Where to Brassica Kitchen + Cafe in JP. Drink coffee and eat pastries by day. At night, feast on uni-buttered Brussels sprouts and seaweed tagliatelle with charred octopus, cauliflower, miso, and cilantro.
What for Chef-owners Jeremy Kean and Philip Kruta have gained a following over the years for their Whisk pop-ups. Now they finally have a place of their own — and it’s conveniently located right across from the Forest Hills T.
The scene This was previously the cafe Fazenda, and the layout is much the same: a counter for dispensing coffee and treats, a row of tables along the wall in a cozy little space. There’s now a tiny bar, where a couple canoodle over cocktails. In the wee open kitchen in the corner, Kean is cooking tasting menus for a neighborhood crowd. With brick walls and wood shelves and a hand-hewn quality (Kruta built the furniture), the place has the charming feeling of a library or schoolhouse, albeit one serving vermouth aperitifs.
What you’re eating Sample Brassica a la carte or opt for a six-course tasting. The menu changes frequently. It could bring anything from beef tongue with beef marmalade, fennel, and molasses to a nasturtium omelet with wild mushrooms, caper sauce, and grilled cheddar; “street corn” with ricotta salata aioli; or country fried chicken with maple umeboshi and herb slaw. For dessert, perhaps a salted caramel and chocolate tart?
Care for a drink? There’s a short-but-sweet list of Old World wines, mainly East Coast beer and cider (and, yes, a kombucha option), and a cocktail list from Thea Price-Eckles, formerly of Drink. You’ll find the likes of the Carawhey Collins (made with gin, watermelon, and whey) and the Side Salad: “Pisco, brassicas, mint, fennel, ginger, lime.”
Overheard Talk of summer camp, travels to distant lands, and rallies against police brutality. “Did you read the mission statement written on the window?” asks one breathless arrival, swinging a large satchel onto the bench beside her. “So what’s new? Lily’s away at summer camp,” one dad says. “Zeke too!,” a fellow parent beams. A woman samples a pink concoction in an ornate, heavy glass: “It tastes exactly like perfume. That’s a good thing!” “How young is too young for your first protest?” inquires one anxious mom of another. A platter brimming with treats travels past. “Ooh, what is that situation?” a customer wonders, rubbing his hands together.
3710 Washington St., Jamaica Plain, 617-477–4519, www.whiskboston.com.Devra First can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @devrafirst.