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La Brasa, Somerville

I had kept a mental note about this place after reading this thread a while ago, and finally made it out last night.

Unfortunately, I was underwhelmed.

We ordered:
fried dough with pistachio and spices - well fried, but underseasoned on multiple fronts. Slightly savory, slightly spicy, slightly sweet, it didn't establish an identity either as a savory or sweet dish.

Beet egg - enjoyable, but not amazing :)

Kale "pie" with chile colorado, poached egg, and piperade -- best dish of the night. Savory, tart, with a nice boost of smoothness from the poached egg (though this was slightly overcooked).

"Burnt" vegetable salad with pickled peanuts - the smokiness of the technique (which I think was the point) didn't reach us -- nice textures but the dish was oversalted

Octopus, chorizo, potatoes with black ink sauce -- my 2nd favorite dish. Uneven bites but overall a nice flavor profile.

Fried chicken - very well fried, but underseasoned.

My overall impression was that they are ambitious, have some great concepts and ingredients, but have some trouble balancing flavors and seasoning (technique?), or else have unevenness in the execution, which is disappointing given that it's a small menu which should improve execution!

Anybody been to the newly opened Santouka Ramen in Harvard Square yet?

I have to disagree. I just went there again today for the 2nd time, and it was better than the first time. Thick, rich broth that was well seasoned (I had the kara-miso), noodles that were appropriate to the broth (actually, not my favorite type of noodles -- I prefer the curly, more "al-dente" alkaline ramen noodles but these work with the broth), and tasty garnishes (though the seasoned soft-boiled egg is underseasoned for my taste).

Yes I have been to Tokyo (though not to the rest of Japan). There are a lot of different types of ramen. Perhaps this one is not to your liking? Or you just got a poorly put together bowl (which may speak to inconsistency in their production).

I do agree that it is far more expensive than what you would pay in Japan, or even New Jersey or California (which is where the other branches of Santouka are). But ramen for me isn't an every day thing anyways, and if I'm willing to plunk down $50-$70/pp for well-executed food in a modern setting, I'm willing to spend $15 for a tasty bowl of ramen.

Anybody been to the newly opened Santouka Ramen in Harvard Square yet?

Broth:
Santouka's broth is richer, fattier, more flavorful than Otsushi. Some might find it TOO rich. Otsushi has the Tantan broth which is different than what you usually get, a nice mix of savory and sour with a tiny bit of sweet from the corn.

Noodles:
different styles. Osushi has what I consider more traditional noodles (from Sun Noodles) that have a nice chew and flavor. Santouka has thinner noodles that are a little softer to the chew, closer to saimen I think. But it works well with the broth.

I liked both, but I would be more likely to go to Santouka regularly.

Feb 16, 2015
daveinmd in Greater Boston Area

7 days of different Ramen in Boston, found a new champ!

Went here this past Wednesday -- got the shoyu and the tantan. The tantan was much better than the shoyu. The flavors are actually much more that of Taiwanese "dan-dan" noodles, but the broth is rich and nicely balanced (we did mix the flavors but it all worked!). The noodles are the best I've had in town (yes, it's Sun noodles).

Unfortunately, I heard from a little birdie that next Wednesday will be the last Ramen Wednesday...

Feb 12, 2015
daveinmd in Greater Boston Area

Anybody been to the newly opened Santouka Ramen in Harvard Square yet?

Just went tonight. We had the Kare Miso and Shio ramen -- both very tasty. The broths were both well seasoned and rich, but not oversalty, and the noodles, while not my favorite al dente noodles with kansui, were appropriate and worked very well with the broth. The pork was juicy and flavorful (if not high in quantity), the bamboo shoots were good, and the soft-boiled egg properly cooked (though probably inadequately marinated). Definitely the best bowl I've had in Boston.

Feb 12, 2015
daveinmd in Greater Boston Area

Santouka Ramen Coming to Harvard Square

AMAZING!!! One of my favorite ramen joints too. I would drive 40 minutes in S Cal and in NJ to visit there. Any timeline??

Sep 10, 2014
daveinmd in Greater Boston Area

fries in Cambridge

I'm making mussels in white wine tonight, wanted to get some fries to go with. I'm in Cambridge, between Inman and Central Square. Any suggestions?

