O'Sullivan's; Paddy's; Reef Cafe
I hit O'Sullivan's in Somerville Thursday night, this time not for a burger, but for the steak tip sub. I'm a bit off the burgers at O'Sully's these days, as they have been a bit inconsistent over the past few weeks (mostly good, though). The tips were very good, though not near the level of the best places in Boston. One note: I've been ordering my fries there well-done lately, as they taste a lot better when they are browned. Still not memorable, but a lot better than the floppy, undercooked version they usually serve.
We headed over to Paddy's in West Newton last night, as we were on our way to New Mother India in Waltham but found a good parking spot across from this friendly Irish pub just off the main drag near the Pike. The chili I had at Paddy's approached greatness, IMO, with lots of tasty beef and beans, a hearty, moderately-hot chili base, and a few thin slices of onions mixed in, all with American cheese on top. I barely had room for my boneless fried chicken entry, which was also very good, though perhaps a touch behind Grumpy White's in Quincy in overall taste. This is a place that few seem to know about, unlike its sister pub O'Hara's in Newton Highlands, which seems to get huge crowds night after night. It looks a bit tired from the outside, but it is cozy and inviting inside, and also very family-friendly, unlike many pubs in the Boston area.
I spent about a half hour around lunchtime today looking for a parking spot near Bostone Pizza on Newbury Street, finally giving up and heading over to the Reef Cafe in Allston for some good, cheap Lebanese food. It was completely empty, with the owner's son hanging out by the counter in the back, who gave me a warm welcome as he did when my GF and I went there last time. I ordered a falafel sandwich and an appetizer of 3 kibby balls; the falafel sandwich was tremendous, with meaty falafel balls mixed with yellow peppers, pickles, strips of tomato, and tahini sauce, all wrapped in a pita rollup. The kibby balls were also good, though honestly, I was pretty full by the time I finished the first of the three of them. The meat in the kibby was spiced nicely, and mixed with just enough onion to give it extra flavor, but not so much as to overwhelm it. My meal plus bottled water came to about $10, which is a steal, IMO. I really do like this place a lot, not just for the food and reasonable prices, but the friendliness of the people who run it.
The Reef is a very reliable place for real food in a very informal setting. The counter guy is welcoming if you express some interest in the food. His mom occasionally peeks out of the kitchen to see who is enjoying her cooking. She makes a garlic paste that is an incredible enhancement to the already fine food.