About five years ago, I was exploring the area around MIT before one of my many meetings, and while ducking down Brookline Street, passed by an unassuming little storefront on the side of a fairly industiral-looking building. But looking inside, it was a little diner, absolutely filled with students having breakfast. It looked interesting enough that I vowed to come back and try it sometime. There was just one one little detail. Brookline Lunch isn’t open on Tuesdays. And, somehow, that seems to be when the majority of my visits to MIT are. So for about two years, Brookline Lunch has been on my hit list, but it wasn’t until I had a visit to MIT on a recent very cold Monday morning that I finally had a chance to check them out.
The first term to come to mind entering Brookline Lunch is “joint”. It’s an odd little space, carved out of a larger building, and while fresh artwork adorns the walls, most everything else in there (ceilings, paint, floor, booths) is quite worn. And, quite frankly, the climate control left a little to be desired as well. While it was a bitter 5 degrees outside, inside the restaurant, it was, at most, 50 degrees and a bit drafty. But it’s obvious that these detriments don’t bother the normal patrons, since even on a quiet, cold Monday morning, the place was packed with an eclectic mix that mostly seemed to be MIT students and construction workers, all enjoying their breakfasts.
Menu-wise, Brookline is your basic diner fare. Since this was breakfast, that means just about every possible combination of eggs, meat, and toast, French toast, and an impressive selection of Benedicts (options including classic with ham, Florentine, chicken, steak, and a few others). I ended up opting for the “Brendan Benedict”, with bacon and spinach, making it something of a fusion between a classic Benedict and a Florentine. And the resulting dish was quite pleasing: the nicely-crisped bacon and the spinach worked well with the perfectly-poached eggs and a good Hollandaise sauce (although I like my Hollandaise a bit more tangy and rich), the Brendan was a nice variant of the standard Benedict. An added bonus was that the home fries at Brookline aren’t your standard potato home fries, but a rich mix of potatoes, carrots, peppers, broccoli, and several other veggies: with a bit of hot sauce, it was quite an enjoyable side.
Overall, I was pleased with Brookline Lunch, serving up a very plentiful and flavorful Benedict at quite a reasonable price. I’ll have to make it a point to return and try, well, their “Lunch”, since they’ve also got a nice selection of burgers, sandwiches, and even a few Mediterranean dishes.