1. Cognac Bistro, 455 Harvard St, Brookline
Why? It has a $12 fix priced brunch on weekends, 11am to 2pm. This gets you a glass of fresh squeezed orange juice, a warm basket of various French breads that are impossible to stop eating, an omelette of your choice, and a side of expertly grilled potatoes. Don’t take your pre-teens here, there’s lots of strong cheese and asparagus. But I like that the menu makes French cuisine approachable and offers ingredients you normally wouldn’t see in your eggs. Both omelettes I’ve tried here have changed my morning and therefore my life. The Cognac Omelette is my favorite, containing roasted button mushrooms, bacon, and fourme d’ambert – a very rich and creamy cheese (pictured above). I also enjoyed the Eggs Frittata, with Chorizo, spinach, and boucheron – a goat cheese.
What else? The restaurant is also partially an oyster bar. Their oysters are highly praised, and only a dollar each. Raw things from the ocean are not my forte – do not leave me alone with shellfish, thank you – but other bloggers and reviewers love Cognac’s so it’s my duty to guide you their way.
Ask the Professionals: Cognac won Best of Boston in 2011. Sadly, there’s a rumor that it will close by the end of 2013, not because of lack of success, clearly, but because the chef desires to move back to Vermont. Fair, but we’ll miss you. And to everyone else, go while you still can.
Why? Its award winning Industry Brunch on Mondays from 12pm to 4pm. Trina’s food has the same effect as its atmosphere: and it takes you somewhere you hadn’t been before walking inside. The decor and, somehow, the vibe itself are 1950’s style. The more you go you realize that the bartenders literally know everyone who walks in the door. The best brunch choice was the Carnitas Benny $12. If pulled pork and 2 over-easy eggs atop cornbread isn’t convincing enough, it included spinach and choron sauce, harmonizing the sweetness of the first ingredients. I had the Huevos Rancheros $11 pictured on the left. The Chorizo Black Beans were flavorful but the dish was very hearty, finishing it was not a viable option. We also tried the Creamy Corn Fritters $5 and Homemade Pear Pop Tart $4. Both scrumptious! Don’t take your parents here. At 1 pm on Monday it was crowded, it was loud, it was hip, it was the Industry’s Friday night.
What else? Trina’s is home to the best Veggie Burger of all time. The food offers unique twists to comfort favorites, like the Corn Dog $5 and Southern Ramen $13.
Ask the Professionals: It’s on Bon Appetit Magazine’s list of best fried chicken in country. Its Veggie Burger and said brunch are also medaled.
3. South End Buttery, 314 Shawmut Ave, Boston
Why? Who wouldn’t want to have brunch in a bakery? Classically South End-esque, the Buttery charms you from the moment you walk into its bustling bakery in the front. The pancakes were devilishly more cake-like than pan-like. We also sampled the New England Crab Cake Sandwich $15, Spring Herb & Goat Cheese Omelette $13, and Huevos Rancheros $14. I loved the crab cake but its consumer’s vote was it was too bready. The huevos rancheros were tasty but not as hearty as one who ordered that might desire. My omelette was good, but my thing with omelettes is that they kind of all taste the same. Unless you’re cognac bistro so touche to you. This place isn’t very offensive, I think you could bring anyone here. Except someone who’s more financially conservative than myself regarding food.
What else? The Blackberry Orange Scones from the bakery were to die for.