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On The Cheap


Azama Grill

An Egyptian kebab shop rises above the Allston student-food stereotype
As someone who dines out nearly nightly in Boston at every level — from highfalutin snob joints to decrepit diners — I'm often amazed at the lack of correlation between prices and love.
By: MC SLIM JB  |  March 17, 2010



A new sandwich shop delivers a too-rare triumph of quality over quantity
A local daily recently reviewed several national fast-food chains, including McDonald's and KFC, even praising sub shop Quizno's.
By: MC SLIM JB  |  March 10, 2010


Dosa Factory

Indian street-food snacks and more, tucked in the back of a grocery store
I tend to be skeptical of retail/restaurant combinations. IKEA serves frankfurters and Swedish meatballs, but you'd hardly drive there just to dine.
By: MC SLIM JB  |  March 03, 2010


Sonny Noto's Restaurant

A not-so-hidden gem with a three-generation track record in Eastie  
How does a restaurant fly under the radar for nearly 60 years?
By: MC SLIM JB  |  February 24, 2010


Bull McCabe's

A sweet little neighborhood pub with modest food at nice prices
I asked a friend who lives in Union Square, Somerville, if he'd checked out the nearby Bull McCabe's. "No, I'm still in mourning for Tír na nÓg [its predecessor]."
By: MC SLIM JB  |  February 18, 2010



Polish street food that's much better than it sounds
Certain convenience foods carry negative associations from my youth. I can't look at most toaster-oven snacks since my college days, when my buddy Joe subsisted on "pizzas" crafted from English muffins, Prego, and Velveeta.
By: MC SLIM JB  |  February 10, 2010


The Spot Café

To spot the great diner, check out the bread
Your typical cheap-eats reviewer spends a lot of time in diners: they're America's original inexpensive quick-service restaurants, and most are a step up from modern fast-food franchises.
By: MC SLIM JB  |  February 03, 2010


Union Breakfast & Rotisserie Café

Filling an odd hole in Allston’s restaurant scene
Allston, as has often been noted here, is a cheap-eats wonderland, boasting scores of fine inexpensive restaurants serving cuisines from all over the world.
By: MC SLIM JB  |  January 27, 2010


Cafe 57 and Grille

Fresh flavors and super-friendly service in an indie neighborhood restaurant
I've always felt a little sorry for Brighton; it's a lovely residential neighborhood, but seems short on decent places for a quick bite.
By: MC SLIM JB  |  January 20, 2010


Parish Cafe and Bar

A veteran Back Bay restaurant expands to the South End
The edge of gentrification can present some close-minded folks with a barrier to finding good cheap eats.
By: MC SLIM JB  |  January 13, 2010


Taquería Jalisco

Kicking off the New Year right with fine traditional Mexican
Exploring a new restaurant is like baseball: sometimes you win, sometimes you lose, and sometimes it isn't available. My Taquería Jalisco rainout was a Tuesday, its regular day off.
By: MC SLIM JB  |  January 06, 2010


Looking ahead to 2010

Some New Year's resolutions for budget-minded diners
Reviewing a new budget-priced restaurant every week gives me scant time for reflection. (I'd call it a treadmill, but that sounds both dreary and healthy — the opposite of the reality.) Year-end is an exception, so I pause to offer a few resolutions on behalf of Boston budget diners.
By: MC SLIM JB  |  December 30, 2009


2009: The year in cheap eats

A good year to dine 'On the Cheap,' for many reasons
In the wake of the Bush Recession, it's been gratifying to spend 2009 noting how many good budget-priced restaurants Boston has.
By: MC SLIM JB  |  December 24, 2009


Fordee's Falafel and Deli

A winning way with the humble ground-chickpea croquette
I've added a new entry to my growing catalogue of "stupid reasons why I waited too long to try some restaurant": the unlikely name.
By: MC SLIM JB  |  December 16, 2009


Indian Dhaba

Mumbai street-food novelties and worthy fusion cuisine
The phrase “fusion cuisine” inspires dread in me — I’ve been served too many misconceived culinary mash-ups over the years, usually European sauces awkwardly force-fit onto Asian foundations, or vice-versa.
By: MC SLIM JB  |  December 09, 2009



A solid Italian-American trattoria with dynamite pizza
Friends are always asking me for my latest cheap-eats "discovery." But amid a million food blogs, 24/7 food television, and amateur-review Web sites like Chowhound and Yelp, I'm rarely the first to sing a good restaurant's praises.
By: MC SLIM JB  |  December 02, 2009


Vinh Sun BBQ and Restaurant

Cantonese roast meats and much more
Constrained by a small word count, I often choose restaurants with relatively short menus. I correctly took Vinh-Sun to be a Cantonese "BBQ" specialist, a retailer of roast pork, whole suckling pigs, ducks, and chickens. But it's also a spanking-clean Chinatown restaurant serving a broad Cantonese and Hong Kong menu.
By: MC SLIM JB  |  November 25, 2009


Tavern at the End of the World

Nice surprises in a warm, pubby package
They say there's no accounting for taste, though most folks will agree that if your tastes and mine are similar, then we both have good taste. This occurred to me as I scanned the jukebox at Charlestown's Tavern at the End of the World, a neighborhood bar/restaurant just outside Sullivan Square.
By: MC SLIM JB  |  November 18, 2009


Elite Restaurant

Eggs, coffee, and salty conversation
Some meals can bring you back vividly to your childhood, perhaps because your sense of smell and long-term memory are centered in adjacent areas of the brain.
By: MC SLIM JB  |  November 11, 2009


Simco's on the Bridge

A worthwhile old-time roadside-stand experience
Boston has hundreds of food blogs, with new ones appearing every day.
By: MC SLIM JB  |  November 04, 2009


The Snack Bar and O Senhor Ramos

Soul-satisfying, authentic Azorean specialties — oh, and sub-shop fare, too
Despite frequenting East Cambridge, I’m abashed to admit I overlooked the Snack Bar for years.
By: MC SLIM JB  |  October 28, 2009

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