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Any Brookline must tries?

I love trying new places and since I'm around Brookline a lot, I thought it would be nice to get some restaurant recs. Anything from the dive to the bank breaker is fine by me so long as it serves something unique, good, and worth seeking out just to try. My only caveat is that I don't like spicy food much because I'm wimpy or thai in general. :)

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  1. A coupla quick thoughts:
    - Shiki (Japanese), great, authentic
    - Chef Chang (Chinese), only the Peking Duck, nothing else
    - La Morra (Italian)
    - Vernissage (Russian)
    - Taberno de Haro (Spanish)

    11 Replies
    1. re: amatto

      oh, another thought:
      - Michael's Deli, not as good as what can be had in, say, NYC, but probably the best around here

      1. re: amatto

        Actually, I recently had the opportunity to eat at 2nd Ave. Deli in NYC and at Michael's in the same week. My verdict? 2nd Ave wins for the overall experience, the sides (gribness, pickles, cole slaw), and has better pastrami, but Michael's has undeniably tastier corned beef.

      2. re: amatto

        I've tried Shiki and Chef Chang's. Shiki is great. And I didn't try the peking duck so maybe I should go back for it but everything I did try at Chef Chang's was pretty meh at best and downright bad at times. Where is Vernissage?

        1. re: foxspirit

          It's a Russian place up next to the Russian Market in Washington Sq. Some kind of nightclub?

          1. re: galleygirl

            Vernissage is a Russian restaurant, often with live music.

            Other than the Peking Duck, EVERYTHING at Chef Chang's is below "meh"..make sure they make a soup from the duck carcass.

            1. re: amatto

              Awesome. I'll have to give the russian place a try.

              1. re: amatto

                You can also request to take the Peking Duck carcass home and make the soup yourself, if you prefer. We've done that on many occasions. Don't let it go to waste, otherwise, they just use it themselves. The Peking Duck IS amazing though and if you order a whole one, they carve it table side.

                Kristina Y.

                1. re: kristinayee

                  They do package up the soup nicely, I'm always to full to have it there. I also recommend ordering beef chow fun with spicy black bean sauce. It's not on the menu as such. My brother in law came in from NYC, and ordered it. I absolutely love it!

          2. re: amatto

            I second La Morra - food is great, service was a little slow, but that may be due to the fact that it was Restaurant Week, I am not sure. Here is my review:

            * Location - 48 Boylston Street, Brookline.
            * Reservations - Recommended, but unclear if it really matters.
            * Parking - Street or valet for $8.
            * Ambience/Decor - The restaurant is on two floors. The first is rather cramped with a small bar. The second is also small, but there are more tables. It is rather cozy, but there is hardly any space for waiting, which could be crucial (see below).
            * Drinks - Wine flight for $15.09 (four glasses), not a bad deal. Exclusive to Restaurant Week though.
            * The Food/Menu - Northern Italian and small plates.
            * Cost - Could be pricey, but restaurant week prices made it reasonable.

            Here's the issue - we had a reservation for 8:45 P.M. We decided to make it on the later side so our friends could put their kids to sleep, then we'd head over to dinner. By then, we expected to be starving ... we were.

            Our friends got there early, around 8:30, and were told it would just be a few minutes. My hubby and I got there right on time and we continued to wait ... we even had to split up as there wasn't much space to stand. The guys headed over to a cramped corner by the bar and us girls stood by the door. Around 9:15 the hostess brought us a few Cicchetti (Venetian style tapas) on the house, to tide us over. That was very nice of her ... but we still continued to wait. At around 9:30, the hostess very apologetically brought us another round of Cicchetti and we were seated shortly thereafter.

            The Result? The food was absolutely delicious. Don't miss the the Fried Sage Leaves, Risotto Balls, Tuscan Meatballs and Fried Olives. The Roasted Cod with Twice Fried Artichokes was perfectly cooked and seasoned - the artichokes provided the perfect accompaniment, and the Pork Batutto was done perfectly. We also give La Morra a nod for using fresh, seasonal, local ingredients.

            The only thing that makes us pause is the long wait. Management was as courteous as can be, even offering us all a free round of dessert wine as another attempt to make up for the delay, but a wait is still a wait. We hope that the long wait was a result of overbooking for Restaurant Week, so we are willing to test the waters again. We are also intrigued by their Sunday Night Suppers, where for $25 (adults) and $12.50 (children under 12), diners get four full courses served family style.

            Kristina Y.

            1. re: kristinayee

              Hey Kristina -- nice review. Thanks for the detailed roundup of your meal. Hope you post more!

              1. re: yumyum

                No problem, glad I can help! I will definitely be posting more. I post a lot of reviews in my blog (see profile), and recently got the idea that I should also post the reviews in places where they will be seen more frequently!

