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Seeking Malaysian or Burmese Recs

I think this (Dumpling Palace) is a great call for you. Not only does it meet your logistical/transportation needs, but that Taiwanese menu is kind of a signature Boston offering.

I will say that I think the local Malaysian/Burmese picture has been painted in a more negative light than is warranted. There are just not many of either restaurants around in the US, so I think we are fortunate to have even the option for both. While I haven't been to YoMa in some time, a few years ago I would have stacked it up with most of the San Francisco Burmese restaurants. If I had a hankering for Malaysian food, I probably would go to Royal East or even Penang if I was visiting Boston, but then again I admittedly enjoy even mediocre Malaysian food (it's always tasty if not real).

Yelp for Pure Entertainment: Erbaluce

On the topic of entertaining responses to Yelp! reviews, this remains my favorite compilation (albeit a short list):

Apr 17, 2015
Nab in Greater Boston Area

Cocktails/Lunch after Event at Boston Center for the Arts in the South End.

Lack of lunch on the weekend is a huge pet peeve of mine. Having said that, the Salty Pig comes in handy for a lunch menu and they do a fine job with cordial cocktails.

Mar 12, 2015
Nab in Greater Boston Area

Where to get carne de pimienta choricero in Boston area?

I picked up a jar at Las Ventas a coupla years ago, not sure they still carry it. I make marmitako quite often and have substituted Espelette pepper paste to good effect, which is I think a little more readily available (like at Formaggio). You can always order it online at places like La Espanola.

Jan 29, 2015
Nab in Greater Boston Area

Best sandwiches in Boston?

I tried the Hillstone dip last night and it was not the slam dunk dip I was expecting. They use a smooshy soft egg bread which is fine for its absorptive properties but makes for a rapidly disintegrating sammich. There appeared to be a cream sauce application which went undetected, similarly the beef itself (nice rare shavings) was rather flavourless. Which brings us to the jus that just could not save the day, lacking in beefy potency.

Jan 22, 2015
Nab in Greater Boston Area

Ethnic breakfasts?

Trincity, that's a hot tip, Matt. What else is good over there (despite buljol being enough to lure me over) ?

Jan 18, 2015
Nab in Greater Boston Area

Octopus dishes

Had a scrumptious one at Koy. I remember the Mediterranean prep he had at Volle Nolle was excellent and this Korean one is too.

"Pepper Octopus Leg - Crispy braised octopus, red pepper salad, Korean pepper powder, chili mayonnaise"

Jan 16, 2015
Nab in Greater Boston Area

Ethnic breakfasts?

Put Istanbulu (Teele Sq) on your list for a terrific Turkish brekkie.

Jan 15, 2015
Nab in Greater Boston Area

Best dishes at Barcelona South End?

Both are my neighbourhood joints and, even though I don't go as ga-ga for the corn and burger etc at Toro like others, I guess I would rate it slightly better than Estragon. Ultimately, they are different options - I go to one for quiet time and more simple fare, the other for a rowdier experience. Which btw, Barcelona is definitely on the extreme end of rowdy too.

Jan 15, 2015
Nab in Greater Boston Area

Best dishes at Barcelona South End?

I had dinner there as part of a large party and the organizer arranged for a fixed price menu which provided a dizzying amount of food for $55/head. I was very leery of a 10-top tapas dinner but they executed it wonderfully, bringing threes and fours of so many dishes. I wouldn't say any of it was mind-bendingly good, but I was surprised to see the quality of the food generally in the same tier as their neighbours (Toro & Estragon). I recall the tuna carpaccio/crudo dish as a particular standout. Despite being completely buried by the tapas, and thinking it was time to wrap up, they plopped down overflowing mixed grill platters which were devoured.

Jan 15, 2015
Nab in Greater Boston Area

Best sandwiches in Boston?

I am perpetually craving a French dip sandwich and rarely find an exceptional one (though even the worst are still admittedly satisfying). I still have not tried the Hillstone dip but can recommend the italian beef puccia at Pastoral, which is a riff on the Chicago italian beef. Melted provolone and spicy giardiniera, served with a cuppa excellent jus.

