Saturday, April 30, 2011

Saturday morning at Sound Bites!

After realizing that it was way too late on a Saturday morning to head to Friendly Toast because of the impending long line, I went in search of another option on Yelp. Having heard good things about Sound Bites in Ball Square, we decided to head out on a nice walk there - in hopes of a breakfast that would live up to its reviews.

Sound Bites
704 Broadway, Somerville

When we walked around the corner onto Broadway Street we saw a mass of people and got a little nervous. We realized that the mass was actually two different lines of people waiting outside two breakfast places - ours, Sound Bites, and Ball square Cafe. It was already almost 11am, so we had no one to blame but ourselves for not getting up earlier and getting there before the crowds. Thankfully though, a server came outside and asked if there were any parties of two interested in sitting at the bar. Yes, please! Sitting at the bar definitely beats waiting outside in line for a half hour, even if it is nice out. I was surprised with how large the restaurant was when we walked in.

I was also pleasantly surprised with a large menu when we sat down. I had looked at the online version before we went and didn't see a lot of unique dishes, but at the actual restaurant they offered up a "specials" menu that had so many unique options it took me forever to decide what to get! With about two dozen different omelets to pick from, and a variety of stuffed french toasts and pancakes, I had the usual dilemma of savory or sweet for breakfast. Also as expected, sweet won.
Before ordering our food we asked for waters and were instructed to head over to the beverage bar. I think this idea is cute - there's a corner of the restaurant devoted to drinks. You head over, select your mug (for hot beverages) and serve yourself. I think this helps the servers stick to getting orders in and out, and clearing tables. It gets a bit busy over in the corner with lots of people trying to get their drinks, which can be dangerous with almost overflowing cups of hot coffee, but I still liked it. Lots of options too - different flavored coffees, teas, spices to put in your drinks, flavored syrups, juices and to-go cups if you think you'll want to bring some with you when you leave! Sitting at the bar we also noticed lots of alcoholic drinks going out to tables - traditional mimosas, pomegranate mimosas and bloody mary's seemed to be the most popular choices. I went for a mug of pumpkin spice coffee with skim milk and cinnamon. Almost like a self service Starbucks!
After we had gotten our drinks situated, I decided on a Stuffed French Toast with Goat Cheese and Fresh Pear. I asked for a recommendation between that and the Cornbread Pancakes - our server, Yasser, quickly said their stuffed french toast was "the best." As you can see, this gigantic portion came, which made the $8.49 price tag well worth the dish, especially since I have leftovers for tomorrow morning! I thought this was delicious - the pear was definitely fresh and there was enough goat cheese to taste it, but not overwhelm the dish. I also saw people around us order the strawberry stuffed french toast, which also looked very fresh.
Just like I almost always go for sweet, my mom almost always goes for savory - an omelette to be exact. What can I say, she likes her veggies. She chose an omelette (all are 3-eggs) with eggplant, peppers, onions and swiss - Arthur's Favorite Om. All omelets come with home fries and your choice of toast, english muffin or bagel. I will warn you - the omelets are huge with very fluffy eggs. There wasn't a ton of cheese, which was good in our books. The home fries were a bit strange - almost like skillet cooked mashed potatoes, not bad, just different than what you see at most places. I thought this combo was a little boring, but again, I usually go for the really different dishes!
Picture does not capture how large this bowl of fruit was!
Throughout our meal we kept seeing these giant bowls of fruit come out of the kitchen. They looked beautiful - seriously fresh fruit and lots of it! We just had to have one - and it was worth it. We counted the different kinds of fruit in the bowl and there were 11 - yes, eleven different fruits in this one bowl, which made the price a little more worth it at $5.99. Easily shared between a party of 3 or 4 - so splurge a little and it's a nice start to the meal! You'll enjoy: kiwi, blueberries, strawberries, papaya, mango, banana, 2 different kinds of apple, pineapple, honeydew, cantaloupe and grapes. They definitely win the Best Fruit Bowl prize.

So, all in all, a great breakfast. And at 1.2 miles from my apartment it's a nice walk through some cute neighborhoods and then I can feel a little better about the breakfast I'm sure to consume once I get to Sound Bites. I definitely recommend checking out this restaurant - and after trying breakfast I'm now curious to see how their other meals are so I may be heading back to check out lunch or dinner some time. Prices were also reasonable given the fact that you're in the city and getting some pretty huge portions! Now that the nice weather is here you'll also appreciate that they have some seating outsides - maybe 4 or 5 tables. Tell Yasser that The Academic Chef sent you!

Things I'm looking forward to trying on future visits: Cereal Walnut Almond French Toast with caramelized blueberry and banana, Peanut Butter and Banana Stuffed French Toast, Triple Berry Pancakes (that everyone seemed to be ordering around me!), the Cornbread Pancakes, and the Eggs Benedict with Avocado and Tomato. How will I decide?!

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