If you’ve ever spent a night out in the UK, you’d know that between 3 and 4 am is the best time for two things: picking fights with grown men dressed as babies on a stag night, and sopping up a future hangover with a döner kebab. While Boston certainly has its share of fightable drunks and meats-on-a-stick (think shawarma and gyros), it’s sorely lacking in their Turkish cousin. Enter Brookline Family Restaurant. Though the name conjures up images of bottomless coffee, grilled cheese, and irate Vietnam War vets, this Greek-turned-Turkish restaurant serves up fresh, authentic fare that could put to ease homesick Turks and Brits alike.
While a central display case dominates the restaurant with an array of skewered meat ranging from chicken kebabs to spicy kofte, I’m here for the large cone of spiced lamb and beef (all halal, of course), slowly rotating in front of a steady flame at the back of the kitchen. When an order comes in, the chef slices paper-thin swaths of crisp-edged, well-charred meat oozing with juices and passes them off to the waiting sandwich maker at a leisurely pace (make sure you come in at least 10 minutes before you’re actually hungry). Unlike at many places, where the döner kebab comes in standard pita bread (which has its own merits) with iceberg and unripe tomato filler, the meat at Brookline Family is served in a soft, house-baked sesame seed bun that may seem more at home around a Mexican torta, but adapts to its Anatolian role nicely. What seems like a whole ripe tomato and a salad’s worth of chunky cucumber are tossed with a lemony parsley-flecked dressing and pressed into the giving bun before being topped off with a ladleful of rich, homemade yogurt dressing. The result is a simultaneously hot and cold, salty and tangy, crunchy and soft meal that’s perfect for lunch or dinner. Unfortunately, Brookline Family Restaurant’s pre–3 am closing time means you can’t get one during the middle of the night, when you might just need it most.
Available for $6.75 at Brookline Family Restaurant, 305 Washington Street, in Brookline. Call 617.277.4466.
: Hot Plate
, Culture and Lifestyle, Food and Cooking, Ethnic Cuisines, More