These places do not serve many leafy greens. They’re restaurants with lines around the block, no matter what the weather, and they serve heaping mounds of ramen noodles, cinnamon-Danish French toast, juicy pork-filled dumplings, and salty, succulent meats. They all have legions of fans and when your friends go, they’re probably filling your social media feeds with phone shots of their dinners. Even if you don’t know them, plenty of people do. They have a cult following.
Whether it’s a taste of childhood you’re after, a midnight snack, or simple comfort food in times of stress (we were all there last week), we come to these places with a purpose: to satisfy a craving. One is weekend brunch. Sunday morning there are lines stretching out the door of popular spots, and if you think French toast is dull, you’ll find exciting variations you never thought of. Another craving is for Brazilian fare at a churrascaria (barbecue restaurant), where several kinds of succulent meats are cooked rotisserie-style. Ramen is a relatively recent craving. After percolating for years in New York and LA, the craze has finally hit Boston. And all things tapas, which used to mean Spanish food, but now applies to anything chefs decide to make in small portions, a fun and luxurious way to dine. And who doesn’t crave a dog or a burger or outstanding fries or a homemade doughnut now and again? From our newest fast food establishments we expect fresh ingredients and house-made everything. And finally, broth-and meat-filled Chinese dumplings. When all else fails, broth is the most comforting of all foods.
At a time when our city is recovering, we count on our favorite places and the good people who work at them to bring a bit of normalcy, and joy, back into daily life. Let’s eat. --Catherine Smart/Globe correspondent