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Sound Bites Café 19/37

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Poached Eggs
Canadian Bacon
English Muffin
Hash Browns


708 Broadway
Somerville, MA

As we stood waiting in the block long queue to get a table at Sound Bites on a late summer Sunday morning drinking mugs of fresh coffee, some dear friends told me that when they move to the west coast next year, Sound Bites will be the thing that they miss most about Somerville. Such praise for a simple hole in the wall eatery may seem a bit extreme, but given the fact that this same queue exists outside the café even on the coldest Sundays in February reveals that Ari and Kathleen are not alone in their love for this restaurant.

The interior of the café is long and narrow, seating about 25-30 people at small, cramped tables. The meal is fun, fast paced, the atmosphere loud, and the experience thoroughly enjoyable. Beverages are for the most part self-serve, with coffees & teas on one wall, and juices on the other. Perusing their rich menu quickly reveals that eggs benedict/Florentine are not their specialty, and almost everything else on the menu has been tried by the six other members of our table and highly recommended. I of course order the benedict, which comes with a generous side of hash browns for under $7.

For starters their potatoes are the @%# bomb. The way they do hash browns at Sound Bites is to take mashed potatoes and fry them on the grill until the top and bottom of the mashed potato portion is a deep golden brown. This results in the creation of a hash brown patty that is crispy on the outside with hot and creamy mashed potatoes in the center. All I can say is that if they put a little garlic into the mix there would not be a better potato side on God’s green earth.

Given the brilliance of the potatoes it was discouraging to get such mediocre eggs benedict. Truth be told, the eggs meat and muffin were all quite good, but the hollandaise was a disaster; clumpy, bland and uninspired. I don’t feel it is unfair to give it a score of zero, based on its clumpy appearance alone, as it takes away so much of the dishes intended beauty.

Perhaps this is only an occasional problem for the café. But it seems that the pace in the kitchen is too hectic to give proper attention to creating and maintaining decent sauce on such busy mornings. Next time I go I think I’ll stick to one of their more famous breakfast plates, or their fruit cup, which looked fantastic with granola and yogurt.

Submitted by BMC
September 2, 2001


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