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The Best of the Best: An Ongoing Thread

best kale salads: West Bridge and Cook. Both outstanding, And I'm not even a kale fan.

Jun 25, 2014
MaxEntropy in Greater Boston Area

With Hilltop almost gone, what is now the most Iconic Boston Area Restaurant?

My SO is similarly tired of the Kendall location, near her work, but we've been enjoying Legal Harborside (1st floor). The service seems a bit more attentive (and expert) than the typical Legal outpost. The menu is certainly more interesting. We are addicted to the tuna crudo and maple-cured salmon bruschetti, and others that rotate. In a dozen or more visits I can't recall any missteps by the kitchen. Have only been to the 2nd floor once, and can't draw any deep conclusions, but I was impressed by some unique specials (a swordfish bone-in "tomahawk" steak - only one per fish - a sight to behold).

Jun 25, 2014
MaxEntropy in Greater Boston Area

Let us now praise Harvest

OC, where could we find old Harvest menus?

Jun 17, 2014
MaxEntropy in Greater Boston Area

Let us now praise Harvest

Couldn't agree with you more about the lost and sorely missed DR influences at Harvest. The current dark "clubbiness" is handsome in a very different way, and you can see the Grill 23 bloodlines. Of course Ben Thompson founded both Harvest and DR, so no surprise that my Danish friend found Harvest so comforting.

Another reminiscence was the Sunday sermon by the late-great Peter Gomes (Plummer Professor of Christian Morals, no less!) suggesting that those in the pews were believers, else they would be at Harvest noshing on their croissants. At this point count me among the latter, rather than the former.

Jun 17, 2014
MaxEntropy in Greater Boston Area

Let us now praise Harvest

OK, if we are going to broach the "H" word, here's two of my stories. The Chemistry Department had a tradition of assigning a handful of graduate students to take visiting seminar speakers to lunch. The students would choose, and typically it would be someplace like Grendel's Den or Iruna. My turn came up, and we went to Harvest (and had a very nice lunch). The department didn't complain when we turned in the receipt, but the grad student lunch tradition went on hiatus after that - at least for the duration of my time at Harvard, and perhaps to this day.

My introduction to Harvest came via a Danish postdoc in the lab. He was on a Carlsberg Fellowship, at a time when the exchange rate (from Danish Kroner to US$) was very favorable. So favorable that he was being paid more than the head of the lab. I gained a deeper appreciation of his affinity for Harvest after spending time in Copenhagen.

Jun 17, 2014
MaxEntropy in Greater Boston Area
2

Let us now praise Harvest

I must confess I was dubious when the owners of Grill 23 took over, and put in that high-tech ventilation system for smokers at the bar (now unnecessary due to the smoking ban) as part of their make-over. But they have won me over, and the sunlight still filters through the thornless honey locusts on the terrace.

Jun 16, 2014
MaxEntropy in Greater Boston Area

Let us now praise Harvest

Father's Day brunch at Harvest, with spouse and daughter on a perfect day on the terrace, was the best gift I could imagine. Also a chance to reflect on 37 or so years of dining at Harvest. Modern-day Hounds may not appreciate the role that Harvest played in the local and national food scene. It really was our Chez Panisse. Alumni of the kitchen include Lydia Shire, Chris Schlessinger, and Barbara Lynch, to name just a few.

Mary Dumont is proving to be a worthy steward of the tradition. Scottish salmon with a perfectly crisped and savory skin, plated with lemony cous cous and asparagus evoked spring as well as any dish from the storied past. Remember when house-made sorbets were unusual? A tart lemon-basil sorbet evoked the fruit/herb sorbets I remember from the late 70's.
Crostini with a generous portion of Jonah crab to start and a glass of crisp Grüner Veltliner....heaven.

Jun 15, 2014
MaxEntropy in Greater Boston Area
4

Where do you shop for under-the-radar wines?

Web site shows the brut but no extended tirage. If they did have it, expect to pay $60+. Of course the stuff in the bin-end cart is unlikely to how up on the web site.

