(279a Newbury St., Boston)
I went for dinner last night to Cafeteria on Newbury for what's probably now like the 10th time . If you know anything about me, which I know you don't (yet), you know this is my kind of place. Great comfort food menu, very inexpensive (especially for Newbury), but you really get the feeling you're going out all fancy like because, well, it's on Newbury Street. Also, in the summertime it's one of the best people watching places in the city - tons of outdoor space so you're not all crammed in like at a lot restaurants in the city. Of course, despite the heat lamps, it was a little too chilly to sit outside last night.
I'd say the one drawback of this place is it's a little TOO themey. I mean, we get it. It's supposed to be cafeteria-style food. Specials are pinned to a cork board, their slogan is "Tray Chic" - stick to the food because it's REALLY good. Plus, I've never been to a cafeteria before that serves martinis and salmon (not necessarily at the same time, though I've done it - don't judge me).
Their apps are pretty killer. I recommend the fish tacos. It's got a good cut of cod in it, pickled cabbage, salsa verde. Good stuff. Nix that. GREAT stuff. If you like beets, they do a beet salad that'll actually make you sick of beats - in a good way. The lamb, beef, and/or tuna sliders are awesome too. But seriously, the burgers, pizzas and sandwiches are so cheap just get those and don't bust yourself on the apps. Hey, I actually kind of like that line. I might use that as my new tagline. "Hey, this is Angus from Eat It, Boston saying - don't bust yourself on the apps."
For the main meal, I think I've tried almost everything there. My wife always gets grilled cheese and tomato soup. Always. It's actually kind of annoying. But she raves about it so it's gotta be pretty good. The meatloaf kicks ass. I know most food bloggers out there would state that more elegantly, but I'm not like most food bloggers. They might tell you that the meatloaf is made from all natural grass fed beef generously smothered in a tangy-to-spicy ketchup glaze and served next to a beautifully cupped mound of mouth-watering mashed potatoes. But not me. I just tell you it kicks ass. You know why? Because it does. Try it yourself. It's not the best meatloaf I've ever had, but for Newbury Street meatloaf, it kicks ass.
And while I'm on the topic of ass kicking food, do yourself a favor and get the chicken milanese. It's basically just a big honkin' cutlet of fried chicken with greens and shaved parmesan but it's awesome and it'll fill you up. It's simple. It's good. The Mac and Cheese I hear is great too but I've never had it so I can't vouch for it.
This is all great cold weather food - but for the summertime you need something a little more like their tuna burger which I had last night. It's got the pickled cabbage, spicy mayo, avocado on a griddled bun. Dee. Lish.
Seriously, I don't want to get too foody on you and break down the whole menu, because I could. If this place were in Newton, I'd probably say it's just "eh." But it's on Newbury Street and it's not pretentious so it's great. My only gripe is their lack of beer on tap. They had Magic Hat seasonal on draft last night which was really good but that was it.
Oh, and they make cookies fresh every day for dessert. Now I know this is going to sound crazy from a guy with a food blog, but I don't really like sweets. So most of my opinion on dessert comes from my wife, and she says it's pretty good. But she's pregnant so pretty much anything tastes good to her.
Oh, and one last thing ... if you go there and they aren't seating outside, try to get a table upstairs. It's got a great view and the first floor sort of feels like you're eating in someone's basement.
And for those of you looking for a good date place, this is definitely it. Again, impress your chick or your dude with going out to a nice Newbury Street restaurant and it won't cost you too much. Plus, they're on Restaurant.com so you can find great deals to eat there.
So until next time, this is Angus saying: don't bust yourself on the apps.