The old saying goes "March comes in like a lion and out like a lamb." I used to wonder whether someone living further south than Boston, maybe Washington D.C., coined that phrase. More often than not, Boston's March comes in like a lion and sort of limps out like a weakened lion. There's certainly no lamb in sight. I mean, it's already halfway through March and it's snowing outside as I write this.
It would be an understatement to say it's been snowing a lot in Boston. Just this past weekend, Boston surpassed its own record for snowiest winter on record. With spring around the corner, there has also been quite a bit of rain. On Saturday morning, I walked through the rain to Harvard Square to join a group of food writers to preview The Sinclair's new brunch menu.
The warm, cozy, and rustic interior of the restaurant was a welcomed relief from the wet and dreary weather outside.
I wrote about The Sinclair about a year ago when I showcased Chef Matt Cunningham's creative tasting menu that he designed for us. Alas, he had cooked us a meal that wasn't on the regular menu, and more than one reader expressed disappointment that I was showcasing all this amazing food that readers couldn't get at the restaurant.
This post is different. All these photos (with just one tiny exception) show off the new brunch menu that's happening right now at The Sinclair.
First of all, please meet Chef Keenan Langlois, who took over as executive chef of The Sinclair in December 2014. Chef Keenan came from Union Bar & Grille and has worked in many other places, like Lumiere and Hamersley's Bistro. He hasn't been there for long, but has already started to put his own spin on the menu, incorporating a New England focus on some of the dinner dishes.
We had a chance to try a bunch of dishes from his newly designed brunch menu (as well as some great brunch cocktails!).
I started out with the Bacon Bloody Mary ($10), a delicious cocktail made from Fire Puncher Vodka, a locally made (South Boston!) spicy vodka distilled in the presence of chipotle peppers and hickory smoke. Other ingredients include Sinclair's own bloody Mary mix, roasted tomato, a strip of bacon, and a house pickle.
As someone who likes variety, I love the various flights that The Sinclair offers. During brunch there's the Mimosa Flight ($12), which consists of (left to right): - Merlet pear liqueur + cava, peach + campari + cava, and orange juice + cava. I didn't try it (I had my awesome Bloody Mary), but the people who ordered it loved it.
The other most popular drink was the Bourbon Milkshake (one guy ordered two in a row!), made from bourbon, a cherry liqueur, cherry syrup, and almond milk.
From the Small Plates section of the menu, we tried Brunch Fries ($8), the Sinclair's version of the Canadian classic Poutine which comes with chicken gravy, jalapenos, and cheddar. This was solid, though I was secretly wishing for cheese curds.
From the Benedicts section of the menu we tried the Duck Benedict ($15), which came with mustard aoili and Swiss cheese. There is also an Omelets section on the menu which lists several omelettes, including a Veggie (made with spinach, tomato, goat cheese), Western (made with Tasso ham, peppers, and cheese), and Philly (made with steak and cheese).
The Waffle section has three different kinds of waffles. You have your choice between two sweet ones: Berries, Bacon, and Fluff or Bananas, Caramel, and Pecans, each for $13. There's also one savory waffle, Fried chicken + Sinclair Butter for $15. What I really like is that you can get the Waffle Flight ($15), which allows you to sample smaller portions of all three.
Waffle Flight: From left to right - Berries + Bacon + Fluff; Fried Chicken + Sinclair Butter, and Bananas + Caramel + Pecans. I'm definitely more of a savory type of eater, so I immediately went for the classic chicken + waffles, which was excellent. The chicken was crispy on the outside and tender on the inside. I wouldn't mind ordering the full sized portion of it ($15).
There are several reasonably priced entrees on the menu between $10 and $15. The Vegetable Quiche (pictured above) is made of roasted tomato, baby kale, mushrooms, and cheddar. It was definitely cheesy (you can see the thick layer of cheese on top!) and possibly one of the more nutritionally dense options on the menu (hello layers of kale!).
It even comes with a nice pile of fresh greens on the side, which I happily devoured.
The Pork & Beans comes with two poached eggs, pork belly, sausage, and a drop biscuit. Overall this dish was very good and definitely one of the favorites of the table. The pork was very tender and the sausages had nice flavor. Everyone loved the buttery biscuit, and the beans completed the Southern twist to the whole thing.
The Breakfast Tacos are made from small flour tortillas filled with scrambled eggs, bacon, avocado, and cheese. They come with a side of sweet potato home fries. The taco itself was OK though nothing particularly memorable. The sweet potato home fries were average - a bit too starchy and a tad dry.
One of the craziest things on the menu is the Waffle Burger ($13), a burger that is literally taller than it is wide. It's made with a grass-fed beef patty topped with shallot jam, applewood bacon, cheddar, maple syrup, and a fried egg sandwiched between two buttermilk waffle "buns." It's insane, and really good. It's just impossible to fit in your mouth.
The fries that came with it were tasty - crispy, evenly salted, and overall solid.
Since we were there on Pi Day, I commemorated the day with a special fry design.
There was one special dish that we tried, a Crab Toast: two thick slices of Texas toast topped with poached eggs, sliced avocados, cherry tomatoes, and generous amounts of lump crab meat with a piquant hot sauce. This was quite good, with a perfect runny yolk and generous amounts of avocados and crab.
And then there was a special last treat, even though we were already crazy full.
Introducing Chef Keenan's creation, the WaffOnut, a deep fried waffle doughnut dipped in glaze or chocolate, and then covered with sprinkles, cinnamon sugar, or whatever doughnut topping you fancy. Right now Chef Keenan makes the waffonuts as take-away treats for bands who come and play at the Sinclair. It's their breakfast for the next morning, or if they need to get on the road immediately, it's a nice send-off gift.
Right now, unfortunately, it's not available on the brunch menu.
Which is too bad, because these were pretty awesome. I loved the super crispy deep fried waffle, and he uses really good quality chocolate. It might have been one of my favorite things of the night.
Maybe if everyone petitions with The Sinclair, they'll add it to the menu. Otherwise, for now, try to get a gig playing there as a band.
In any event, even if the waffOnuts are not available, the brunch here is good, with some standouts. My favorites from the tasting were the Bacon Bloody Mary, Fried Chicken + Waffles, the Waffle Burger, and the Crab Toast. The Pork & Beans was also quite good and a very good value for the price. All in all, the new brunch at The Sinclair Kitchen is a great addition to the neighborhood. The new menu is fun. As a huge fan of waffles, I love how widely they are featured on the menu. I am seriously considering going back and trying the full Waffle Burger as well as the Chicken + Waffles again. If possible, I might even try to finagle a waffOnut. 😉
The Sinclair Cambridge
52 Church St
Cambridge, MA 02138
Disclaimer: I did not pay for this meal. All opinions are my own.