Square Roots

An historic setting for a quiet meal

620x300redhouseexterior_0Photos: Susan Ogan

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kay, sometimes it’s all about the setting. Don’t get us wrong; the food at the Red House, an American bistro with Mediterranean influences, is fine. But the real secret is how this off-the-main-drag, historic onetime residence is such a refuge from the Harvard Square high-end restaurants that try too hard and the dives that don’t try any more at all. The three dining rooms are small and intimate, with a fireplace in one (beside the bar) and a skylight in another, and there’s shaded outdoor dining in the yard. It’s an oasis from the crowded streets choked with traffic, and a nice reminder of the neighborhood’s long, rich, and often overshadowed place in New England history, right down to the great beer list and the menu, which includes such entrees as duck, hen, cod, and lobster. Herder

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Brighton, Arlington, and Lexington were all once parts of Cambridge, whose original center is what is now the tiny park at the corner of JFK and Winthrop streets, which served as the farmer’s market.

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