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Thin Crust Pizza - NY Style on the N Shore

There has been a sign on Boston Street at the Lynn/Saugus border for months tantalizingly advertising the coming of a Bianchi's. Once opened, it wasn't a Bianchi's, but something called Effi's Pizza. Haven't had a chance to try it. Having grown up in Brooklyn in the days when every pizza place had great pizza, the search for anything comparable around these parts is long and usually unsatisfying. Bianchi's, Regina and a few others come close. It's not NY pizza, but Upper Crust is pretty good. If you want to try something delicious and different, it's worth the schlep down to Al Forno in Providence for their free form wood fired pizza.

Oct 17, 2007
barlev in Greater Boston Area

RW - Pigalle

We had a very pleasant RW meal at Pigalle. Sat outside, it was delightful. Though we weren't offered any coffee, it did show up as a charge on the bill. Quickly rectified by the responsive staff.

Aug 11, 2007
barlev in Greater Boston Area

Allison Arnett is leaving

May she have a nice life and may the new Globe food critic not be overly enamored of celebrity chefs, fancy dining rooms and $45.00 entrees!

May 02, 2007
barlev in Food Media & News

best lox?

Years ago, when Legal Seafood had a retail store out in Chestnut Hill (don't know if it's still around), they used to offer appetizing (lox, herring, white fish, sable, etc). I recall ordering a 1/4 lb of Nova and asking for it to be hand-sliced. 45 minutes later, it was still in process. Finally finished, we next ordered herring in cream sauce. When the hand slicer took out a ruler to measure the cuts on the herring filets, it was time to go. Unfortunately, be it in NYC or Boston, the hand slicing of smoked fish is a dying art!

Apr 08, 2007
barlev in Greater Boston Area

best lox?

Having grown up in Brooklyn at a time when "hand sliced" lox was the rule and not the exception and lox outsold nova, it's difficult to find anyplace now that sells anything hand sliced at all, especially around these parts. Zabars is a good place to start. I wasn't impressed with Barney Greengrass. Though I haven't tried them, Russ and Daughters on the lower eastside (http://www.russanddaughters.com/pr_sa...) is supposed to have phenominal smoked fish. You can also try the New York First website (www.newyorkfirst.com) which has a grocery offering many of New York's finest foods (you'll need bagels to go with that lox). However, the cost of shipping from these places is usually as much if not more than the treats themselves. When in need, we purchase the 1 1/2 lb. smoked salmon from Costco. It's delish, thinly sliced (by a machine of course) and quite tasty. Otherwise, we wait until we visit the City.

Apr 07, 2007
barlev in Greater Boston Area

pho lynn and pho 2000 in lynn

Last time we went to Pho Lynn, the pho was inedible. We had always had good experiences (foodwise) before. The mother (who usually cooks) is a delightful person. Unfortunately, as nice as she is, that's how cold and off-putting her husband is. You can die of thirst waiting for him to even bring you a glass of water. It's a pity because we used to really enjoy the food there. We now satisfy our Vietnamese jones at Sugarcane up in Peabody. Limited Vietnamese menu, but quite good, in my opinion.

Apr 04, 2007
barlev in Greater Boston Area

Zaffarano in East Boston

Drove by last week and noticed a number of handwritten signs in the windows stating "restaurant closed." Any posters know if it's permanent or just temporary? It would be a shame if it were the former.

Mar 20, 2007
barlev in Greater Boston Area

The best burger thread left me wondering- best fries?

Though there're plenty of places with excellent fries around these parts, my heart always cries out for an order of fries from the original Nathan's at Coney Island. A bit of a schlep, but in my opinion, well worth it.

Feb 09, 2007
barlev in Greater Boston Area

Oxford St Grill / Lynn - closed?

David is an excellent chef . . . encountered him first at the Red Raven in Salem, then Meze Estatorio in Charlestown and most recently at Oxford Street Grill. Somewhere on this board he posted that he was hoping to open his own place, but I haven't heard anything about it as yet. As for the eastern european/jewish style food at the Oxford Street Grill, if the recipes stemmed from the owner's grandmother, despite David's best efforts, they were terrible.

Feb 02, 2007
barlev in Greater Boston Area

Love Noodle / Red Raven / 75 Congress St, SALEM

T closed several months ago. Red Raven, Love Noodle long gone. Last time I drove by the space it was still dark.

Jan 31, 2007
barlev in Greater Boston Area

Craving classic New York style cheesecake in Somerville/Cambridge...

It took some doing, but here's the recipe . . . enjoy:

Preheat oven to 350. Prepare a graham cracker or chocolate crumb crust. Press onto bottom and sides of 10" springform pan.

Filling:

1 1/2 lbs cream cheese
3/4 c sugar
4 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 pint sour cream

Allow cream cheese to come to room temp until soft. Beat cheese, sugar, eggs - one at a time - and vanilla for a total of 4 minutes. Fold in sour cream. Pour into crust and bake 50-55 minutes.

