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The best and worst of Brookline?

So we've been in Boston for nearly a year and thanks to you all we've eaten so well. We've been renting in Back Bay and are moving to Brookline for hopefully better chow (well we're moving for other reasons but we are excited for better food options). I would love your input for the hits and misses of Brookline...we've been to a bunch of places already but I want to makes sure not to miss anything (or to skip it on purpose). Thanks so much as always.

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  1. for me, some of the bests in the area are shiki (japanese--izakaya/fusion style), brookline family restaurant (turkish), rod dee (thai), and japonaise (japanese pastries--edge of brookline, at st mary's), and prepared foods at bazaar. probably some others i'm forgetting!

    i think i try to repress the memory of places I'll never go back to, but for sure fugakyu, anna's, upper crust, and a bunch more dislikes that are maybe personal/idiosyncratic enough that i wouldn't issue general-purpose warnings about them :)

    2 Replies
    1. re: another_adam

      i completely agree with :
      SHIKI, i would go for the authentic dishes, they're pretty good, but you can get better sushi elsewhere

      rod dee is prob one of my fave restaurants here. all my asian friends love it too.

      japonaise has awesome bread desserts. i love the strawberry short cake, chocolate horn, doughnuts, sandwiches, rice balls, heavy cream bread, fruit tarts

      7 subs in coolidge corner has really good subs. my fave is the potato/roast beef/bbq sauce

      but disagreeing with anotheradam, i like fugakyu (certain good dishes, hatate kaiyaki, chicken katsu curry, the sushi's are not bad either). i also like upper crust but the crust can be a lil too thin/hard sometimes.

      my least favorites are both in washington square. GOLDEN temple is sooo not authentic, and even for americanized chinese food (which i love and sometimes crave) its horrible. they all taste the same, too salty.

      1. re: kweesee

        we just tried 7 subs today for lunch - the sandwiches tasted like candy...mmm...I really can't wait to go back. thanks!

    2. welcome to our neighborhood. bests by category: dinner/bar: washington square tavern, orinoco. pub food/bar: beacon street pub by a hair because of its outside seating, publick house, matt murphy. value for lunch: fireplace grill's excellent hamburger. expensive treat: la morra, lineage. best sandwiches, michael's deli. Asian and Indian: lemon grass, rod dee, duk boa, khao sarn, szichuan garden, shanghai gate down harvard street to the brighton border. expensive but imho (not shared on this board) best american chinese in boston, golden temple, with best bar hands down (best martini in boston/brookline). go for the clams, the special ribs, the shanghai chicken, the beef udon noodles. best bakeries: clear flour which would win anywhere including nyc and sf. very very good bakeries: japonnaise for pastry, tattes if you don't mind spending too much, athans for baklava, lemon sponge cake, and european style cookies, fruit tarts (not for morning stuff imo). Shiki for best japanese, Super Fusion for best take out japanese. Pinos at cleveland circle for best old fashioned gloppy pizza, no where for really great pizza (go to cambridge, gran gusto). For chains, Panera on harvard for decent coffee and a good sitting space, starbucks on beacon street in washington square for sitting outside. lots more. worst: village smokehouse, the indian buffet place on beacon near harvard, the korean place on beacon near center, pastries from kupels (bagels are tolerable), any food at any starbucks, lucky chinese takeout on beacon. Good breakfast: zaftigs if you don't mind expensive, family,and busy bee if you like very plain with crappy bread which i do not. Lots more: this is a town you could eat out in every day.

      1 Reply
      1. re: teezeetoo

        Just went to tatte yesterday - bought some of their pastries in spite of the haughty/supercilious staff. The "home made pear juice" was over-flavored with cinnamon (perhaps to hide the lack of pear flavor) and over-sweetened. I would not recommend this place which charges a lot for shortcrust pastry filled (albeit artfully) with nuts - and not much else going for it. The clientele (pretty looking women delicately enjoying each others company ) filling up the place were picturesque - perhaps part of the cost of this place. Sometimes, environment is everything (although I prefer the food to be everything - I realize that it is not something I can get every time)! :-)

      2. My favorites...

        Pad kee mao from Khao Sarn (nb: I haven't been to dok bua or rod dee--I am disgracefully lazy and love this one, and it is closer to me than the other two)
        Spinach leaf pizza (reheated to fix the crust) from Upper Crust
        Falafel in pita from Rami's (with hot sauce) or Shawarma King (no hot sauce, but crisped-up bread). If only they would combine these two...
        Bahn Hoi (grilled chicken or lemongrass chicken--can't remember) at Pho Lemongrass (I'm sure there are better Vietnamese restaurants out there, but this one is convenient, has some good value on the wine list, and they don't laugh at me when I make a hot mess trying to roll up the bahn hoi. And I've liked 90% of what I've tried there.)
        Potato pancakes at Zaftig's
        Butterscotch pudding at Lineage
        Blue cheese burger at Washington Square Tavern (even though the roll doesn't do much for me, I love the space and the burger itself is good)

        I'm not sure about misses...maybe I've blocked them out? I've found Chef Chow to be yucky for everything except peking duck (that wasn't bad).

        And there are lots of places I haven't tried yet...

        Oh, and the farmers' market (Thursday afternoons/evenings) is definitely part of the best of Brookline. I may work from home Thursdays during the summer just to make sure I can get there :).

        1 Reply
        1. re: cmd

          khao sarn is quite overpriced. rod dee and dok bua are much more authentic and delicious and cheaper! im guessin more asian/thai ppl go there than khao sarn.

          1. re: porcospino

            how could we have forgotten about clear flour! i loveeee their croissants. i buy them every weekend.

          2. I've lived in Brookline for over twenty five years. The two most overated places are Zaftig's and Golden Temple. The best places are FuGaKyo, LaMora, Pomodoro and Lineage. I go to both the Washington Sq and Beacon St. Taverns, having friends running both places. I love the decor at Zenna's, as well as the food, and over the years, I've become friends with Gina who operates Dalia's west of Washington Sq. I also go to Jae's, which a lot of chow's don't seem to appreciate, but at this location the food is pretty good. There are so many ethnic places form the new Orinoco to Rubin's which probably has been here forever, you'll never lack a dining destination.

