Sunday, May 2, 2010

Brown Sugar Cafe: First Sidewalk Dining of the Season!

Yesterday, an out-of-state friend was in town, staying in a Back Bay hostel. Joel and I were in Cleveland Circle. Brown Sugar Cafe seemed like a logical halfway point to meet for lunch. Plus, on the first gorgeous day of the season, it was the perfect time to start dining outside!
Brown Sugar Cafe - 1033 Commonwealth Ave, Boston
I've heard lots of rave reviews of Brown Sugar Cafe, and I went a few times over the last year or so, but I was never overly impressed. It was always solidly good, but I was never quite sure why so many of my friends were obsessed with it. This time, though, I was amazed. Maybe it had something to do with eating outside (and avoiding the extraordinarily tacky birthday songs that go on inside, complete with flashing lights and awkward singing). Or, it could have been that we all ordered off of the Thai-style part of the menu. I don't know how authentic it is, but I bet it's at least a step above the Americanized dishes on the rest of the extensive menu.

I got Gaprow Noodles, which was pretty similar to one of my standard favorites, drunken noodles, but with minced chicken instead of larger pieces. It was also a lot more flavorful: more hot peppers and a whole lot more basil than usual. (Basil's the best part. In this dish, it was slightly crispy. Awesome!)

Gaprow Noodles - so much basil! YES!
Mike got the Angel Hair Kee-Mow, another spicy, basil-full noodle dish. His had a bit more of a kick than mine, and it had a nice sweet chili flavor as well.
Angel Hair Kee-Mow
Joel got the Duck Choo Chee, boneless roasted duck sauteed with vegetables in a choo chee curry sauce and topped with kaffir lime leaves. He found that the basil was a great flavor without overpowering everything else, and the duck was nice and juicy. It was a bit spicy, but definitely not the "extra spicy" that he had ordered. We're Hell Night veterans - when we order spicy, we want spicy. He and I both got Thai iced tea, and it balanced the other flavors well. Actually, I thought it was the best Thai iced tea I'd ever had! Sweet but not too sweet, creamy but not too get the idea.

Joel with Duck Choo Chee and Thai iced tea
The prices were reasonable; our dishes ranged from $9-11, and I had more than enough leftovers for a second meal. The dinner versions of the dishes cost about $3-5 more than the lunch dishes.

I would definitely return, but I think I prefer a quiet outdoor lunch to a more expensive indoor dinner surrounded by loud birthday celebrations.

Brown Sugar Cafe on Urbanspoon

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