A picturesque brunch at Loyal Nine
East Cambridge restaurant brings fresh seafood to the table, but not much else
Address: 660 Cambridge St, Cambridge, MA 02141
Hours: Sun 8 a.m. – 4 p.m., 5:30 p.m. – 9 p.m.
Mon 8 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Tue - Thu 8 a.m. – 4 p.m., 5:30 p.m. – 11 p.m.
Fri - Sat 8 a.m. – 4 p.m., 5:30 p.m. – 1 a.m.
Weekends were made for brunch, and the recent polar-chill weekend was no exception for me and my buddies, Julia and Krystal. We ventured over to Loyal Nine in the East Cambridge area, and we were welcomed into a light-filled, rustic-themed restaurant. Our booth’s raw wooden seats looked (and felt) as if they just came out of a woodworking shop, and our napkins were what I like to call “faux washcloths” — those white square linen cloths with a single washed-out blue stripe. The water came in a pour-it-yourself tall bottle, and I could see a bit of the open kitchen on the other side of the room. The ambience was the perfect recipe for an artsy Instagram post, but their actual food recipes could have used some help.
We started off with a side of Belon oysters and Onset oysters, both of which were incredibly fresh and well-accented with a splash of vinegar and lemon. The Maine Belon oysters had a slightly sweet aftertaste, giving my palate a pleasant start to what I had hoped would be an equally pleasant brunch.
Unfortunately, my brunch entrée did not match my expectations. I ordered the Lobster Popover, which came with lobster, two popover rolls, and a poached egg topped with pork fat hollandaise sauce. It was plated next to a bed of greens that I think were only there to fill up space next to the small portion size. Like the oysters, the lobster was tender and fresh, but the rest of the dish tasted like a soggy, deconstructed eggs Benedict. The popovers were soft on the inside with a tough outer crust, but by the end of the meal, it was hard to tell since everything was smothered under the runny poached egg and hollandaise sauce. The quality lobster made up for the confusing egg, hollandaise, and bread mush, so the dish did not taste terrible by any means, but I was expecting a bit more for $17.
Krystal’s dish was “devastatingly average,” as she described it. She ordered the Pomdemnast, which was a porridge of grains, a soft egg, herb salad, and pawlet cheese. “It had a name that sounded far more interesting than it tasted,” she explained. “What was supposed to be a savory porridge topped with an herb salad seemed more like a lukewarm version of oatmeal that had way too much cilantro and not enough salt. The egg tasted nice.” Krystal could not even manage to finish her dish, and after sampling a small spoonful of her porridge, I was not surprised.
Julia ordered the Augusta Potato Rosti, which came with creamed chipped beef, a fried egg, and fish pepper relish. “My brunch was pretty average, probably because the dish’s main flavoring was salt,” she said. “It wasn’t awful, though, and the egg was great!”
All in all, it seems that Loyal Nine makes fairly decent eggs and seafood, but lacks flavor and taste in the rest of its kitchen’s creations. We actually went back to our dining hall afterward to eat a second brunch since our stomachs were unsatisfied by the quantity of food. Maybe their dinner menu is better, but I do not think I’ll be coming back to find out for myself.