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Italian restaurants that would impress an Italian in Boston and/or Central MA

The expats (the consulate is nearby) go to Pasta Beach for the pizza primarily (though now there are more places doing this type of pizza whereas before it was pretty much Pasta Beach or Gran Gusto) which in my experience they execute pretty well.

It's definitely not expensive by Boston standards and a lot more solid than some of the places mentioned here though I wouldn't make a special trip for it.

Italian restaurants that would impress an Italian in Boston and/or Central MA

I lived much of my life in Italy and have been to all the places mentioned here in my time in Boston.

All of the people I know in the expat community who are into food agree that Ribelle is great and very creative. I would take an Italian who wants to see a creative version of Italian food here.

The other place I would recommend highly is Giulia and again I also go there often with Italian friends and visitors and it is justly highly regarded. It's less idiosyncratic than Ribelle but very well thought out and executed.

I definitely would not recommend many of the places mentioned on here (places like Toscano, Pomodoro, Grotto etc).

Boston-ey Restaurants

So what's the inside scoop on why I and so many others have noticed poor attitudes at Neptune on multiple occasions?

I

Boston-ey Restaurants

I have always been off-hours to Neptune for obvious reasons and have had unfriendly/snarky service every time all the same.

One of those times, my waitress knew the people at the table next to me and they conversed at length with a few anti-Semitic observations shared for all who could hear as well.

When it's something as systematic as what I and so many others have seen at Neptune, one would have to think that the management is part of the problem.

Boston-ey Restaurants

I have been to Neptune several times and I do generally like the food but I only go there to take out of towners who want the experience and even then only if they aren't happy just going to Island Creek Oyster Bar or Row 34 etc because the attitude has been an issue each and every time at Neptune like nowhere else I have eaten in Boston.

I am not one to complain about a restaurant but they have a "perfect" negative track record with me and my friends.

How do restaurants here source? Organic/Healthy in Boston restaurants

Yes S & I etc are unlikely to source more expensive products but I'd prefer to have actual examples as opposed to my speculation or yours which is why I am asking if anyone actually KNOWS how things get sourced. I gave a couple of more specific examples upthread and I am sure someone here knows more.

I didn't want to turn this into a discussion on organic vs conventional etc but in any case, not all products however are necessarily that much more expensive (especially in bulk) that it would be impossible for anyone who were truly interested and yes of course Boston has to deal with its climate but what can sometimes be a few cents more per item on things which cost significantly more than that (as does the labor) is hardly out of the question. But what I am hearing from you is that no one other than places like Life Alive does this (and they are hardly so expensive compared to many, many other places in their general ballpark).

Does anyone actually know this sort of thing from the inside?

So far from the replies here, I am getting a sense that most people here don't much care about this when it comes to dining out and just take the situation as a given.

How do restaurants here source? Organic/Healthy in Boston restaurants

Thanks. I'm more apt to order certain things from certain places on that basis too and a little surprised that more people don't seem to do that on this basis.

Having said that, I like places like Shanghai Gate and S & I (which is why I mentioned them) among others where I would be curious to know for a fact what they get and where.

I'd probably eat at some of those places more often if I thought they did source better materials.

How do restaurants here source? Organic/Healthy in Boston restaurants

So I have a question for everyone in Chowland: do you think much or know much about the type of produce and meat you eat out on a regular basis?

Do most (or any) of you know whether the produce you eat is high in pesticides or the meat hormone free etc when you eat out and is it a concern? Other than a few obvious health food oriented places like Life Alive etc do you see this mentioned much on menus? Sometimes I will see a particular product referred to as organic but then nothing else on the menu; does this mean the rest is just whatever they managed to get for the best price?

Of course I am well aware of the limitations even of organic certification and labeling but I wonder especially among those who eat out quite a bit if you give much thought to this and if you have restaurants in each category where you know more about this sort of thing.

So for example, I am interested of course in the standards at the various farm to table restaurants which are especially popular in Cambridge and which we all discuss here (I wonder just how much and WHAT exactly is from a discernible 'farm') but also in places like S &I Thai or Shanghai Gate and so forth. I know Russo's supplies some restaurants and local chains directly (though I don't know with what specifically)

Has anyone or any publication looked into this? I recall Itaunas having a lot of information on suppliers in the area and I would appreciate any information on how the restaurants in the area source and who sources what from where.

Scissors and Pie Pizza on Newbury St.

