By: Tara Kerrigan Hayes
If you’re looking for a new favorite brunch spot, it’s time to take a fresh look at the old 224 Boston Street. While the name hasn’t changed, the proprietors have, along with the menu, look and energy. The vision for 224 by new owner, Eric Aulenback, is simple – preservation with subtle innovation.
“224 had been a beloved Dorchester neighborhood dining institution for 30 years”, says Eric. “It was featured in the Boston Globe as one of a handful of Boston Restaurants that have stood the test of time, considering Chef Barbara Lynch’s debut on the Boston culinary scene began right here at 224. The place had such a rich history to celebrate and honor, that I vowed to retain name and progressively make upgrades to the space and menu.”
Eric’s goal was to maintain a sense of being a guest in someone’s home. To accentuate a residential vibe over commercial, and he succeeded in his mission. The formerly dark-red tavern side is now swathed in neutral hues with wood decor resulting in a rustic, laid back feel, while the dining room Is elegantly casual, accented with an exposed brick wall and an open kitchen design. Ample windows bathe both rooms in natural light creating a warm, welcoming atmosphere to enjoy straightforward, simply delicious food. Now let’s talk brunch!
The Breakfast tacos are a delectable party of textures with perfectly prepared scrambled eggs, smoky chorizo and salsa roja atop delicate, hand rolled tortillas. Veggie enthusiasts will find the brussels sprouts right on point; crispy, with slightly browned edges, yet no excessive grease, brightened with a pistachio pesto and garnished with cotija cheese. Both are perfect options for sharing before the main event.
The highlight, for certain, was the Corned Beef Hash – one of the best Boston has to offer – with generous thick strips of surprisingly lean, yet tender, corned beef, mingling with yukon potatoes, sautéed red peppers and onions, topped with impeccably poached eggs, and starring a tangy, whole grain mustard hollandaise that haunts.
If you’re one for the devil in the details, you’ll appreciate the crispy, (almost smashed), potatoes and the curiously addictive toast that accompanies the most picture-perfect omelet you’ll ever experience; with slow braised bacon, aromatic mushrooms and gooey cheddar cheese, all enveloped in impossibly fluffy, flawlessly flipped eggs.
The donuts with pastry cream filling and mint chocolate sauce make a fantastic finish to brunch (or beginning, if you’re me), but there’s also some sweetness to be found on the brunch cocktail list. Head to the bar side for some great live music while sipping on one of 224’s uniquely delicious concoctions, like the Orange Creamsicle with Stoli Vanilla, White Cream De Cacao, and OJ with shaved coconut. Coffee lovers will get a tasty and tingly jolt from the Cargill’s Caribbean Iced Coffee with Mt. Gay Rum, Tia Maria and Baileys, all conspiring together against whatever productivity you’d planned for the rest your day.
As co-owner of Lincoln, Capo, Loco, Fat Baby, Eric Aulenback is no stranger to exceptional food, and with 224 being run by Southie’s well known and much loved Lanie Donlan, who is no stranger to, well, anyone, you’re sure to enjoy a great meal and rub elbows with some old friends (or make new ones). With additional live bands and entertainment on the docket, (Ann Cheevers, Steve Rondo, Ryan McHugh and more), 224 is quickly becoming a favorite brunch spot for couples, singles and groups alike. Brunch is offered every Saturday and Sunday from 10-3, but with reluctant Spring finally easing onto the scene, you’ll want to arrive on the early side to claim outdoor seating in the small, but charmingly quaint garden patio.
For updates on entertainment and more, follow 224 Boston on Instagram @224bostonstreet. To inquire about booking a function room, go to https://224boston.com/functions/.