rlh's Profile

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Cambridge-Looking for a place for a rehersal dinner

Legal Seafood Harborside second floor dining would be ideal if budget is no concern - it is several notches above other Legals, has terrific high end wines at fair markups, smooth service, and looks directly onto the water.

about 23 hours ago
rlh in Greater Boston Area

Who sells real broth made from scratch?

Savenor's Cambridge often has it

Apr 17, 2014
rlh in Greater Boston Area

Taro Chips near Boston?

Terra Chips makes them (and they are good) - I have seen them at Whole Foods and other shops in both individual-sized and larger bags.

Apr 14, 2014
rlh in Greater Boston Area

Lunch near Boston Harbor Hotel?

Good recommendation - just be sure to request a filled to order lobster roll vs. the premade ones in the case - they are plenty fresh, but I don't like cold white bread, personally.

Apr 12, 2014
rlh in Greater Boston Area

Lunch near Boston Harbor Hotel?

Off peak times at Neptune Oyster about 10-15 minutes away on Salem St in the North End would qualify as a great lunch for me.

Row 34 is another great seafood option, and I have also enjoyed Blue Dragon (both are about 10 minutes away walking) and there is seafood there but it's more generally Asian tapas.

Apr 11, 2014
rlh in Greater Boston Area

Legal Crossing?

OK - tried it - it is very similar to other Legal outposts except that everything is black inside and even today there is a massive surplus of air-conditioning - and the servers are as inexperienced as you might expect them to be at a new spot serving lunch downtown.

The food is pretty much the same as elsewhere for Legal - stick with basic preparations of simple seafood freshly-prepared and served (chowder, raw bar with just barely passable shucking, and lobster roll), - and you won't be disappointed - get international with the ordering (such as Korean Rice Bowl or Polenta Crusted Salmon or "Spicy" Portugese Fish Stew) and you will most likely not be satisfied.

This does upgrade the options in this specific 'hood (which I consider outside of Chinatown), but that is really faint praise....I will return if in the area and need some simple fish - it will not become a destination.

Apr 11, 2014
rlh in Greater Boston Area

Legal Crossing?

Has anyone dined at this recent addition to the Legal empire in downtown Boston (558 Washington St)?

How does it compare to other Legal and LTK locations?

Any menu items to seek out? Avoid?

Thanks!

Apr 10, 2014
rlh in Greater Boston Area

State(s) with the Lowest Liquor Taxes / Prices?

There are GREAT everyday deals (Grand Marnier, Myers Dark rum, Aperol, Lillet Blanc, Cherry Herring) to be had at the NH State Liquor Stores, particularly with sale items (Eagle Rare bourbon comes to mind immediately) but not everything is less than in MA and the selection in NH is erratic even at the larger stores.

Apr 09, 2014
rlh in Spirits

Easter Brunch

http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/8953...

also, Bergamot (Camberville) has had a nice option in the past

Apr 09, 2014
rlh in Greater Boston Area

The *NEW* East Coast Grill

To validate this post a bit further - I received a long and thoughtful personal email on Feb 9 from the manager Kyla following my OpenTable comments that included a number of detailed questions from Kyla who genuinely seemed to care about ECG's service and reputation, along with a gracious offer of a gift certificate for a do-over on their part if we would return again.

I spent significant time and replied in great detail on Feb 26 and accepted the offer of the gift certificate...

There has been no response to that email nor have I received said gift certificate.

RIP ECG again...now you really are dead to me.

Apr 04, 2014
rlh in Greater Boston Area

Carrie Nation or Ole Inman for dinner -- tonight?

These are dinner options for tonight given late notice and reservations open at prime time - I liked drinks and the atmosphere (in the way back room) at Carrie Nation - is the food and service decent to good?

I used to LOVE Ole and haven't been in years (and got burned by this scenario recently at East Coast Grill) - is Ole still good? Have heard there is a tip top bartender there as well...