            1. Welcome to the neighborhood! Here are some of the places that I like and others that I don't.

              My Favorites

              Michael’s Deli ---The best deli that Boston has to offer and decently priced for nicely stacked up sandwiches loaded with quality meats

              Super Fusion---quality and decently priced sushi

              Rod Dee---Good stuff on the specials board behind the register. The daily specials that they run are also very good and authentic

              Dok Bua---Good stuff if you order from the picture book. I will choose Dok Bua if I want to sit down for a meal and Rod Dee if I am taking away.

              Publick House for a great craft beer selection

              Shanghai Gate---Not really Brookline, but pretty authentic Shanghainese food

              Shawarma King---The good stuff here is their daily specials. Not a fan of their falafels or hummus, but their chicken and beef lamb shawarma sandwiches are pretty tasty.

              Least Favorites

              Fugakyu---overpriced, overrated and underwhelming

              GoldenTemple---terrible food at high prices. You can just go to any hole in the wall Chinese takeout joint and get the same thing for a quarter of the price

              Village Smokehouse---Fake BBQ

              Zaftigs---Rip-off alert for overpriced breakfast fare. I can’t believe that ppl wait an hour for that stuff.

              Upper Crust---$22 bucks for a large pie is highway robbery in my opinion. Not bad if you’re in the area and just want to grab a slice or two. Forget delivery unless you want to wait two hours just to have a guy show up on a bike with cold soggy pizza.

              15 Replies
              1. re: Chrispy75

                on shopping, trader joes and whole foods, of course, but also the Russian stores are often the best buys for jams (wonderful european ones), fruit (variable in quality but always cheaper, just look before you buy, and they carry the thin skinned baby cucumbers) and takeout (Bazaar has wonderful eggplant salads in about 5 varieties) Bazaar is my favorite but the Russian deli in washington square is quite good. Indian groceries good for picking up chutneys and spices: I use the one on Harvard near the stop and shop. Butcherie for kosher chicken and brisket as well as smoked fish, kosher salamis and knockwursts. I don't care for Wolfs fish and go to Courthouse in cambridge or New Deal if i can't suck it up to pay whole food prices.

                1. re: Chrispy75

                  Golden Temple does have the highest prices of any chinese food probably in the country but to say that the food is hole in the wall is a bit harsh

                  1. re: Chrispy75

                    I have to disagree about Village Smokehouse. I'm from Texas, and a real barbecue snob, and have found this to be as close to authentic as you can get up this way.

                    1. re: MenuPorn

                      How authentic can they be when they don't even smoke their meat? What other places have you tried?

                      1. re: Chrispy75

                        Not only that, they don't have spare ribs, just babybacks, which are totally inappropriate for "long slooow cooking", or whatever it is they claim they subject their meats to. I have had their beef ribs though, and found them edible, though I actually like Fireflys' beef ribs much better, and I believe they are actually smoked.

                        1. re: nsenada

                          I've never been to Village Smokehouse, but I can't agree with your observation re: baby backs. I smoke mine low & slow, 4 - 5 hours, Memphis-style with a dry rub to start and a finishing mop, and they are DELICIOUS, if I do say so myself.

                          1. re: BobB

                            I'd say 4-5 hours for babybacks would be fine, but I wouldn't call that "slow" - my minimum threshhold for that definition is 7 hours or so for spare ribs, on up to 24 for brisket.

                          2. re: nsenada

                            Actually, a proper Texas smokehouse wouldn't have spare ribs OR babybacks! We smoke beef ribs, not pork.

                            1. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps

                              I suspected that was the case. Beef rather than pork sausages are proper Texas barbecue though, right? I wonder if an investigation into the Smokehouse sausage content is in order...

                            2. re: nsenada

                              We just had the beef ribs Monday night, and found them to be more than just edible. I think after having them many times there, and always liking them, that going on a weeknight as opposed to the w/e, they were really hot as they were actually still cooking when we ordered them, not already made up. I had the babybacks once there, and decided that only the beef ribs were worth ordering there. I did have a burger recently, and it was pretty decent. I thought it was better than the last one I had at RF O'Sullivan's.

                          3. re: MenuPorn

                            I'm a recent transplant from San Antonio and was really disappointed in the Village Smoke House. The pulled pork tasted like they had made it in a crock pot. In fairness, I haven't found any good BBQ here yet so maybe it is the best. I certainly wouldn't go back.

                            1. re: Mkschles

                              IMHO, BBQ is a big Boston failing. Soulfire has better pulled pork. The Silk Road food cart on the Greenway has better pulled pork.

                              Never have had really good BBQ sides in this area.

                              1. re: Mkschles

                                we don't have much by way of good barbecue, alas. try blue ribbon in newton. for a decent but not barbecued rib, try La Rotisserie in Chestnut Hill. for an excellent chinese barbecue-style rib, try golden temple's special ribs in brookline (just the ones called special ribs).

                                1. re: Mkschles

                                  You don't have to be anything of an expert to not enjoy Village Smokehouse, I think the place is disgusting to be honest.

                                  As mentioned below try Blue Ribbon in either Newton or Arlington, I think they do a good job. Overall though BBQ will probably never be a strong point in Boston, certain cities do certain things well and others not so well.

                                  1. re: Mkschles

                                    Agree about the Smokehouse and I'm a local. But there is a decent Korean BBQ place in Coolidge Corner- Yasu.

                                    http://yasuboston.com/

                              2. I have lived in Brookline for 23 years. Rod Dee and Dok Bua are the best Thai places and I go there regularly. Pho Lemongrass is one of my favs too (mmm Pho Ga). Beacon Street Tavern is always a guaranteed great meal and wine + they just got an excellent new chef. The Fireplace is also another great go-to places for more special occasions. For Pizza - I only do upper crust and Pinos. For Jewish delis - Zaftigs and Michael's. For bagels - Kupel's since I was a kid. For Chinese - Chef Chow's since I was in a stroller (Golden Temple is below average and ridiculously over priced). We're soo glad Orinoco just came and La Morra is definitely exceptional as well, though I don't eat much Italian. Bottega Fiorentina USED to be good but the new management is cheap. For sandwiches/subs and our beloved townies - it will always be the Brookline Spa.
                                And for breakfast I will pick Sealys over Zafitg's anyday.

                                5 Replies
                                1. re: pink dress

                                  Which Bottega are you talking about? The one in Coolidge Corner has the same owner/management. They closed the one in Brookline Village and it was going to open as something else.