Hi there,

Scissors' pizza is definitely thicker than the models you referenced and you can even see that from photos online if you hunt around.

"Retro, did you also find it to be lacking texturally? Like it's a bit too close to a softer Sicilian style?"

100% yes and this is perhaps the most significant problem; it was too soft and "doughy." I'm not a big fan of that style of crust and I had never eaten anything like it in years of eating pizza al taglio all the time in Rome.

Like I said before, the square slices they make at Iggy's in Cambridge or Sullivan Street Bakery in NYC as well are way more like what they make in Rome in terms of the crust definition and height of the slice.

Scissors and Pie Pizza on Newbury St.

I haven't posted here because I don't like to be negative and because I really don't like the clique-ish nature of this forum but I grew up in Rome and continue to return to the city.

First of all it's pizza al TAGLIO if anyone is interested in learning more and secondly while this is Roman style, it isn't really done right if those are the parameters.

The crust is much too thick; places in Rome don't do it like this and it was what surprised me. I have been 3 times so I don't think I caught them on a bad day.

If you have eaten at My Pie in NYC you will know that it is significantly thinner and also less expensive in spite of being in NYC.

To be honest, the pizza at Iggy's comes closer to being the right dimensions.

Neither place has the kind of volume necessary to really be a Roman place because they do very high volume usually and have trays coming out all the time but Scissors and Pie will likely not become that kind place with their current practices,

Toro

That has to be one of the most poorly written reviews I have read in some time.

Debunking Boston restaurant myths

This is true. I am not from here and haven't lived here nearly as long as many places in which I have lived and have had very bad service more often here than in all of the others put together.

I have had this happen at VERY high end restaurants here in ways where I never had it happen in all my years anywhere else, including recently at a board favorite.

I have been waiting to post on it here until I see whether the management resolves the issue. I complained and they have been taking MANY weeks to deal with it and I have had to call them back multiple times, always being polite while they have never once called me even though the fault is theirs and some of their people have spoken rudely to me.

Boston has a lot of great qualities but the last thing which comes to mind is great service.

Sushi

I'm happy to hear that you enjoyed your meal there. I was curious though how it shamed the omkase from Uni per se.

From my own experiences with both I don't see how they are the same type of establishment.

Kirkland Tap etc

I agreed that the scale matters as well as other factors but there's a pretty big difference between a 4 to 1 ratio and a 13 to 1 ratio which makes it seem like Boston is much smaller than it actually is.

Kirkland Tap etc

It's very inaccurate to say NY is 13 times Boston's size; you have to compare metro areas in which case the ratio is much smaller.

Of course NYC is still going to be another world for the reasons you mentioned as well as the difference in culture the people who live there themselves (beyond socio-economic status and income which is alone rather considerable for the higher end)

Suggestions for Italian/Mexican in Burlington/Woburn

I hope you're not suggesting that L'Andana "beats the pants off" A Tavola.

A Tavola is easily a more authentic Italian restaurant by any standard (chef/owner is from Tuscany and knows what he is doing).

Suggestions for Italian/Mexican in Burlington/Woburn

A Tavola in Winchester would be my choice by far for that area roughly speaking.

need italian that is vegetarian-friendly and wheelchair-accessible

For lunch, Gran Gusto is great particularly as almost all the other really good options like Giulia (also in Cambridge) are closed (similarly, A Tavola in Winchester further North and possibly more convenient for you is closed for lunch).

Other options include also Coppa in the South End or Pasta Beach not far from the North End and either is better than the North End options and there's Sportello in Fort Point as well.

Salts vs. TW Food

Definitely TW Food and it's not even close for me in terms of interesting dishes and though TW Food isn't cheap it's also a much better value to me.

Where to find chickpea flour?

If you go the Persian store in Watertown (Super Hero) you will certainly find all the chickpea flour you could ever want.

I can't imagine going someplace else for this staple of Iranian food.

It's not far from where you were at Sevan actually but most people on this board don't seem to know it and it almost never gets a mention.

Where to find chickpea flour?

Super Hero is the Persian grocery store in Watertown and they would have what you need.

Excellent Cappuccino in the Boston area?

I was trying to avoid entering too much into the specifics of taste; I find Chowhound useful as a preliminary resource to get a good list together but then I think it's best to try it for yourself when possible.