Jul 19, 2014
daveinmd in Greater Boston Area

Dumpling House (Central Square)-- details & Chinese name?

My first post on the Boston boards. We just moved from Baltimore, and are looking forward to exploring the Boston culinary scene!

I went to Dumpling House today on my own and tried their potstickers and stinky tofu. The potstickers were good, particularly the skin, which had a nice chew to contrast with the crispy pan fried side. The filling could have been a little more generous/flavorful but was tasty. The stinky tofu was probably the best that I've had in the United States (I've spent years in Taiwan and appreciate stinky tofu) :). Well fried tofu, picked cabbage that was pretty good, and what I appreciated the most was the sauce with plenty of minced garlic (not the dish you want on a first date).

Will be back to investigate their other dishes. :) The waiter said that the chef is from Northern China; I wonder if they'll ever do fried cruellers and soy bean milk for breakfast?

Jun 27, 2014
daveinmd in Greater Boston Area

Fleet Street Kitchen and Petit Louis

We won a GC to Fleet Street Kitchen, and went there for a post-graduate celebration this past Friday.

Overall: Food was meh. Service was good. The menu overall seemed a little uninspired.

What we got:

Roasted bone marrow - ok, one slab of marrow that was probably a little undercooked and underseasoned.
Ocean trout crudo with blood oranges and greens on crostinis - good idea, but completely underseasoned with no blending of flavors. The crostini was nicely crispy.
Sunchokes with ricotta cheese - the best thing we had all night. Flavorful, crunchy, very nice with the cheese.
Camarones (shrimp) with Mojillo (?) sauce - not bad, not great, shrimp was overdone

Seared sea scallops with braised short ribs - the sea scallops had a funny slight bitter aftertaste that was off-putting, not sure if these were "wet" scallops and that was the reason for it. The chunk of braised short ribs was very tasty. The parsnip puree was too sweet for my taste.

Petit Louis: went here last night for dinner with the in-laws. Great service, good food. French onion soup -- delicious; some kind of stacked fried eggplant/roasted tomato/cheese dish that was wonderful. Mussels that were tasty. Steak frites, salmon salad, and beet salads were great too. Only miss was the omelette that was served to me -- overcooked, hard, and unappetizing, like any other omelette in a brunch place. I had them take it back and redo it, and they did it right this time -- creamy, smooth, light, and tasty. My only beef was that the waiter initially told me that the omelette I initially got was the way it was supposed to be. The head of the front-of-house came by and apologized, though, which was appreciated. Worth going to. :)

Baltimore Ramen!

Sorry for your poor experience. Sounds like you had poor execution. It took 10 minutes for my bowl of ramen to arrive (but there was only one couple in front of me). My noodles were cooked perfectly. The broth, as you mentioned is nicely rich. Definitely (for me) miles above Toki Underground (have not been to Daikaya) in terms of broth and noodles.

Hopefully it's just growing pains.

Baltimore Ramen!

Baltimore has good ramen!

Just stopped by the old Joss Cafe (400 block N. Charles St.) and had a shoyu ramen and a cup of bubble tea. Ramen was legit -- luscious, rich broth and properly al dente alkaline ramen noodles. Definitely the best ramen I've had in the surrounding 60 miles (including D.C.) and hit the spot nicely.

It's only open 11 AM - 7 PM right now, and is in the works of getting a proper menu and redoing the insides, but it's worth going. They also have miso and I think corn butter ramen, also Taiwanese beef noodle soup (haven't tried it, don't know how it is). Only caveat is that portion sizes are somewhat small for the price -- $10 for a small bowl, $8 for karaage (fried chicken) or other sides.

Thanks to HowChow (liked a link to this on Facebook, but can't find it anymore!! Otherwise I would have linked it) for the tip.

Sunday Brunch in Baltimore or between Baltimore and DC

I really like Woodberry Kitchen for brunch -- I think their ingredients are top notch.

9 Hours in Baltimore

Breakfast in Fells Pt:
- Bonaparte -- French bakery, good quiche, croissants, on the water.
- possibly Blue Moon or Ms. Shirleys if you want hot foods

Lunch in Lexington Market
- Faidleys crab cakes (jumbo lump) + some fresh shucked oysters. Or get their fresh fish sandwich with a side of coleslaw and dump the coleslaw into the sandwich.

