The Brass Buckle (Greenfield, MA)

(Update: Brass Buckle closed in February 2018. It is now Bonnie B’s, which I will likely write up in a few months)

Like always, a trip down to the NYC area almost always involves a pit-stop in either southern VT or western MA for breakfast. Luckily, both Brattleboro, VT and Greenfield, MA have quite a good selection of places. In Greenfield, one places has been calling our attention for a while; The Brass Buckle. Located on Main Street just west of the main corner of downtown (Rte 10 and Main), the place itself is quite simple: it’s a quiet little breakfast coffee shop. But since it consistently gets good online reviews, and often has a line out the door when we come by, we wanted to check it on. On this visit, we got there early enough to avoid a rush, especially since it was a weekday.

I’ll have to say, one of the things that I generally miss from a culinary standpoint in most of New England is Mexican (or even Mexican-inspired) breakfasts. But looking at Brass Buckle’s menu, in addition to your standard American fare like French toast and breakfast sandwiches, they’ve got quite a few decent-looking Mexican options on the menu: Huevos Rancheros, enchiladas, and an impressive array of breakfast tacos. They are also open-minded enough to sell their “lunch” items at breakfast, so we soon found ourselves sitting down with some huevos rancheros, a cheese and egg biscuit, and… a pork belly kimchi taco. A nice, eclectic mix.

Let’s start with with the huevos rancheros. Basically, this dish is one of my Mexican favorites due to the overall simplicity: it’s basically beans and eggs on tortillas with some salsa and cheese served over it. But while simple in concept, it’s also a dish that, in my experience, is pretty unforgiving to execution errors: If the eggs are overcooked and don’t have a runny yolk? The effect is ruined. If it’s not a great salsa or a good tortilla? Then it falls flat. But that all didn’t matter at Brass Buckle, this was a spot on huevos rancheros. The eggs were nicely fried over-easy. The tortilla was nicely toasted, the dish served up with some toothsome pinto beans and two pleasant salsas (half red, and half green), with both some cheese crumbled over it, and some pickled jalapenos and crisp lettuce to the side. Overall, a thoroughly pleasant breakfast.

Carol did well with her choices as well. We continued our good luck run from Philamena’s with another biscuit that defied the New England trend by, well, not sucking. It was a decent biscuit with a good flake and a nice crust. And the kimchi pork belly taco? A near-perfect execution: a nicely seasoned chunk of pork belly cooked just to crispiness, and blanked in a nice, tangy layer of kimchi… Yup, there’s a reason that “Korean tacos” have become a thing.

Overall, we were very pleased with The Brass Buckle, and happy to have finally had a chance to check them out. I can certainly see why the place gets long lines on the weekend.

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