When Tim Maslow opened Ribelle, his first solo concept last fall, it was a boon to Brookline's Washington Square neighborhood. Ribelle's dinner menu, which changes often, is always a small-but-mighty offering of inventive riffs on Italian food. Many dishes include unexpected or unusual ingredients, and thanks to an open layout, we get to watch the team kitchen work their magic in plain sight.
Now that they've settled in, Maslow has added brunch service on Saturdays and Sundays from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. As at dinner, the dishes range in size from snacks to entree-sized and are meant to be shared. There's only one rule they really stick with: You can't customize your Bloody Mary. But trust me, you won't want to.
In addition to the "Sweet" offerings, diners can choose from a handful of options in the "Savory" and "Side" sections. The menu changes often and the prices might vary as well. But for now, here are some sweet selections you should definitely check out.
This burnt cinnamon roll ($9) is anything but simple. Burnt sugar gives the syrupy sauce its tar black color, while cream cheese frosting and apple butter provide contrasting sweet and tangy flavors and a creamy texture.
If a sweet side is what you're after, try the light, crisp bombolini ($9; featured above). They come with espresso pastry cream and a dusting of cinnamon-sugar.
The French Toast ($11) starts with one massive slice of house baked bread. The bread is coated in crushed cereal and instead of more traditional toppings, you'll find eggplant syrup and caramelized onion sugar.
These Banana Bread Pancakes ($11) get their banana flavor from housemade banana bread "flour." Maslow makes banana bread, cuts it into pieces, and lets them become stale. He runs the dry bread crumbs through the food processor until they're finely ground. The pancakes are topped with dehydrated maple olive oil and cocoa nib butter.
If you're looking for something at the intersection of sweet and savory, try the warm, spoonable polenta ($11). It's topped with miso squash, pie crust pieces, prosciutto cotto, pecans, and a sprinkle of cheese.
About the author: Kate Shannon is an editor at Cook's Illustrated magazine. Prior to that, she worked as a cheesemonger and line cook. Although she calls Boston home, she hasn't lost her love for the fried cheese curds and Chicago-style hotdogs of the Midwest. She believes that leftover Thai takeout makes the best lunches and that strawberry shortcake is meant to be breakfast, not dessert.