Early dinner/snacks -- Minato (Japanese) in Mt. Vernon can be fun for drinks/snacks with happy hour and is on the way to the train station. Or stop by Brewers Art for a Resurrection and rosemary fries, also on the way to the train station.

Miami - one night

REPORTING BACK -- First we stopped at Joe's to get some stone crabs (tasty!! Much easier to get the meat compared to the blue crabs we have in Maryland. However, I do prefer the meat in the blue crabs -- it seems sweeter, though much more work to obtain). Then we went to Bazaar's and had their 19 course $125 tasting menu. Very good, with some high-lights, but some other dishes missing the mark, including the rossejat (sadly). We also ended up having a 5 hour layover on the way back and took a cab to Michael's Genuine -- excellent. Detailed report below:

Enjoyed:
bread with tomato and cured meats. I could eat jamon iberico all day. I don't need the caviar (in another dish)
liquid mozzarella, tomatoes, pesto, croutons -- wow... simply delicious.
"canned" mussels -- delicious and surprisingly large quantity for a small can as it was picked out of the shell.
dragonfruit tuna tartare -- surprising and tasty combination of flavors -- even the dragonfruit foam managed to elevate the flavor of the dish (though I don't usually like dragonfruit or foam). There might have been too much lime juice, though, as overall the balance was just slightly too acidic.

OK:
yellow-tail escebache -- perhaps I'm not used to the flavorings, but the vinegar overpowered the fish. I wouldn't be able to tell the difference between yellow-tail, tuna, or any white fish as the spicing was so strong and the fish cut so thinly. I would either increase the thickness of the fish or reduce the amount of sauce to have a better balance.
ikura cones -- fun, not that exciting

Disappointing:
rossejaat -- I actually asked to substitute the three desserts for this, as I really wanted to try it based on the reviews here. The first bite was super flavorful, but sadly each subsequent bite of any quantity got saltier and saltier to the point I could not appreciate the flavor. I told the waiter, thinking that it might have been an over-reduced stock, but the reply from the kitchen was that this was the way it was supposed to be. Hard to believe, and I was sad that this great dish wasn't (to my taste) at it's ideal due to oversalting.
Sauteed shrimp -- also way oversalted.

Service was excellent though -- and when I expressed my disappointment with the rossejat, they replaced it with a 3 cheese course (my preference over dessert) with no additional charge.

MICHAELS:
Excellent service. Overall a really nice meal, though they seemed to have an issue with the timing of the oven -- everything that was grilled seem to come out a little too charred such that the char flavor overwhelmed everything else.

Crispy Pork belly with kimchi -- Very tasty, and well balanced. The "kimchi" (really, pickled cabbage without fermentation) was even better than the pork belly and worked really well with the crushed peanuts. Could have used some spice.
Grilled octopus -- was really looking forward to this one and textures were great, but the char was so strong that it overwhelmed the taste of the octopus.
Pig ears -- yummy crispy appetizers!
Deviled eggs -- a really rich and surprising balance of flavors -- delicious
Wellfleet Oysters -- tasty and a nice slurp with the classic mignonette
country-style pate -- nice flavors though nothing amazing, sadly negated by the over-charred bread that came with it.
Shrimp ceviche -- probably my favorite bite -- really well balanced, shrimp was nicely "cooked" (not clear whether they simply marinated it in the acidic juice or very briefly cooked it before -- but it was perfect)
"rice cakes" with aioli -- I was envisioning the puffed rice cakes that dieters eat, but this was completely different -- it's really a take on arancini (fried rice balls) or risotto cakes... really enjoyable and also very filling.

The server recommended a whole pompano, grilled, that sounded absolutely delicious but at 2-3 pounds, could not in good conscience choose it and forgo trying more dishes due to limited stomach space! And I had a cherry-rosemary house-made soda that was really amazing -- a flavor combination I would not have guessed at would work so well and be so well incorporated into the drink.

