Some answers about a mystery spot
by Julia Hanna
Every time I peered through the window of Jimmaize Café, it seemed to be
closed. Eating there became a mission. Then one morning I saw signs of life and
ducked in for a hefty veggie omelet, toast, and home fries ($4.50). The
waitress explained that Jimmaize and Brookline Lunch next door were one and the
same, connected by a back hallway and a common kitchen, and that tables in
Jimmaize were used to accommodate weekend brunch crowds.
Initially this was something of a disappointment. But after looking at the menu
I decided there really are two restaurants here, a split personality of sorts.
Brookline Lunch has the usual pancakes, waffles, and omelets for the hung-over
breakfast crowd (many look as if they've come straight from last night's show
at the Middle East), as well as hamburgers, sandwiches, and salads. Certain
items on the menu, however, are better consumed on the Jimmaize side, with its
odd Mediterranean/Caribbean décor of purple, pink, and green trim,
fishing nets, and dusty jars of kumquats.
Curry goat ($6.50), for example, is served over rice with chickpeas, greens,
and a passel of vegetables filling out the rich, cinnamony sauce. The meat in
question (generous chunks that were chewy in texture and somewhat murky in
flavor) probably won't qualify this as a crowd-pleaser, but I thought the
bracing dish was a better head-clearer than a goopy, cheesy omelet. Snail
Gormande ($6.50) was a delicate affair served over rice pilaf, the plump
mollusks swimming in a light herb-cream sauce that also featured handfuls of
bay shrimp, carrots, zucchini, mushrooms, and tomato. A daily special of
grilled salmon served with soup, pilaf, and vegetables was simple and
delicious, and at $5.95 beat the price of some hoity-toity sandwiches you'll
find these days.
To be honest, I ate these entrées across the border in Brookline Lunch.
Jimmaize was closed. But they tasted fine in a red leather booth, too.
Brookline Lunch, located at 9 Brookline Street, in Cambridge, is open daily
from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Jimmaize Café is open whenever. Call
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