It’s tough to follow a beloved and bygone restaurant: ask the folks who tried to run Rachel’s Kitchen after its original owners moved on to open Hungry Mother in Cambridge. Yet another set of owners has now taken over this tiny, nearly invisible Bay Village spot, calling it Mike & Patty’s and serving coffee, tea, pastries, breakfast plates, and sandwiches in the morning, and sandwiches and salads at midday. I expect the new kids to have better luck than their predecessors, as they’ve achieved the daunting task of improving on the original Rachel’s estimable fare.
Mike’s experience running the prepared-foods counter at South End Formaggio is evident in the super-fresh, artisan-ingredient quality of his specials, like a good two-egg scramble of potatoes, chorizo, and Monterey Jack cheese ($8) made excellent by a delicious, chili-hot fresh salsa and completed by superb multi-grain Iggy’s toast. Terrific smoky bacon elevates an egg-and-cheese sandwich ($3.25) beyond the pedestrian, while a “fancy” version ($6) adds house-made mayo, avocado, and red onion; upgrades the English muffin to toasted Iggy’s sourdough bread; and replaces bland Jack with rich cheddar. Fine breakfast baked goods include Iggy’s bagels with cream cheese ($2.25), pecan sticky buns ($2.95), and banana-nut muffins ($1.50).
At lunch, the pork torta ($7) combines outstanding carnitas (Mexican-style pork shoulder, long-simmered in orange juice and spices), avocado, refried black beans, jicama slaw, and goat cheese on a sesame-seed sub roll from the North End’s A. Parziale & Sons Bakery. Also available in chicken and vegetarian versions, this is a late-breaking candidate for sandwich of the year.
Why do so many dishes here feature extraordinary cheeses? It turns out that Patty also honed her cheesemonger chops at Formaggio. Big salads burst with many flavors, like a meze salad ($7) that tops a romaine base with hummus-dressed bulgur salad, carrot salad, and tzatsiki. Drinks include excellent filter coffee ($2) and organic, cane-sweetened Maine Root sodas ($2).
Despite being open mere weeks, Mike & Patty’s appears to have won over the old Rachel’s loyal neighborhood following. They’ve wisely limited their output to a handful of high-quality dishes so as not to overwhelm their brimming shoebox of a kitchen. It’s tight quarters for patrons, too, with only one four-top and two counter seats, so you might want to plan on takeaway. It won’t be long before customers are crowding in from all over, once word gets around that Mike & Patty’s has beaten the curse of high expectations.
Mike & Patty’s, located at 12 Church Street, in Bay Village, is open Monday through Friday, from 7:30 am to 3 pm, and on Saturday, from 8 am to 2 pm. Call 617.423.3447.