          3. There is the best sushi place in Washington square called Minato- it looks like a hole in the wall, but has great cheap sushi

            1 Reply
            1. re: SALee

              Minato's not bad, but I prefer Super Fusion for sushi -- practically next door to Minato, too.

            2. The bar at Lineage is one of my new favorite places to hang out. Especially for the $1 oysters.

              2 Replies
              1. re: C. Hamster

                Oooh. I love oysters. Is that just during some special happy hour?

                1. re: foxspirit

                  Yeppers. From 5 to 7, I think. They are lovely.

              2. Orinoco in Brookline village for S. American eats. Wallet friendly and palate pleasing.

                1 Reply
                1. re: bostonbelle

                  I second Orinoco - the arepas are so delicious. And their muddled fruit drinks are great too.

                2. Dok Bua, Khao Sarn, and Rod Dee for Thai, Italian sandwiches at Bottega, Indian at Rani, and Turkish at the Family Restaurant.

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: chuck s

                    I will second Bottega Fiorentina and Turkish Family Restaurant, but will also point out that foxspirit (the original poster) specifically said that they didn't like Thai food.

                    1. re: chuck s

                      The su bouregi is fantastic at the Brookline Family Restaurant - I make it with my mother occasionally, but it's a real pain and you need 4 hands to do it right. I'd much rather order it out!

                    2. Pomodoro is charmant... great Italian and a nice room (tiramisu is fab despite typical abuse of this dessert). They don't take cash, so you have to plan accordingly, but its a nice spot.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: Rabbit

                        I think you mean they only take cash. They also serve a lovely brunch, complete with live jazz (although sometimes it's a little too loud in such a small space). I've been happy with every meal I've had there (although there are plenty of people on this board who have not).

                      2. Zaftigs is a good standby especially for brunch. Anas Taqueria if you're into Mexican but then again you can get that outside of Brookline as well. I like Tsunami Sushi on Pleasant St in Coolidge Corner for cheap sushi but I haven't tried some of the other places mentioned here.

                        1. Oh my goodness, I forgot about Martin's Coffee Shop. My boyfriend and I eat here about once a week. The veggie melt is my go-to. The rest of the food is quality diner-style greatness. Love it.

                          Also, I ate at Matt Murphy's Pub once and I thought it was actually quite good. Don't know what others have thought but they have a really very unique menu.

                          6 Replies
                          1. re: CoryKatherine

                            Jerusalem Pita opened a few months ago in Coolidge Corner, and has some fantastic kebabs, four types of hummus and this meorav yerushalmi -- a combo of beef, lamb, and chicken grilled with onions and "secret spices"... plus it has the added benefits of random Middle East themed murals, and grape bunch light fixtures. Win-win.

                            1. re: travisb

                              Sounds like they've gotten their act together, then - early reviews were pretty dismal. http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/589938

                              1. re: BobB

                                Yeah, I remember reading that... I like to think of myself as pretty picky with middle eastern, but I definitely had a positive experience with this one, although I'm a fan of Rami's as well. They've also got a condiment and sides bar, which i'm always in favor of... it is slightly expensive, but it's kosher and good quality, so....

                            2. re: CoryKatherine

                              oh! I second Matt Murphy's! I've always enjoyed the food there.

                              1. re: CoryKatherine

                                Yeah, Matt Murphy's has some good pub fare.

                                1. re: MarsGirl

                                  I will definitely have to give Matt Murphy's a try then.

                              2. Washington Square Tavern and Beacon st Tavern are worth a trip. Upscale bar food and drinks. Both have communal tables for dining and Beacon St has a patio in the warmer weather, Washington Square is smaller and IMHO much friendlier.

                                1. Here are my random thoughts:

                                  Coolidge Corner Clubhouse: Good place to grab a beer and a burger and to watch some sports. They have a large menu of fried appetizer type foods, sandwiches, burgers, etc. Not great, but decent for a sports place.

                                  Bottega Fiorentina - I've only been here once or twice and each time I felt the sauces were very watery and the pasta overcooked. But it seems to get good reviews on here. What am I missing?

                                  The Fireplace - you can get a good meal, but I've never thought anything was particularly outstanding.

                                  Zen 320 - HALF PRICE SUSHI ALL THE TIME. See the chowhound post here: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/143827. Basically two people can leave for under $20 on any given night. Be prepared to wait for a table.

                                  Zenna Noodle Bar: Only been once - it was OK. Anyone have a better review?

                                  Roadhouse - yum yum BBQ. Try their jalapeno cornbread and the chicken fried steak. This place gets mixed reviews, but it's me and my hubby's go to place for a casual night. He LOVES the craft beer.

                                  1. Some favorites: The New Rod Dee has seating. I recommend their daily Thai menu. Just ask the staff for the traditional Thai dishes. Step over to the Super 88 Food Court and eat the amazing Banh mi, Pho and warm soy milk at Pho Viet. Then pick up some sweets at Clear Flour or When Pigs Fly for breakfast the next day.