Variations on a Theme: Weekend Update
Come for dinner… stay for brunch. Best known for their evening offerings, these Boston restaurants are serving up fresh takes on the most important meal of the day.
While there’s no shame in downing a dozen oysters before noon, chef de cuisine Ian Maschal knew he couldn’t get away with leaving breakfast dishes entirely off his seafood-focused weekend brunch menu. Enter “Buns & Bubbles”: A luxurious spin on the quick-service-style combo meal, the rise-and-shine spread features buttery-soft scrambled eggs, chunks of lobster, and dollops of American bowfin caviar stuffed into the same squishy steamed buns used for Eventide’s brown-butter lobster roll—plus a half-bottle of Roederer Estate sparkling wine and a container of OJ for mimosa-making, naturally.
1321 Boylston St., Boston, 617-545-1060, eventideoysterco.com.
Come Sunday mornings, Bar Mezzana takes a detour from its decidedly coastal Italian concept in support of good old-fashioned brunchin’. Pastry chef Christina Larson oversees sweet options, including a challah French toast garnished with toasted walnuts and rum-flambéed bananas. Her gourmet doughnuts, meanwhile, in varieties such as vanilla-frosted birthday cake and Girl Scout cookie with coconut and salted caramel, got such an enthusiastic response during brunch service that they’re also available on the third Saturday of each month through the restaurant’s Basic Batch Donuts pop-up.
360 Harrison Ave., Boston, 617-530-1770, barmezzana.com.
Sticky buns. Buttermilk biscuits. Executive chef Jeff Pond’s gloriously carb-y brunch menu shows he can do far more with dough than make his signature wood-fired pizzas. But even in the a.m., you won’t want to leave a pie off your brunch order. A longtime favorite at Area Four’s Cambridge outpost that’s now available at the South End location, his egg-crowned breakfast pizza channels a stuffed baked potato with toppings including sour-cream sauce, cheddar, bacon, and banana-pepper relish. For a sweet-savory pairing, order one alongside an ice-cream-filled Hong Kong–style egg waffle.
500 Technology Square, Cambridge, 617-758-4444; 264 E. Berkeley St., Boston, 857-317-4805; areafour.com.
At their new restaurant in the South End, Nina and Raffi Festekjian give vibrant Eastern Mediterranean flavors—particularly those from their Armenian-Lebanese background—a refined fast-casual treatment. Among the best brunch bets: shakshuka, poached eggs in a spicy tomato (or creamy labneh) sauce, delivered to the table hot-and-fast in a mini cast-iron pan with a side of m’anoush flatbread for dipping. Spoon it up alongside the couple’s “Bloody Anoush’Ella,” an eye-opening blend of tomato juice, genever, Aleppo pepper, and the Middle Eastern spice mix za’atar.
35 W. Newton St., Boston, 857-265-3195, anoushella.com.