Boston Restaurant Blog -- June, 2012
Wednesday, June 13, 2012
Some folks have asked me over the years how this blog plays into the overall theme of the Boston's Hidden Restaurants site, and there isn't really one answer, as it covers everything from new additions to the site to restaurant reviews and so much more. As for the reviews, the blog is basically a place to put reviews of, say, restaurants that are not impressive enough to be featured on the site, or dining spots that are just a bit too popular to be considered "hidden." And it is this last point that forces us to include The Friendly Toast in Cambridge's Kendall Square to be here rather than as a feature, as it is simply too well-known to be considered a hidden gem. But a great place it is, as we discovered a few days ago when we had a truly terrific breakfast there.
Friendly Toast is a quirky, eclectic spot in the heart of One Kendall Square (which is home to several other restaurants), sharing a building with the now-closed Think Tank and a new upscale eatery called West Bridge. A small patio can be found in front of the dining spot--though on the day we were there, it was being used as a waiting area--and the interior of the restaurant includes a bar area to the left, a waiting area to the right, and a main dining room in the back. Each section has various knickknacks, pictures, memorabilia, etc. that give the place a fun, dynamic feel, though the hardwood floor and tight seating arrangement keep this from being a spot to go for quiet conversation. Rounding out the atmosphere are funky hanging lights, colorful walls, and mostly alternative rock coming from the speakers.
We had a long wait at The Friendly Toast on our visit there, sitting outside for a good 45 minutes while watching people come in and out of the place. Once seated in the main dining area, our server promptly brought over some coffee (slightly strong and very good) and gave us a minute to look at the menu, as there were a lot of interesting-sounding breakfast dishes from which to choose. It didn't help that nearly everyone in the place seemed to have a delicious-looking meal in front of them, but we finally decided on a special called the "eggs Michelangelo" and a plate of pancakes with toffee crumbles. The egg dish was wonderful, with a savory mix of fluffy eggs, spicy pepperoni, and a robust salsa on top, while the pancakes were outstanding, with the toffee adding some extra sweetness (and texture) to the dish. The bacon that we also ordered was crisp and not overly fatty, and the home fries may actually have been the highlight of the entire meal, with perfectly caramelized onions adding sweetness and depth to the dish and the potatoes being buttery and tender. Prices were not too bad overall, and our server did a very nice job considering how many tables she had to wait.
While it isn't a hidden gem, The Friendly Toast is one place I could easily go to at least once a week for breakfast, based on our nearly perfect meal there a few days back. It would probably be best to go on a weekday morning, though, as the crowds would certainly be less of an issue.
If you would like the address for The Friendly Toast, here it is: Friendly Toast, 1 Hampshire Street, Cambridge, MA, 02139. The phone number is (617) 621-1200.
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