Monday, June 24, 2024

A weekly notebook about dining options during the Covid-19 shutdown, with a focus on quality and ease of pickup and delivery. Remember, the people serving up the food are part of the front line; keep it in mind when tipping.

The Miracle of Science veggie burger and pan-roasted potatoes. (Photo: Tom Meek)

Covid shut the Miracle of Science down tight, and I’ve missed it immensely. The quirky little bar/restaurant on Massachusetts Avenue between Kendall and Central squares, now reopened, was here long before big pharma owned the terrain, when the Cambridgeport Saloon was a thing, Lechmere was a corrugated tin shed selling appliances and Lotus was king of the tech boom. The year was 1991, and the beautiful thing to note is that little about the Miracle has changed in 30 years. It’s a seamless crucible of cross cultures, professions and academics, and just about the friendliest place one can sidle up to a bar. The menu, set up like a chart of elements on one side of the cozy yet spartan space, has altered little over the years; the food’s good and simple, made on a small griddle and grill behind the bar. The signature of the Miracle is the pan-roasted potatoes that accompany its burgers, which are perfectly seasoned with a Cajun touch and served with a chutney sauce – I always ask for an extra side of it. But the best thing on that elemental chalkboard menu is the veggie burger (Vb), full of al dente legumes, lentils and beans. It’s a winner – my favorite in town, for that matter – served on a flaky, yet airy bun with a spicy aioli; I could eat two, if not for those potatoes. Chicken skewers and sandwich are also favorites, mostly because you can taste the clean, open-flame cooking of that time-tested grill. I’m ecstatic about getting back to my Vb and a place that’s been home to so many great conversations, meetups and post-Ultimate game beers, with a vibe that’s made the Miracle endear and persevere over decades of radical change. 

Miracle of Science (321 Massachusetts Ave., The Port) 

Tom Meek is a writer living in Cambridge. His reviews, essays, short stories and articles have appeared in the WBUR ARTery, The Boston Phoenix, The Boston Globe, The Rumpus, The Charleston City Paper and SLAB literary journal. Tom is also a member of the Boston Society of Film Critics and rides his bike everywhere.