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Downtown Brooklyn, four nights with a 3 year old...

Thank you so much fishermb!!

May 20, 2013
StevieC in Outer Boroughs

Downtown Brooklyn, four nights with a 3 year old...

We are staying at the Aloft for four nights with our 3 year old. We are pretty serious CHers, tend toward fine dining but also very adventurous and interested in local/off the beaten path places when we travel. Our son is extremely well behaved, but not quite as adventurous and is most pleased by pizza, ravioli and lasagna in this context. He can certainly venture into the typical “kids menu” options, but Italian is his thing. We are very sensitive to the child issue so always try to eat early, get in and get out, etc.

I have done due diligence searching downtown Brooklyn on CH, and if it were just my wife and I we would be all set, but now getting fish tacos from the Loading Dock or a Gyro from Souvlaki House just isn’t in the cards.

So, with that limited information, I have two questions:

1. We are arriving this Tuesday (5/21) from Boston, in the 6 p.m. range. That first night we just want to check in and then know exactly where we are going. It seems the Italian angle would be most satisfied by Queen, but is it an appropriate place for a 3 year old? We will have been driving for some time, tired, not put together at all, and I’m not sure it is the right place in these circumstances. If not Queen, any suggestions?

2. We are not limited to Italian, just a place suitable to sit with a child and that has child offerings. Given we will be in the area for four nights, any suggestions generally on where to go for a (relatively quick) quality lunch or dinner with a 3 year old? It is hard to tell from the many postings I have read what fits that bill.

Thanks so much.

May 19, 2013
StevieC in Outer Boroughs

Restaurants/cafes around Orient Heights Community Center

I have lived in Orient Heights for a number of years now, and given your parameters there are not a lot of options that I would recommend. Zafferano's is long gone, Victory Pub is closed (though I'm not sure I would have recommended it when it was open...), Italian Express closed, Cafe Italia II closed, etc. Things have changed a lot in the past 10 years.

E. Umi Sushi is respectable (corner of Bennington and Saratoga - the old Italian Express location), but is very much a take out place, you probably would not want to linger there long at the few tables they have.

Day Square has many, many more options but, while not far mileage-wise (~2 miles), at rush hour would be a pain. Bennington at rush hour is just a nightmare.

The only option I would recommend for you is El Kiosco, at the rotary where Boardman Street begins, right down the street from OYCC. There is a bar side and a small restaurant side, and the food is solid South American (Columbian I believe), no frills, friendly, and worth a visit.

Actually, there is also a Mama Blanca on Saratoga a short distance from Bennington heading towards Winthrop, but I have only had take out a couple of times and it was good, so that might be another option.

Fresh anchovies--where?

I don't deal with salt cured mackerel, but with anchovies I find that 2-3 hours in milk very effectively balances the salt concentration issue, and does seem to impart a subtle enhancement of the flavor. I have tried water with anchovies but it doesn't seem the same. I wasn't sure if it would be different with mackerel.

I am sure there is an old Good Eats episode that addresses this!! :)

Feb 15, 2013
StevieC in Greater Boston Area

Fresh anchovies--where?

Have you ever soaked them in milk? If so is it noticeably different than soaking in water?

Feb 14, 2013
StevieC in Greater Boston Area

Veal?

Second both Sulmona and Tony's.

Dec 10, 2012
StevieC in Greater Boston Area

Channel 5 News: Dave Andelman complains about food trucks hurting brick-and-mortar restaurant business

Believe me, I have no love for the Andelman brothers. And PG is for food what Transformers is for cinema. And I love food trucks and everything they are about. And Slim, I respect your passionate defense of said trucks. But at the end of the day, there ARE businesses that have a problem with them. Dave Andelman is just speaking on their behalf. (Enough about shilling etc., we got it. Just because they are "restaurateur cronies" does not therefore mean they don't have a point.) Are they just making up their problems/position? Why? These are tough economic times. Real or imagined (as you seem to argue), these are businesses that perceive a threat, and they are speaking out, either individually or through a group they are part of (RABA). I don't want to see the trucks go anywhere, but I am also reluctant to be so dismissive about the concerns of people who spend their life trying to survive in a very difficult industry.

Sep 12, 2012
StevieC in Greater Boston Area

Brunch Near the Hynes?

I'm not sure it fully qualifies as "veg friendly," but Back Bay Social Club does a very nice brunch.

Aug 16, 2012
StevieC in Greater Boston Area

New: Pulcinella Mozzerlla Bar and Ristorante

They opened last Thursday, I hope to go soon:

http://pulcinellamozzarellabar.com/

The price point seems high, but I like the menu (although the menu on the website is not entirely the same as what was in the window today). At least they are aiming for something a little different than the saturated surroundings..

Aug 07, 2012
StevieC in Greater Boston Area

Where to find "lobster pie" similar to Hilltop's

This doesn't help you as far being T-accessible, but the Porthole in Lynn does a lobster casserole in the old-school style you are looking for. Then again, there isn't anything about the Porthole that is not old-school. I personally find it charming in that regard.

I used to be a fan of Belle Isle's version, but ~2/3 years ago, instead of serving the lobster on its own in an aluminum container with crisp breadcrumbs, they now slop it into styrofoam with rice and the breadcrumbs are always soggy and unappetizing.

