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rlee21's Profile

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Ribelle Outstanding

I'm also on the "too salty" bandwagon. Several dishes I've had there were simply inedible because of the salt.

I disagree with Asian condiments being the problem. Being a person of Asian decent, very rarely is Asian food so salty. Even though we have condiments like fish sauce that are high in sodium, the issue is usage and balance. Fish sauce in bolognese is fine, but at the end of the day, the sodium in the fish sauce should be in balance within the dish instead of overpower the dish.

Saturday evening cocktails for grown ladies

Yeah, I agree that CAS may be on the expensive side, but I feel like prices have come down a bit and the value is much better than it was initially, with almost all of the menu being under $25. I also seem to recall there being some more reasonable options on the bar menu.

Mar 13, 2015
rlee21 in Greater Boston Area

Saturday evening cocktails for grown ladies

I would recommend both Cafe ArtScience and Ames Street Deli in Kendall. My experience in Kendall Sq is that Saturdays tend not to be quite so busy. As to your specific question about Cafe ArtScience, it does have a bar only section with a bar food menu. There are also a couple small tables to sit around in the bar section. They have gotten more consistent of late compared to when they first opened, as expected. The cocktails are superlative, and I've had nothing but good experiences recently. Moreover, I've seen no/very few college kids or douchey guys.

Ames Street Deli (the cocktail bar sibling of Study and Backbar) feels a little more laid back. I haven't eaten there, but the food options look cheaper, though more limited too if I recall.

I'll also throw Audubon and Straight Law in there in the Audubon Circle area. Wine list at Audubon is more limited I think, but solid options. Cocktails are very good with Tyler Wang (ex-Drink/No. 9/KTT) behind the stick. Straight Law has more wine options, especially Spanish and sherry, and the cocktails are good but a bit more limited in my opinion. This weekend is especially a good time for either since BU is still on Spring Break I think, though it doesn't draw too much of a college crowd regardless.

B&M is almost always too crowded and too loud for me unless its early in the evening. My go-to in Central is still probably Green Street. Drink doesn't take reservations and does not admit groups larger than 4. The Hawthorne may be a good choice, though I find their food options to be somewhat limited.

Mar 13, 2015
rlee21 in Greater Boston Area

Orange wines, Boston area?

There is another Bazaar location in Coolidge Corner that may have Georgian wines as well.

Wine Gallery in Brookline and Kenmore also had a section on Georgian wine. I'm guessing you can find some qvevri in that section.

Mar 05, 2015
rlee21 in Greater Boston Area

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

I think Totto has a chicken-based broth, but I don't have recent experience and can't make a fair comparison. Uni also had a vegetarian ramen broth, but I haven't had that in quite awhile either.

Mar 05, 2015
rlee21 in Greater Boston Area

A Question for the Dragon-Mouths !

I definitely had the 口口香脆雞 from Hong Kong Palace in Falls Church in mind. I'm not sure what the English translation is of that dish, and I don't recall ever seeing it on the menu.

I thought I've had it elsewhere before too, not around Boston though, but nothing specific comes to mind.

Feb 19, 2015
rlee21 in Greater Boston Area

Best Little Restaurant, formerly Ho Yuen Ting, in Chinatown

They really do have some excellent soups. I frequently get the seafood chowder, which doesn't sound like much, but it is essentially fish maw soup with additional seafood.

Feb 19, 2015
rlee21 in Greater Boston Area

Best Little Restaurant, formerly Ho Yuen Ting, in Chinatown

According to this older picture http://www.city-data.com/businesses/6...
Ho Yuen Ting's Chinese name was always 一定好

Feb 17, 2015
rlee21 in Greater Boston Area

A Question for the Dragon-Mouths !

I wouldn't necessarily say that it's the norm, but I have a couple Chinese friends who would always eat all the dried chilies. There are also a couple Sichuan dishes that I've had containing fried dried chilies filled with a sort of sesame cracker, and those are definitely meant to be eaten.

Feb 17, 2015
rlee21 in Greater Boston Area

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

I certainly enjoyed the shio ramen with chashu. Like other commenters, I found the broth to be rich and flavorful and the toppings to be a high point. The menma had good flavor, the kikurage had a nice crunch, and the chashu was very tender. The noodles were a bit thin for my personal preference, but overall, it is a very good bowl of ramen.

