after signing a lease on our new apartment, my husband steve and i decided to check out the local hot spots. i’m a big fan of phantom gourmet, and we had both remembered an episode discussing a serious feud between two popular breakfast joints in somerville’s davis square – sound bites and ball square cafe. the two breakfast cafes are right next door to each other, have similar menus, have shared a chef, and the owners have notoriously bad blood. naturally, i was intrigued, so yesterday we headed to ball street cafe to see what all the fuss was about.
|photo credit – boston.com|
the cafe had a small group of people outside chatting and laughing, which had a nice effect on the ambiance. the door was propped open and the cafe was full, but didn’t feel too crowded despite the small space. there was no hostess or anyone in the front, but as soon as we poked our heads into the door we were warmly greeted from the back. the owner, mike, immediately ran up to us and introduced himself. his friendly demeanor put us immediately at ease, and made us feel completely welcome in his cafe. the drinks were all self-serve and he knew just how long we’d need to wait – about 15 minutes, so he encouraged us to help ourselves to a drink and wait outside in the sunshine with the others. we grabbed some fresh dark roast and went to wait, where we perused the extensive menu and chatted with the regulars.
once mike showed us to our table, laughing and shaking hands with his friends and customers, we struggled to narrow our options from the amazing breakfast choices. i finally chose a smoked salmon omelete with sauteed spinach and romano cheese, and opted for fruit and toast on the side. steve picked eggs benedict made with crab meat and tomato, with the specialty grilled and mashed home fries.
our food came out quickly but separately, so steve had to wait a few minutes for his breakfast. however, once we both had our meals i soon forgot the brief wait. (the pictures were snapped discreetly on my cell phone – sorry they’re not as sharp as usual!)
|smoked salmon omelet with sauteed baby spinach and romano cheese|
my omelet was fluffy, creamy, and perfectly proportioned. the salmon was salty and flaky, but not overly so, and had tons of flavor along with the fresh spinach. the sharp tang of the romano cheese completed a delicious and well prepared breakfast. and take a look at my fruit – papaya, bananas, strawberries, blackberries, raspberries, pineapple, mango, nectarine…i was blown away by the freshness and variety. a small detail, but definitely the best fruit side i’ve ever gotten with a breakfast order.
|crab meat eggs benedict with tomato and homemade hollandaise sauce|
steve’s eggs benedict were also a great success. perfectly poached eggs and a flavorful hollandaise topped a fresh toasted english muffin. tons of crab meat kept up with a generous slice of tomato, and the flavors complimented the egg perfectly. the grilled mashed home fries were prepared with sour cream, and had great texture – creamy and crispy all at once. steve basically licked his plate clean.
service was good, ambiance was friendly and warm, and food was fantastic – all in all, a very satisfying and enjoyable breakfast. i would absolutely recommend ball square to anyone who wants menu variety, unique pairings, and doesn’t want to eat for the rest of the day – we were full until about 4pm. and mike was a wonderful character, and really helped to make everyone – even first-timers – feel like regulars and friends.
now i definitely need to check out the major competition to this cafe – sound bites, just next door…
this is my first restaurant review on this blog, but hopefully i’ll be able to write many more in the future. i’d love some feedback – what would you like to see in these reviews? what is helpful to read, and what isn’t? i’ve also put a quick poll on the side, if you’d rather respond that way. i really appreciate any help you can provide – thank you!