Terrie's Place

Real Southie flavor, on the plate and in the air
By MC SLIM JB  |  June 11, 2008
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Terrie’s Place | 676 East Broadway, South Boston | Monday through Friday, 6 am to 1 pm; Saturday and Sunday, 6 am to 2 pm | 617.268.3119
Sitting at a counter stool in this 35-seat breakfast and lunch spot, I ask about the smoked shoulder served with my eggs ($5.95). “Most people from out of state have never heard of it,” says proprietress Terrie as she refills my coffee ($1.60). “But we grew up on it around here.” She’s right about my unfamiliarity with this particular dish. And though I’m not from out of state (in fact, I live five minutes away), I might as well be: this is a Southie neighborhood restaurant, and I’m the only one in the place whom Terrie doesn’t know by name.

Smoked shoulder turns out to be a bonier, tougher cut of pork (retailed as picnic shoulder or picnic ham) that tastes a lot like ham but is much cheaper, hence its long-time popularity with the thrifty Irish-American community here. It’s coarse-fibered, salty, and delicious: I can see why it often replaces corned beef in New England boiled dinners. Southie heritage is also evident in the traditional Irish breakfast ($7.95), two eggs with thick-cut Irish bacon, Irish breakfast sausage, black-and-white puddings (fine-grained dollops of blood sausage and pork/oatmeal sausage, respectively), and grilled tomatoes. More purely American is the breakfast burrito ($4.95), a wheat tortilla filled with scrambled eggs, cheese, and bacon, topped with stinging jarred salsa. The corned-beef hash has a house-made flavor and a nice crust, and serves as an interesting substitute for Canadian bacon in eggs Benedict ($6.95).

Most breakfast plates come with okay homefries and oleo-smeared toast, but those carbs would be better spent on a housemade muffin ($1.60); the corn and blueberry versions, crisped on the griddle, are especially tasty. The dozen varieties of buttermilk pancakes ($4.95–$6.50; $3.95 as a side) aren’t as sugary as the French toast variations ($5.95; $3.95 as a side), including a house-made apple/nut bread version that could pass for dessert. I still want to try the good-looking omelets ($4.95–$6.95) and old-timey lunch specials, such as American chop suey ($5.95, available Mondays) and franks, beans, and brown bread ($5.25, available Fridays). The staff and local patrons are friendly. Just don’t expect to share in their banter about that neighborhood character walking by, or the scuffle the other night at the pub — at least not until you’ve lived on the block for about 30 years.

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