From your first visit to the website of Firebrand Saints you can tell something's a little different here.
It's a clone of a NASA website, with a little button for the menu hidden up in the top corner.
Ohhhkaaayy. Inside the newest restaurant in Kendall Square (natch), the interplay of science, art and food continues with beaker-like water glasses, deconstructed video installations of the the TV feed in a rotating collage and sketches of Google map locations projected onto the wall above you while you sit at a grated metal and wooden bar overlooking an open kitchen where hunks of meat rotate on spits.
Overall it feels like an impromptu art gallery sprung up inside an industrial lab space. In that regard, as in many of the newer bars over here, it's not the coziest of rooms — it’s a little too wide open to feel intimate. But for the dozens of workers in the towering building above, and in the area in general, it will come as a welcome addition for an interesting afterwork can of beer, like San Francisco's 21st Amendment IPA or Colorado's Oskar Blues Mama's Little Yella Pils or a cocktail.
The latter are more direct than you might expect from the chemistry vibe —but in the good sense of the word, usually revolving around three simple ingredients. Number Five is an intriguing blend of mezcal and green chartreuse, two of the hotter ingredients in mixing circles in recent years, and sweet vermouth, although mine would have been better off with a heavier dose of the smokey spirit. People complain sometimes if there's too much mezcal, the bartender explained to me. Those people have bad taste. The Oil Slick — made with the similarly buzzy blackstrap rum, cinnamon syrup and fresh lime — was complexly sweet and spicy, while the effort toward a Whiskey Smash with bourbon, sugar, lemon and mint was pleasantly drier than normal. The best of the lot was a newer cocktail coming into their rotation, The Apple Cinnamon Shrub, made with bourbon, Calvados apple brandy and apples cooked down with a balsamic red wine vinegar, all spice and cinnamon. It had high spice notes on the nose, drank smooth and got us in the mood for seasonal holiday flavors. Sometimes the better formulas require a little bit of art to pull off.