Last weekend a few of the interns decided that it was about time we started feeling more like people again, and escaped the hospital for brunch at Neighborhood Restaurant in Somerville. This place is popular, and we had to wait for about an hour and a half for a table of 6. My guess is that this isn't an unusual situation, given that they had a table set up with iced tea, coffee, and a cake-like bread for those of us milling around waiting to be seated. (Unfortunately, it took us about an hour of wait-time to figure out where they kept the cups for the iced tea and coffee. Hint: they're in the bottom drawer of the plastic storage bin next to the table)
We were seated in an outdoor patio area that was pretty eclectic and colorful, with *surprise* a bunch of grapes hanging from a wooden lattice-work above our heads.
In any other setting it might be considered romantic, but not here. Looking around at all the rainbow colored umbrellas and neon-colored table-tops, the word "hipster" popped into my head. Don't ask me why. I don't even know what makes someone a hipster - and I don't think that bright colors are necessarily associated with them (in fact, I'm pretty sure that in NYC all the hipsters wear dark jackets and super-skinny jeans (also dark) and ride around on bikes = completely unrelated to what I was seeing at the restaurant).
For brunch at Neighborhood Restaurant, each order comes with your choice of either a fruit bowl, or their special cream of wheat. While waiting in line, we kept hearing people rave about the cream of wheat (if you check the Yelp reviews, they also gush about the cream of wheat) - which was pretty surprising. When people think of cream of wheat, the boxed stuff is usually what comes to mind: not exactly appetizing. But I decided to trust the reviews, and passed up the fruit bowl. I was not disappointed. The cream of wheat was pretty yummy - creamier and sweeter than what Quaker Oats makes, with a dash of cinnamon on top.
For entrees, I shared the Portuguese breakfast and apple cinnamon crepe with Christina. The Portuguese breakfast consisted of scrambled eggs, homefries, a crabcake, potato cakes, rice and beans, chorizo, and blood sausage.
The crabcake and potato cake were great, the homefries had some peppers and spices mixed in -which was a nice touch, and scrambled eggs and chorizo are always hard to mess up. As for the blood sausage... I've never tried blood sausage before, and I know it's popular with people in the UK, so I had hopes that it would taste better than it sounds (and taste better than it looks). I was wrong. I should have been fore-warned by the expression on Christina's face when she took her first bite, but I decided to be brave and try some for myself. EPIC DISASTER. It tasted horrible. It isn't even a matter of the texture, and I can normally tolerate liver dishes pretty well, so it wasn't the metallic taste of the heme that bothered me. There was an extra "aroma" (for lack of a better word) that lingers in your mouth which was the real kicker. Perhaps it's an acquired taste... After all, there are people in Australia who love Vegemite, and from everything I've heard, that stuff is also nasty.
The apple cinnamon crepe was a good way to wash away the taste of the blood sausage. Rather than ice cream, it was paired with hand-whipped cream and had a drizzle of caramel on top:
Overall, the food was good, and given the nice weather and the pleasant company, the wait really wasn't too bad. Portion sizes were huge, and we left completely stuffed. Plus, as an added bonus - I now know better than to ever order blood sausage again. We learn something new every day...
Overall rating: 7/10
Neighborhood Restaurant and Bakery
25 Bow Street
Somerville, MA 02143