                                  As for Sealys, I tried it once based on the local hype. I found the breakfasts to be nothing special and the people to be unfriendly and unwelcoming. Maybe it's different there if you are one of the regulars.

                                  1. re: chuck s

                                    I'm pretty sure there was a sign outside the Coolidge one that says "Under new management." Eitherway, the quality has gone way down. Considering I used to crave their pressed caprese paninis, the last time they gave me 2 slices of mozzerellas as thin as the proscuitto - very disappointing.

                                    Sealys is a no frills diner that has been there for almost a century. I've been going there for 10 years now, so obviously we're on a first name basis. It's run by a hard working Greek family and if they seemed unfriendly it's probably because they get up at dawn to open their doors at 6am - yikes. It's guaranteed good traditional breakfast - eggs/bacon/buttery toast.

                                    1. re: pink dress

                                      The Bottega in Brookline Village has reopened under a new name but looks pretty the same to me, has the same menu, has the same people, and still makes the best Italian sandwich in town.

                                      And, since Pino's was recommended for pizza (great slices), I'll have to add Presto's (practically next door), which I prefer for take-out.

                                      1. re: pink dress

                                        Nope - the Coolidge Corner Bottega has not changed management or ownership. The Brookline Village one has re-opened as Bottega di Capri.

                                        Never been to Sealys and I don't even know where it is, but keeping early hours is no excuse for an unwelcoming vibe, especially for food that's no better than "no frills diner." Not a good recommendation for a newcomer to town if they're only nice to their regulars.

                                        1. re: pink dress

                                          "if they seemed unfriendly it's probably because they get up at dawn to open their doors at 6am"

                                          Boo hoo wah. You don't wanna get up that early, don't run a diner. Not that hard.

                                    2. I'll second Michael's Deli, excellent sandwich for the money. The worst? That's easy - Lineage. We went with friends one night and got 4 thoroughly mediocre meals, very disappointing. To be fair, however, the butterscotch pudding was quite good, just not enough reason to return.

                                      1. this is a great list! has anybody mentioned pomodoro in brookline village? pomodoro is one of my favorites - excellent food, great atmosphere! as a note, they only take cash.

                                        1. Maybe nothing new, but my 2 cents:

                                          Favorites:
                                          Fugakyu - yes expensive, but good sushi and good extensive Japanese menu (comparing them on price point to a Shino's or similar joint is a disservice, since their quality is much better). If I compare them to meals I've had at Sakurabana or an Oga's, I'm not sure I'm paying that much more.
                                          Dok Bua - my favorite of the local Thai restaurants
                                          Pho Lemongrass - maybe a little biased since I know one of the owners, but I love their sweet and sour soup with catfish/salmon
                                          Japonnaise - what more can be said about their azuki cream puffs?

                                          I don't tend to remember bad restaurants unless it was horrifically bad, and thankfully I haven't had that type of experience in Brookline (yet).

                                          1. Favorites:
                                            Dok Bua
                                            Rod Dee
                                            Michael's Deli
                                            Publik House
                                            Bazaar
                                            Khao Sarn
                                            Clear Flour

                                            Ok:
                                            The Butcherie
                                            Mr. Sushi

                                            1. I think you will be very happy living here in Brookline. It's a great community with so much to offer. Clear Flour Bakery makes the greatest breads, apple tart and croissants. La Morra is wonderful and I have always had great meals there. Pomodoro is one of my all time favorites Brookline destinations. Rami's has excellent falafel tastes just like you were in Jerusalem. I had an Upper Crust pizza last night for dinner and as always crispy and delicious. New England Soup factory has great matzo ball soup as well as gazpacho and chicken pot pie. Bottega Fiorentina makes delicious sandwiches. Wolf's fish market is the best fresh fish in town. Fugakyu is expensive but always good, I really like their sweet potato nori roll. I know a lot of people say they do not like Golden temple but I was raised on it every Sunday night growing up. It's open late too. Michaels Deli has delicious Corned beef and pastrami sandwiches. JP licks makes great ice cream, try the cucumber in the summer. When I need pickles I go to the butcherie.

                                              1. My favorites:

                                                Michael's
                                                Seven Subs
                                                The Spa
                                                I am in the minority on this but for sushi in Coolidge Corner, I prefer Jae's to Fugakyu or anything else in CC. Never tried any of the non-sushi items at Jae's.
                                                Rod Dee for Thai as many have suggested.
                                                I think Chef Chows is decent for what it is (standard americanized Chinese)

                                                1. Welcome to Brookline! I agree with the general line of recommendations here (Shiki,
                                                  Clear Flour, Japonaise, Rod Dee, La Morra, etc), but have to say if you want Vietnamese
                                                  I think you won't find much in Brookline. I have found Pho Lemongrass to be less than
                                                  tasty..if you really want Vietnamese, for something a bit better (but nothing outstanding) in
                                                  Brookline there is Zenna. Just don't want anyone to have high expectations for great pho
                                                  in town; but there is plenty of other great cuisines!

                                                  3 Replies
                                                  1. re: amatto

                                                    PhoViet at the Super 88 food court in Allston is about 50 yards from the Brookline town line, certainly close enough to satisfy locals.

                                                    1. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps

                                                      The OP should realize that there are many wonderful places to eat in Allston/Brighton -- a search would bring up many exciting options. Ken's Ramen is one of my current cravings. Tried Gitlo, too recently, and was very pleased.

                                                    2. re: amatto

                                                      Remember parts of Brookline are just as close to Allston as to other parts of the town. Lots of good eats there also: Super 88 food court, the Reef Cafe,
                                                      Carlos Cuccina, etc.

                                                    3. Just wanted to reiterate the shout-out for the Turkish Family Restaurant and add a mention of Virginia's in Brookline Village for its lovely sandwiches and nice takeout salads etc. I'm also fond of Mangia's pizza (I've been underwhelmed by Upper Crust -- so often soggy), which is two doors down from Virginia's (although Mangia's isn't always consistent). Just mentioning these places because no one else seems to! Love Shiki, too. Used to love La Morra, but was disappointed by my last two visits. We should also note that technically Oishi is Brookline and it is excellent sushi. No one has mentioned Party Favors, either. Although views different wildly, I think most people would agree that it's worth a try if you love cupcakes. (Like many people, I avoided it for a long time because its exterior isn't exactly promising.) We've also gotten a good cake or two from Rosie's.

