Trio of chefs cook up eclectic menu in Brookline – The Boston Globe

Prosciutto and arugula flatbread.

Kayana Szymczak for the Boston Globe

Prosciutto and arugula flatbread.

Colombian-born brothers Edison and Cesar Gutierrez talked about opening their own restaurant after years of honing their chef’s craft at Boston-area eateries. They were excited to learn that fellow chef and restaurant veteran Concepcion Perez shared the same ambition. So when space opened up on Harvard Street in Coolidge Corner (the former home of Persian restaurant Khayyam), the trio took the leap and opened Brothers Restaurant in January.

The Gutierrez brothers (and honorary brother, Salvadoran-born Perez) repainted the dark walls an optimistic shade of buttercream and expanded the bar. From the revamped kitchen, the three chefs turn out an ambitious yet approachable menu of American, Italian, and Mexican specialties, plus full breakfast, daily.

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“We want to be different, and not just specialize in one cuisine,” says Edison Gutierrez. The fare draws inspiration from several places where each worked before. Cesar was executive chef of Sound Bites in Somerville, Edison was executive chef at Game On! near Fenway, and Perez (who started as a dishwasher in Boston’s North End some 20 years ago) was most recently head chef at Devlin’s in Brighton.

Brothers Restaurant owners Edison Gutierrez, Concepcion Perez, and Cesar Gutierrez.

Kayana Szymczak for the Boston Globe

Brothers Restaurant owners Edison Gutierrez, Concepcion Perez, and Cesar Gutierrez.

Short rib taco ($8 for two) is a stylish riff on the traditional street-food snack. The toothsome cut of beef is braised in a Korean-style soy marinade, then tucked with Napa cabbage slaw and chipotle aioli into two stacked tortillas. An impossibly thin shell of corn masa, fried crisp, provides a crunchy inner lining to the flour tortilla holding it all together. The Baja fish taco ($9 for two), features breaded cod and a drizzle of crema in just one flour wrapper each, and is also quite tasty, but the crackling surprise in the short rib version has spoiled us. Both appetizers are delicious with a well-made Kentucky bourbon Manhattan ($9).

Prosciutto and arugula flatbread ($12) arrives piping hot on a pizza peel and prompts spirited conversation. One dining companion wants more of the advertised blue cheese crumbled on top. Another could do without the wedges of fresh tomato (such a pale fruit this time of year). The fig jam, caramelized onions, shavings of cured pork, and peppery greens layering the crisp crust provide plenty to savor.

404 Harvard St.,
Coolidge Corner, Brookline
617-383-6268.
http:http://www.brothers-restaurant.com

A special Monday night menu offers five pastas, with a choice of soup or green salad ($14.99). We make quick work of a generous serving of angel hair with mussels, cod, and diced tomatoes, tossed with a light, bright sauce of olive oil, lemon, and roasted garlic. A pasta dish on the regular menu, creamy chicken ziti broccoli ($16), offers satisfaction. So does a classic Cubano panino ($14), full of pulled pork, thin wafers of dill pickle, and melted Swiss. A cumin-spiced lamb kebab burger ($13) steals the show. The savory patty (requested medium, served medium) comes on a toasted brioche bun, with a dollop of tzatziki-yogurt dressing. It’s outstanding, as are the French fries, extra crisp from a double-dunk in their fat bath.

The mid-Orient eggs with a side of hash browns.

Kayana Szymczak for the Boston Globe

The mid-Orient eggs with a side of hash browns.

One morning, the earthy flavor of cumin shows up again in mid-Orient eggs ($7.95), three perfectly poached beauties on a bed of diced grilled bell pepper, tomato, and onion. This dish, along with mashed potato home fries ($2), resembles a Moroccan egg dish served at Sound Bites, the Somerville spot where Cesar Gutierrez used to cook. If the eggs don’t entice you, perhaps two menu pages worth of pancakes, waffles, and stuffed challah French toast will.

Service is sluggish on weekends, when it’s crowded at brunch. Staff members are friendly and just the right amount of chatty. Dinner seems slow to catch on, but it’s a matter of time before the supper hour heats up too. Edison Gutierrez says he and his brothers are happy to have set up on this stretch of Harvard Street. “It’s a little bit of everything for everybody in the neighborhood,” he says.

Ellen Bhang can be reached at [email protected]

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