The craggy crust, which is almost crisp, protects the moister (but still appropriately coarse and dense) interior. It's tailor-made for a good slather of the accompanying soft butter.
'Brookline' on Serious Eats
When Tim Maslow opened Ribelle, his first solo concept last fall, it was a boon to Brookline's Washington Square neighborhood. Now he's started brunch, and the sweet offerings are right on point.
About a month ago, the Ribelle team decided to do their version of an early-bird special: "3 for $30 before 6:30." It's one of the best deals around among upper-scale restaurants running similar special menus—and notably this arrangement comes with a lot of freedom.
The setting is just the St. Mary's stretch of Beacon Street, but by the looks of the outdoor bistro tables and the breakfast service at Tatte in Brookline, you might think you've walked into a fashionable European cafe.
Pardon the interruption: I pledged a summer-long series of food truck posts, but this limited-edition Cutty's special only comes around during tomato season and it's worthy of the mobile meal hiatus.
Most of us who ate at Cantonese restaurants in the '80s (or earlier) recognize the name egg foo yung from menus. As the article notes, it falls under the same umbrella as Chinese-American classics like moo goo gai pan and chop suey. And yet, I'd never actually eaten the dish before, my parents' and my Chinese food order rarely diverging from beef with broccoli and pan-fried noodles. I've always been curious, though.
This Boston area boulangerie is best known for its textbook-perfect baguettes, butter-laden brioche (weekends only), and heavy German ryes, but frankly the shop's sweets deserve their own post. Behold, a survey of just a few of their rustic, mostly French wares—all of which justify standing in the usual around-the-block line.
For Cutty's special "Super Cluckin' Sunday" (they're usually closed on Sundays) they're serving a rarely offered but insanely popular menu item: the Buttermilk Fried Chicken Sandwich. If you're in or near the Boston area this weekend, you need to get yourself to Cutty's.
As much as I love Sichuan Garden's Chongqing dry-fried chicken and double-cooked bacon, I'm also very satisfied by the restaurant's produce-heavy options.
Leaving aside the sandwich's weird name—several of the cafe's specialties have equally goofy labels—it's a winning package of lightly dressed-almost fluffy-tuna salad and tabbouleh that's loaded with finely minced parsley and lemon juice, sweetened with diced tomatoes, and lightly bound with bulgur.
It's pretty well known that most people who crowd this Coolidge Corner institution for weekend brunch aren't here for bagels and lox or pastrami sandwiches. They're here for the short-order house specialty: banana-stuffed French toast ($9.95).
Making the pork for these Saturday sandwiches (both $8.95) itself is a three-day process: the shoulder roast gets coated in the same spice rub that Kelsey uses on the beef and cures for two days. (The result, he says, is "a dead ringer for guanciale.") Then he slow-roasts it and chills it overnight; that way, it reabsorbs all its flavorful juices and slices cleanly.
The Spuckie ($4.10/half, $7.95/whole) is the only sandwich on the menu with a real history, Kelsey says. Originally when he was dreaming up his business, he'd envisioned a muffaletta truck. Sometime after the truck plan evolved into a brick-and-mortar op, the muffaletta turned into the Spuckie, South Boston's take on the Big Easy classic.
Affectionately dubbed "the sleeper hit of the shop," this Wednesday special ($7.50) was born out of leftovers from some of Cutty's bigger-name sensations. The sautéed broccoli rabe and the crispy, sesame-studded Iggy's roll comes from Saturday's Pork Rabe Torta; hand-pulled fresh mozzarella from the Spuckie; and their kickass tangy-sweet tomato jam from the seasonal, can't-wait-for-/can't-let-go-of-summer BLTJ.
A celebrity* invented this sandwich, but that's not why it became famous. According to Kelsey, the Spicy Pork Torta ($7.99) is another one of those examples of the staff mixing and matching X,Y, and Z from the raw materials they keep on hand, and coming up with something amazing.
It makes up half of the shop's sales (to keep up with demand, Kelsey roasts 200 pounds of beef every week.) It brings customers in from Worcester. It's widely considered the best roast beef sandwich in town—and Boston is a roast beef sandwich kinda town. We're talking Cutty's Roast Beef 1,000.
Between Saturday's roast pork and Tuesday's pork carnitas, there's a lot of pork cooking at Cutty's. That also means there's a lot of pork fat rendering at Cutty's, and the staff recently came up with a brilliant way to use it: pork fat biscuits. Consider this the other "bread" option for your AM sandwich, the rich, craggy biscuit done up with thin-sliced ham, cheese, housemade pickle chips, and, as a nod to the South, red-eye mayo.
Besides cousin Mark Sewell's Maine lobsters and the exposed wood-fired oven, chef/owner Jeremy Sewell's Lineage Restaurant in Brookline's Coolidge Corner has two claims to fame: its butterscotch pudding and its brioche dinner rolls.
Squid, and squid ink in particular, is something I've started eating only recently—one of those things that always skeeved me out as a kid that I just never gave a chance until much later on. Now I can't get enough of it, and I make a point of ordering murky, black-ink-stained food whenever I see it on a menu.
If you haven't noticed yet, we're big fans of Cutty's, husband and wife team Charles Kelsey and Rachel Toomey's sandwich shop in Brookline. It's the epitome of a neighborhood lunch spot: super friendly service, talented, smart, and hard working owners, staff that seem genuinely proud of their work, and of course, awesome food. My new favorite on the menu is their Saturday-only slow-roasted Pork Rabe ($8.95). Based on the Philadelphia classic, it starts with pork shoulder that's cured overnight in a salt and pepper rub before being slow-roasted.