Wednesday, July 24, 2024

The breakfast burrito at Barismo in Mid-Cambridge. (Photo: Tom Meek)

Barismo, the dark and cozy cafe outpost on Broadway near the Cambridge City Hall Annex, is a place where things slow down. The coffee is hand poured and slow dripped for a fuller, more robust flavor, and the warm study hall space invites you to set up, spread out and stay a while. Dwell, if you will – which is apt, as the cafe was formerly known as Dwell Time and has since adopted the name of its mothership, a roaster and to-go coffee stop in Arlington.

Besides its excellent coffees – the pour-overs always feature nutty selections from Africa and South America – Barismo has some inspired spins on basic brunchy lunch fare. Everything’s done in-house, which you can tell immediately from the baked goods on display. That includes cylindrical scones with smears of sweet jellies for the sweet and uniform dottings of herb and cheese for the savory.

Barismo’s yogurt and granola with fruit compote. (Photo: Tom Meek)

You can get regular quesadillas and burritos that are quite good, but the breakfast burrito is where to take the calorie hit, with its fluffy scrambled eggs, fresh avocado slices, black beans, seasoned rice, a splash of hot sauce and fresh pico de gallo wrapped tightly in a wheat tortilla. It’s a hearty eat that you can customize; I usually drop the rice and ask for more beans and ’cado. The vegetarian omelet plate is a solid deal as well, with broccoli, that glorious green avocado and other veggies inside and some of that creamy house hot sauce on the outside. It’s a really clean version of a dinner omelet; I usually add cheese and tomatoes and get the hot sauce on the side.

An omelet with sides at Barismo. (Photo: Tom Meek)

The omelet comes with a side of greens or pickled veggies, which are a bit of a something else: fresh, dill-pickled carrots and onions mixed with baby spinach or a medley of carrots and onions with broccoli and cauliflower. It’s a mouth-puckering lineup that will have you eating your veggies even if that’s not your jam. And speaking of jam … the housemade yogurt and granola is a revelation. Besides making it creamy, smooth and delicious in the way most parfaits dream of, Barismo crowns these offerings with a fruit compote that is pretty much the Muhammad Ali of intoxicating fruit garnishes. It’s unparalleled, and a reason to go to Barismo and dwell. 

Barismo (364 Broadway, Mid-Cambridge)

Tom Meek is a writer living in Cambridge. His reviews, essays, short stories and articles have appeared in the WBUR ARTery, The Boston Phoenix, The Boston Globe, The Rumpus, The Charleston City Paper and SLAB literary journal. Tom is also a member of the Boston Society of Film Critics and rides his bike everywhere.