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Portuguese food at J&J, Union Sq. Somerville

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Restaurants & Bars

Portuguese food at J&J, Union Sq. Somerville

Aromatherapy | Dec 18, 2003 05:34 PM

This is the place Hinman Guy recommended a few months ago, just outside Union Sq. Looks like a corner store.

An appealing little restaurant space is hidden inside, big TV up in a corner. Friendly neighborhood vibe. The menu tends to the simple and classic: fish and seafood fried, grilled & boiled; various grilled meats; grilled chicken (a couple guys next to me were digging into the quarter grilled chicken w/garlic sauce plates, and boy did they look good). A few fancier seafood & rice dishes. Not much for vegetables. Sandwiches and subs. Prices for entrees in the $7-10 range mostly, a few things higher. They were doing a roaring takeout business, including big foil-covered trays.

Lunch last weekend (sit-down):

First, a basket of crusty little rolls. Then complimentary saucers with a spoonful of cold chickpeas in vinaigrette w/parsley and slivered onion, and another spoonful of warm, tender chunks of gizzard in a dark, garlicky sauce. (I thought I didn’t care for gizzards. Wrong. These were superb.)

Kale Soup: A very nice version, with a few slices of linguica and good olive oil. (They sell Portuguese EVOO in the shop.)

Grilled Squid: Whole grilled squid bodies, served with boiled potatoes and broccoli, everything doused with the same vinaigrette as the chickpeas. A disappointment. Nothing wrong with the concept, but the squid just didn’t have much flavor—it tasted mostly of char from the grill. And some of the smaller bits were overcooked (less of an issue as the portion was huge). The vegetables and sauce were excellent though, and a few little black olives didn’t hurt.

Tripe Portuguese style: A delicious savory mixture of tripe chunks and dried white beans, with a few slices of sausage and a little tomato, served with lots of good rice. Perfect texture on both tripe and beans—tender but not at all mushy. Huge portion.

A glass of perfectly decent everyday red was $2.50, and an espresso $1.25. I was too stuffed to even contemplate dessert.

I’m definitely returning. Only wish they were open later. Hinman Guy, got any picks?

J&J’s Restaurant and Takeout
157 Washington St. (corner of Washington and that little access road that comes off the McGrath)
617-625-3978
IIRC, they close at 8 p.m. M-Sat and 4 p.m. Sunday.

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