And... in the airport, on the way out I got a guava pastry and on the way back grabbed a cubano sandwich to go from La Carrerra. Tasty, but not anything I would dream about (but the guava pastry was definitely nice).

Thanks for all the information!! I wish we had more time that we could have tried more of the restaurants that were suggested... ah, next time. You guys have a great food scene here!

Miami - one night

Thanks for all the helpful replies! Unfortunately, Michael's Genuine is booked for Saturday. Given the distances and travelling involved, we decided to get a rental car, so neighborhood is not (much) of an issue now.

Right now, we have reservations at Michy's and Bazaar -- we've actually never been to Jose Andres' restaurants in D.C.. Still considering whether to go to Joe's -- we haven't had stone crab claws. Any other quality purveyors of stone crab claws that maybe are not as touristy?

High-end Japanese we've had and quite enjoyed, but somehow having our one dinner in Miami be Japanese omakase seems like a missed opportunity to experience the more Miami-specific cuisines.

Cuban -- tempted to try El Rey de las Fritas -- maybe at the end of the night.

Seafood -- thoughts on El Chalan or My Ceviche over any of the prior?

Coming this Saturday and will report back -- thanks!!

Shouting it from the roof tops- there is now DIM SUM in BALTIMORE COUNTY!!!

Just checked it out -- not bad. The space is not especially well-filled or organized, and the selection is not as good as an H-Mart, but it is definitely not bad and closer to Baltimore City than the H-mart in Catonsville.

The restaurant inside is interesting -- prices are higher than I would expect for the setting -- entrees more in the $10-$20 realm, and even wonton noodles and soups $9-$10. I tried the shrimp dumplings (ha-gow), siumai, and shrimp in long rice wrappers, and it was not bad at all -- delicate skins and reasonably tasty fillings. They also have roasted ducks, roasted pork, cold platters of beef tendon and pig ears, and the ability to pre-order roast suckling pig. Might be worth a chow outing with a bunch of folks to try a bunch of items, including the suckling pig. They seem to have a reasonably skilled chef behind the counter.

Miami - one night

My girlfriend and I will be passing through Miami to Central America, and decided to come a bit early to have a great meal or two before heading out. We both love food -- everything from Michelin-starred restaurants to ethnic dives. We are value-conscious, but are willing to spend on great food; we prefer not to spend money on ambience or popularity alone. We arrive Saturday afternoon and head out Sunday morning. 2 questions:

1. Suggestions for dinner on Saturday night? We made reservations for Michy's but are also open to other options, especially something that we can't get in DC, Philly, or New York. Possibly Cuban/Latin-American, seafood?
2. Anything great we can grab on Sunday morning prior to getting to the airport for a 10 AM flight?
3. (sorry, one additional question) - good neighborhood to stay in that is convenient to (1) and (2)? I would prefer not to rent a car unnecessarily...

Thanks!

-Dave

Early breakfast in downtown area

Thanks! It looked like a great option. Unfortunately, I didn't get my act together this morning -- I would have had to get there at 6 AM sharp to still get to the train in time. Instead, I picked up some freshly made dimsum at Dimsum King on Jackson (just north of the Bank of America) -- shumai, shrimp dumplings, preserved egg porridge, and pork buns that I enjoyed on the train. I want to go to Lola for breakfast though -- the octopus looks interesting. :)

Nov 01, 2012
daveinmd in Greater Seattle

Early breakfast in downtown area

Hey folks,
I need suggestions for an early morning breakfast in the downtown area before getting on a train to Vancouver. I'm not a sweets kind of person, and I'd like to maximize my eating opportunities. I thought of Le Pichet, but they only open at 8 AM and the train leaves at 7:40 AM. If all else fails, I'll get some sliced meats at Salumi the day before and some bread and cheese (suggestions?) to take on the train with me.

I'm totally fine with "lunch" foods (chowders, soups, sandwiches) if there are any that are available and open that early.

Thanks!

Oct 30, 2012
daveinmd in Greater Seattle

Where to find frozen ramen? (Baltimore)

Found it!! Thanks for the tip. That aisle used to be... some kind of dried food that I never looked at, so I don't look there on a regular basis. They have the noodles, plus different sauce bases -- soy, miso, shio. Looking forward to trying it. :)

Where to find frozen ramen? (Baltimore)

Hmm, interesting. Which HMart was this? I went to the one in Catonsville. Sometimes different HMarts will stock different items...

