clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Boston Chefs Describe the Most Unusual Brunch Dishes They’ve Eaten

From tripe and fish bladders to eggs with grubs, these are the weirdest brunches local chefs have tried. This is the fifth installment of the Breakfast Week Q&A series.

Brunost
Brunost
Shutterstock

Andy Husbands

Andy Husbands (square)

"That would have to be Brunost, aka "that brown cheese in Norway." It’s certainly an acquired taste." —Andy Husbands, chef/owner of The Smoke Shop (coming soon), Tremont 647, and Sister Sorel

Image credit: Provided

Erica Keefe

Erica Keefe (square)

"Kirkland Tap and Trotter's Hot Dog Hash — loved it!" —Erica Keefe, executive chef of Five Horses Tavern (South End)

Image credit: Provided

Ines Santos

Ines Santos (larger square)

"I don't know about 'brunch' properly, but I find myself often in the funny situation of having grilled sardines and chilled red wine on an empty stomach when I'm home in Portugal and barely wake up in time for the 2 p.m. family lunch. I blame jet lag for that." —Ines Santos, general manager of The Salty Pig

Image credit: Provided

Jason Santos

Jason Santos (square)

"Steamed chicken feet with fermented black beans." —Jason Santos, chef/owner of Abby Lane and Back Bay Harry's

Image credit: Provided

Joshua Smith

Joshua Smith (square)

"Slow-cooked tripe and eggs from chef Jonathan Benno in NYC on top of Pier 92." —Joshua Smith, chef/owner of Moody's Delicatessen and The Backroom

Image credit: Provided

Christine and Carla Pallotta

Carla and Christine Pallotta (square)

"Maybe eating raw quahogs might not seem strange to some, but it is when you're three years old, dig up your own, and eat over two dozen. One of my favorite memories of the Cape as a child!" —Christine Pallotta, chef/owner of Nebo Cucina & Enoteca

"Tripe. Unusual for most people, but when an Italian get the 'WOO-Lee-a,' slang for desire, anything goes!"
—Carla Pallotta, chef/owner of Nebo Cucina & Enoteca

Image credit: Christine (left) and Carla Pallotta/Provided

Diana Kudajarova

Diana Kudajarova (square)

"When Tse Wei and I were in Barcelona, we decided to have breakfast / brunch at La Boqueria food market, thinking that surely there would be a vendor serving churros or something. No such thing (in fact, the best churros we had were off a street cart at midnight), but we had an amazing brunch of grilled artichokes." —Diana Kudajarova, chef/co-owner of JourneymanBackbarAmes Street Deli, and Study

Image credit: Provided

Matt Drummond

Matt Drummond

"Years ago, one of my fellow cooks at a hotel in my hometown made, at that time in my life, one of the most 'outrageous breakfasts' consisting of stewed tripe and fish bladders in a Thai-style peanut sauce, with some of the best fried rice I’ve ever had. To this day, that dish reminds me to always try and think out of the box and not be so quick to deny trying anything once." —Matt Drummond, executive chef of Loco Taqueria & Oyster Bar

Image credit: Provided

Brian Poe

Brian Poe

"A long time ago, I did a grilled doughnut with watercress salad and champagne vinaigrette. I love grilled doughnuts. I love champagne. I love watercress. I did not love this dish. I made the dish. I am sorry. I went back to cooking eggs." —Brian Poe, chef/owner of Bukowski Tavern (Cambridge), Poe's Kitchen at the Rattlesnake, and The Tip Tap Room

Image credit: Michael Piazza

Patrick Gilmartin

Patrick Gilmartin (square)

"Most of my brunching is done at dim sum, and while I don't think dishes like braised chicken feet or tripe are odd for brunch, they are definitely different from the standard brunch fare." —Patrick Gilmartin, executive chef of River Bar

Image credit: Brian Samuels

Marga Raffucci

Marga Raffucci (square)

"When I'm back home in Puerto Rico, all I ever have for breakfast is spicy morcilla and bread. But when I was growing up, I would take sunny side eggs, put a couple of soda crackers on top of them, and mash them with a fork until the crackers were about the size of a grain of rice and the yolk covered everything. Unusual technique more than anything, I guess, but delicious anyway." —Marga Raffucci, executive chef of Sorellina

Image credit: Provided

Mitchell Randall

Mitchell Randall (square)

"Soup dumplings, where the soup is enclosed in the dumpling wrapper." —Mitchell Randall, executive chef of Ostra

Image credit: Provided

Jason Maynard

Jason Maynard (square)

"The strangest brunch dish I had was as a child on vacation in Alaska: reindeer sausage and eggs." —Jason Maynard, executive chef of Mistral

Image credit: Provided

Angela Lamb

Angela Lamb (square)

"The chicken liver omelette at Highland Kitchen is a strange one but absolutely delicious." —Angela Lamb, general manager at Coda

Image credit: Provided

Olivier Senoussaoui

Olivier Senoussaoui

"Tripe and tomato omelette." —Olivier Senoussaoui, executive chef of Precinct Kitchen + Bar

