Looking to bring some New Yorker's to breakfast...
- CountFusilli Apr 22, 2005 10:07 AM
I have some friends and family from New York coming in this weekend and they are looking for the whole day out kind of thing. I've got dinner covered (figured we do something touristy and stick to Rustic Kitchen, etc..), but they want to do breakfast as well--any suggestions?
I've been going to the Neighborhood for years - I like it for what it is - but the food just really isn't that good. It's nice to go sit outside and have a long breakfast (no choice because the service is so slow). The cream of wheat is the bomb (yes!), the pancakes can be good, omelettes are only decent and the homefries stink. Add a side of bacon and things improve. Love the scali bread toast. Everyone goes mad over the pastries served to each table - but 9 times out of 10 they're dried out. Just sayin', not sure I would bring out of towners there.
I've had some real winners at brunch at Perdix on Sundays recently. Standouts are an amazing cod cake dish and an layered egg/carnitas dish. Plus a made-to-order dish of donuts with an almond cream icing to dip into. And a 'cheap beer of the day' - it was kind of fun drinking a frozen PBR out of the can.
Charlie's Sandwich Shoppe?
Henrietta's Table, expensive but a feast of high quality - though the crowd can be a bit crumudgeon-ly (sp?)
Brunch looks fab at Upstairs on the Square tho' I haven't been yet. Good for touristy strolling before/after.
East Coast Grill (Sundays)
Of course, there's always 3 Yolks on Rte 1A in Revere for something completely different. Local color, warm service and a chef from North Cakalacka. The southern scrambler is a heart-stopper: an omelette of everything (really) covered with the sausage gravy. Oh lawd! I've had the most perfectly prepared scrambled eggs there, too. Not sure why it's so hard to get right?
The South End offers the quintessential Boston brunch experience, with lots of great options within a few square blocks. Union Bar and Grill on Washington St is a narrow favorite: it's fancy but friendly. Aquitaine, Metropolis, the Nightingale, Tremont 647, the Claremont Cafe, Rouge, and the Red Fez (nice patio, free parking!) are all very fine.
I love the brunch at Sel de la Terre on the waterfront: great breads, drinks, and rustic-French brunch and lunch dishes in a pretty setting.
In Cambridge, my faves include the East Coast Grill, with its Carribean-inflected brunch and DIY Bloody Mary bar; the B-Side Lounge, a great bar with superb eye-openers that serves a very tasty brunch till 4pm; and the Blue Room, which has about a 50-dish buffet, amazing.
Call ahead; some of these places only serve brunch on Sunday.
Doyle's in JP has a unique Boston-Irish flavor to its weekend brunch in a charming, old-school setting. For a real old-country Irish breakfast, go to Matt Murphy's in Brookline Village, (unless you have a headache, in which case the live toodly-too band in the corner can grate.)
My favorite pure-breakfast place is a short drive away in Watertown, the Deluxe Town Diner: modern updates on the classics in an authentic 30s-vintage diner setting. Awesome hash, great johnny cakes (a New England obscurity, basically rich cornmeal pancakes), fabulous pancakes of every description. So good, there's usually a line, but it's worth the wait.
Renee's Cafe on Holland St. (very close to Teele Sq. in Somerville) has been a favorite of ours for a long time. Never had a problem with service or quality and the prices are good. Get there early on Sundays as the line can get long. Very "mom and pop" type of establishment.
Charlies Sandwich Shoppe on Columbus Ave. -- lots of character and characters, great breakfasts, but never on Sunday.
I never understood how guests from New York eat differently than 'I have guests coming in this weekend from Louisville...' (which is a great food town). That said, I bring people from outside Massachusetts to Sonsie on upper Newbury. It is a solid breakfast, maybe not the very best food, yet the room, and people make it extremely comfortable. You can linger awhile, unlike places that get loud and rushed. Henriettas is a favorite, if you arrive prior to 10:30 it is off the menu, yet is not as 'comfortable' as Sonsie. A deciding factor to cosider is many places don't start until 11:30, so if you really want breakfast, as opposed to brunch, then many options are out, including AQ, sonsie, SDLT....
You could try the Center Street Cafe in Jamaica Plain. There will be a long line but if you get there late. But if you try just before 9 a-m its a much shorter wait. The food is a goo mix of traditional fruit and waffles stuff with more adventurous omelets and brunch sandwiches.
Also Johhny D's in Davis Square, Somerville has a sweet and filling family style jazz brunch. Don't go if you hate children though.
I can also second the Sonsie's brunch, which is a pretty good value for the address. It will be great if the weather is nice and the open up the front doors.
Finally I would say the East Coast Grille in Inman, Square Cambridge. They have a bloody mary bar. The breakfast is not your standard pancakes and omlets fair. The menu has more of a latin flavor.
We are former NY'er's and had a chance to eat at Charlie's Sandwich Shoppe for BK several months ago. I heard about it on chowhound, too.
I think your friends from NY will like it. Just watching the action behind the counter is half the fun. And, its a really nice neighborhood to walk around in. The place is an institution in Boston.
One point, if I may...I'd stick to their egg offerings, home fries, etc. Pancakes, were nothing special. Everything else was very good.
It is impossible for someone who's lived in NYC to enjoy breakfast/brunch in Boston. After living in Manattan for 4 years I moved here 6 months ago where you canNOT go to the same bar you were at the night before & get an awesome meal for $10, including one mimosa!
Boston fails in the BF/brunch category of food.
Definately agree there, but we're getting better. I remember it being so difficult to find a place after 2pm, but we're still missing the elusive four o'clock. In high school my family moved to Salt Lake City from Boston and we considered to be those F---ing New England snobs more demanding brunch after one o'clock. Thank god the gay guys with the "later than decent brunches for the West" took us in, we would've starved, especially being that it could be difficult to find a decent meal at nine o'clock that night.
That said, we can do a decent breakfast if demanded to. Perhaps the OP could look for someplace with a lobster or oysters dish for breakfast? He mentioned the whole day out kind of thing for brunch so perhaps the south end would be a good place, as there is brunch food, (more or less) and if the weather isn't too bad it's nice to walk around. Maybe Mike's Diner or Stella and then wind around up to Tremont for drinkies?
I said it recently in a post on B&G Oysters: it doesn't take a Sloan MBA to figure out the scale economies: 600,000 Bostonians vs. 8 million New Yorkers. No $10 brunch including a drink, no staying out past 2am, and lousy public transportation, but Boston has its charms. It's a tough step down food-wise, though.
By the way, you can drink till 2am on Saturday night at the B-Side, then get a very nice brunch there the next day till 4pm, with outstanding eye-openers, for not much more than $10. Same goes for Doyle's (okay, till 1am Saturday). I'm sure there are more places.
Any server will tell you that brunch is the Hell Shift: hungover, cranky, demanding people running you ragged for a $12 check. Bleh.
Seems like a really old post gets dredged up regularly on this board. Anyone care to respond to my remarks on George's American Tavern from May 2003?