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Most elegant new restaurant

I wanted to post a follow up to let responders know how my dinner at Cafe ArtScience turned out - and for anyone asking the same question in the future.

Overall, I enjoyed the experience and the food. My biggest caveat is that space definitely feels like it's inside a new office building in an office park. Nothing has been done from a design perspective to make it feel otherwise and that awareness sets the tone and color for the entire experience. Having said that, there is a lot of banquette seating in the main dining area and it's very comfortably upholstered.

The servers were knowledgeable about the specifics of the menu items (ingredients and preparation) and enthusiastic. It was a team approach with a feeling that there was no "main" waiter and I found it a bit disconcerting not to have the person we placed our order with reappear at any point after the appetizers came out. The food was very good. We had the softshell crab and the stuffed artichokes to start, the lamb and the parsnip cappellacci as our entrees and the lime mousse and rhubarb millefeuille for dessert. The appetizers were both delightfully punchy combinations of bright flavors and contrasting textures. The weak link was the lamb, which was served at room temperature and didn't have much flavor other than that of the meat. I would have also liked a little more flavor from the rhubarb millefeuille - the fromange blanc dominated.

The portions throughout were small, which I liked because it let us try many different things. The only place where those small sizes seemed a bit stingy was with the pasta, which contained just 5 small tortellini-sized noodles. (It's listed as a main course.)

Next time I want something elegant, I'll try Bistro du Midi, as many of you have suggested. I think I visited once when it first opened, but it sounds like it's worth a repeat.

about 7 hours ago
peelmeagrape in Greater Boston Area

Most elegant new restaurant

Thank you everyone. Clearly Post 390 is not worth a visit.

Most elegant new restaurant

I did try Deuxave, shortly after it opened. It didn't do much for me. I've also been to Asta. I actually invited another couple there to try it out and was very dismayed by how plain the space was and how uncomfortable the seats. The food didn't particularly impress either. Thank you for the caution about Post 390: it's off the list.

Most elegant new restaurant

My thoughts exactly. Thank you MC Slim JB. I'm going to try Cafe ArtScience for this occasion, despite the strange-seeming ambiance. At least the food will be inventive. And I've added La Brasa to my list of everyday options.

Most elegant new restaurant

My husband and I are going out to dinner for my birthday. I'm hoping for input about the ambiance of the city's newer restaurants. Which is the most elegant spot that has opened in the past year or two - and which also has great food? The new place I've been to that best fits the criteria for me is Ostra, which I do like, but I'd ideally like to try somewhere new. Post 390 has been on my list of places to try for a while but I don't know if it fits the bill in terms of being elegant. Or maybe there's a new candidate in one of the hotels that is turning out top notch food? Or someplace else? We haven't eaten in the South End in a while and I haven't really been keeping up with any new candidates there.... TIA!

coconut cake

I adore the coconut layer cake at Solstice in Kingston. Moist and dense layers, wonderfully decadent cream cheese frosting, and lots of coconut shavings. Yum.

Townsman

I had dinner there at the bar on Friday. The bar area was packed, dining room busy but less so. We experienced service issues (inattentiveness from bartenders, very long wait for our main courses from the kitchen). They definitely seemed to be struggling to accommodate so many customers.

I liked the food, didn't love it. The beef cheek and apple perogies were very tasty. Curried hot crab was a stingy portion of seafood, most of the plate was spinach. Had the pork and the lamb mains - pork was better, very juicy with a nice tang, lamb was competent but no wow factor. Didn't care for either of the unremarkable desserts: a dull lemon pudding with an excellent concord grape coulis and a somewhat better cheesecake with kumquat.

I like what they're trying to do: heaven knows the neighborhood could use some mid price or above chef-driven restaurants. The bar was extremely loud but the restaurant itself (and even the low bar at the open kitchen) seemed like it would be acoustically comfortable. I'd be open to going back after they've had some time to fine tune.

Where You Go as Opposed to Where you are Supposed to Go?

I love this topic. I'll add a couple of my guilty pleasures: the Capital Grille for their plain rib-eye and spinach salad, and Ducali for their pear-arugula salad and potato-prosciutto pizza (it's a very short walk when I don't want to cook).

Best cookbook for preserving fruit

I wanted to follow up and report that he loved the gifts (both cookbooks and the Excalibur dehydrator)! Thanks again to greygarious and geminigirl for making Christmas that much more joyful.

Dec 26, 2014
peelmeagrape in Home Cooking

Best cookbook for preserving fruit

Thank you for the suggestion: I just ordered the 9 tray dehydrator from Excalibur. They were running a 20% off sale today for Black Friday. The 10 tray is impressive but I'm not quite ready to spend so much without knowing whether he'll get into it or not.

He's not a dessert lover, unfortunately, so I don't think the dessert book is going to fire him up.

Nov 28, 2014
peelmeagrape in Home Cooking

Best cookbook for preserving fruit

Thanks to both of you. Mes Confitures sounds especially tempting. I think I will look into getting him a dehydrator too.

geminigirl, it's a private orchard at this point, and the suggestion I made that excess fruit could be donated or put by the side of the road with a "Free" sign earned an uncomprehending look, as in, How could there *ever* be too much fruit?! I guess we'll see how much time and energy he actually wants to put into preserving!

Nov 28, 2014
peelmeagrape in Home Cooking

Best cookbook for preserving fruit

It's Christmas gift time and I'd like to track down the cookbook that has the best recipes for preserving fruit: canned, frozen, dried, whatever. The cookbook is a gift for someone who is utterly obsessed with fruit (the less artificially sweetened, the better) and has a new orchard. However he is not a skilled cook and does not have a lot of time to devote to the preserving process, so simple procedures are probably best. (The flavors don't have to be simple, though, he has a discerning palate.) In terms of types of fruit, he has a ton of Concord grapes, plums and pears, and to a lesser extent cherries, apples, persimmons (American and Asian), peaches, apricots, quince and pawpaws. Thanks in advance for any ideas.

