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The Other Side

Tasty, Affordable Dining on Newbury Street

By Eric Chemi

Staff Writer

Other Side Cosmic CafÉ

407 Newbury Street (617) 536-9477

Mon-Thurs, 10 a.m.-12 a.m.; Fri - Sat, 10 a.m.-1 a.m.; Sun, 12 a.m.-12 p.m.

Drinks $2-4, entrees $5-6

A funky eatery with a hip, youthful crowd, the Other Side Cafe is worth a try for anybody who hasn’t ventured in before. Far from your typical dining experience, upon entering you’ll be immersed in the environment: indie/alternative rock playing in the background, lots of chatter among the patrons, and a remarkably relaxed atmosphere.

Seat yourself; there are no bad seats in the house. You can choose to stay outside on the front patio, as many smoking customers choose to do. Stay on the main indoor level and watch the cooks rapidly prepare dozens of orders. Or, my personal choice: ascend the stairs to the upper level to find a distinct setup. Included are the comfortable couches where you can choose to have your meals served. Grab a window booth or get a table overlooking the lower level. Either way, if you go to the top you’ll be up near the pink neon lights that provide most of the upper level’s lighting.

The service is fast, friendly, and relaxed. The customers and waiters have a casual and carefree style to them, which fits in nicely with the laid-back wardrobes. The walls are adorned with murals and other decorative patterns. And you’ll quickly notice the menu’s charmingly refreshing vocabulary.

Everything is made fresh on the spot, so you’ll wait a couple extra minutes, but it is certainly worth it. While you’re waiting, grab some chips and salsa with homemade guacamole on the side. The chips are crunchy and the dips are chunky.

The selection of drinks is absolutely enormous. There are so many good choices to pick from; what a delicious problem to have. My personal pick is Sunrise Italian Soda, a refreshing blend of pineapple and orange syrup and seltzer served over ice. The bubbliness is tongue-tickling, perfectly complemented by the subtle sweetness of the fruit flavors. The selection of wines come from places like Spain, France, Italy, Australia, and California. The beers are mostly standard, but if you go here you might as well order a drink that is unique to this restaurant.

You can get some Carrot Apple Spinach Ginger from the “Pharmacy” department. Apple Strawberry Lemon Bubbly, Mochacino, Milky Way, Nutty Nilla, Bahama Mama, and Chocolate Moo are also all available. I recommend the Peppermint Patty, a great latte served with just a subtle touch of chocolate and mint.

Moving from the liquids to the solids on the menu, the restaurant offers a high-quality selection of sandwiches, salads, pastas, as well as other lunch and dinner specials. In particular, the roast beef sandwich is a good pick. Topped with lettuce, tomatoes, and the finest Boursin cheese, this sandwich is a hearty filler. The bread, beef, and toppings all blend into one taste entity. The tuna melt is also a real treat, with melted cheese and warm, toasty bread. The tuna melt goes well with the pesto pasta salad. The warm sandwich flavors contrast well with cold pasta and generous amounts of parmesan and pesto.

Lots of vegetarian and some vegan options fit the mainly health-conscious menu. Nevertheless, the desserts are exquisite, especially the chocolate ribbon cake. Neither too light nor too dense, too chocolatey or too sweet, you can actually eat the entire piece of cake. The dessert fittingly tops off a meal with balanced flavors on a student budget.