As many of you probably know by now, Boston, Brookline, Cambridge, and the rest of the region have a multitude of top ethnic restaurants. You can find everything from Ethiopian to Cambodian to Portuguese to Peruvian to Polish cuisine and so much more in and around the city. And there are some types of cuisine that are not well-represented, including a few just mentioned; for instance, few Polish spots exist in the area and there aren't too many options for Cambodian, either. And, yes, there also aren't many Turkish restaurants anywhere in the Boston area. Hidden away on Washington Street in Brookline, however, just off Harvard Street in Brookline Village, is a warm, friendly neighborhood dining spot that serves outstanding Turkish cuisine. It is called Brookline Family Restaurant, and it definitely is a gem of a place.
Brookline Family Restaurant is a humble little spot, with a simple storefront and an almost cafeteria-like interior, though the room is more charming than your typical cafeteria with attractive lighting and Turkish artwork giving the place a nice feel. Every few minutes, the words "order is up" come from the kitchen, and waiters and waitresses pick up the meals and bring them over to the tables. The whole scene is charmingly old-fashioned, and gives this little-known Brookline restaurant the feel of a late-night Manhattan diner or cafe, such as Veselka in the East Village or the now-closed EJ's Luncheonette in the Upper West Side.
The food at Brookline Family Restaurant may be familiar to those who enjoy Greek or Middle Eastern cuisine, though there are differences, of course. The menu has entrees such as a mild and smooth lentil soup, a sweet and savory su boregi (baked phyllo dough mixed with feta cheese), a wonderfully rich musakka with ground lamb, a slightly spicy chicken adana kebab (chicken with red peppers and paprika), a hearty karniyarik (eggplant stuffed with ground beef, onions, peppers, and a variety of spices), and an array of Turkish pizzas--including a zingy version that has feta cheese stuffed into the pita. A few other items that can be found at Brookline Family Restaurant include chicken shish kebab, falafel, grape leaves, lamb chops, and gyros. Drinks include Turkish beer and Turkish coffee, and desserts include baklava and frozen yogurt.
There are few places in the Boston area quite like Brookline Family Restaurant; it is rare enough to find a good Turkish restaurant, and rarer still to find a laid-back, old-fashioned dining spot where patrons are treated almost like family. This place is a true winner, so if you like ethnic food and want to head somewhere unique (but also familiar-feeling), Brookline Family Restaurant may be for you.
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