Any other recs? We need a reservation around 8p for a party of five and a place where we can carry on an animated conversation and still hear each other without intruding on others?

Apr 04, 2014
rlh in Greater Boston Area

Boston Chinatown

We have had a great meal and experience with kids your son's age at Dumpling Cafe on Washington St. - the soup dumplings are a must, along with a spicy fish filet dish if you like spicy - everything has been good there, it is reasonably priced, and the service is really pleasant.

Mar 27, 2014
rlh in Greater Boston Area

Boston's Best Toast?

That is indeed one slick toaster - and it should be at that price - wonder if the exterior is "cool touch" so as not to burn curious felines circling it? I hope to see it in action at some point.

Mar 25, 2014
rlh in Greater Boston Area

Wonderful Texas Pink Grapefruit in Boston?

They are not pink, but we discovered Oro Blanco grapefruits this year - and they were amazing, but I think just about over now - a good sized fruit, but with very thick skin (labor intensive prep) - it is a cross between grapefruit and pommelo - incredibly flavorful, even sweet, without any serious acidity.

By far the best we had were from Wilsons at 2/$1 on sale, but they were also still at Russo's for much more on a per lb basis last weekend.

Mar 25, 2014
rlh in Greater Boston Area

Boston's Best Toast?

It's harder than I imagined to find a truly good toaster (even, crunchy golden brown not dried out, etc.) -
That said, I I think some the finest toast we make is using When Pigs Fly New York Rye or the dense standard white bread they sell at the Asian bakery in Lexington Center (this is ideal for cutting into soldiers for dipping into soft boiled fresh eggs from Pete and Jen's Backyard Birds with a sprinkle of Maldon sea salt - what a treat!)

Mar 25, 2014
rlh in Greater Boston Area

Rec for Friday dinner Marriott Copley area, $40 pp max, prefer non Asian

If you have any trouble with the reservation - consider just a bit later as an option - BJ often fills up with pre-Symphony Hall diners that rush out for an 8p curtain. The vibe of the crowd changes right around 8p as well.

It's a very reliable good to great experience. The pickled(?) carrots and fresh baguette they welcome you with at the table can even serve as an nice appetizer if you want to leave room in the budget for the decadent (and highly shareable) profiteroles at dessert with the chocolate sauce that just keeps pouring until you tell them to stop....mmm.

Mar 25, 2014
rlh in Greater Boston Area

Alden & Harlow

Another top notch dinner and drinks experience last night - beef neck and kale salad still amazing, and shared the smoky chocolate bread pudding with salt ice cream among four - smoky is an understatement, it does need more of the delicious ice cream to balance it IMHO, and my sweets and chocolate-averse spouse declared it "the best chocolate dessert I have ever eaten - I wanted to put my whole face into the whole thing". The custom dessert cocktail that Seth crafted from amaro, rum, and egg paired perfectly with it.

New favorites were the grilled bluefish and grilled lamb sirloin. The onion dip is still amazing, the chips were tiny, overcooked pieces that could have been more freshly-fried (and were, the last two times - perhaps the perils of Sunday night dining...though the chicken skin freshly frying smelled incredible!). The aged goat cheese course was loved by all but a bit too subtle relative to the rest of the food and drinks.

The grilled local carrots were unevenly cooked without a lot of flavor and comprised of just 5 tiny whole carrots surrounded by some kind of disconcertingly crunchy spice - not a repeat at $9..the soft egg appetizer was also just creamy, but without enough defined flavor.

We still love it - and it was lively but not loud last night (there were always a few bar seats open) - the hospitality and service from Erin was also outstanding. Still eager to return. Hope the Sandhill Crane cocktail returns as well (they were out of the housemade cranberry shrubb).

Mar 24, 2014
rlh in Greater Boston Area

How loud is Alden and Harlow?

I have been to A&H several times for the bar and dinner - did not notice loud music then (I do totally believe it interrupted the film - it was loud in the washroom - maybe that's the issue?) but I have noticed extremely hospitable and accommodating service from all perspectives (not to mention pretty great food and drinks).

