For $25 per person, (their website says $21 for adults, $12 for kids, but my check begs to differ), you get unlimited coffee or loose tea and unlimited trips to their buffet.
This includes a rotating selection of cold salads (including a very nice Oriental noodle salad dressed with sesame oil and a pleasant French green lentil salad), grilled meats (good cumin-rubbed flank steak and spectacular orange-coriander marinated lamb), and a variety of other eclectic eats, not limited to a fluffy cheese/broccoli rabe frittata, grilled salmon, whole salted shrimp, avocado quesadillas with tomatillo salsa, pancakes with real maple syrup, hash browns, bacon, homemade sausage, and bananas baked with butter and brown sugar.
Hard as it may be to exercise restraint, save room for the enticing dessert table, which also has a rotating selection of food, including Persian rice pudding (pretty normal, but made with glutinous rice), pineapple upside-down cake, respectable tart tatin, very good Mexican chocolate/banana bread pudding, a variety of homemade cookies, and a tasty-looking lemon buttermilk pudding cake that I was too full to try.
The restaurant is in the basement of One Kendall Square, but the large windows in the front keep it from being too dark. Exposed brick and a metal bar back lend an industrial air, and the vibe is friendly and hip.
Service is very attentive--coffee was quickly refilled, and they were more than happy to steam the coffee milk for us upon request.
Note that there's music from about 2pm on which can get a bit loud. You may want to request a table away from the musician.
To get to The Blue Room, you can either drive to Cambridge and park in the Kendall garage next to Kendall Square Cinema (look for signs that say "Cinema" and "Parking"). Then walk across the street to the dining/office area that houses the restaurant.
Alternately, you can take the T to the Kendall Square stop, walk through the lobby of the Mariott, and once outside, go left (away from the river), heading up Broadway until you see signs for One Kendall Square--it's about 1/4 mile along Broadway at a fork on the right side of the road.
May 3, 2005
From journal Boston: On the Tourist Trail and Off the Beaten Path