I'm zooming off to the Grill at Gibbet Hill in a minute for Easter brunch, where I plan to do serious damage at the omelet station. No plans? Don't celebrate? Still want to eat out without paying a fixed price for a limp sliver of ham? Refuse to take a brunch cruise lest you wind up captive at sea with oodles of children wired on Cadbury eggs? I have ideas!
Check out New China Pearl in Woburn for dim sum. It's affiliated with China Pearl in Chinatown, except the room is far larger and the parking is far easier. They're great with kids, too (and those enormous fish tanks are excellent distractions). Their tower of clams in black bean sauce is my weakness.
Grab a pizza at Posto in Davis Square. I love this place. I've been a fan ever since Andy nearly turned himself into a mini-bartender (we were seated adjacent to the lounge area, and he somehow snuck behind the bar) and the staff didn't bat an eye. They have some of the best pizza in the city. Love their authentic margherita: simple, crispy, tomato-y, easy.
Visit the new Boston Chops in the South End. Chris Coombs from dbar and Deuxave runs this laid-back protein palace, and it's not Granny's steakhouse. Instead, find brined tongue, chicken-fried sweetbreads, crispy oxtail croquettes, and even herb-marinated heart. Not a pineapple-glazed ham in sight!
If you are in the mood to recreate your childhood trips to Friendly's with Nana, make tracks to North Cambridge and Frank's Steakhouse. They are the original home of the Early Bird Special, a place where you can find "chicken Georgie" for $11.95, plus soup or salad, potato and vegetable, and an ice cream sundae. It's early-bird from noon until 5 p.m. every Sunday. This is the type of place that totally used to have a cigarette machine in the lobby. Maybe they still do?
Grab a burger at Bobby's Burger Palace. Shake Shack has been getting all the attention lately, but Bobby Flay's burger lair inside the Burlington Mall is quite good, too, and you won't linger in line for an hour. I had the Queso Burger the other night, and it was terrific. I also love that they stack complimentary sauces at each table (I od'd on the jalapeno relish and chipotle ketchup). Service is friendly, too. A fantastic place for kids (and a fine alternative to, uh, the Cheesecake Factory or Johnny Rocket's.) Note that the entrance is outside the mall: A friend and I blundered around for 15 minutes trying to find the indoor entrance.
If you can find a last-minute babysitter (maybe you have relatives in town who've already lapsed into a food coma?), go to Bondir! This farmhouse cozy restaurant is downright impossible to get into, yet somehow they have 5 and 5:30 p.m. reservations today. Snag them! Bondir was named one of the top ten Best New Restaurants in America by Bon Appetit in 2011. And Jason Bond, the chef, is one of the nicest guys in town. Go!
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