Jun 15, 2014
MaxEntropy in Greater Boston Area

Where do you shop for under-the-radar wines?

Be sure to check the bin-end cart near the entrance of Gordon's Waltham. I picked up an Argyle Extended Tirage for $15 the other day.

Also keep an eye on the NH liquor outlets - easy to do via their web site. They list real-time inventory by location, and their power buys can be amazing.

I make an annual pilgrimage to Joyal's Liquors in West Warick, RI to stock up. Web site is minimalist but gives you an inkling of what you'll find.

Jun 14, 2014
MaxEntropy in Greater Boston Area

Which Boston-Cambridge restaurants have been around since the 1980s?

I think the restaurant name may actually have been "The Warehouse".

May 21, 2014
MaxEntropy in Greater Boston Area

Which Boston-Cambridge restaurants have been around since the 1980s?

Location sounds reasonable, it was a large "warehousey" building. However the service was formal (suited waiters) and chateubriand presentation was classically French - table side service including slicing and plating the meat. IIRC Victoria Station was not as formal.

May 21, 2014
MaxEntropy in Greater Boston Area

Which Boston-Cambridge restaurants have been around since the 1980s?

There was a place in the late 70's that had funky seating. An old convertible car, a caboose, all indoors. Food was high end - only went once but recall chateaubriand and my first Saint-Emilion.

I don't recall the name or where it was located. Ring a bell with anyone?

May 20, 2014
MaxEntropy in Greater Boston Area

Which Boston-Cambridge restaurants have been around since the 1980s?

Although I can't say the food was memorable, I have fond memories of Pier Four. We held the rehearsal dinner for my wedding in 1977 at Pier Four. Lot's of guests from the midwest, Indiana and Ohio, found it a magical introduction to Boston. They were all staying at a hotel in Harvard Square, and thought we had arranged the piano player (baby grand) in the middle of a traffic island in the Square for their amusement. We didn't dispute the notion...

May 19, 2014
MaxEntropy in Greater Boston Area

Which Boston-Cambridge restaurants have been around since the 1980s?

I recall a very decent Sacher Torte...

May 15, 2014
MaxEntropy in Greater Boston Area

Which Boston-Cambridge restaurants have been around since the 1980s?

I concur, Cajun Yankee was excellent!

Also the original Legal Seafood, of course. Loved the little hand-written numbers on pieces of cut-up index card they assigned you before sending you to the bar upstairs. The player piano, and for some reason the Bloody Mary's made indelible impressions. Curious, isn't it, that the Park Plaza Legal opened just days after the fire at the Inman Square location, with the entire staff from Inman Square. Hmmm.

And Ryles used to serve a mean Boursin-stuffed burger.

May 15, 2014
MaxEntropy in Greater Boston Area

Which Boston-Cambridge restaurants have been around since the 1980s?

George Howell is back to roasting and brewing - check out George Howell Coffee on Walnut Street in Newtonville. I guess the non-compete agreement he signed with Starbucks when he sold Coffee Connection has expired.

May 14, 2014
MaxEntropy in Greater Boston Area

Which Boston-Cambridge restaurants have been around since the 1980s?

Before Himmel there I think there was a triumvirate that owned Grill 23? I recall a very dapper GM who moved on before they were linked with Harvest, but can't recall a name.

May 14, 2014
MaxEntropy in Greater Boston Area

Which Boston-Cambridge restaurants have been around since the 1980s?

Started in 1981, IIRC. I have a cookbook signed by Chris Schlesinger where he noted 1980, but I recall pointing out to him the year was 1981.

May 14, 2014
MaxEntropy in Greater Boston Area

Which Boston-Cambridge restaurants have been around since the 1980s?

When Starbucks bought Coffee Connection, they promised to keep the stores intact. A year later when they closed them or converted them to Starbucks, I began a one-man boycott. Clearly I impacted their growth - imagine where they would be today if I hadn't?

Years later George Howell opens a shop walking distance from my home. I can't say he's made amends, but it's a start.

