When searching for a restaurant to go to, where do you look first? Do you go on Yelp? Or did I just date myself because Instagram is the new Yelp. I'll be honest, moving to Boston has made me question the use of Yelp for restaurant reviews. Why? Because pretty much every restaurant in Boston is AMAZING. But a few, truly supersede all of my expectations, which is.a tall order. Anyone who has gone to restaurants with me, knows that I am not easy to impress. So, I promise to keep these reviews honest, disclose any sponsorships, and give you the gritty truth--non-Yelp style.
I am happy to share my first restaurant review of Boston's newest Mission Hill restaurant, Milkweed.
Milkweed is opened for Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner 7 days a week. But good luck finding an empty seat during Brunch (Weekends & Holidays, 10-3 pm). I thought I had found my little gem, hole-in the wall, neighborhood cafe-- but I guess the cat is out of the bag because the lines outside of this place are unreal!
The restaurant boasts a cozy, first-date or feel-free-to-read-a-book in the corner vibe. The window seats allow you to do some serious people watching while eating some amazing. I have sat in almost every seat at Milkweed from the four-man booths, both window-bar seats, kitchen-bar seating, while I watch the chef whip up my Shakshuka (more on that in a minute), to a solo corner seat with one of my favorite books--no shame.
Of course, I started dinner off with some wine in the dim-light candlelight. Don't worry, you can take your friends here-- or you can just come yourself like I did, it's just that kind of place. On a Tuesday night, I had the place entirely to myself and Holly, one of the owners. I swear when you meet her, you'll feel like you were just adopted into the Milkweed family. She steered me to the Steak and Frites with grilled Boston strip steak (ordered medium-rare of course), truffled fries, sweet port demi glaze--sans blue cheese butter (sorry, that is the one cheese I just will not eat). I was worried that the demi glaze would be too sweet combined with the saltiness and richness of the truffle fries. Boy, I was pleasantly surprised.
Listen, this dietitian doesn't usually go out to eat STEAK and FRIES--but if I do, it's going to be at Milkweed. I've heard of mussels and fries, but never thought of throwing this juicy, perfectly medium-rare cut of meat on top of prized truffle fries. But, now I know what I've been missing--and you do too! Sitting and talking to Holly, I learned that the owners of Milkweed took a keen interest in the Mission Hill neighborhood when deciding to open the restaurant. So much so, that when deciding on the name they took to the Mission Hill streets and found some history nestled deep in the neighborhood. Milkweed, as described by Holly, is a plant that was native to the Mission Hill area. This plant is one of the main suppliers of nectar for butterflies. The whole name, logo, and monarch theme suddenly made sense. I have a lot of respect for restauranteurs who take the time to understand the neighborhood they are trying to be a part of, especially one with such history as Mission Hill.
Steak and Fries are not the only item on the dinner menu, for healthier items Milkweed offers an amazing power bowl (offered at all meals) full of quinoa, avocado, mixed greens, roasted beets, roasted sweet potato, candied pumpkin seeds, dried cranberries, chickpeas, and avocado-lime vinaigrette. I'd advise checking their website, EatatMilkweed.com for weekly specials and changing seasonal menus!
Now, a review of Milkweed would not be possible without a tribute to their Brunch/Breakfast menu. The first time I went to Milkweed, I'll be honest, I was feeling a little homesick. It had been over 6 months since I had been back home and one of the main dishes that reminds me of home is, Shakshuka. I've had many failed attempts at Shakshuka in restaurants before, either the tomatoes were too runny, the portion was too small, it was way too spicy, or it just lacked flavor (canned tomatoes!) Many years ago, I vowed to not order a Shakshuka again for breakfast, because it just will never taste like the one my Dad makes, so why set myself up for failure?
Ladies and Gentleman, I introduce to you the Milkweed Shakshuka. One that would make my Dad question his own recipe.
I'm telling you, it must have been the homesickness that made me even order this as soon as I saw it on the menu. It was a tough sell between the Shakshuka and the Lucky Charm pancakes (what can I say, I splurge on breakfast). I'm so glad that I chose the Shakshuka, they give you this massive, piping hot, straight-out-of-the-oven pan filled with homemade tomato sauce, 2 enormous meatballs (yes, meatballs--in your Shakshuka), perfectly cooked, over-easy eggs and 2 pieces of thick Challah bread. And just when you thought that was enough, it's topped with pickled peppers and feta cheese! Tell me your mouth is not watering right now?!
The pickled peppers add a great crunch and acidity that a rich Shakshuka needs, but minimal spice so don't worry. You can still have your coffee and don't need to spring for milk. The meatballs are a perfect addition to the thickness of the tomatoes and help to break up the flavors. And don't get me start on feta cheese, it's pretty much the greatest thing ever. Because the dish is bubbling hot, the feta cheese melts into the sauce, adding so many textures and flavors in every bite.
The breakfast menu also includes: 4-egg scrambles, Baileys French Toast, Grilled Vegetable Gyro (pictured below), and Lucky Charm pancakes--just to name a few.
You cannot go wrong with any of the breakfast items, even a bowl of fresh fruit the size of your face for only $6 is an excellent option. I swear I thought the bowl was a Mary Poppins bag, it was never ending.
To my last point, affordability. Majority of the breakfast items such as scrambles and omelets are $10-11--very affordable for 4-eggs if you ask me! Pancakes are ~ $7-8, and the most "expensive" breakfast item is the Shakshuka, which is still only $13 and you will definitely have some left overs. The dinner menu is ~ $15-20 with their house burger costing only $10. Don't forget their drinks menu-- they make amazing Irish coffees (very strong) and my personal favorite, Espresso Martinis!
Vibe: Trendy, Hipster, Cozy
Price: $ (affordable)
Service: Friendly, Never rush you out, your cup of coffee will never be empty!
Location: Street parking, not a lot of standing room if it is busy, but if they ask you to stand outside they will bring you Hot Cocoa--what! yes, that's service.
Best for: Brunch