                                                      1. Looks like most of my favorites have already been mentioned repeatedly, but I'd add one more that hasn't been: Gari. While I'm not generally a fan of any sort of fusion cuisine, this one gets it right. It has improved since it first opened about a year and a half ago, and now (in my opinion) represents one of the better sushi options in the area. The chef's choice sushi and sashimi plate in particular is a great value - I had it last Friday and for $28 got 3 - 4 pieces each of three types of excellent sashimi, five assorted sushi on rice, a maki that was sort of like a california roll with flying fish roe, and a cocktail glass full of a delicious marinated seafood salad with herbs. And they still have the coolest restroom in town!

                                                        2 Replies
                                                        1. re: BobB

                                                          I too am a fan of Gari. But I worry that since few venture to that location (near the Stop and Shop) that it might not survive. Wonderful sushi in a very cool setting.

                                                          1. re: chuck s

                                                            Two years later, and good to see it's surviving quite well. I even sat next to Tyra Banks (complete with entourage) there a couple of months ago.

                                                        2. By your handle I'm assuming you moved from New York? That's where I was living, till very recently... As a (presumed) fellow transplant, what restaurants have made you feel less homesick?

                                                          1 Reply
                                                          1. re: High Heels and Frijoles

                                                            Hi there - you got it. Our favorites so far:
                                                            -Neptune Oyster
                                                            -Franklin Cafe
                                                            -Metropolis Cafe
                                                            -Parrish Cafe

                                                            We've had good/great meals at:
                                                            -EVOO
                                                            -No. 9 Park (bar menu for more casual fare)
                                                            -Oleana

                                                            The thing we miss most about NY eating is the number of affordable but high quality options (over $10/plate but under $20/plate). I'm hoping Brookline will help with that, and if so, it's just a hop and a jump for you from Back Bay.

                                                          2. I too am going to be moving to Brookline from Back Bay come August (I'll be in Coolidge Corner). Japonaise Bakery is one of my favs as is Taberna de Haro. I've never been to Clear Flour Bakery, but I'm dying to try it out. Rod Dee is also one of my favorites. I can't wait to explore more when I move! I do love Back Bay, but it's food options stink for the most part. I often go to the S. End, North End, or other places to dine.

                                                            1 Reply
                                                            1. re: BackBayGirl

                                                              I can't say enough good things about Clear Flour. You MUST have a morning bun there -- and go early, because they sell fast.

                                                              I just moved to Boston and live in Back Bay -- the food options do sort of stink. Were there any places that you frequented in a pinch?

                                                            2. I highly recommend Presto Pizza in Cleveland circle. Really truly good Italian pizza. Nice people run the place and you can usually find a parking spot out front.

                                                              1 Reply
                                                              1. re: catspercapita

                                                                The main thing I miss about eating in Manhattan is the chance to test a restaurant's food at a reasonable price at lunch. There is a lack of serious lunching (covered in another thread) within a relaxing, comfortable atmosphere with a nice glass of wine. But there are some options. Zenna's is fine, as is Gari. Oishi is fabulous, though no one ever called it a comfortable spot. I love Orinoco, though I haven't been there for lunch. Matt Murphy's is OK if you stick to the soup and/or the cheese plate. At least they're open so you can meet a friend and relax.

                                                              2. Best Sushi: Super Fusion by a mile - order from here at least once a week and it's consistently fresh; inventive rolls and appetizers

                                                                Best Pizza: Pizza Republic on Beacon Street - rarely mentioned on this board, but has superb pizza with medium crust (thicker than Upper Crust, but not too doughy) and gourmet toppings and whole wheat crust available. Pastas and subs are pretty good here too.

                                                                Best Italian/Date Night/Value: Pomodoro's (technically in Brookline Village) - make a reservation and you'll be treated right...we've always gotten at least a free appetizer or dessert...pastas and main entrees are delicious. Small, cozy place with great atmosphere.

                                                                Best Breakfast: Martin's Coffee Shop (also in Brookline Village) - tiny little place, but more of a "diner" like feel than any other place in the area. Omelettes made to order with a ton of options for fillings (incl. egg whites) and crispy home fries.

                                                                Best Ice Cream: Emack and Bolio's - original and more "crazy" flavor options, plus fat-free and frozen yogurt.

                                                                Best Pub: Washington Square Tavern/Beacon Street Tavern (outdoor seating a plus) - limited menu but it changes every few months to keep it fresh.

                                                                Also enjoy LaMorra, Publick House, Fireplace (brunch only), Cafe Nicolas (panini sandwiches, subs), Athens (paninis for lunch and gelato only - other desserts are sub-par at best), Zenna Noodle House, Ana's

                                                                Enjoy all that Brookline has to offer!

                                                                1. So, now that you've lived in Brookline, what are your faves? Nobody mentioned Chef Chang's and next door Ginza, just past Japonnaise bakery. The Peking Duck is fabulous. I also order beef chow fun with spicy black bean sauce (not on the menu, suggested to me by my NYC brother ins law), and it's wonderful. Ginza is always v. good.

                                                                  -----
                                                                  Ginza
                                                                  16 Hudson St, Boston, MA 02111

                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                  1. re: CookieLee

                                                                    Hi there - Now that we've been here for 1 yr + our fav places are:
                                                                    - Mr Sushi - really think it's the best sushi/value in Boston. Always exceptionally fresh.
                                                                    - Seven Subs
                                                                    - Zaftigs
                                                                    - Pho Lemongrass
                                                                    - Dok Bua
                                                                    - TBD!: Regale Beagle

                                                                    -----
                                                                    Seven Subs
                                                                    1364 Beacon St, Brookline, MA 02446

                                                                    Mr Sushi
                                                                    329 Harvard St, Brookline, MA 02446

                                                                  2. I've been working in coolidge corner for about four years now, and i tend to get a lot of lunches at paris creperie. it's not amazing, but theyve got a number of pretty tasty crepes on the menu, and theyre less likely to hustle you out of there than michaels deli.

                                                                    also, ive got to say that although mr. sushi isnt spectacular, its a lot cheaper than fugakyu or tsunami.