Jan 09, 2015
Nab in Greater Boston Area

Best sandwiches in Boston?

I was there just last week after a long hiatus, perhaps since the ownership change (which I was not aware of), and was so bummed. They were all out rotisserie chicken and the loukaniko special at around 1pm. We settled on the chicken souvlaki special that was so completely off-puttingly funky it was inedible. One might connect the dots to lack of rotisserie chicken. Also ordered lamb kabobs which were just cooked to death. They were incredibly sympathetic and comped the food so I picked up the go-to octopus salad to-go and found it, too, to have a slightly fishier taste than usual. I am not ready to dump them yet though.

Jan 08, 2015
Nab in Greater Boston Area

Sai Oa in Boston?

And Montien.

Pad Thai Cafe's can be the tops when they're on, which is often.

Jan 02, 2015
Nab in Greater Boston Area

Pre Pornographers dinner/drinks

Correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't recall being able to actually see the show from the Foundation Room.

Nov 25, 2014
Nab in Greater Boston Area

Authentic Mexican restaurant recommendations?

cue the single vs. double tortilla debate ....

Nov 25, 2014
Nab in Greater Boston Area

December 2014 Openings and Closings

Didn't see it mentioned yet, but it looks like the relatively recently revamped Volle Nolle in the North End will be closing, with chef Sebastian Martinez moving on to open Koy.

Stumbling upon Martinez's instabrag feed some months ago was what lured me into Volle Nolle and his food was spectactular. I'm looking forward to helping Koy pay off that liquor license.

Nov 24, 2014
Nab in Greater Boston Area

Please help shape 5-day food itinerary (including birthday dinner) with visiting DC

Based on your parameters, I'd say you've got this pretty well figured out.

I think you'll find Shanghai Gate does a fine job of all those things (lion's head, tofu skin, rice cakes, etc.) I also find it hard not to order the fish fillet in white wine sauce (zhao liu yu pian).

Probably wise to skip over Korean as you have, although I would lobby pretty hard for soondubu at Kaju. One of the finest dishes around town.

For the Thai (and Allston/Brighton) category you might also consider Thai Place for some of that northeastern style fare:

In the "Other" bucket, Curry n Wok (f/k/a Biryani Park) ought to be considered.

Nov 20, 2014
Nab in Greater Boston Area

Now that Hamersley's is gone, where is Boston's best chicken dish?

After having eschewed chicken for too long I now find myself seeking it out often and Macchu Picchu is maybe my fave bird. I haven't had it in a coupla years but I often think about that stupendous skillet roasted chicken at Hungry Mother (although I'm not seeing on the current menu). For a simple straight-ahead roast bird, believe it or not but the Cheesecake Factory nails it ! Stay for the ambiance. There's of course the always-crowd-pleasing Bon Chon. I wish we had a top-contender tandoori chicken, but we really don't have a tandoor master. Another simple chicken-y chicken dish is the Hainan at Penang, and the various Thai versions around (not sure which one is best). I would kill to have an el pollo al carbon drive-thru joint in my life again.

Nov 13, 2014
Nab in Greater Boston Area

China King still best peking duck?

Right. And China King's duck definitely has a little subcutaneous fat left on it (which I enjoy).

If you do happen to go, be sure to arrive on time. A couple of weeks ago I was running a bit late and paid the price by getting a not-hot skin course.

Nice thing about China King is, not only do they do a respectable bird, but one can round out the anti-atkins meal with some very good scallion pancakes, dumplings and noodles.

Pretty good HK-style clay pot rice (bou zai faan 煲仔飯) @ Clay Pot Cafe

Not a bad idea to call them off of stirring it up so soon to let that bottom crisp up some more.

The glug of oily seasoning adds a good bit of flavour but it's a relatively simple, subtle dish, in any permutation. Which is not to say not quite enjoyable. I often have a hankering for a simple meat'n'rice bowl and this will do the trick, the trademark Taishan yellow eel bowl is a delight. I'm told that the particular species of eel here is quite a bit larger and different in flavour than Taishan but those tiny bits of chew strewn about crispy rice were as comfy as it gets.