Where to find frozen ramen? (Baltimore)

Sadly, no frozen or fresh ramen at Food Value international market. I'm looking for the ones made with an alkaline fluid making it yellow with a great chew -- the traditional ones used for fresh ramen. Closest I found at Food Value was frozen yakisoba that used potassium carbonate. I'll try Lotte Market and maybe the japanese markets near D.C....

Where to find frozen ramen? (Baltimore)

Ooh, that sounds promising. I've tried H Mart in Catonsville, which has lots of fresh noodles and a reasonable variety of frozen noodles, but none of the ramen variety. If not, I may need to try the Japanese marts in Rockville.

Where to find frozen ramen? (Baltimore)

Given the dearth of good ramen places in the Baltimore area, I'm thinking about making my own broth and toppings, but I'm not sure I'm up to making my own noodles just yet. Any suggestions about where to get frozen/fresh ramen noodles? I'm talking about the yellow noodles made with alkaline with a great body and bite, not simply egg or flour noodles.

Anyone been to Duda's in Fell's Point recently?

Just went last night -- the fisherman's chowder was really good (special of the day), my gf reported that the fried haddock was hot, crispy on the outside and light and flaky on the inside, and the burgers were quite good. :) And they have Resurrection on tap...

I've only had their crabcakes on half-price crabcake nights -- they were good, but I do prefer Faidleys. I've heard that the crabcakes are better (use higher quality crab meat) on non-half price days, though.

visiting Baltimore looking for good Sezchuan

Nope... sorry. Szechuan House is the closest you will find in the city, and it is only ok. If you are willing to drive about 30 minutes outside of the city, Grace Garden does reasonable Szechuan (and very good mixed Chinese). Lots of threads on Grace Garden, just do a search.

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Grace Garden
1690 Annapolis Rd, Odenton, MD

Szechuan House
515 8th St SE, Washington, DC 20003

Bangkok and Siem Riep Recommendations, Please

Will do!! Thanks for the info. :)

Taipei beef noodle soup festival 台北國際牛肉麵節 2010

My dad and I went to try it out. The store manager was very enthusiastic, and we did quite enjoy it. Especially the clear broth beef noodle soup -- well balanced, very flavorful, more akin in my mind to pho with a different flavor profile but the same umami. The red stewed version (winner in 2007) was more delicate than most red-stewed flavor beef noodle soup, and not oily at all, with a more subtle flavor (actual beef flavor?) than what I was expecting. Almost a more subtle, upscale version of beef noodle soup. There are slices of prime rib in it, yes. It's not the belly-busting, hearty, soul warming bowl that I would go for on a cold winter's day, but I did quite enjoy it.

Bangkok and Siem Riep Recommendations, Please

Beetlebug, that outdoor bbq before the bridge sound intriguing. Were there any names or actual buildings attached, or was this more of a street/field vendor affair? It sounds so much better than most of the other restaurants in the area. Great ingredients + fire: how can you go wrong? We'll be there for 3 evenings -- I think Arun, BBQ, and maybe one other place for dinner. For lunches, we'll try our luck convincing the temple restaurants that we want what they (or our driver) like to eat. Morning glory -- my favorite vegetable!

Also, a restaurant called Touich Restaurant is #1 on Tripadvisor.. anyone tried this place and want to report?

Best Indian near Mt. Washington?

Belvedere Towers Cafe has surprisingly good food, but is little talked about here on the boards. The owners are actually Nepalese, and the momos (chicken and vegetarian dumplings) are delicious, with a spicy tomato-cream dipping sauce that is addictive. The naan isn't the best I've had, but I've enjoyed their lamb, eggplant, and saag dishes. Plus, it's relatively inexpensive!

Only downside is that there really isn't a dine-in scene -- there are 1 or 2 small tables with plastic tablecloth; no decor; most business is carryout or delivery, and it can be stiflingly hot during the summers (but pleasant in the winter).

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Belvedere Towers Cafe
1190 W Northern Pkwy Ste 101, Baltimore, MD 21210