Jan 25, 2007
barlev in Greater Boston Area

Opentable.com

Absolutely . . . all it would've taken was a phone call. I understand a place being booked for a corporate party. I just don't think that they tried very hard to get in touch with me.

Jan 21, 2007
barlev in Not About Food

Opentable.com

I have been using open table for years. I find it a pleasure to make reservations online and basically get something for nothing (the open table points). I've used open table throughout the US with no real problems (I not had points posted to my account, but open table customer service credited by account when I brought it to there attention). However, that all changed this past August when my wife decided that she wanted to go to her formerly favorite restaurant in Portsmouth, NH, Pesce Blue (we live north of boston). The plan was to spend the day taking a leisurely drive to Portsmouth . . . shopping, eating and just relaxing. I made a reservation through open table at Pesce Blue in July for the middle of August. I received a very nice email from the owner of the restaurant looking forward to having us dine with them. As my wife's birthday approached, we decided to allow ourselfs more time prior to dinner. The day prior to the reservation, however, I received another email from the restaurant's owner looking forward to having us dine with them. On the day of the reservation, I changed the reservation to a later time. Again, I received a nice welcoming email from the owner as our modified reservation was confirmed. We had an enjoyable day on the way to Portsmouth. We planned on staying overnight so we could really enjoy our dinner. Aside from having good food, Pesce Blue also has outdoor dining, which we were looking forward to. As we were walking to the restaurant, I noticed that no tables were set up outside. Upon arriving at the restaurant's door, there was a handwritten sign "closed for a private party." How could this be? We had previously confirmed reservations and, insofar as it was a corporate function (the private party), I tended to doubt that the reservation was made that day. Needless to say, the manager's response to our plight (frankly, we wouldn't have come to Portsmouth without the dining reservation) was woefully inadequate. He indicated that he tried to contact me. I never heard from him or anyone else from Pesce Blue. Open table has my office telephone number and, being a lawyer, I could easily be found. Why no one had the courtesy of calling, I do not know. Needless to say, we were stuck inside of Porthsmouth at 8:15 without anyplace to eat. We checked out of our motel, drove back down to the north shore, my wife in tears, her birthday ruined and ate tuna fish sandwiches for dinner. Not quite what we were expecting. I contacted open table out this situation. After all, the open table restaurants are supposed to block out the dates and/or times accorded to private parties etc. Why hadn't Pesce Blue? After all, this corporate function had to have been booked when I made my original reservation and surely by the time I modified the reservation on that morning. Open table's customer service had usually been pretty responsive. This time it took over a month to hear back from them. I finally exchanged telephone calls with a open table customer service person. Of course, Pesce Blue should have blocked out the time and never accepted our reservation in the first place. Open table was going to investigate the matter directly wqith the restaurant. Six months later, Pesce Blue is still a member of open table. As a form of customer goodwill, open table credited my account with some points, inadequate considering the inconvenience and cost associated with aborted night out. As for Pesce Blue . . . I never had a response from the welcoming owner to my correspondence complaining about the poor manner in which this matter was handed. If you've read to this point, that's why I referred to Pesce Blue as my wife's "former favorite restaurant" in Portsmouth, NH!

Jan 21, 2007
barlev in Not About Food

Craving classic New York style cheesecake in Somerville/Cambridge...

Fortunately (perhaps, unfortunately), my wife makes one of the best NY style cheesecakes I've ever had (and I've eaten more than care to remember), so I don't have to seek them out. The cheesecake from Juniors is still as good as it was when I last lived in Brooklyn ocer 30 years ago. Having it delivered to your door is quite the treat. I also concur that Smith & Wollensky's cheesecake is quite tasty for the local choice. I believe you can hit their bar just for desert. As for the local bakery offerings, never quite found anything that comes close.

Jan 18, 2007
barlev in Greater Boston Area

Outstanding dinner at Soma in Beverly

How was the service? On our visits, the food has been great, but the service horrendous . . . either too attentive or totally inattentive.

Jan 15, 2007
barlev in Greater Boston Area

Avila or Sorrellina?

Sorellina is excellent. Avila . . . so so.

Jan 12, 2007
barlev in Greater Boston Area

Anmol - Beverly...excellent!

There's a small parking lot on the side of the building that you should check out. I don't think anyone really knows about it . . . there seems to always be a spot. Amnol presents some of the best Indian food that I've tasted.

Jan 08, 2007
barlev in Greater Boston Area

sugarcane downtown peabody?

From what I understand, the menu will feature Vietnamese dishes with the usual Chinese dishes to satisfy the less adventurous. Was in attendance at the owner's private party last week, pre-opening. Unfortunately, the printer never showed up with the menus, so we're still in the dark as to the particulars. They've done a beautiful job of remodeling the place. Soft opening today so they can iron out those restaurant opening jitters.

Jan 08, 2007
barlev in Greater Boston Area

Bialys in Boston?

