for you" if you're in the mood for some "warming winter fare." In fact, "many" of the dishes are examples of spicy Sichuan cuisine, although there are some Americanized classics available as well, like General Gau's and chow mein. Try the "addictive" roast beef tendon with chile sauce, the weekend dim sum offerings (mostly "hits," especially the spare ribs with black beans and the braised pig's ears), and the "silky" chicken soup with corn.