I would be surprised if they didn't also want to be good neighbors to the Brattle and others as it appears they are in it for the long haul in the 'hood.

It may also be powerful to having potential customers walk in and let them know of the issue in addition to hearing from Brattle management (agree with Molly that you should speak to a manager at A&H).

I can imagine that if they do need to maintain the volume in A&H, it may require additional sound insulation, which could takes some time and budget to install...

Mar 24, 2014
rlh in Greater Boston Area

Waterlogged sushi at Sono Sushi

I remain a fan and supporter of Sono - with the following caveats:

1. We always dine in
2. We only sit at the sushi bar
3. We go only when Tom is behind it preparing (or at least overseeing the preparation of our food)
4. We don't compare it to (our beloved) Toraya - this is a Chinese-owned, Asian fusion place vs. a Japanese chef-owned spot - for us, they are two totally different dining experiences

We were disappointed by both of our two takeout orders (one included a designer scallop roll that was much too mayo-gloppy), the Chinese style dishes (e.g., lettuce wrap app, money bags, etc.), and the "fancy makis". The tomago is sweet and rubbery - not a repeat.

So what do we really like? Hamachi kama (if you can get it - often sold out), salmon sushi, sushi specials (e.g., "black seabass"), amaebi, basic maki and the raw tuna apps like the Cajun Tatar.

Finally, I thought most if not all sushi around here comes from previously-flash frozen fish based on food safety requirements - is this untrue? What are the exceptions in terms of fish and places that serve it?

Mar 21, 2014
rlh in Greater Boston Area
1

Sono Sushi again

The one time I had it, it was a huge portion in spite of the $10.95 pricetag and comprised of two large sections - I think it was the entire collar, but maybe only half - the price would be fair (not amazing) for only one of the sections - or maybe they just mean they had one hamachi that day and all portions of kama had been sold by 7p?

Mar 14, 2014
rlh in Greater Boston Area

Gingerbread Construction Co.-- anybody been?

All of the dessert muffins I have had from this place have been amazing - no one has mentioned the pumpkin with cream cheese frosting - also awesome without the frosting which they usually can do if you ask - strawberry shortcake is another favorite, though a couple of times the strawberries inside were still frozen. The prices are low relative to the massive size, and they are always fresh. I go to Winchester most often - usually only after at least a couple of hours of hiking in the Fells (what a reward - the equally awesome alternative is warm bread from nearby Mamadou's bakery - only open 10-3p, however, and they run out quickly).

Mar 13, 2014
rlh in Greater Boston Area

lunch near World Trade Center (flower show)

Row 34 is awesome, but open for lunch only M-F (if your weekend starts early...) - make a reservation.

Mar 10, 2014
rlh in Greater Boston Area

Sono Sushi again

I agree it is not at all authentic in the same way as Toraya - their agedashi tofu, tomago, and chirashi (quite a packed little jewel box!), knifework, and tempura preparations all outshine Sono, but it remains a welcome and stepped up addition to the Asian dining options in Arlington for me!

We went again last night and once again had high expectations exceeded. Terry at the front and Tom the sushi chef could not be friendlier and more concerned about our enjoyment and satisfaction throughout the meal. The mai tai was not old school authentic like I make at home (few are, so I don't expect that) and had pineapple juice in it, but it paired well with the food and I'd order it again.

We were bummed out that the one hamachi kama for the day was already gone (7p) - apparently that's it - 1 per day as they only use it fresh from the yellowtail they are prepping for service. The chicken lettuce wraps were just OK and we finished them, but not a repeat for us (wet romaine and tiny chopped chicken and veggies in sweet / soy-based sauce without tons of flavor).

The amaebi was again the star of the show for me - two huge, succulent sweet shrimp nigiri pieces accompanied by huge, crispy fried heads and a sweet chile dipping sauce - for $4.50! Tom said they are toying with trying to get live ones in season with a tank behind the sushi bar - I can't wait!

