Reef Cafe, Allston
If you haven't had it, fans of this place should look out for the awesome stewed Lebanese greens that sounds approximately "mu-heh-ye" or something like it (sorry I'm butchering the word) or something. Dark olive green, deliciously soppy with savoury juices, as heartening as chicken soup. Topped with pieces of slightly dry rotisserie chicken peppered with some sumac. Not common in this country, according to the folks there.
A cute little Korean place with competent, homey cooking. 6 little dishes of decent to good panchan, standouts include kimchee and thin browned fishcakes. Summer special of cold noodles, Bibim Neng Myun is very suitable for the weather: a generous pile of chilled specked buckwheat noodles, chewy instead of gummy with sliced beef, hard boiled egg and a fairly serious hot sauce, a pleasant mix of hot and cold. Also, a sesame laced chilled soup with vegetables on the side.
This new Brazilian has a chewy pan de queso,the consistency of sourdough. Fine cheese flavour. Decent but no where as good as the one at Magic Oven in Framingham. Looking forward to trying more stuff -- cakes, sandwiches etc....
Rani, near Coolidge Corner, Brookline
A decent lunch buffet, nothing out of this world, but economical. my favourite was the peas and paneer (Mutter Paneer) in clovey cream sauce. Aloo saag's pretty good too, dressed more earthily with coriander and cumin.
Onion Bhaji's ok, nothing spectacular (more cumin would be nice) but serves as a suitable chutney and sauce vehicle (especially since the naan was limp). Chicken Khurchan come across a bit on the mild side, while the lamb curry came out fine. Baigan bharta mumbled with brown yellow spiciness instead of the warm smokey soft flavours of eggplant.
The thick salty lassi is just barely salty, with a very light sprinkle of spice.
A dessert of payasam, vermicelli in sweet cardamom flavoured milk with raisins was too gooey, but sweet cardamom makes my day anyways.
Candied fennel seeds at the door makes for a good going away treat.
Par for an Indian buffet I guess. Curious about the bryani's and will probably try those next (kinda have a craving).