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Highlights from the Boston board. Restaurants, bars, food stores, and more.

Now in Malden Center: Biryani Park’s Food Truck

gimlis1mum reported this week that Biryani Park has a food truck. For now, it parks near Malden Center, about two miles west of the restaurant (also in Malden). It's accessible by T, but at least one hound wishes it were even closer to Boston. "We need this truck in Cambridge," FoodDabbler says. "Stat."

SNS Food Truck [North Shore]
Malden Center Station, Malden
781-397-1307

Discuss: Biryani Park Food Truck

Bergamot in Somerville: Great Food, Small Portions

Bergamot, the successor to EVOO in Somerville, has been a Chowhound favorite since it opened in 2010. But recent reports queston the portion sizes.

fantundo ordered a "very tasty" flank steak, which came only with a small vegetable side—no carb to round out the meal. A friend's scallop and pasta dish looked like an appetizer-sized serving at most restaurants, and came with only four medium-sized scallops.

opinionatedchef also thought most portions were too small, particularly the "wisp of a beet salad" that proved to be a less than satisfying appetizer. Bob Dobalina thought the portion size of a grilled Vietnamese-style flank steak was fine, but called a dessert consisting of three inch-high cubes of poppy-seed cake "truly Lilliputian."

"The sad thing is that the food itself [is] delicious," fantundo says, but not enough "to warrant those prices," according to opinionatedchef. Bob Dobalina agrees: "Make no mistake—we really enjoyed the meal. [But] the price point is just a titch too high to warrant regular visits."

Bergamot [Somerville]
118 Beacon Street, Somerville
617-576-7700

Discuss: Bergamot – Mixed Feelings: Talented Chef, Miserly Portions

More Than Just Soft-Serve at Celebrity Pizza in Watertown

Hounds know Celebrity Pizza in Watertown for its soft-serve ice cream, but StriperGuy tried the fried clams recently and thought they were excellent. "The fry job was spot on, the taste just right," StriperGuy says.

katzzz usually goes for the seafood combo plate, "which is huge, enough to feed two for about $21," and contains clams, scallops, shrimp, fish, fries, and onion rings. The french fries are decent but nothing special, and the coleslaw is "just plain lame," StriperGuy says. "Tasted like watery cabbage with a hint of mayo in there."

As for the namesake pizza? Johnresa says it's actually not bad! But with Stella's just a few blocks away, hyde doesn't see the point.

Celebrity Pizza [Watertown]
684 Mount Auburn Street, Watertown
617-924-0009

Discuss: Celebrity Pizza, Watertown, Respectable Fried Clams

Boston’s Best Lobster Rolls

Like a lot of us who live nowhere near New England, Chowhounds in Greater Boston are passionate about summer’s quintessential shore food, the lobster roll: succulent hunks of the clawed crustacean mixed with celery, dressed with mayo, and heaped into a toasted and buttered bun. And while you could certainly argue that the nation’s best lobster rolls are a specialty of Maine, there’s no doubt that Boston hounds spend a lot of time debating the merits of their city’s finest. Here are seven, listed alphabetically, from within a 5-mile radius of downtown Boston, that CHOW readers have talked about in the past six months (click the links to find out more). Want to share your own opinions? Jump into a discussion on the Boston Chowhound board. And if you’d like to try your hand at lobster rolls, check out this recipe from the CHOW Test Kitchen. Happy summer! READ MORE

Boston’s Best Skinny French Fries

Plenty of restaurants serve fries, but hounds who prefer their fries thin and crisp have some very specific go-to spots.

Several burger joints offer good skinny fries. devilham thinks UBurger's fries are surprisingly good, and also likes Five Guys. yumyum doesn't care for the burgers at Flat Patties, but thinks the fries are great.

Gordough and hounda both like the ones at Border Café. "They are a huge guilty pleasure of mine," Gordough says. "Very thin and very crispy."

For a slightly higher-end option, ebone heads to Sel de la Terre for "perfectly crisp, thin cut fries with a hint of rosemary."

UBurger [Downtown Crossing]
140 Tremont Street, Boston
857-239-8080

UBurger [Kenmore Square]
636 Beacon Street, Boston
617-536-0448

UBurger [Allston]
1022 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston
617-487-4855

Five Guys Burgers and Fries
Multiple locations

Flat Patties [Harvard Square]
33 Brattle Street, Cambridge
617-871-6871

Border Café [Harvard Square]
32 Church Street, Cambridge
617-864-6100

Sel de la Terre [Back Bay]
774 Boylston Street, Boston
617-266-8800

Discuss: Who makes the best french fries in Boston?

There’s More Than Banh Mi at Boston’s Ba Le Bakery

Ba Le Bakery in Dorchester has great banh mi, but there's plenty of other interesting stuff too. "Many of the snacks are unique Hue/Central Vietnamese treats," Nab says. "Perfect party or picnic food."

