>> Wednesday, February 24, 2010
It seems like just yesterday that I was telling you about my favorite type of restaurant - the cozy, ethnic family-owned joint that produces fantastic food. They are usually cheap, a great value, and they have really unique atmospheres.
Cambridge is full of them, and I'm still slowly discovering them one at a time.
Izzy's is not much to look at from the outside. It looks like a run down sub shop. You enter, and the place looks like it hasn't changed since it opened 18 years ago. The decor is very eclectic, from colorful vinyl table coverings to a huge Puerto Rican flag hanging at the counter.
Oh but the food. The food belies the humble decor. It's vibrant, flavorful, and all around very satisfying. I can't believe it's taken me this long to try this place.
Stewed Goat - $7.50
The stewed goat is one of their most popular dishes. This hearty stew comes with a generous side of rice and also another side.
Octopus Salad with Fried Plantains and Pepper Dipping Sauce - $8
The octopus salad was really good, and such a great value! Pieces of octopus are cut up and marinated in spicy oil-based dressing. There's quite a bit of oil, but the flavors are fantastic.
Fried Plaintains - $2.50
The fried plantains were also really good, and came with a addictive pepper sauce! It reminds me of the Chinese version with oil, scallions, ginger and garlic. This version had tons of garlic and scallions as well, plus some chopped red peppers and spices.
Stuffed Cassava - $1 - a deep fried starchy pocket of sorts filled with ground beef. It was quite oily, though it was pretty good with their awesome pepper dipping sauce.
Oxtail Stew - $7.50
This was very flavorful and the meat was tender. It came with a huge side of rice and also a salad. Really a great deal.
Tripe Soup - $3.75
Everyone ordered the tripe soup, and I can see why. It was hearty, fully of chunky goodness, and had a deep, flavorful broth. I think this was one of my favorite items on the menu.
Over all, this is a great little ethnic place to visit for lunch. The prices are really low for what you get, and the food is really good. Definitely try one of the stews and the tripe soup. The fried plantains with the dipping sauce is also very good. If you want something lighter, the octopus salad is not a bad bet. I guess my only one complaint is that some of the dishes are a bit greasy. Over all, though, it's a great little place and I would definitely recommend trying it out.
169 Harvard St
Cambridge, MA 02139