Ball Square Cafe -- Somerville
I was up at an ungodly hour this morning so decided to hit Soundbites for breakfast before the Tufts kids all wake up. I looked inside Ball Square cafe and decided to duck in there before Yasser saw me. The co-owner (whose family owns the legendary Victor's next door) came over and introduced himself and seemed genuinely eager to please. The renovation looks great -- exposed brick where that crappy plastic wall used to be, cleaned up self-service coffee station, open kitchen. The menu is so similar to Soundbites and it's clear that Omar (the cook who stayed instead of going next door with Yasser) is still in charge of many of the unique menu items ... many have a Tunisian/Algerian feel, with roasted red peppers featuring prominently. BUT.... I cannot put my finger on it but it's just not the same. The Cafe potatoes (identical to No Place Like Home fries) aren't as garlicky, the coffee isn't as good, the vibe is totally different -- bad soft rock on the sound system like always but it's just not Yasser's place. I'm sure they'll do fine, benefitting from the overflow from Soundbites next door, but I'll be taking my breakfast jones to Soundbites as always.