I went on Saturday around 8pm, and they were at approximately 60% capacity. There were no problems with service that I observed - an attentive waitstaff that was generally prompt, helpful, and unobtrusive. I have previously been to a Santouka location in Vancouver several years ago, and this location was definitely comparable if not even better than what I remember. It is definitely a great spot in Harvard Sq to grab a quick bite, especially in this cold.

Feb 17, 2015
rlee21 in Greater Boston Area

Bars/Restaurants that start with "X" or "Y"?

If you pinyin transliterate the Chinese names for several restaurants in Chinatown, you can get a couple of "X" names:

China King = 新京閣 (Xin Jing Ge)
Peach Farm = 小桃園 (Xiao Tao Yuan)
Hong Kong Eatery = 香港小食 (Xiang Gang Xiao Shi)

Feb 17, 2015
rlee21 in Greater Boston Area

Where to buy Scotch in Boston?

+1
Federal is great for picking up those unusual scotches that you can't find elsewhere, including a lot of great independent bottlings. However, if I am in the mood for a standard Ardbeg 10, then I'll get it elsewhere since I think the markup at Federal can be quite high sometimes (e.g. $60 vs $40).

Jan 23, 2015
rlee21 in Greater Boston Area

Sazerac rye

Costco in Everett

Nov 18, 2014
rlee21 in Greater Boston Area

Great Soups Downtown

I almost always order the Seafood Chowder when there which is more like egg drop soup with seafood. Don't really know that many other places that has fish bladder (魚肚)on the menu. I'll sometimes order the large bowl just so I can take some to go.

Nov 18, 2014
rlee21 in Greater Boston Area

Batavia Arrack in Boston area?

I think I've bought before at Liquor Land on Mass Ave.

It's part of the Haus Alpenz portfolio, so anywhere you see the likes of Rothman and Winter, Bonal, Cocchi, Dolin, etc. should be able to order it for you is my guess.

Nov 18, 2014
rlee21 in Greater Boston Area

Good selection of eaux-de-vie / grappa / schnapps?

I've seen at least some of these at bars like Eastern Standard/the Hawthorne

Mar 26, 2014
rlee21 in Greater Boston Area

Breckenridge Bitters

Josh Taylor at West Bridge made me a cocktail last week with tequila, amontillado, dry vermouth, and Breckenridge bitters that was really quite good. I'm thinking of trying to duplicate it at home with Gran Clasico subbed in for the Breckenridge

Jul 23, 2013
rlee21 in Spirits

Which restaurants are on your "to do" list right now?

There was only a 5 minute wait or so when I went at 9 on a Thursday a month or so back. Ordered a regular ramen, but was mistakenly given a bowl of the buta ramen instead. I expected to be catatonic afterwards, but instead, I found myself feeling decent. And as MC notes, quickly seeking out a digestivo afterwards completely settled my stomach.

Jun 12, 2013
rlee21 in Greater Boston Area

Brookline favorites?

I'll have to second this sentiment. Though, I was really taken aback by the friendliness at first.

Jun 12, 2013
rlee21 in Greater Boston Area

Which restaurants are on your "to do" list right now?

Asta
Giulia
Sycamore
Steel & Rye
Szechuan's Dumpling
Rincon Limeno
Spoke

Jun 12, 2013
rlee21 in Greater Boston Area

Uni 11:00 pm Ramen

I agree that Uni is incomparable to a lot of top notch ramen I've had in New York, Vancouver, etc. The broth is thinner than I like and too salty. The noodles I find decent, but the pork is inconsistently roasted.

That said, I do get the late night ramen there on occasion because its better than most late night options, and the hot soup often hits the spot on one of many cold Boston nights. Also, while incomparable to top notch ramen, its still better than some of the other bandwagon ramen options in Boston.

May 28, 2013
rlee21 in Greater Boston Area

Bronwyn

I went this past Saturday with a friend right after the Champions League final, the pairing of German food after Bayern Munich won the title was irresistible.

The beer list did indeed look fantastic, and something Bavarian like the Paulaner would have been perfect. Alas, my physician has barred me from consuming beer, and I chose a glass of blaufränkisch instead. My DC had a glass of a sparkling grüner. Both were decent wines, but a beer really would have hit the spot..