                                                                    31 Replies
                                                                    1. re: the modern serf

                                                                      My son & I are quite fond of the crepes, particularly the ham & cheese. The folks that work there are v. personable. Michael's Deli is just too weird for me. I was there while my husband had a sandwich. Michael told the young couple behind us to put away their deck of cards and eat up!
                                                                      I've only eaten at Mr Sushi once. I have a big problem eating in a space w. no windows. Even Fugakya is a problem for me. I like Ginza, and I would like to try Gari.
                                                                      I'm a regular at Dok Bua, I just love it there.

                                                                      1. re: CookieLee

                                                                        Agree w/you re: Michaels. Not into his customer unfriendly attitude.

                                                                        1. re: gramercyfoodie

                                                                          That's too bad as his corned beef and pastrami are so good. When Michael's Deli opened he was extremely friendly and funny so we put up with the customers who hogged the tables with their books and newspapers and waited for a seat. I agree that the deli has changed but it's a tiny place and they have to turn over those tables to stay in business. It's still hard to get a seat but not as bad as the Creperie. I've been trying to get a table in there for three years. Lately we've been going to the Shawarma King on Beacon. We love the roll ups and the mango drinks. I don't think that readers and card players would be welcome there either.

                                                                          -----
                                                                          Shawarma King
                                                                          Brookline, MA, Brookline, MA

                                                                          Michael's Deli
                                                                          256 Harvard St, Brookline, MA 02446

                                                                          1. re: ginnyhw

                                                                            FYI - I have had bad experiences at Michael's that didn't involve sitting at a table. He does not subscribe to the theory of the customer is always right...

                                                                          2. re: gramercyfoodie

                                                                            I eat at Michael's a lot and like him as a person. You might try talking to him a little because he has a ton of opinions about his business and he's extremely willing to talk about them. Note that business has gone up since he stopped taking credit cards - and believe it or not he's willing to share the economics of why he made the decision.

                                                                            I feel strongly that one of the reasons you own and run a business is to make yourself happy. He feels he serves his customers best with his rules and he certainly delivers on product quality, quantity and price. (BTW, an iced coffee comes in what I think is a quart soup container.)

                                                                            I wish he'd carry Yona Schimmel's knishes.

                                                                          3. re: CookieLee

                                                                            I'm puzzled about your comment re: windows at Mr. Sushi - are you possibly thinking of a different place? Mr. Sushi has a full frontage of windows, pretty much like any place around there on Harvard Street.

                                                                            1. re: Allstonian

                                                                              The seating at Mr. Sushi is in the back, not near the windows. I get that "closed in" feeling just thinking about it!

                                                                              I think I go to the Creperie "off hours", and it's practically empty. I've not been to Shararma King, all these yrs. I'll have to ask my son if he's been there.

                                                                              If you think Michael's corned beef & pastrami are good, you should go to Sam LaGrassa's - they have the best in this area.

                                                                              -----
                                                                              Sam Lagrassa's
                                                                              44 Province St, Boston, MA 02108

                                                                              1. re: CookieLee

                                                                                since the OP was interested in Brookline options, I'd still recommend Michael's over Sam Lagrassa, since Sam's is not convenient to Brookline. I'm not a huge fan of the creperie which I find a dark and not terribly comfortable space, but its ok. For takeout sandwiches, Seven Subs is another option. Haven't tried the new place (Reagle Beagle?) on Harvard, but, as the posts have pointed out, you won't starve in Brookline.

                                                                                -----
                                                                                Sam Lagrassa's
                                                                                44 Province St, Boston, MA 02108

                                                                                Seven Subs
                                                                                1364 Beacon St, Brookline, MA 02446

                                                                            2. re: CookieLee

                                                                              Michael's Deli has, what, three tables? I can understand the desire to play a game of cards at a place that's a) not busy, b) has enough empty tables so that other people can sit down and have their food, and c) is conducive to sticking around and possibly ordering something else later, like a bar or a coffeehouse. But no, sorry, I'm with Michael on this. There is not enough space in there to encourage dawdling, so that table is yours only for as long as it takes to eat your sandwich. Playing cards there is just rude -- not to Michael, but to the other customers who'd like to not have to stand on Harvard Street and eat their sandwich off an electrical pylon.

                                                                              -----
                                                                              Michael's Deli
                                                                              256 Harvard St, Brookline, MA 02446

                                                                              1. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps

                                                                                there are more than 3 tables. it wasn't busy when we were there. this pair was steadily eating their sandwiches and had out some cards. you know what? they weren't "dawdling". The guy STANDS OVER YOU. Now that's conducive to comfortable eating. He isn't nice, he acts like he's doing you a favor by letting you eat.

                                                                                1. re: CookieLee

                                                                                  Look Cookie. We've had this discussion before. Michael can do whatever the heck he pleases in his own restaurant. You can choose to take your pastrami money to Sam LaGrassa. Card playing over a proper pastrami sandwich would be almost impossible, not to mention annoying.

                                                                                  1. re: CookieLee

                                                                                    I eat in Michael's a fair amount, and I've never had anybody STAND OVER ME. Wonder why that is. Oh, right, because I've never played cards while I'm eating my chicken salad club.

                                                                                    1. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps

                                                                                      That's right yumyum, and I don't plan on going in there again. Maybe what I should have said is that I was surprised by his lack of tact. I wasn't even eating, just having an iced coffee, while my spouse ate. WE weren't playing cards, and the man stood right in front of me. That's all I'm saying.

                                                                                      1. re: CookieLee

                                                                                        I went there yesterday with my 80 year old mother. I ordered a corned beef sandwich that we could share. They charged us for two half sandwiches instead of one full sandwich. An almost $2 upcharge. (we got an extra pickle..ok, charge me 25 cents then). I didn't realize it till I was halfway through the meal and I didn't want to make a scene in front of my mother so I just let it go. My mother tried to engage Michael in friendly conversation but he was just unpleasant and snurley-faced. The sandwich was fine but the atmosphere and the half sandwich chiseling was so oft-putting that I won't go back.

                                                                                        1. re: Big Fat Moe

                                                                                          That is disgraceful and pathetic. I will never go there again after hearing that. My friend was telling me that her father was thrown out of there for asking if they roast their own turkey breast. No food is worth putting up with abusive behavior. When I was in New York eating at Carneige they tried to charge me a sharing fee even though all of us ordered plenty of food and even beer. I told them no and they did not.

