500 Technology Square
Cambridge, MA 02139
Among a crop of new restaurants to open in Cambridge's technology-driven Area IV neighborhood in late spring 2011, Area Four combines two distinct yet complementary concepts: a bakery/coffee house and a bar/oven.
Operating from early morning into late night, the restaurant starts its day serving coffee and freshly baked pastries, as well as sandwiches and other savory lunch items. On the other side of the 8x8-foot reclaimed barn door, the adjoining restaurant (open for lunch and dinner) serves simple, communal dishes presented "oven to table" from two showpiece, custom-built, wood-fired ovens that anchor the room and produce more than 90% of the menu.
Throughout both spaces, polished concrete flooring, floor-to-ceiling chalkboard menus, exposed ducting and quirky light fixtures set the tone for the Area Four experience - there are no extra frills; simplicity gives way to value. The beverage program is also deceptively simple with twelve rotating taps for local beers and twelve wines.
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A Newton native, Chef Michael Leviton learned his first cooking basics from his mother Roberta, a noted chef, and author of the now classic Jewish Low-Cholesterol Cookbook. He honed his skills during college at Wesleyan University, where he impressed his fellow students by cooking elaborate, multi-course meals on a single burner in his dorm room.
After graduation, armed with a degree in psychology, Leviton headed out into the world to learn his craft. And learn he did. His experience working with many of today's most celebrated chefs covers both coasts - with San Francisco mainstays like Joyce Goldstein at Square One, Alain Rondelli at Ernie's, Elka Gilmore at Liberte and at Elka restaurant in the Miyako Hotel, as well as East Coast heavyweights Daniel Boulud at New York's Le Cirque, and Francois Payard and Eric Ripert at Le Bernadin.
Returning to the Boston area, Leviton was Executive Chef at Up Stairs at the Pudding until in February 1999 he opened Lumière, an upscale French bistro in West Newton. With its menu of simple, seasonal dishes created from locally and sustainably raised and harvested ingredients, Lumière has received numerous accolades - Best New Restaurant to open in 1999, Bon Appetit; Best New Restaurant and Best New Chef, Boston Magazine, 1999; Gourmet magazine's Best Restaurant in America, 2002; The Saveur 100, 2002; a mention in Alan Richman's Perfect Meal Column in GQ, 2002; Distinguished Restaurants of North America (DiRoNA) Awards in 2005, 2006 and 2007; and Best of Boston Awards from Boston Magazine in 1998, 2001, 2003, 2005 and 2006.
In 2008, Leviton, who was named one of the Best New Chefs in America for 2000 by Food & Wine and is a regular contender for the James Beard Best Chef: Northeast Award, opened his second restaurant, Persephone at the Achilles Project in Fort Point Channel. Housed in a striking Summer Street storefront, Persephone features Leviton's award-winning cuisine on seasonally-inspired menu of small to mid-sized plates made with local, sustainable ingredients.