Image credit: Provided

Kevin Murphy

Kevin Murphy (square)

"Stargazy Pie in Cornwall, England." —Kevin Murphy, general manager of Parsnip Restaurant & Lounge

Image credit: Provided

Amanda McLaughlin

Amanda McLaughlin (square)

"This is tough; I guess it was strange to start the morning off in Italy with meats, cheeses, and cappuccino." —Amanda McLaughlin, general manager of Tico

Image credit: Provided

Joshua Brooks

Joshua Brooks (square)

"The weirdest brunch dish I've ever eaten was a plate I had in Denver — Buffalo meatballs, pickled blueberries, corn, and eggs. It was really, really good." —Joshua Brooks, chef de cuisine at Catalyst

Image credit: Provided

Avi Shemtov

Avi Shetov (square)

"I know it's not that out there, but Irish breakfast tests my limits. It's great when I've had a few, and you don't tell me what's in it." —Avi Shemtov, owner and executive chef of The Chubby Chickpea

Image credit: Provided

Kyle Crusius

Kyle Crusius

"Ironically, shakshuka. I never had it until I started making it, and it's so different than the farm boy breakfast I grew up on." —Kyle Crusius, chef de cuisine at The Chubby Chickpea

Image credit: Provided

Jay Murray

Jay Murray

"Not unusual — but I’ll take menudo anytime." —Jay Murray, executive chef of Grill 23 & Bar

Image credit: Provided

Nick Deutmeyer

Nick Deutmeyer

"Once, I went out to brunch to a Taiwanese restaurant and had soup with blood cake, tripe, and fermented tofu in it. The tofu was pretty disgusting…but the soup itself was tasty!" —Nick Deutmeyer, chef de cuisine at Post 390

Image credit: Provided

Howard Haywood

Howard Haywood

"Scrambled eggs with green onions and grubs — actually not that bad! I went to Thailand in 1997 and was invited over to a local chef's house for brunch. I guess everything tastes good with Sriracha sauce on it!" —Howard Haywood, executive chef of Olde Magoun's Saloon

Image credit: Provided

Jonathan Kopacz

Jonathan Kopacz (square)

"Dim sum is only unusual if you've never had it, but crispy fish full of roe, chicken feet, and clams in black bean sauce will make your Saturday." —Jonathan Kopacz, executive chef of Brass Union

Image credit: Provided

Jeff Williams

Jeff Williams (square)

"An omelette with chapulines, tomatoes, and queso fresca. Basically an omelette with seasoned dried crickets, tomatoes, and fresh cheese. It actually tasted amazing; the crickets taste like little crunchy Slim Jims, haha!" —Jeff Williams, executive chef of Chopps American Bar and Grill

Image credit: Provided

Dante de Magistris

Dante de Magistris (square)

"The most unusual brunch dish I’ve ever eaten is escargot with a poached egg and truffle fonduta." —Dante de Magistris, chef/owner of Restaurant DanteIl Casale Cucina Italiana, and Il Casale Cucina Campana

Image credit: Provided

Daniel Bojorquez

Daniel Bojorquez (square)

"Escamole (ant egg) tacos that are used in Mexican cooking in the state of Puebla." —Daniel Bojorquez, chef/owner of La Brasa

Image credit: Provided

Brian Rae

Brian Rae (square)

"What is considered unusual? I'll eat anything, anytime. I like pasta at brunch. Ramen or other noodle dishes are good too. Especially if it's cold out." —Brian Rae, executive chef of Centre Street Cafe

Image credit: Provided

Patrick Campbell

Patrick Campbell (square)

"Nothing odd comes to mind, as I am a pretty adventurous eater. That said, I had brunch at a brasserie in Montreal a few years ago, and heads turned when I ordered a steak tartare and a bone marrow as my breakfast. I thought it was a great order." —Patrick Campbell, executive chef of Cafe ArtScience

Image credit: Wayne Chinnock

Rachel Klein

Rachel Klein (square)

"Both were at the Mandarin Oriental — either the Mandarin Breakfast with congee duck egg or Nasi Goreng." —Rachel Klein, chef/owner of RFK Kitchen (coming soon)

Image credit: Provided

Francis Santos

Francis Santos (square)

"A frittata made with black squid ink pasta." —Francis Santos, executive chef of Ester

Image credit: Provided

Robert Fathman

Robert Fathman

"It's not strange to me, but goetta, a local Cincinnati favorite. Or Cinci Chili baked with eggs and tortillas is pretty good too. I'll make some if anyone wants to try it." —Robert Fathman, executive chef of Osteria Posto

Image credit: Provided

Joe Cassinelli

Joe Cassinelli - square

"Menudo with a poached egg." —Joe Cassinelli, chef/owner of Alpine Restaurant Group (PostoOsteria PostoPainted BurroRosebud)

Image credit: Provided

Joe Carli

Joe Carli - square

"A Colombian cook here at Posto recently brought me in bocadillo con queso. It was a very obscure taste and texture, but I liked it on its own and could see how it is a staple." —Joe Carli, chef at Posto