                                                                                    2. re: CookieLee

                                                                                      Michael's has clearly has set a pattern which is... as long as I put out good food, my self-interest comes first and I'll make my customers put up with it. I hope that other eating establishments don't embrace this kind of philosophy.

                                                                                      1. re: chowmouse

                                                                                        I know this thread seems to be mostly about what a &*!$ Michael can be, but can anyone comment on the brisket sandwiches, either the hot with gravy, or cold? I've never been, and am on a non-barbecued brisket quest (which will no doubt be of shorter duration than even a barbecued brisket quest, around these parts).

                                                                                        1. re: nsenada

                                                                                          My boyfriend always, always orders the hot brisket on rye with brown mustard. He likes it more than the pastrami and prime rib. I've tasted the brisket a few times and thought it was pretty good, served warm and juicy. It's a little plain flavor-wise for my taste, but I prefer the tongue and pastrami.

                                                                                          1. re: ilovedessert

                                                                                            I'll have to give it a try. Some places seem to stint on brisket quality, because it's less popular than corned beef and pastrami.

                                                                                      2. re: CookieLee

                                                                                        And yet yesterday I was there and a woman asked if he had bagels with things on them. He said there's a menu, which I suppose some might interpret as surly but that's his personality. She looked at the menu and then asked, with some disappointment, if she could have corned beef on a bagel. He said yes, that they'd make a corned beef sandwich with a bagel as bread. This all took a while because she had no idea how or what to order and didn't know the bagel menu is really for breakfast. She then didn't know that the sandwiches come plain, so that led into questions about what she wanted on the sandwich. She ended up with hot corned beef with mustard and tomato on a plain bagel, which is what she wanted. She might think that was an uncomfortable interaction, maybe not.

                                                                                        My point is that some people come into a place and know what to order, how to order, because they're familiar with the menu and style of the place. (Try figuring out how to order at Zabar's if you're a newbie.) Michael's gets lots of regulars and lots of transients so there are always ordering issues. If you're unable to handle that concept, then don't go there. And I suggest you also avoid a large number of places in Boston, NYC and even LA (where they tend to be nicer) because you won't like it when the experience doesn't conform to you.

                                                                                        After this conversation was done, Michael turned to me and asked if I'd had a nice Thanksgiving. He told me he did for the first time but I didn't push it. He recognizes me because I've been there many times. That's part of patronizing local business.

                                                                                        Why should he care that you paid $2 more when you could have asked for a corned beef sandwich, sat down and shared it? I suppose he might have asked if you want to eat off one plate, but why? He doesn't know you from Adam. And that's the way it works in local places all over Boston, America and the world.

                                                                                        1. re: lergnom

                                                                                          I did ask for a corned beef sandwich with the intention to sit down and share it. He took it upon himself to put it on 2 plates and charge me $2 more. How can you even begin to defend (never mind frequent) an establishment like this?

                                                                                          1. re: Big Fat Moe

                                                                                            Because if $2 is gonna make or break somebody, they shouldn't be ordering sandwiches in the first place.

                                                                                            I fully support your right not to go to Michael's Deli and to think the owner is a total d-bag. But that doesn't stop me from making my choices about what to do with my money, and if I want a nice chicken salad club on rye, I'm going to Michael's for it.

                                                                                            1. re: Big Fat Moe

                                                                                              A quick reminder- we're all entitled to our own opinions here. Please feel free to share your opinions but please do so without making others feel theirs are incorrect.

                                                                                              1. re: Big Fat Moe

                                                                                                Seems to me there's a little more to this than meets the eye. When I've ordered sandwiches there I have not been handed them on two plates. You must have said something (even if only directed to your mother, not to Michael) that indicated you intended to share it, in which case it's reasonable for him to assume you wanted a split order. And a $2 split order surcharge, where two separate plates are involved, is not out of line.

                                                                                                I can understand that if you didn't know about the surcharge and didn't expect it, it can be a bit upsetting, but it's not an indication of diabolical intent on the part of the owner.

                                                                                                1. re: BobB

                                                                                                  I'm a semi-regular at Michael's. I do like the quality but I think that Michael has a social disorder, maybe a form of asburgers (spelling). I once got a sandwich to go and asked that each half be wrapped seperately. I got the $2 surcharge.

                                                                                                  1. re: chuck s

                                                                                                    Asburgers? As long as that's not what he's selling, I'll give him some leeway. The guy at Azuri in NYC, not so much, what a spectacular grinch, that dude.

                                                                                                  2. re: BobB

                                                                                                    Yeah, you are probably right about the absence of diabolical intent. But its not worth it for me. I'll frequent the plenty of places to eat in the area where I am not made to feel uncomfortable and am pleased to spend my hard earned dollars.

                                                                                              2. re: CookieLee

                                                                                                I actually used to manage a CC wine store and did some work with Michael, but only a few times. He was generous with his food, but on one occasion (without getting into details) suffice it to say his behavior made me and others very uncomfortable and he was not welcomed back. I do not patronize his restaurant.

                                                                                                  1. re: chuck s

                                                                                                    I will agree that Michael's Deli is very good, but I stopped going there because he wouldn't stop hitting on me and it made me uncomfortable. This was a few years ago, when I was 20, and he would ask to take me out to dinner every time I came in. I don't even know how old he is, but he must be at least 25 years older than me.

                                                                                                    I didn't want to be rude, so I would just smile and laugh it off as if he was making a joke, but he would still push to take me out. He said that we could just get dinner as friends. Ugh, gross.

                                                                                                    So yea, I stopped going. I'd like to see someone defend him for that!

                                                                                                    -----
                                                                                                    Michael's Deli
                                                                                                    256 Harvard St, Brookline, MA 02446

                                                                                                    1. re: your_outreach

                                                                                                      I will defend nothing about Michael's except his corned beef. ;-)

                                                                                        2. GOOD:

                                                                                          Dorado - relatively new Baja-style fish taco place between Coolidge Corner and Comm Ave. They are hands-down the best taco place in Boston imho. Basically the only place to get fish tacos, now that Baja Fresh have all closed down. And Dorado's is pretty damn good.

                                                                                          Rod Dee's - agree with everyone else's assessment of this place. Not a comfortable place to eat in, but a great take-out place with some of the best Thai food in Boston.

