After a brief hiatus, a Cambridge restaurant known for its immaculate design-focused dishes returns, having undergone a few major changes in terms of staffing and even the restaurant’s name. Cafe ArtScience is now ArtScience Culture Lab & Cafe, and it has an added focus on innovation, design, and exhibition, according to Boston Magazine.
Earlier this summer, ArtScience lost its executive chef Brandon Baltzley, who had replaced opening executive chef Patrick Campbell in January. Campbell had departed to work on opening a “neighborhood bar and restaurant” in Stoneham, as previously reported; Baltzley is now focusing on his pop-up dinner series on the Cape, the Buffalo Jump, among other projects. Additionally, ArtScience lost opening partner and cocktail maestro Todd Maul in June. Like Campbell, he wants to simplify things and open his own “neighborhood bar.”
Cafe ArtScience’s evolution to ArtScience Cafe comes with an influx of new talent. Tenzin Samdo will take over as bar director, reports Boston Magazine; he is departing his current position at Tavern Road in the fall. Samdo has garnered praise since his days at Trade and will be a partner at ArtScience when he joins. He will introduce a brand new cocktail menu at the restaurant and has been consulting with other beverage experts, including Tom Schlesinger-Guidelli (who was the longtime Island Creek Oyster Bar general manager but now consults in various places) and Jared Sadoian (The Hawthorne, the Kirkland Tap & Trotter, more).
Samdo’s new menu will draw inspiration from plants and animals, Boston Magazine reports, with names like Bird-of-Paradise and Pika. The drinks will incorporate ingredients like honey-lychee foam and date palm syrup — and because of the “science” part of ArtScience, technology will be used to enhance aromas.
In the kitchen, Carolina Curtin (formerly of Haley.Henry Wine Bar and Menton) steps in as chef de cuisine and will be working with pastry chef Giselle Miller, who remains on staff from before the hiatus. (See the video below for an example of her beautiful dessert work.) Additionally, Salvatore Rappo will take over as director of operations with Mark Grande (Bondir, Craigie on Main) as general manager.
Expect to see some changes to the food menu as well, including new items like chicken liver mousse and rib eye with shaved asparagus, plus an expanded price range and quicker options.
ArtScience first opened on Halloween 2014 in a flurry of flavor clouds and WikiFoods. Current operating hours are 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. for weekday lunch; 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. for dinner Monday through Saturday; 11 a.m. to midnight for the bar on weekdays; and 5 p.m. to midnight for the bar on Saturdays. ArtScience is closed Sundays.