Obviously, I am the bakery babe, and it's not often that I stop to mention a place that serves absolutely no sweets. But the Brookline Diner is an exception. I LOVE this place. Why? Perhaps it's the endearing way that they forgot to put the name of the restaurant on the outside of the building. I am actually not 100% certain it is named the Brookline Diner, come to think of it...that's just what my friends call it, and I've taken suit.
Now, why the love? When you go on a weekend you will find a packed, one-room restaurant with the kitchen at the back open for all to see. A small place with shabby, wobbly brown booths from the 1970s, with squirt bottles of ketchup, syrup, and hot sauce on every table, with random bursts of art on the wall, and a wood floor that looks like it has survived all manner of tribulation. If you judge a place solely on looks, you might be tempted to keep moving. But consider the line of people that often wait to get into this place on a weekend. Consider too the patrons leaving the restaurant who are stopping just short of patting their tummies and singing a happy song. This, friends, is that mythical brunch place that will fill the tum splendidly without ravishing your wallet.
This mom n' pop restaurant is run by a family who boasts Middle Eastern influences in their food (let me tell you about the hot sauce in a minute), but the majority of the breakfast fare is standard American brunch. Luscious omelets, eggs Benedict for the gods, homemade jam, coffee in plain white mugs that comes with a little dish of plastic "cream" pods, potato hash that has roasted veggies added into the potatoes...so you may have a little surprises of summer squash, spinach, broccoli, carrots, all roasted to perfection and then grilled with potatoes that are creamy soft on the inside and crusty on the outside. In short, they really, really care about the food here, and you will receive a big plate of soul nourishing, yummy food that will fill you up for the day's adventures. Oh, and you'll be paying about 8$ a plate. Yeah, I know. Technically this place should not exist. But it does, and you'd be well advised to pay it a visit.
The eggs Benedict with spinach and mushrooms. I will put this dish up against any over-priced cafe on Newbury Street. Seriously. The hollandaise was tart, creamy, and lemony, with fresh herbs, the eggs were perfectly poached with soft yolks, running over onto the crusty potatoes...and, oh yeah, this is where I tell you about the secret weapon of the Brookline Diner, their hot sauce. It comes in a squeezy bottle next to the ketchup, and it is highly addictive. On many, many visits, I've consumed large quantities, trying to figure out what this smoky hot, vinegary sauce consists of. Finally, I have the answer (well, at least a hint). The waiter is the son of the couple who own this place, and he revealed with much pride that this sauce is his dad's creation, a harissa-based sauce that is a hybrid of Moroccan and Arabian flavors...A healthy squirt of the special sauce on eggs is something out of this world. I'm not kidding, I will travel three stops on the subway in heavy snow just to have the special sauce.
Now, I can't give you many tips as to the hours of this place, as they don't actually have a website, and I forgot to take a picture of the writing on their door. But! I do have an address. You will need to venture to Central Square for this jewel, and commit to a four minute walk from the subway. Believe me, it is well worth it.