                                                                                          New England Soup Factory - just great soup, esp their corn & clam chowder.

                                                                                          Jae's - I realize some people knock this place, but their lunch specials are some of the best deals around. Very tasty and lots of goodies packed into a bento plate.

                                                                                          AVOID:

                                                                                          Fugakyu - I'm glad that so many people agree with me that this place is overrated and overpriced. The sushi's are very unimpressive there. Some of their $20 items (like tonkatsu with asparagus) are just plain and boring and complete waste of $.

                                                                                          1. We have been to Lineage twice and really think it is a great addition to the neigborhood.

                                                                                            1. Pomodoro in Brookline Village is my favorite restaurant in the area, hands-down. Great food, warm service and hospitality, creative drinks, and cozy atmosphere. It's our happy place. (Have never had a bad experience there, though I've seen on some threads that others have. That's too bad. I will say, I love the staff there -- but I imagine that if you sass them they'll sass you right back. So, as with all dining experiences, it's best not to be an a-hole.)

                                                                                              Zenna is consistently good. Zenna Noodle Bowl -- yum.

                                                                                              Agree with others that Zaftigs is overrated. I am baffled by the line there every weekend, though perhaps part of the issue is that CC lacks brunch options in general.

                                                                                              Rani for Indian.

                                                                                              El Dorado, up Harvard St. a bit, has delicious tacos - lots of options, serve with a charred jalapeno. Really good.

                                                                                              Kupel's for quality bagels. Not open Saturday.

                                                                                              Off topic, but we recently discovered Wulf's fish market. Since you're moving here and you like food, you should know about it. Pricey, but awesome. And they're nice as can be.

                                                                                              A few blocks out, Washington Square Tavern. Excellent food & drink (esp. wine).

                                                                                              Enjoy!

                                                                                              -----
                                                                                              Pomodoro
                                                                                              24 Harvard St, Brookline, MA 02445

                                                                                              Zenna Noodle Bar
                                                                                              1374 Beacon St, Brookline, MA 02446

                                                                                              Washington Square Tavern
                                                                                              714 Washington St, Brookline, MA 02446

                                                                                              16 Replies
                                                                                              1. re: nicboston

                                                                                                I suppose it depends on what bagels you grew up with but Kupels are definitely not good bagels to me. In fact, there isn't one thing at Kupels I consider worth eating. I'd much rather have Brueggers if I can't get to Rosenfelds. Agree on the WS Tavern: a great little neighborhood place with an innovative and affordable wine list. Add American Craft for good beer and decent pub grub. Love Orinoco and prefer La Morra to Pomodoro. Prefer Tamarind Bay to Ranis. Japonaise, Clear Flour and When Pigs Fly provide Brookline with very good bread and pastry and Athans will do for the Jamaican chocolate-thingy and excellent lemon tea cake. Family Restaurant is wonderful and a bargain and Taberno de Haro is wonderful and not a bargain. Dok Bua is very good and, if you stretch the Harvard Street boundary just a little, Shanghai Gate is almost in Brookline. Michael's, Cuttys, and Seven Subs serve up fine sandwiches. And Fireplace Grill's lunchtime hamburger and Cobb Salad are worth a lunch visit. All in all, Brookline won't let you starve. But Wulf's for fish? Make the trip to New Deal in Cambridge or, for sushi quality tuna if you want to stay in Brookline, go to Sea to You.

                                                                                                -----
                                                                                                Shanghai Gate
                                                                                                204 Harvard Ave, Allston, MA 02134

                                                                                                La Morra
                                                                                                48 Boylston Street, Brookline, MA 02445

                                                                                                Tamarind Bay
                                                                                                75 Winthrop St, Cambridge, MA 02138

                                                                                                Pomodoro
                                                                                                24 Harvard St, Brookline, MA 02445

                                                                                                Seven Subs
                                                                                                1364 Beacon St, Brookline, MA 02446

                                                                                                American Craft
                                                                                                1700 Beacon St, Brookline, MA 02445

                                                                                                1. re: teezeetoo

                                                                                                  Have you been to Wulf's since it is under new ownership?

                                                                                                  1. re: veggielover

                                                                                                    no and i didn't know it had changed hands. Has it improved? I'd love to get my fish on this side of the river!

                                                                                                    1. re: veggielover

                                                                                                      New ownership? When did that happen? I live a couple of blocks from Wulf's and stopped shopping there years ago because the quality was not up to what I can get from, say, the Fish Lady at the Brookline farmers market. But she's not there in the colder months, and a good local option would be great.

                                                                                                      1. re: BobB

                                                                                                        Apparently, they changed ownership about three months ago. I bought some fish from them about a month ago and it was good. I'll go back again.

                                                                                                        1. re: veggielover

                                                                                                          This is great to know - we'll definitely go back now to give it a try.

                                                                                                      2. re: veggielover

                                                                                                        have been a long time patron of wulf's---before and since the change of ownership----consider it one of the most consistently high- quality fish stores in the boston area.

                                                                                                      3. re: teezeetoo

                                                                                                        Good things at Kupel's - disclosure: my high school daughter worked there so I tasted most things - include:

                                                                                                        - onion board. They usually only make a few.
                                                                                                        - bialy
                                                                                                        - everything bagel, but only if you toast it. Most everything bagels are overwhelmed with stuff but theirs is lighter and toasts well. Same with their onion bagel.

                                                                                                        My favorite sandwich in Brookline is the grape leaves one at Family Restaurant.

                                                                                                        1. re: lergnom

                                                                                                          The bialy? Really? I ordered a bialy from Kupel's once, and chucked it in the garbage as soon as I got our the door. Not a reasonable facsimile of the real deal by any stretch IMO. I'd kill to find a good bialy around here, but have given up.

                                                                                                          1. re: Gabatta

                                                                                                            I would like to like Kupels. I don't. I've tried. As to bialys, there is only Kossar's in NY and my friends tell me it's changing for the worse too. If you are old and grew up with NY jewish bread, bagels and bialys, you're pretty much living on memory, though Great Neck still has a bakery that makes onion pletzels to die for and When Pigs Fly makes a decent NY rye. Ever since H & H opened in NY, bagels have gone downhill there as well. Barney Greengrass, Russ and Daughters, Zabars and the Vinegar Factory are still holding their own.