Nov 26, 2014
peelmeagrape in Home Cooking

Kouign-amann (Breton cake) in the Boston area

+1 for the version at Bread and Butter in the North End. I was pleasantly surprised by it.

BBQ at Causeway

Has anyone tried it? Is it any good? I read that the chef was previously at Blue Ribbon so I'm hoping this might be a decent downtown option for ribs. (Still mourning the loss of Mrs Jones'.)

How do I replace Hamersley's as my "go to" special occasion restaurant? (Very detailed list of criteria inside!)

This is such a great topic. Thanks for starting it.

I feel your pain over the closing of a favorite fancy restaurant. Locke-Ober's passing hit me particularly hard, and the closing of the Oak Bar was also a tough blow. I feel like a lot of great go-to places have closed in the past couple of years, but that the new places don't match them in terms of service and ambiance - it's all rustic, or trendy or corporate.

I like Hammersley's a lot but it has never been a super-favorite. I share many of the same criteria as you: wanting to dress up without being the only person not in jeans, avoiding Cambridge to the greatest extent possible, excellent service, romantic ambiance, etc., etc. For the time being Eastern Standard, Lumiere and Sorellina (resolutely ignoring the silly hostesses) are my favorites. Bergamot, Bondir and Erbaluce just do not feel pampering enough and the smaller places are a hassle to get into on short notice. I do not understand the fuss over the food at Menton (nor 9 Park). I have not tried Asta but based on this thread that's where I'll look next.

Who is the most chowhound-ish caterer?

Hello all,

I'm going to be doing a lot of entertaining at home on the South Shore and am trying to figure out who is the most chowhound-ish caterer in the Boston area. I'm looking for a company that not only provides professional service but that produces top notch, super-creative food. (Skilled mixology too would be a bonus.) Gatherings are usually for between 40 and 100 guests. Money is no object - or rather, it is something of an object but is the least important consideration.

Thanks in advance for your thoughts.

Best of, the South Shore Living edition

I haven't eaten widely enough in the South Shore towns close to Boston, so it's hard to say that somewhere I have tried is definitively better than another on the list. That said, even in Plymouth, it would not cross my mind to pick East Bay Grill for outdoor dining. While the Rye Tavern's latest chef is good rather than excellent like the previous one, I would rather have an outdoor meal there any day: the setting is beautiful and unique. The food is also better than ECG and you can eat outside at both Francesca's and the Blue Eyed Crab across the street from ECG.

In terms of donuts, haven't tried The Coffee Shack, but the Blueberry Muffin's donuts are my go-to (Kingston and Cedarville). Too bad Solstice in Kingston didn't make any of the lists (not sure which category it would fit best), because it's a tasty all-around spot for dinner. I didn't see a category for burgers but there should be one and KKatie's (Plymouth and now Marshfield) can't possibly have any worthy rivals. Those burgers are awesome! And for ice cream: FarFar's in Duxbury.

Quiet dinner near Northeastern

I'm trying to come up with a quiet, comfortable spot for a weeknight dinner with a friend near Northeastern. She isn't a very adventurous eater, so sushi and heavily spiced foods are out. I thought of Trattoria Toscana, but need somewhere that will take a reservation. Toro is too loud. Any other ideas?

June 2014 Openings and Closings

Noooooooo! Disaster! I love Mrs Jones'! Cheryl and George are just the nicest people and their cooking always hits the spot. Anyone who has more info, please post a follow up.

It's Strawberry Season Again! Anyone seen the local ones yet?

This is no help for the OP but I've been harvesting strawberries from my downtown garden for about a week now so they are definitely in season locally.

Branch of Paul Opening in Somerville!

I like their hot chocolate. Super, super rich.

Lard Bread/Prosciutto Bread

It's my favorite thing that Bricco the bakery makes. It has Parmesan in it along with diced prosciutto. Definitely worth checking out!

Good South Shore Bakeries?

I was very excited about this suggestion until I noticed that French Memories website mentions a connection between it and Cafe Vanille. That freaks me out. I'm totally unimpressed by CV, can FM really be any good?

December 2013 Openings and Closings

Ack! All the cozy older places are going! Locke-Ober, the Oak Bar and now this. Granted, the food at Upstairs has been disappointing for years... Still sad.

Grow your own Saffron

I ordered 100 bulbs from McClure and Zimmerman a few days ago. They're on sale 50% off now so I couldn't resist.

Oct 13, 2013
peelmeagrape in Gardening

Bricco lately?

Next time you are picking up a loaf from the bakery, try the prosciutto and parm one. Too good, especially when still warm.

Neat House-Made Non-Alcoholic Drinks?

Island Creek makes something they call a Wags No.2. I think it has saffron in it, among other things. Absolutely dreamy, and alcohol-free.

Latest (changing) Ice Cream Flavors at Toscanini, JPLicks etc.

Ooooh, I love taro - and I've just gotten into making smoothies. The thought of being able to make a taro smoothie is irresistible. Do you remember which vendor you bought the powder from?

Good Food near BC

The original location of Oishii in Chestnut Hill. Wonderful, wonderful sushi. (But tight dining quarters: one table plus a bar.) Otherwise, Lumiere in West Newton if you want something with a nicer ambiance (and still excellent food).

August 2013 Openings and Closings

The new Whole Foods in Charlestown is slated to open tomorrow morning (Aug. 7th) at 10am, according to their Facebook page. I am so relieved! Slightly to home for me than the Charles River Plaza WF and with way, way easier parking. Whoot!