The sushi nigiri was all pristine (black sea bass and salmon, in particular), the negihamachi maki was particularly fresh and flavorful, and the salmon roe was declared "best I have ever had" (Tom said it was very fresh from king salmon). The dragon roll was a nice version of one of the ubiquitous kitchen sink preps (I am not judging and I liked it, but it won't ever be on the Toraya menu, for example) of maki with spicy salmon inside and eel and avocado on the outside with a nice sauce.

The prices are very fair, so we left full and happy for about $90 including plenty of house sake and a generous tip. We will be back soon.

Mar 10, 2014
rlh in Greater Boston Area
1

What do people think of Rendezvous in Central Square, Cambridge?

Thanks - that helps (good meatballs if you ask) - but yikes - kind of makes me think (sadly) "downhill alert"...

Mar 07, 2014
rlh in Greater Boston Area

What do people think of Rendezvous in Central Square, Cambridge?

Huh? - is this post cryptic only to me? Maybe it is the random line breaks?

What are you trying to say ?- you know Steve from way back and like the place in spite of him not being there much?

What wonderful dishes do you recommend based on your 3-year(I think) tenure and experience with Rendezvous -- or are you saying it's (this is a contraction for "it has" BTW) jumped the shark and don't bother trying it now? I am confused...thanks for clarifying.

Mar 07, 2014
rlh in Greater Boston Area

fernet branca - love it or hate it?

I agree that the Love & Fear is real standout cocktail creation at West Bridge - and a bit of challenge to make at home based on the (smoked?) pineapple syrup preparation. It is good reason to stop into that friendly bar.

Mar 05, 2014
rlh in Greater Boston Area

Veal Chop??

The most spectacular one for me in recent years was at Prezza in the North End - everything is good there - the room is much nicer / more upscale at Sorellina, however, and they have the best tuna tartare in town.

Mar 03, 2014
rlh in Greater Boston Area

Eastern Standard or Island Creek Oyster

Agree that both ES and ICOB merit meals and drinks - Hawthorne is a beautiful cocktail space with great drinks as well - my current fav bartender (Todd) is at Clio a 10-minute walk away for drinks only.

Lord Hobo is a formidable beer emporium (with tasty cocktails, but beer is the focus) in Cambridge a short taxi ride away - and only 2 blocks from Oleana which is a MUST as noted - and you need reservations, but walkins are accepted at the bar (no spirits)

Neptune Oyster is also phenomenal but small with no reservations, so plan ahead, go off-peak / early for late lunch or early dinner, leave your phone number and stroll around the North End until they call - then be amazed.

Also for consideration in / near Cambridge are Alden & Harlow, and Bergamot - solid personal favorites but not at the same level as Oleana, ICOB and Neptune.

Mar 03, 2014
rlh in Greater Boston Area

Must Haves at Oleana and Bergamot for Tonight/Soon?

Having NEVER been to Oleana and reminded of that sad fact by this thread, we went Saturday night - and I GET IT - wow!

EVERYTHING was delicious - standouts for me were the deviled eggs, lamb tart, duck soup, and striped bass special, as well as their take on Baked Alaska for dessert as well as the profiteroles. Wine was interesting, paired well, and priced fairly. Service was solid and readily available even in the full rooms at peak time. Eager to go back - soon.

Mar 02, 2014
rlh in Greater Boston Area
2

Must Haves at Oleana and Bergamot for Tonight/Soon?

Ohhh - you should see my stomach...but that aside, the portions were highly variable but skewed toward the small side in the case of the scallops - the char and the bucatini, in particular, were really "normal" (of course, I have been getting indoctrinated in this by Weight Watchers for the past month, so my perspective may be skewed) - in any case, everything here just works for us - and we did not leave hungry in the least.

Mar 01, 2014
rlh in Greater Boston Area