Zaftigs Natick – Full Review and Photos – Breakfast for Lunch or Anytime

July 27, 2013

On a visit to Zaftigs Natick last week I was ready for anything. I hadn’t eaten all morning because the plan was to review the breakfast offerings at the restaurant and see if they left me feeling happy and full. They did.

When we arrived, we were greeted by a bunch of friendly people at the front door including a hostess, a waiter and the owner Bob Shuman. Holy cow, they brought out the big guns for this review…but truth be told, we showed up early and unannounced, so the white glove greeting was standard. When you visit, the Zaftigs team treats you like a guest in their home.

In fact, some of the menu items made me think back to meals I’d had at the homes of my Jewish relatives. And the Website explains how they make their ethnic food offerings so enticing. To wit…

And your Jewish mother will kvell over the brisket even if she doesn’t take to tray offerings such as pork sausages and smoked ham. Kosher, this is not. In fact, what has made this ‘new Jewish’-style restaurant one of the best eating spots in Brookline are the less traditional offerings, including cheddar-apple omelets and banana stuffed French toast. The wild artwork and hip young wait staff seal the deal; this ain’t your grandma’s deli.

Once we sat, the food started coming and didn’t stop. While we never had to look for a server, they weren’t hovering over us. They were perfectly attentive – a trait that’s hard to find in many venues these days.

From the bagel chips with homemade herb spread – the Zaftigs take on bread and butter – to the full water glasses and quick drink delivery, I was pleased from the word go.

Oh, and that drink…I had a melon mimosa that made me immediately think of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. It was like biting into a fresh honeydew melon. Great flavor and great balance.

But we weren’t here to drink, we were here to get our breakfast on. And Zaftigs makes it easy. The entire back of the menu is dedicated to their breakfast items. They’re served all day and broken down into intelligent categories so you don’t lose yourself in a massive list of dishes.

I chose the Matzo Brei. It’s a scrambled egg dish with softened matzo mixed in – pan fried and then dusted with cinnamon sugar. It’s heartier than basic scrambled eggs and it’s not a sweet dish. The dusting just gives a nice balance. Also on the plate were wedges of watermelon and home fries with asiago cheese and scallions.

Lest I forget…the chef sent out a sampler plate before our meals arrived. It was the Zaftigs Combo and on the plate were a cheese blintze, a potato pancake, a meat knish and some noodle kugel. We made short work of that before our meals arrived.

My companion had a potato pancake breakfast with Zaftigs homemade sour cream and dill – she said it was like a light créme fraîche. The latkes were served with a generous portion of lox, though neither of us remembered to ask if they do their lox in house. The flavors on the latkes and the salmon were subtle. You could tell that it was real potato and the salmon was clean and light.

One thing I regret is that Adam Zand didn’t make the trip with me. His family holds a regular potato pancake cook-off and I would have liked to have seen how these measured up to his standards. Other friends who would love this place include Steve Garfield and Jennie White and my friend Chris from Las Vegas.

The funny thing about Zaftigs in Natick is that there are about a million other restaurants around. While it makes sense that you need a lot of venues to serve staff from the big five companies in the area – TJX Corp., BOSE, Staples, IDG and BJ’s – I can’t think of a similar place nearby.

The restaurant was hopping all through lunch and it fits a niche in this area. Not a pub, not a sushi joint, not Jordan’s with Roast Beef on the hill, not traditional seafood. But a really wide variety of dishes for every palate.

Getting back to the plate, I ordered pork sausage – my go-to breakfast meat – and it was perfectly spiced and tasty and cooked just right. Lovely.

Finally, the price was perfect. I’ve been paying $11 each morning for three eggs and sausage at a breakfast place on the South Shore. The Brei was merely $8.95 and the Latkes and Lox was $11.95.

AND I haven’t even talked about the lunch menu with stuff like monstrous salads, overstuffed sandwiches and burgers. They also have a full prepared food case up front in case you decide to grab something for dinner while you’re here having lunch.

Finally – and this is something I just got a notice on today – they’re reaching out to locals by hosting a series of “Get Latke” nights at the restaurant. It’s for singles in the Natick/Framingham area and takes place from 5-8PM on the third Monday of each month starting August 19.

They’re billing the evenings as a way for MetroWest singles to meet casually over wine at a welcoming location. Zaftigs charges $25 for these come-as-you-are events that feature Divalicious Red 2010 and Divalicious White 2011, the newest releases from Little Black Dress Vineyards of Hopland, CA.

What’s my overall impression of Zaftigs Natick. Go there. Go there now. Try new stuff. Have breakfast all day long. I liked it a lot and I’ll be back.

Let me know in the comments if you’ve visited either location and what you thought.