In case you recently experienced a prolonged Internet outage, allow us to recap this week's social media scandal, recounted basically everywhere: Harvard Business School professor Ben Edelman ordered takeout from the Brookline location of well-liked Chinese restaurant Sichuan Garden. The menu on the restaurant's website was outdated, and Edelman's bill wound up being $4 more than expected. The lawyer tracked down a Sichuan manager, the remarkably cool-headed Ran Duan of the Woburn location, who happens to be featured in the December issue of GQ magazine for winning a national bartending competition. Edelman demanded restitution and, over the course of a very long email exchange, originally shared by Boston.com, took his quest for redress in unnecessarily punitive directions. Like, I'm-citing-consumer-protection-statutes-and-reporting-you-to-the-authorities directions.
Come on, bruh.
By now, the Twitter industrial shame complex has sufficiently roasted Edelman, who is presumably not an irredeemable monster. Being an eagle-eyed pedant even comes in handy when you task yourself with becoming an expert lawyer in online consumer protection. But dude, let the punishment fit the crime. You don't need to spar with your family-owned, neighborhood Chinese restaurant over a $4 menu discrepancy with the same incriminating fervor reserved for, say, Facebook and its privacy protections.
Anyway, in the spirit of taking Ran Duan's level-headed advice that we all move on from this occupying ordeal and take it as an opportunity to support our local restaurants, here are a few places you can give a little business and get something delicious in return — even for just $4.
Besides the signature cold-pressed juices, you'll find a splay of cheap snacks at this Cambridge newcomer: like avocado toast ($4) with baby tomatoes, cacao caramel delights with almond butter and dates ($3) and Ants & Ladybugs: celery "logs" with toppings like almond butter, raisins, and dried cranberries.
On "Grilled Cheese Tuesday," the Cambridge restaurant rolls out a different variation (like the pancetta, mozzarella and tomatoes seen here) for just $2 each.
The poutine palace has a number of sides available for four bucks: from house made bread & butter pickles to apple cabbage slaw and scallion slaw.
Every Monday and Tuesday the restaurant offers $1 cicchetti (small snacks) at the bar. The offerings change often, but recent options included a spicy house made sausage with apple relish, Chatham oyster with piri piri mignonette, and beet-cured salmon.
Everything is $8 or under during weekday "Happy Hours" (3-6 PM and 10 PM to close), including the string bean tempura ($4).
The Cleveland Circle location has a new small plates menu that includes banh bao, steamed buns stuffed with pork, egg, Chinese sausage and onions ($1.87 each), avocado spring rolls ($3.74 for three) and coconut bread pudding ($3.27).
You probaby won't be able to stick to just one, but each crispy oyster slider, served on brioche with lime chile aioli, is only $4.
The Italian restaurant recently unveiled a new "spuntini bar menu" with small plates for a matter of dollars: including slices of pizza for four bucks. (If you're really willing to splurge, fork over $6 for the pancetta popcorn.)
The Somerville German has a few snacks available for $4, including paprika potato chips, Slav pickles, and a three-mustard tasting (jalapeno-honey, cocoa and hazelnut).
Though Edelman placed his order from the Brookline Village location, we recommend visiting the Woburn restaurant. There you can get something inexpensive to eat, like sweet & sour soup or chicken corn egg drop soup: $3.25 each, and yes, that's from the updated menu. But you can also throw some extra dollars at Ran Duan's award-winning cocktails. And maybe buy him a round? Surely the man could use a drink.