So I generally, unless there are huge and obvious discrepancies, try to avoid saying definitive sorts of things like Dwelltime is awesome and Barismo is merely good...especially given the relation between these 2.

Having said that, I had the impression that Barismo and Simon's have done a lot for the culture of coffee here in the Boston area and remain reference points more so than Dwelltime or Cafe Fixe (places I have been to only a few times but wouldn't have thought to elevate over the others).

Please post your impressions of Howell's as well if you would...

Excellent Cappuccino in the Boston area?

You list most of the good spots for espresso but I am puzzled by your assessment of their relative merits.

For one thing you set off Dwelltime from Barismo...you do realize Dwelltime is a Barismo project, right?

In any event I have had espresso at all of those places [1369 (Cambridge), Diesel (Somerville), Thinking Cup (Boston), Simon's (Cambridge), Barismo (Arlington)] including Voltage and Howell's and I think they are all mostly in the ballpark and are the ones most espresso (and consequently cappuccino) lovers will mention in the Boston area.

You could also add Bloc 11 and Cafe Crema if you like as well in that general range.

Traditionally, Simon's has received a lot of praise and awards for whatever that is worth to you.

Picco

Grab Gusto in Cambridge certainly serves pizza napoletana and Pasta Beach on Atlantic Avenue also does, as does Guido's Charcoal Kitchen in Waltham.

Any of those 3 is miles and miles more authentic than Picco, especially Gran Gusto if that is the style you are looking for.

Italians here in Boston pretty much go to Gran Gusto almost always and Pasta Beach after that. Guido's is new and is the next closest on the list.

The pizza I and the rest of my Italian crew had at Picco's was quite disappointing but people here are probably looking for different things.

Il Pastificio - Everett, MA

It's a great little place which in a lot of ways has conserved a lot more of the Italian traditions than any other Italian shop I have seen here in the Boston area.

Those of you who like Modern etc should really stop in here and try a variety of things (as pappabuona says, the cassata is virtually unique in this area)

I have had the tortellini as well (which compare very favorably with Bella Ravioli, Dave's etc) and the pastries in general look quite appetizing. It really is a shame that it isn't discussed more often on here and I hope he stays in business!

Pici in Metrowest?

Metrowest also has Panzano Market in Southborough and Waverly Market in Framingham you could try along with Tutto Italiano

http://www.panzanomarket.com/
http://www.waverly-market.com/

Glamorous restaurant...in Boston.

Somehow this thread would not have been complete without a certain someone mentioning Le Bernadin or Jean Georges for the 100,000th time even though they still remain located in another city not covered by this board :)

Given the stated preference for Island Creek which I think is one of the most stylish decors in Boston, I thought of Sorellina, Mistral and Rialto (the Regattabar is a plus just upstairs but often closed in this period). And though it is no Jean Georges, Market by Jean Georges might be a possibility as well. Someone also mentioned Bond which could work though I don't think the food would be as good as at most of these but that might not be the focus.

Dinner near-ish to the Lenox

You're very welcome :)

The Gallows is really cute, nice service and some interesting plates. I very much like it in that vein but I don't know that it would be a real once in 4 years dinner place. That said, if you go with that in mind, it could be fun (or perhaps would be nice to combine with a visit to Coppa as well which isn't so far away).

Dinner near-ish to the Lenox

"having just returned from NYC where i had dinner at J-G and Bernadin..."

Is there a relationship between the beginning of your post and what the OP asked (particularly since the OP wasn't planning on spending anything comparable in Boston in the first place)? You seem to mention those restaurants in NY a lot for someone writing on the Boston board.

As for the question, lunch will eliminate a lot of the better options as many of the good places and places mentioned are closed for lunch. Toro and Coppa are open for lunch (Coppa all day) and they might be a good option for you.

I'm not sure what your price-point is but the best places in Back Bay are generally very pricy unlike in Cambridge to an extent where you could more easily have a more interesting special meal at more reasonable prices so you may want to rethink that geographical limitation.

Of the less extravagant dinner places in the area (assuming you go to Coppa or Toro for lunch) I agree that Island Creek would probably fit the bill better than most

Good luck !

Scugnizzi in Arlington (formerly Buona Vita Restaurant)

I ate there recently too and had one of the worst experiences imaginable. I found the pizza horrible and the arancini were terrifyingly awful (they don't even use risotto actually).

I can't imagine how anyone associated with Italy could have anything to do with this place.

Service was also thoroughly incompetent.