Image credit: Provided

Matthew Barre

Matthew Barre

"The Swamp Thing at Atwoods Tavern. It was an eggs benedict with collard greens, Andouille sausage, and Tasso Hollandaise if I remember correctly. It was insane, so spicy, and so good." —Matthew Barre, executive chef of The Tap Trailhouse

Image credit: Provided

Joseph Ellia

Joseph Ellia

"The most unusual brunch dish I have ever eaten would have to be one time when I was down south. I was served a breakfast sandwich that had bacon, cheddar cheese, pickled onions, squid egg scrambled eggs, and hot sauce. It was very different, but I didn’t leave any on the plate because it was so good." —Joseph Ellia, sous chef at Bear in Boots Gastropub

Image credit: Provided

Daniel Bruce

Daniel Bruce

"Fried whole smelts drenched in cornmeal — with the heads on! We used to eat this when I was a kid growing up." Daniel Bruce, Boston Harbor Hotel chef (Meritage Restaurant & Wine Bar, Rowes Wharf Bar, and Rowes Wharf Sea Grille)

Image credit: Provided

Diane Kochilas

Diane Kochilas

"Nothing out of the ordinary, unless you count raw herring on the streets of Amsterdam, but that was more breakfast than brunch!" —Diane Kochilas, consulting chef at Committee

Image credit: Provided

Justin Shoults

Justin Shoults

"I usually stick with pretty classic brunch items, but I once ate pig tails with poached egg and grits. It was delicious." —Justin Shoults, executive chef of BRINE

Image credit: Provided

Matt Foley

Matt Foley

"A cheese plate with pickled herring. I just didn’t get it." —Matt Foley, executive chef of The Merchant

Image credit: Provided

Mark Sapienza

Mark Sapienza

"I once had tripe and eggs at a restaurant in Chicago. It was essentially a bowl of braised beef tripe with eggs on top of it." —Mark Sapienza, executive chef of The Langham, Boston

Image credit: Provided

Nick Calias

Nick Calias

"Ostrich hash and eggs." —Nick Calias, executive chef of Brasserie Jo

Image credit: Provided

Matt Jennings

Matt Jennings

"In Piedmont one morning, I ate eggs that were minutes out of a chicken who had a strict diet of goat’s milk — with a crazy Tuscan butcher and his wife." —Matt Jennings, chef/owner of Townsman

Image credit: Provided

Salvatore Boscarino

Salvatore Boscarino

"Not super unusual but recently had the shakshuka at Beehive. I really enjoyed the African spices and Moroccan sausage in the dish — new flavors for me." —Salvatore Boscarino, co-owner of Pier 6

Image credit: Provided

Chris Robins

Chris Robins

"Peanut butter and jelly omelette — a guest asked for it; I made it and had to make one for myself. It was actually pretty tasty." —Chris Robins, culinary director and managing partner of the Aquitaine Group

Image credit: Provided

Gregory Weinstock

Gregory Weinstock

"I had a brunch version of meatloaf at a restaurant in DC. It had chunks of bacon, maple syrup, and breakfast sausage all worked into it. They sliced it, ring-punched a hole in the center, and pan-seared it with an egg in the center. Pretty friggin' delicious." —Gregory Weinstock, general manager of Salvatore’s (Theatre District)

Image credit: Provided

Izzy Berdan

Izzy berdan

"Cold wings, but that's more of sad story about being single and having all your friends go to NYC without you and looking cute on Instagram and Facebook, and you're all 'I can be cute,' but all you got is some wings over in the fridge...now I'm sad... *looks in fridge* *sighs*" —Izzy Berdan, creative director of the Aquitaine Group

Image credit: Provided

Gregory Torrech

Gregory Torrech

"Shabu zen." —Gregory Torrech, executive chef of The Beehive

Image credit: Provided

Daniel Myers

Daniel Myers

"I’ve had my fair share of chicken feet, but I guess that’s more uncommon than unusual for brunch." —Daniel Myers, co-owner of Loyal Nine

Image credit: Provided

Katrina Jazayeri

Josh Lewin and Katrina Jazayeri

"We stumbled into an urban garden/community space outside the flea market in Paris. It was built in an old train station, and they were serving brunch. A brunch buffet, really. We were handed a silver sectioned tray and a ticket that we took around with us to different stations and filled with fruit and yogurt from one station, hot chocolate and coffee from another, then basque chicken stew from another, and sliced ham and salad. We ate sitting on concrete blocks and metal garden furniture. It was not the typical brunch, but I wish it were!" —Katrina Jazayeri, co-owner of Juliet

Image credit: Rachel Leah Blumenthal for Eater

Tony Maws

Tony Maws

"Big fan of dim sum, so there have been a lot of awesome little bites and odds and ends along the way!" —Tony Maws, chef/owner of Craigie on Main and The Kirkland Tap & Trotter

Image credit: Rachel Leah Blumenthal for Eater

Tom Borgia

Tom Borgia

"In San Diego, I had a burger between two thick slices of French toast with bacon and a fried egg." —Tom Borgia, executive chef of State Street Provisions

Image credit: Provided


Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for the Eater Boston newsletter

Sign up for our newsletter.