Sep 30, 2014
Nab in Greater Boston Area

September 2014 Openings and Closings

Chinese Mirch is expanding into California, Texas, Virginia and also over by the Symphony on Mass Ave. Based on a quick peek looks like it's a month or two out. Another good add to the neighbourhood.

Sep 21, 2014
Nab in Greater Boston Area

Local trash fish

Reminds me of the fantastic "sheepshead" special I had last week at The Azorean.

Sep 05, 2014
Nab in Greater Boston Area

Thai Place - Northeastern/Isaan cuisine in Allston

I haven't made it over to Thai E-Sarn yet but I hope you'll give us the scoop tatsu !

Here's their online Thai menu (thankfully translated):

Sep 04, 2014
Nab in Greater Boston Area

Khao Man Gai in Greater Boston?

There are a few Thainanese chicken rices around:

Pad Thai Cafe -

S&I To Go -

Thai Place -

Let us know what you think of em !

Sep 04, 2014
Nab in Greater Boston Area

Back Bay visit

Depends on where the show is.

If it's at, say, House of Rules, I'd drop your crap off at the hotel and promptly ankle it over to Island Creek for a few dozen oysters at opening hour followed by cocktails at the Hawthorne before the show and whiskies at Citizen afterwards. Maybe a Tasty Burger. On your walk back pop into Chef Changs for a dinner of regional Chinese fare. Maybe a digestif at the Clio bar or beers at Bukowski Tavern. Coda would also be a suitably less-touristy place in Back Bay to wind down after a show.

If it's at the Paradise or Harpers Ferry then you really should make your meal moves in Allston/Brighton.

Heck, pretty much every music venue is probably in a neighbourhood better suited to eat & drink in than Back Bay.

Wake up late the next day and have an excessive lunch at Coppa before catching that train out.

Sep 03, 2014
Nab in Greater Boston Area

Where else can one find a very good bowl of Bun Rieu besides Xinh Xinh?

You might like Sunshine's rendition though, like Xinh Xinh, their bowl could use a little more crabby oomph.

Sep 02, 2014
Nab in Greater Boston Area

Thai Place - Northeastern/Isaan cuisine in Allston

Just a block over from S&I is another notable tiny Thai restaurant featuring regional cuisine with an emphasis from the Northeast/Isaan region where the chef-owner is from.

As is often the case, there are dueling menus. The Thai menu is posted on their website but they were quick to point out that it is not always up-to-date - With their help, I took a quick stab at translating (below) the Thai menu they had on-hand but would greatly appreciate additional detail and/or corrections. I didn't include all the fine details and ingredients of each dish, but they should be pretty easily googlable.

I sampled their som tam poo bplaa raa - papaya salad with fermented crab and fermented (rotten) fish paste - and it was tops. Fiery, funky, stanky, and just a touch of tang and sweetness to round it out, there could not possibly be enough sticky rice for this dish.

Ko moo yang - grilled marinated pork neck - is another dish worth ordering, hard not to like fatty grilled pieces of pork. Could have used a tad more char but otherwise mighty tasty.

Kaeng pah (Isaan-style jungle curry) was not your run-of-the-mill jungle boogie curry. It came packed full of the spicy sour complexities of these northeastern curry-soups and is a perfectly light veggie-laden soup to sweat out the rest of summer.

I'm sure it will be tough to walk past S&I for many, but I hope folks do go exploring through the menu at Thai Place because I think there's room for both to coexist.

Thai Place
184 Brighton Ave


Som Tam
- som tam thai
- som tam poo (w/ fermented crab
)- som tam poo bplaa raa (w/ fermented crab + fermented fish paste)
- som tam sua (fermented crab + fermented fish paste + thin noodles/khanom jeen)
- som tam goong sod (w/ shrimp)
- som tam moo krob (w/ crispy pork)

Khao Phat (fried rice)
- khao phat moo/gai (pork/chicken)
- khao phat poo/goong (fermented crab/shrimp)
- khao phat krapow moo krob (w/ thai basil + crispy pork)
- khao phat man goong (w/ shrimp + shrimp 'fat')
- khao phat naem (w/ sour pork sausage)
- khao phat kun chiang (w/ chinese sausage)
- khao phat kaeng bplaa kem (w/ curry paste + salted fish)
- khao phat talay (w/ mixed seafood)
- khao phat khiao wan (w/ green curry)