Actually had some decent meals at Spaghetti Emporium back in the day, but consistency wasn't their strong suit. And I fondly recall eating at Blue Parrott shortly after the Blizzard of 78. Someone in the kitchen was a cross-country ski enthusiast, and skied to Chelsea to the produce market. No vehicle traffic in Cambridge save for the National Guard, but Blue Parrot had fresh salads.

May 14, 2014
MaxEntropy in Greater Boston Area

Which Boston-Cambridge restaurants have been around since the 1980s?

In the late 70's (I know...) it was called something else.

May 14, 2014
MaxEntropy in Greater Boston Area

Which Boston-Cambridge restaurants have been around since the 1980s?

No kidding? I've never looked at it closely. Any markings to indicate it's history?

May 14, 2014
MaxEntropy in Greater Boston Area

Which Boston-Cambridge restaurants have been around since the 1980s?

I wasn't a huge fan of the music at The Tam, but loved the dinner specials they would offer before the music got underway. Certainly the area doesn't lack for great food at this point.

There was a club on Comm Ave near the BU west campus dorms that showed movies during the day. In the same block as Ellis The Rim Man.

There was also a German place further west on Comm Ave - can't recall the name.

Wursthaus - what can you say? A place with character and characters. Part of Harvard Square that has long been sanitized away.

May 14, 2014
MaxEntropy in Greater Boston Area

Which Boston-Cambridge restaurants have been around since the 1980s?

There was a place downstairs - outdoor stairs - called Mr. Leung's, which I believe had the same owner as Bernard's. I quite liked the place - more formal than Bernard's.

May 14, 2014
MaxEntropy in Greater Boston Area

Which Boston-Cambridge restaurants have been around since the 1980s?

Back in school I used to go late in the afternoon when they were starting to pack up. They would often sell you a crate for the price of a pound.

May 14, 2014
MaxEntropy in Greater Boston Area

Which Boston-Cambridge restaurants have been around since the 1980s?

They moved the F & T diner to an empty lot elsewhere (elsewhere in East Cambridge or Somerville) for a while, but then I lost track of it. Anyone know if it's still around?

May 14, 2014
MaxEntropy in Greater Boston Area

Which Boston-Cambridge restaurants have been around since the 1980s?

Hard to imagine. He seemed ancient to me at the time.
Although he had an imperturbable dignity that gave the place character.

May 13, 2014
MaxEntropy in Greater Boston Area

Which Boston-Cambridge restaurants have been around since the 1980s?

slightly west from there. There's a thread on city-data that suggests it was 565 Boylston. I'd have to go there to check my points of reference to confirm.

May 13, 2014
MaxEntropy in Greater Boston Area

Which Boston-Cambridge restaurants have been around since the 1980s?

It was inside. They had second floor seating, some of it overlooking the main floor.

Please excuse my typing (iPad) - not just mangled French!

May 13, 2014
MaxEntropy in Greater Boston Area

Which Boston-Cambridge restaurants have been around since the 1980s?

Rocco's had these lovely wrought ion chairs, win backs shaped like suns, moons, etc. I inquired about where to get some. They wouldn't say, but offered to import some for me. I bought 6 of them - nice complement to a glass-top table. A niece has inherited them.

St. Cloud was at the opposite corner of the block where Aquatine now resides. And Jasper's - who would have predicted back then that Jasper White would foist "Summer Shack" on us?

I wonder where the furniture from Icarus ended up? Perhaps not Stickley, but there were some nice arts and crafts pieces in that room.

While I'm asking, what happened to Tony Ambrose (Ambrosia on Huntington)? And the tuxedoed matre'd fom the European?

May 13, 2014
MaxEntropy in Greater Boston Area

Which Boston-Cambridge restaurants have been around since the 1980s?

When Ken's at Copley closed I feared that our license as a "city" would be revoked. Remember the balcony, suspended by some dubious-looking slender shafts?

Another late-night haunt in that era was King Bagel on Harvard Street in Brookline.

May 13, 2014
MaxEntropy in Greater Boston Area