The banh beo (steamed rice cakes filled with chopped dried shrimp, pictured at left) are "subtle and simple on their own," but a dribble of fish sauce makes them delicious. Banh pâté chaud, flaky pastries filled with pork pâté, were fresh out of the oven on Nab's recent visit.

To see the rest of Nab's pictures of Ba Le Bakery's Vietnamese snacks, check out the full thread linked below.

Ba Le Bakery [Dorchester]
1052 Dorchester Avenue, Boston
617-265-7171

Discuss: Ba Le Bakery – beyond the banh mi

Photograph by Nab

Boston-Area Bars with Good Bites

It's date night, and you're looking for a cold drink and some first-rate snacks at some comfortable pub. Where to turn?

Jenny Ondioline likes Deep Ellum for its beverages and apps. "The soft pretzels and beer cheese are a particular favorite," Jenny Ondioline says. "And the charcuterie plate is almost always worthwhile."

hiddenboston likes eating at the bar at O'Leary's in Brookline. "Friendly bartenders, comfortable seating, a mellow crowd, and very good food," he says.

Klunco favors Eastern Standard (listed on Chowhound as part of a Boston Craft Cocktail Crawl) and Russell House Tavern (a stop on a Boston Whiskey Crawl), but has also fared well at Oleana, where you can order meze at the bar. "I remember being surprised that the beer list was bigger than you would think for this type of place," Klunco says.

Finally, huuvola recommends Local 149 in South Boston for the good beer selection, interesting menu, and decent-looking craft cocktail program.

For more ideas, click the link below to go to the full thread.

Deep Ellum [Allston]
477 Cambridge Street, Allston
617-787-2337

O'Leary's Irish Pub and Restaurant [Brookline]
1010 Beacon Street, Brookline
617-734-0049

Eastern Standard [Kenmore Square]
528 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston
617-532-9100

Russell House Tavern [Harvard Square]
14 JFK Street, Cambridge
617-500-3055

Oleana [Central Square]
134 Hampshire Street, Cambridge
617-661-0505

Local 149 [South Boston]
149 P Street, Boston
617-269-0900

Discuss: Favorite Bar / Pub for apps & drinks

Surprising Lunch at Boston’s Sail Loft

After spending an afternoon roaming around the North End, hounda ended up at the Sail Loft, pleasantly surprised. "It's an old place," hounda says. "But the lunch ... is pretty good."

The buffalo chicken sandwich was moist and spicy; the fish and chips fresh and simple, with a nice thin batter and good tartar sauce. The fried scallops are great too, phatchris says. But the french fries? Good, if conventional. "No rosemary-sea-salt-parmesan-truffle oil 'frites' at this old watering hole," hounda notes.

The Boston Sail Loft [North End]
80 Atlantic Avenue, Boston
617-227-7280

Discuss: Sail Loft – Great Lunch!

M3 in Somerville: Good Southern Dishes, Prickly Heat

M3, the newest arrival in Davis Square, is generating positive hound reviews both for its Southern dishes and the restaurant as a whole.

Fried green tomatoes are a standout, says jforman, who suspects the tangy tomatoes are pickled before frying. jforman's only caveat: "Skip the dressing," and eat the tomatoes on their own.

The hot wings are really tasty, with a great mustard barbecue sauce, DoubleMan reports. And gini thinks the shrimp and grits are a good bet, despite the smallish serving.

Opinions on the fried chicken are mixed: maillard found it bland and dry, but pang loved it paired with waffles.

Hounds like the restaurant's funky interior (with chalkboard tables built for tic-tac-toe) and the large canned beer selection, but warn about major issues with the air-conditioning. It might be best to wait for the current heat wave to pass before dropping in on M3.

M3 [Somerville]
382 Highland Avenue, Somerville
617-776-8100

Discuss: First try, M3 in Davis Square

New England Classics, Controversial Appetizers at the Continental

The Continental in Saugus won't win any awards for innovation. It's like "going back 30 years in time," albinoni says. "But, with the exception of the salads, the food is really good."

The lobster pie had lots of claw meat—albinoni's wife counted seven claws in her dish—and it was "exceptionally sweet and tender." The baked stuffed lobster is a favorite of catsmeow, who also recommends the crab pie. The food is very basic, RichardinJP says, but always perfectly cooked.

Meals begin with complimentary appetizers, which on albinoni's visit included chicken wings, mini spinach pies, and popovers. And while albinoni liked the free apps, ipsofatso didn't. Besides, treb points out, these snacks aren't really free: "If you compare their menu prices you'll see that those apps are built into their entrée prices."

The Continental Restaurant [North Shore]
266 Broadway, Route 1 North, Saugus
781-233-2587

Discuss: The Continental (Saugus)