Mass Avenue Restaurant
79. 1-2-2007 Mass Avenue Restaurant 906 Mass Ave. Summary: Bizarre menu, very friendly, tough on cholesterol, OK food.
I believe Mass Ave Restaurant is the furthest towards Central Square I will get. It's just past the Plough and Stars; Central Square is in site from its front doors. Maybe that's a decent theme for this review - it's fighting for an identity in all respects.
Nothing about the Mass Ave Restaurant's appearance makes you think quality, from its name, its sign, or its tables/ambience once you're inside. It's essentially a diner. You get a friendly greeting - the woman at the counter who greets you seems to know every customer's name, and if she doesn't - as was the case with me - she asks some questions ("where do you work?") and give you an official welcome. So I assumed I was going to be offered basic diner food.
But, the menu is a surprise, in that half the menu features Mexican food, and nearly all the cooks are Mexican. Turns out the chefs are from Casa Mexico, the restaurant that used to be on JFK Street in Harvard Square (Casa Mexico was good, but not great). The other half of the menu is all-day breakfast, meaning tons of egg dishes, pancakes, waffles, etc. And, it does offer basic diner luch food - subs etc. So you need to choose between all-day breakfast food, traditional deli food, or Mexican.
I opted for a blend of diner and Mexican food. I ordered a roasted chicken lunch and substituted rice and beans instead of mashed potatoes. The chicken was excellent - slightly overdone, but that's typical these days with restaurants worrying about undercooked meat. The rice and beans were fine, but the beans were refried, meaning mixed with lard. I went with rice and beans because I didn't want the cream/butter mixed with the potatoes - but got lard as a replacement! It's hard to leave a diner without raising your cholesterol.
So, if you're not worried about cholesterol and love breakfast or Mexican food, and don't care about atmosphere or location, Mass Ave Restaurant should work for you. About $8/person.