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The Scoop on Jasmine BIstro, Brighton

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Heard from a business acquaintance about Jasmine. He said that he had a wonderful dinner at Jasmine. I had never heard of it and did a search for it both here and a couple of other places. Shockingly little info about a restaurant that has been around for several years. What I was able to find makes it sound well worth trying. Any info or comments from the Chowhounds would be really appreciated.

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  1. I haven't been back in some months, but I'm a big fan: mostly French and Hungarian, with some Near East dishes akin to Persian, Afghan, and Pakistani fare. A family-run place, the kitchen is now in the second generation's hands; the now semi-retired father opened the place after emigrating from Baluchistan and cooking in Paris and at Boston's old Cafe Budapest for years, hence the unusual menu.

    Small, cute but modest, a good value, and a place few people seem to know about, including everyone I've ever met who actually lives in Brighton (like a bunch of folks I met at a Christmas party last night and suggested they try it). Short, reasonable wine list.

    I lean toward the Hungarian fare, which isn't perfectly traditional but still very good: tasty gulyas and paprikash with handmade spaetzle. (With the dearth of Mitteleuropean options of any sort in Boston, it's hard to be too persnickety.) In any event, the prices make it pretty painless to gamble on: I don't think there's an entree that cracks $20. I'm overdue to revisit.

    http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

    1 Reply
    1. re: MC Slim JB

      Pretty much exactly the same take here: a really nice neighborhoody spot with some good Hungarian comfort-food specialties, but given that I'm simply never in Brighton Center at dinnertime, I don't get over nearly as much as I'd like even though it's no more than 10-15 minute bus ride away from my house.

    2. I was just thinking of Jasmine...

      1. I've lived about 1/4 mile away from Jasmine for 20 years and I've eaten there twice. I enjoyed my meal both times, but the vibe with the wine service is really bizarre. The owner basically offers red or white (a few types of each), and pours by the glass, yet prices by about how much you've drunk. Cheaper than by the glass, and generally a good value, but just...weird. I do enjoy the food, but since I'm so close to Brighton center, I rarely think of eating dinner there (usually we T it into town or Cambridge).

        3 Replies
        1. re: kimfair1

          I recall being able to order wine by the bottle at Jasmine. I particularly remember an Egri Bikavér (Bull's Blood) from Hungary for about $25.

          http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

          1. re: MC Slim JB

            The first time I went you could (and the Bulls Blood was what we ordered), but the last time we went (last year sometime), it was this weird convoluted thing where he decanted some of a bottle at the table, and then decanted more when we wanted it. If I remember correctly it was very reasonable, somewhere around $25 a bottle if it had been a bottle, but it definitely wasn't. We went with some friends, and they were remarking about the weirdness of it all as well. Perhaps he's gone back to bottles. I think we were there in winter sometime 2010.

          2. re: kimfair1

            You are kind of at the mercy of the (very nice) owner it seems. Sometimes he just says, "Do you want red or white?" and then he just picks a bottle out for you, without mention of price. He does it with food too, particularly appetizers: "Oh, the chef is making a nice such and such for you." You are never quite sure what the check will be, but it's always been extremely reasonable. And, being part Hungarian, it's nice to have a taste of Eastern Europe nearby.