Urban Hearth is exactly the type of place that I've always wanted near my home.
This warm and cozy little restaurant is tucked away on Mass Ave between Porter Square and Arlington. The cafe is anchored by a hearth in which they bake bread and create a rotating set of seasonally-inspired dishes. It's a cafe by day and then a supper club on weekends (currently offering a family-style prix fixe multi-course dinner only on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights).
I haven't had a chance to truly explore their baked goods nor their cool supper club, but I did have a chance to enjoy a lovely lunch there on a lazy Sunday afternoon, and I fell in love with the place.
You know that you really connect well with a cafe when you really want to order everything that's on the menu and you can't it down. That's how both my dining companion and I felt about Urban Hearth. We finally decided to share a few things.
One cool thing Urban Heath offers is a chance to sample either three or five items off of their "Nosh" menu, which is conveniently written on a black chalkboard on the wall of the cafe. The Nosh menu has small bites (pinchos, nibbles, whatever you want to call them), which remind me a lot of Spanish pinchos.
We ended up choosing the grilled shishito peppers, boquerones (marinated fresh anchovies), fresh warm olives, beet-pickled hard boiled egg, and machengo cheese with walnuts and honey. It was all excellent and reasonably priced ($12 for three; $16 for five).
We also tried the Enchilada. I thought it would be really rich and cheesy, but I was pleasantly surprised to discover that underneath the browned cheese was a lot of tomatoes and red peppers, like some sort of sofrito or piperade. I loved how the acidic vegetables balanced out the richness of the cheese. I especially enjoyed the rustic house baked tortilla chips, which were not at all greasy and were nice and heavy with a solid crunch. I loved this dish too.
We also ordered a tomato, zucchini, basil, and mozzarella tartine which included their delicious hearth-baked bread. It was simple but fantastic.
I enjoyed my iced herbal tea (from MEM Tea).There's also a beer and wine list, which is probably great for dinner. Best yet, they serve various espresso-based drinks using beans from one of my favorite coffee brands, Barrington's Coffee from western Massachusetts.
After my lunch I went back up to get a cortado for "dessert." My friend liked the food so much he ordered a Cilantro Lime Braised Chicken with Quinoa and Avocado ($12) to take home for dinner later on that night.
I love how the food is fresh, healthy, and real. It is totally the type of place where I'd be perfectly happy eating both lunch and dinner (just like my friend, ha ha). If I weren't taking home leftovers, I would have totally considered doing the same.
Definitely check this place out! It's worth the slight detour from Porter Square. Parking on Mass Ave isn't too difficult in this area (at least it wasn't when I went on a Sunday). I think you'll really enjoy it.
Urban Hearth Cambridge
2263 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02140