- moo ping (grilled pork skewers)
- gai yang (grilled chicken)
- ko moo yang (grilled pork neck)
- moo dad deaw (thai pork jerky)
- soop nar mai (bamboo shoot salad)
- laap moo/gai (pork/chicken)
- laap bplaa dook (catfish)
- laap moo krob (pork belly)
- nam tok moo/neua (pork/beef salad)
- nam tok ko moo yang (pork neck salad)

- tom saab kra dook moo (issan-style spicy sour pork rib soup)
- tom saab en toon (issan-style spicy sour soup)
- po tak talay (spicy sour seafood soup)
- tom yam goong sod (spicy sour soup w/ shrimp)
- tom saab moo/gai (spicy soup with pork/chicken)
- tom jued tao hoo moo saab (mild pork broth soup with pork meatballs and veggies)
- kaeng pa moo/gai/neua (issan-style jungle curry with pork/chicken/beef)
- kaeng om moo/gai (issan-style soup/curry with fermented fish paste, herbs with pork/chicken)

Other Salads
- yum woon sen (glass noodle salad)
- yum mama (instant noodle salad)
- yum moo yaw (pork sausage salad)
- moo manao (spicy pork + lime salad)
- yum ruam mit (seafood salad)

Rice Plates
- khao kha moo yang (braised pork neck over rice)
- khao khluk kapi (rice fried with shrimp paste)
- khao man gai tod (fried chicken + rice)
- khao kana moo krob (chinese broccoli + crispy pork belly)
- khao phat krapow moo krob (thai basil + crispy pork belly)
- khao phat krapow moo krob phat phet (as above + spicy)
- khao moo tod kratiem (with fried pork + garlic)
- khao rad krapow (thai basil w/ chicken/pork/seafood/catfish)
- khao rad krapow tod (thai basil + fried chicken)
- khao phat krapow gai yeaw maa (thai basil + century egg)
- khao phat prik khing moo krob (w/ curry paste + crispy pork)
- khao phat phet blaa dook (w/ curry paste + crispy catfish)

Without rice
- peek kai tod (thai fried chicken wings)
- kaew tod (fried pastry filled with minced pork)
- goong tod kratiem (shrimp fried with garlic)
- phat kana bplaa kem (salted fish + chinese broccoli)
- goong chae nam bplaa (lime marinated raw shrimp)
- bplaa rad phrik (fried whole fish w/ chili sauce)
- bplaa neung manao (steamed whole fish)

- phat see ew (chicken or pork)
- phat kee mow (chicken or pork)
- udon kee mow talay (sauteed udon w/ seafood)
- kway teow tom yum moo (pork boat noodle soup)
- kuay teow phet nam (duck noodle soup)
- rat na (chicken or pork)

New Chef Chang on Mass. Ave.

This reflects the theme of the conversation I had with the owner yesterday who emphasized that the dishes on the menu may be familiar but they are preparing them slightly differently than what we may be accustomed to around town.

I'm having a bowl of fuqi fei pian for breakfast as I type this and it is good. Very lightly dressed but still enough slick and a creeping hit of ma la (very fresh peppercorns).

Aug 20, 2014
Nab in Greater Boston Area

Biryani Park is Coming Back (I Hope!)

Same space as C&W and will be called Suvai (Tamil for yummy). I for one can't wait to have them back !

Aug 18, 2014
Nab in Greater Boston Area

Fave Asian dish featuring crab in the area?

Penang has had both chili crab and pepper crab for as long as I can remember, but the online menu currently does not make mention of either. Hopefully it's still available, perhaps with some advance notice, because it was our only source (and pretty good).

Bubor Cha Cha had a righteous dungeness crab casserole dish with xo saucy sticky rice but, again, I'm not seeing it right now on the online menu.

The simple live Alaskan King preps like RoyRon mentions below are always a delight, despite the pricetag.

Aug 07, 2014
Nab in Greater Boston Area