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New restaurant Catalyst is getting a reaction in Kendall Square

Erin and Todd Longin, Adam Welling, Janelle Browning, and Scott MacCallister at Catalyst restaurant in Cambridge.

Essdras M Suarez/ Globe Staff

Erin and Todd Longin, Adam Welling, Janelle Browning, and Scott MacCallister at Catalyst restaurant in Cambridge.

When Aujourd’hui closed in 2009, chef William Kovel found himself suddenly out of work.

It spurred him to open his own restaurant.

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Now he has done so, in the increasingly delicious neighborhood of Kendall Square, near MIT and many technology companies. It makes sense that the place is named Catalyst.

The restaurant opened two weeks ago. The food is already getting a reaction.

The menu is highly seasonal, with a chicken logo that practically squawks “Farm to table!’’ Right now, you might find dishes such as seared, spice-crusted hiramasa with orange-yuzu syrup and cucumber radish salad; corn ravioli with scallions, Thai basil, and chanterelles; tournedos of beef with rainbow chard, taleggio ravioli, and bordelaise sauce; and a root beer float with mint, sassafras-ginger syrup, and crushed blueberries. The bar serves classic cocktails and updates, as well as an option titled The Undecided: “Bartender’s Choice - Trust Us.’’

The space is modern but warm, with a fireplace, an open kitchen, floor-to-ceiling windows, and weathered wood reclaimed from barns. There is also a covered and heated patio. Catalyst is open for dinner and weekday lunch, with brunch coming soon. It just might be the catalyst you need to get out of bed on the weekends.

Devra First can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @devrafirst.
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