Despite its name, most everyone knows that Brookline Lunch is a great place for breakfast in Cambridge. But it turns out that its Mediterranean-inspired menu, coupled with Monopoly-money prices, makes this an excellent spot for any meal. Any meal that’s over by 5 pm, that is.
Step inside and you immediately understand that you’re somewhere different. Quirky inside and out, here you’ll find hand-painted ceiling fans, eggplants and tomatoes growing in the window boxes, and fake peppers dangling from real indoor plants. Fortunately, the food is more tasteful than the décor.
At this independent, family-owned eatery, all of your meals are cooked to order in the open kitchen at the back, sandwiches can still cost fewer than five bucks, and the walls are as colorful as the purple cauliflower that might pop up in your home fries. The omelets are far better than those of the average diner — yet they’re almost outshone by the home fries that accompany them (and many other dishes). A single order gives you fried potatoes plus massive amounts of rotating, often seasonal veggies so good that vegans could order a double and call it a meal.
Omnivores are taken care of, too, with lunch options ranging from the grape-leaf sandwich ($4.25) to London broil ($6.50) to curry goat ($6.95). If you’re interested in having the most delightful-sounding snack imaginable, you can just order a “halvah on pita with tea” ($5.50). As if that weren’t enough, the husband and wife duo also makes their own complimentary hot sauce and raspberry jam, both of which you’ll find yourself slathering on whatever you can reach. The baba ganoush ($5.25) has the smoky depth it’s supposed to and, oh, by the way, the falafel ($5.25) is probably one of the best in Boston.
The menu is broad, reliable, weird, and weirdly reasonable. If you somehow get bored with dishes like the zucchini omelet ($6.25) and French toast with salmon ($6.25), you can always spice things up with a Turkish coffee ($2.50) and the sandwich special, which comes with a cup of soup and a generous wedge of baklava.
Some complain about long weekend breakfast lines and inconsistent service (neither of which I’ve experienced). But most would tell them to shut up and count their blessings.
Brookline Lunch, located at 9 Brookline Street, in Cambridge, is open Monday, and Wednesday through Sunday, from 8:30 am to 5 pm. Call 617.354.2983.