For dinner, we started with the pierogi filled with smoked kale. It was an interesting interpretation of the iconic Eastern European dumplings, the smoked kale pleasantly replacing the usual meat filling without losing any of the usual heft. The knödel came next, which were like sliced bread pudding rather than dense dumplings I was expecting. With the bits of bacon interspersed, it reminded me a bit of dim sum turnip cakes, except with a different texture. The taste of fiddleheads was a bit lost in the dish.

The zungenblutwurst had a richly spiced flavor that was quite nice, but it lacked textural contrast as the filling seemed homogenously ground. The "zunge" part was a bit lost as nothing could be easily identifiable with tongue. The jägerschnitzel was excellent: tender veal scallops with sautéed shimeji and maitake mushrooms, honeyed walnuts. I found this version much more delicate and refined than the jägerschnitzel I have come to expect, which is slathered in a rich gravy of button mushrooms. The spätzle consisted of large, irregular blobs of dough, but the emmentaler and onions made it quite reminiscent of käsespätzle. However, the mint and asparagus were nice touches to lighten the dish. We also had a side of sauerkraut that was altogether too acidic and made me wonder if additional acid was added beyond the natural fermentation.

We arrived at 5:30 because we wanted to beat the crowd. Thankfully, we were seated immediately, but unfortunately, we were finished with dinner by 6:30. We had a huge issue with pacing, as all of our dishes more or less arrived simultaneously. The last dish to arrive was the spätzle, but there was literally no space on our table to accomodate, so the waiter took it back and forth from the kitchen until we had only just finished the knödel.

All in all, I thought the food generally had good flavor and were interesting twists on German classics. Its probably the best German food I can think of in Boston (Jacob Wirth isn't exactly strong competition). I would go back if I were in the area, but its so far out of my way that I can't imagine making the trip specifically to go back just to eat there. To me, its on the level of good neighborhood restaurant, but not destination dining.

Uni 11:00 pm Ramen

It would be easier to respect your opinion if you were comparing Uni to Ippudo, as I have never heard of an "Uppudo" restaurant in New York..

May 28, 2013
rlee21 in Greater Boston Area

Westbridge

I concur with mkfisher, the dozen or so cocktails I've had there have all been on par with some of the better restaurants in town. I personally think there are a few on the menu that are even more interesting than Drink, Backbar, or the Hawthorne.

Apr 22, 2013
rlee21 in Greater Boston Area

The New Belle Isle

My mistake. I've always gotten the hot one by default.

Dec 19, 2012
rlee21 in Greater Boston Area

The New Belle Isle

Still cash only. There's an atm on the premise.

Dec 19, 2012
rlee21 in Greater Boston Area

The New Belle Isle

I just visited the new location a week ago and had the lobster meat roll instead of the tail only roll. I don't think the amount of meat has changed at all, but I do agree that the lobster meat roll has less tail than before. I think you end up with more knuckle mostly and maybe a bit more claw.

It certainly loses the grungy character of the old location, but the new location is definitely an upgrade in my book.

Dec 19, 2012
rlee21 in Greater Boston Area

The New Belle Isle

Neptune Oyster's lobster roll is a totally different animal being served hot with butter instead of cold with mayo. Its also very good, but totally unlike Belle Isle.

Dec 19, 2012
rlee21 in Greater Boston Area

Best Cheesesteak in Boston/Cambridge/Somerville

By the way, I don't think its advertised on the menu at Pat's, but you can order a 'steak bomb' to have mushrooms, onions, and peppers added.

Dec 19, 2012
rlee21 in Greater Boston Area

Speakeasy-Style Bars (with Great Mixologists) in Boston

I agree that Backbar may be ideal, though with more of an industrial loft feel. Though small, since they take reservations, it might be an effective route to guarantee seats.

I think Hawthorne might work well for that sized group, and I doubt they would have trouble accommodating. However, its even more or a upscale modern sort of vibe than what I remember at Raines. (As an aside, with Katie Emmerson behind the bar, Raines analogy is especially apt.)

Drink, Brick & Mortar, No. 9, Clio would all be very difficult to find 10 seats in. Although for places like Milk&Honey and the Varnish, a group of 10 would be similarly impossible.

Dec 18, 2012
rlee21 in Greater Boston Area