                                                                                                            1. re: Gabatta

                                                                                                              It's not an authentic bialy but it tastes good and that is my criteria.

                                                                                                              I'm not convinced good bialys of the old sort exist any more except in the imagination.

                                                                                                              The Jewish deli is nearly defunct. There's a book called "Save the Deli" which I recommend that goes into the why in some detail.

                                                                                                              1. re: lergnom

                                                                                                                "Good bialys of the old sort" still exist. You have to go to NYC or Chicago to have one. Gabetta, you took the words right out of my mouth. WPF rye is v. good.

                                                                                                          2. re: teezeetoo

                                                                                                            Well, I grew up in Florida eating butter-soaked Lenders out of the freezer bag when I ate bagels at all. We don't have the bagel culture in the south that you find up here, so perhaps that would explain our differences in opinion on boiled-and-baked bread. Fortunately, my tastes have evolved beyond those of the Lenders-eating ruffian I used to be. I now trust my food judgment, and in considering the local, Coolidge Corner-based options of Kupels, Brueggers, and the hellhole that is Panera, Kupels wins my vote without question.

                                                                                                            Thanks for the other recommendations, teezeetoo. I agree about Seven Subs, Pigs Fly, and Athans. I'll have to check the others out...especially Tamarind Bay. I like Rani for reliable take-out, and their Tomato Coconut Shorba is truly one of the most delicious things in CC, but I would love to find another go-to Indian spot.

                                                                                                            -----
                                                                                                            Tamarind Bay
                                                                                                            75 Winthrop St, Cambridge, MA 02138

                                                                                                            Seven Subs
                                                                                                            1364 Beacon St, Brookline, MA 02446

                                                                                                            1. re: nicboston

                                                                                                              Hmm - let us know what you think of Tamarind Bay Coastal Kitchen. I had a miserable experience there the one time I went - OK apps, mediocre to awful entrees, and it was DEAFENINGLY loud. http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/600208

                                                                                                              1. re: nicboston

                                                                                                                thank you nicboston for the rec on the Tomato Coconut Shorba. I'll go back to Ranis to try it. So much of what happens with eating is the particular experience you have: I went to Ranis and had a shrimp dish and the shrimp came out uncooked. I sent the dish back and it came out with the shrimp so overcooked they were unrecognizable. I know such things can happen in a good place on a bad night. But when there are so many choices, unless it happens at a place you know and love, you don't tend to be forgiving. I know exactly what BobB means, below. I've had very good food at Tamarind Bay but one bad night can strike a place off the list. and yes, if you're old and grew up in NY, you will spend your life reminiscing about the bread and bagels of your childhood. We just don't realize that everybody didn't have a hot onion pletzel for breakfast.

                                                                                                                -----
                                                                                                                Tamarind Bay
                                                                                                                75 Winthrop St, Cambridge, MA 02138

                                                                                                                1. re: teezeetoo

                                                                                                                  Update: tried Tamarind Bay twice now since reading this thread, and am happy to report that fiancee and I were happy with our meal both times. I'm impressed with their variety of seafood and veg options (I guess the seafood part makes since, given the full name of the restaurant). We didn't sit in the restaurant, however -- did takeout/delivery -- so I can't speak to the dining experience. Overall though, great to have another option for Indian in Brookline. Thanks for the rec, teezeetoo!

                                                                                                                  So

                                                                                                                  -----
                                                                                                                  Tamarind Bay
                                                                                                                  75 Winthrop St, Cambridge, MA 02138

                                                                                                          3. My current obsession is the Meat House in Coolidge Corner if you want to stay in for an evening...their cases and cases of fresh meats are beyond drool worthy...

                                                                                                            Also, don't know if anyone's mentioned this yet, but one of my favorite things to do once it gets really cold is to go to the Publick House in Wash. Sq. and splurge on their make-your-own Mac and cheese. It's true that it can be a little hit or miss but when it's on....oh man, is it on!!

                                                                                                            www.OnceUponASmallBostonKitchen.blogs...

                                                                                                            -----
                                                                                                            Publick House
                                                                                                            1648 Beacon St, Brookline, MA

                                                                                                            Meat House
                                                                                                            655 Main St, Walpole, MA 02081

                                                                                                            2 Replies
                                                                                                            1. re: The_SBK

                                                                                                              here's a nice thing to know about the Meat House: call ahead and they'll prepare your order for you so you can zoom in and pick it up. They mix ground pork and beef for me, i can get ground lamb, and they'll even special order things like veal kidneys for you.

                                                                                                              -----
                                                                                                              Meat House
                                                                                                              655 Main St, Walpole, MA 02081

                                                                                                              1. re: The_SBK

                                                                                                                Re the Meat House- any idea if their beef is grass fed? I thought I read something about their beef being grass fed when they opened but there isn't anything on the website.

                                                                                                                -----
                                                                                                                Meat House
                                                                                                                655 Main St, Walpole, MA 02081

                                                                                                              2. Hope you're having a good time in Brookline, gramercy! There are some new places in Brookline that are worth trying, like The Abbey in Washington Square, and Cognac Bistro in JFK Crossing. Chef Chow's and Jae's have closed.

                                                                                                                Some of my favorites are The Abbey, Taberna de Haro and Tamarind Bay. I've also heard great things about The Regal Beagle, which just opened recently.

                                                                                                                -----
                                                                                                                Tamarind Bay
                                                                                                                75 Winthrop St, Cambridge, MA 02138

                                                                                                                Regal Beagle
                                                                                                                308 Harvard St, Brookline, MA 02446

                                                                                                                Cognac Bistro
                                                                                                                455 Harvard St, Brookline, MA 02446

                                                                                                                3 Replies
                                                                                                                1. re: cristinh

                                                                                                                  Sadly, I think Chef Chow's remains open.

                                                                                                                  1. re: C. Hamster

                                                                                                                    Oops, I think you're right... I'm thinking of Chef Chang's on Beacon Street.

                                                                                                                  2. re: cristinh

                                                                                                                    Thanks Cristin - we are having fun. We really like all the places you mentioned. We also really like Budda C for best (not saying much here) Chinese in Brookline. Haven't been to Regal Beagle in a while -- have been meaning to give it another try soon.

                                                                                                                    -----
                                                                                                                    Regal Beagle
                                                                                                                    308 Harvard St, Brookline, MA 02446