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Lunch - Drawing a Blank

A friend is having some appointments at Dana Farber and wants to meet for lunch when she is done. She travels from Western Mass, so I don't want to take her too far out of her way, but we both want some decent food. Her route, without lunch, would be Brookline Ave to Route 9 to Framingham where she gets on the Pike. I live in East Somerville but am willing to go most anywhere. I think under the circumstances, reliable parking is a requirement.

I am totally drawing a blank. Route 9 is a culinary wasteland, but maybe I have forgotten a restaurant that isn't more than 10-15 minutes off her route? Is Jo-Jo Taipei still good? What other thoughts might you have for me? I will be treating and would love to keep it under $40, plus tip.

Lunch is the Wednesday, so I am working on a deadline. Thank you in advance.

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  1. You could do EasternStandard or citizens public house or sweet cheeks ...

    Just a wee bit in the wrong direction. But negligible .

    1. I used to like Big Fresh when I lived in the area - off route 30; very easy to get onto route 9 or the pike from there. Not sure how it is now as it's been a few years since I've been there.

      Sel de la Terre at the Natick Mall is good.

      JP and Brookline might be doable also, and there are lots of options there.

      1. Sichuan Garden, Brookline Family Restaurant, New England Soup Factory and Cutty's are all in Brookline Village. If you head to Washington Square, you can go a little more upscale with The Abbey, The Fireplace, Jimmy's or Golden Temple.

        1. How about Shanghai Gate in Allston? I've never had a problem parking on that side of Harvard Ave. While it's not in the Longwood area, it's not that far either. And your friend can then jump on the Pike at the Allston exit v. driving out Rt 9 to Framingham (ugh on the drive).

          And, before you meet her, you can stop at Clear Flour for some treats for post lunch or for the drive home, or for your own house.

          1. Any reason she takes that slow route to the Pike? Allston has a trove of options. Or head toward the Newton Corner Pike entrance, and you'll pass Thai North in Oak Square, Brighton: decent Southern Thai on the menu, extraordinary Northern Thai on the specials blackboard.


            1 Reply
            1. re: MC Slim JB

              I fear that this is the only route she knows, bit I suppose it could be to save some money. After I meet her tomorrow, she will know a better way.

            2. to keep her on her route Brookline Village is your best bet. as tartandfit suggested, you'll find Family Restaurant (very good Turkish food), Sichuan Garden (very good sichuaneze) both sit down restaurants that are comfortable. While New England Soup Factory and Cutty's are good they are less comfortable for lunch and talk. Parking is fine in the Village as there is a lot at the Town Hall just past Family if you don't find street parking. If you want to go more elegant, keep coming down Washington Street to Fireplace Grill, which really has excellent lunch and an outside option if the day is fine. parking is a little trickier in Washington Square but I've never had a problem at lunchtime.

              3 Replies
              1. re: teezeetoo

                Ah! Family Restaurant could be the perfect spot and certainly one I have wanted to try. Their website is down. How much would you guess a lunch for two would run and will they allow us to sit and chat for a bit?

                1. re: smtucker

                  very customer friendly and you can sit as long as you like - grab a sunny table by the window - lunch will run about 12.00 a person with tax and tip (more if you want some of their yummy rice pudding for desert) - they have a lovely lunch buffet (not all you can eat but 5 or 6 entree choices along with pilau or salad) for 8.95 I think and I like their soups and mezes and their salads. their lamb donar kebab is delicious as well.

                  1. re: teezeetoo

                    Perfect! Right in the wheel house... and that Donar Kebab is calling my name. Thank you for your help.

              2. Cutty's in Brookline right off Rte 9 on Washington St... there is a new post about their sandwiches on this board

                1. As suggested by teezeetoo, we chose to go to the Brookline Family Restaurant. Neither one of us had trouble finding an on street parking space. We arrived at 12:30 and the place was almost empty. The cashier was irritated that we took so long to order, but the board has a lot of words to read and in the end, we both ordered a donner kebab plus an order of the phyllo-wrapped cheese appetizer. When I mentioned that I would have studied the menu on their website if it were available, she chilled out.

                  I found the bread to be a surprise. I was expecting a pita of some sort but this was more like a roll. The meat was nicely crisped and I was thrilled with how many vegetables were in the sandwich. Both of us stopped at half a sandwich. The serving size was really large.

                  The owner or manager came by to give each of us a gift card to encourage us to return. It really was empty, but one wonders why with only 4 occupied tables the woman with the screaming child needed to sit right behind us.

                  Cutty's across the street was hopping, with a long line and no open tables. We sat for two hours chatting and never felt pressured to leave. This was a great choice for today's lunch, and yes, I gave my friend some much better directions for her future trips to Dana Farber.