No pletzlach around these parts. Seems to be quite rare even in the city. However, if you're ever in the Boca Raton area, there's a small chain of bakeries, originally from the island, called Flakowitz. An old fashioned jewish bakery . . . pletzlach, rye bread, you name it. The chocolate babkas are quite delish. They've been threatening to go online and ship to the north, but I don't think they've accomplished that as yet.

Dec 20, 2006
barlev in Greater Boston Area

North Shore Lobster

It's not traditional, but Green Tea on the Lynnway . . . twin lobsters for $19.95 done any style from boiled to thai.

Nov 20, 2006
barlev in Greater Boston Area

sugarcane downtown peabody?

Vietnamese . . . the owners are the same folks who own Green Tea on the Lynnway. Soft opening is scheduled (hopefully) for the beginning of December.

Nov 11, 2006
barlev in Greater Boston Area

Ithaki, Greek, Ipswich, Report 10/19/06

My wife and I have been going to Ithaki since it opened in the late '90s. I agree, the traditional greek entrees leave something to be desired . . . inconsist. However, the taramasalata is some of the best we've ever had (outside of a turkish place in Cliffside Park, NJ) and the grilled octopus is excellent. My wife thinks their fish dishes (usually grilled) are excellent. We usually have the taramasalata for an app, I ask them for the octopus as my entree and she has one of their fish specials. Unfortunately, we were there recently on a Saturday night and while the bar was packed, the diningroom was mostly empty with the back diningroom closed. Hopefully, it was merely an abberation.

Oct 20, 2006
barlev in Greater Boston Area

best bagel in boston?

yes, pleztlach . . . delish . . . never seen them around these parts. There a bakery chain (originally from the Island) in Boca Raton - Flakowitz . . . an old fashioned jewish bakery. The pletzles were excellent. As for knishes, Shubby's in Marblehead stocks knishes from Oceanside Knish. Not bad, but I really don't like the philo-dough nouveau style. Ordered from Yonah Shimmel . . . terrible. Mrs. Shatz is gone. I can only dream of the knishes of yesteryear.

Oct 18, 2006
barlev in Greater Boston Area

best bagel in boston?

After living up here for 30 years, I've come the conclusion that there are no places to get a good bagel. NYC, unfortunately, is not much better. Abrahams Bagels (don't know if there still around) in Newburyport used to make a good bagel. The recipe was from NJ (I agree, NJ seems to be where the good bagels are nowadays). Bagels were not meant to be small loaves of bread and they were best eaten fresh (hot from the oven). To munch on a good bagel, you'd have to set the wayback machine for Brooklyn, circa the 1960s, and just stop into any neighborhood bagel bakery. And don't get me started on that recent Thomases' development . . . the square bagel bread thingy. An outright abomination!

Oct 17, 2006
barlev in Greater Boston Area

boston chowhounds looking for chowish food in the bridgewater, nj area

My wife and I will be staying in Bridgewater, NJ to attend a family function the weekend of October 27th. Seeking a place for dinner on Friday night. Prefer ethnic of almost any type or sushi. Suggestions and recommendations please?

Oct 16, 2006
barlev in Mid-Atlantic

boston chowhounds looking for chowish food in the bridgewater, nj area

My wife and I will be staying in Bridgewater, NJ to attend a family function the weekend of October 27th. Seeking a place for dinner on Friday night. Prefer ethnic of almost any type. Suggestions and recommendations please?

Oct 15, 2006
barlev in General Tristate Archive

Anise/ Sichuan in Kendall Sq

After reading a number of positive posts, we decided to check it out this past Saturday. We've been big fans of Chili Garden and were looking forward to dining at Anise. We were not disappointed. We tried the pigs ears, pork belly and flower tofu. All spicy, all delish! For entrees we had the rabbit (the only disappointment, according to my wife, she thought it was dry) and the scallops. We will certainly go back. Unfortunately, for a saturday night, the place was mostly empty . . . hopefully, as word spreads, that too will change.

Oct 10, 2006
barlev in Greater Boston Area

cilantro in salem- have others enjoyed their meals there?

Unfortunately, Cilantro is one of those places that has gone steadily down hill since it opened. Yes, the veggies are all out of a bag. The quality of the food is not great and the prices are, IMO, quite expensive.

Oct 02, 2006
barlev in Greater Boston Area

O Fado in 2006 or other Portuguese suggestions

Galleygirl . . . thanks for the update. Both times we tried to dine at Acropolis the restaurant side was dark. We'll have to try again. As to the menu, some of the staff from O'Fado is(when last we were there) doing the cooking.

Sep 21, 2006
barlev in Greater Boston Area

O Fado in 2006 or other Portuguese suggestions

O'Fado closed about a year ago. It's successor, Acropolis, which offered both Greek and Portugeuse cuisine, has, based on several recent attempts to dine there, also closed.

Sep 20, 2006
barlev in Greater Boston Area