Aug 01, 2012
StevieC in Greater Boston Area

49 Social Recommendations?

I will be going to 49 Social this Friday for lunch. A search yielded virtually nothing, which surprised me, it's been open for some time now. Has anyone been? Is the lunch menu different from the dinner menu (no lunch menu is on their website)?

Thanks.

Aug 01, 2012
StevieC in Greater Boston Area

Downtown Crossing / Financial District / nearby patios for weekday lunch?

I wouldn't say "shouldn't miss," but Brandy Pete's.

Jun 14, 2012
StevieC in Greater Boston Area

Pino's in Cleveland Circle, what's the fuss?

In the early/mid-90's I thought the Sicilian slice of tomato/basil/garlic at Presto was desert-island worthy. I would prefer to keep that memory, hence I haven't returned since.

May 31, 2012
StevieC in Greater Boston Area

Guy Fieri seen at Angela's, and Cutty's

You're welcome.

Gee, what a disappointment.

May 21, 2012
StevieC in Greater Boston Area

Guy Fieri seen at Angela's, and Cutty's

Then just don't talk to FN producers and be done with it already.

May 21, 2012
StevieC in Greater Boston Area

Guy Fieri seen at Angela's, and Cutty's

I started going to Rino's in 2004, and it was ALWAYS impossible to get into on the weekends. I still can't figure out why DDD gets credit for this "phenomena." I am sure it briefly helped business, but that is ancient history. .

May 20, 2012
StevieC in Greater Boston Area

Best Carbonara in town

Yes, that is true. I personally prefer pancetta, though. Guanciale has a lingering smokiness that I find unpleasant.

But to be clear: I would never turn down a (properly made) carbonara because it was made with guanciale!

Jan 20, 2012
StevieC in Greater Boston Area

Best Carbonara in town

As with the Bolognese thread, I must promote Pasta Beach on this one. They do an outstanding job. Outside of Italy I have not had better.

Jan 19, 2012
StevieC in Greater Boston Area

Best Bolognese in town

Via Matta and Pasta Beach.

Jan 17, 2012
StevieC in Greater Boston Area

olive oil?

Frantoia (Sicily) and Lucini (Tuscany) EVOO are excellent and widely available, even in Stop & Shop.

Both were regularly used by Mario Batali in his Molto Mario shows, even when he touted using oil from the region of that episode's cooking (and it wasn't Sicily or Tuscany).

Nov 17, 2011
StevieC in Greater Boston Area

Best pulled pork in Boston?

The "Carolina Style" pulled pork at Blackstrap is absolutely amazing. (As is their mac&cheese...)

Oct 30, 2011
StevieC in Greater Boston Area

Globe Article on Seafood Substitutions.

@typhoonfish:

I think the point of the article was to help create an educated consumer, and in the process hold restaurants accountable to them.

You are in the industry. You consider certain facts about fish to be basic knowledge. Well, they are not. And why would they be.

Re: Ming Tsai - you refer to it as a naming issue that "most people would not even consider to be an issue." Which people? Industry people? I do not think that is the relevant population in this discussion.

Oct 24, 2011
StevieC in Greater Boston Area

Globe Article on Seafood Substitutions.

“I guess I take for granted that someone who is ordering black cod at $50 a plate, knows it's not domestic cod and most will generally know some of the common iterations of the name”

#

I appreciate and have enjoyed reading your perspective on this topic, but why do you take for granted that a diner would possess your specialized knowledge? And wasn't that the point of the article in the first place?

Oct 24, 2011
StevieC in Greater Boston Area

Best breakfast sandwich?

Second, based on the Clover truck adjacent to Boston City Hall. I've never been to the Harvard Sq. location.

(The only caveat being that the sandwich is not always assembled with uniform care at this location, and that can make a big difference.)

Oct 03, 2011
StevieC in Greater Boston Area

Zafferano's, East Boston

It is – believe it or not - now a dentist office.

As an Orient Heights resident, regular of Zafferano, and constant promoter of it on CH from early on, its closing (now more than four years ago) continues to be a great loss for the neighborhood and the dining scene in general. My wife and I, who came to regard chef/owner-husband/wife Peter and Pina as friends over the years, still miss it. I run into Peter in the North End on occasion, and regret to report that he has avoided any chef duties since his restaurant closed (despite my pleas…).

(@Slim: it actually opened in June 2004, not late 2005.)

Sep 27, 2011
StevieC in Greater Boston Area

Second Zo location

I haven't seen this posted yet, but Zo will be opening a second location at 92 State Street this month.

Although they have been open for two years, the lines have been far larger this summer than I have ever seen/experienced. I frequently opt not to go the line is so ridiculous. I am happy they are successful, but I selfishly wish it was still the relatively hidden/unknown gem it was early on. (Classic CH scenario...) Thankfully, though, the quality has in no way diminished. The original gyro that I always get is exactly the same as it was when they first opened. I think they deserve a lot of credit for continuing to do things the same way, even though the increased business must tempt them to cut corners.

Sep 01, 2011
StevieC in Greater Boston Area

East Boston suggestions wanted!

I second Tawakal.

In addition to those already named:

Italian: Italian Express (pizza particularly) and Mario's

Breakfast: Donna's

Colombian (roughly): El Kiosco

Donuts: Betty Ann's Place

-----
El Kiosco
972 Saratoga St, Boston, MA 02128

Italian Express
600 W Cummings Park Ste 1950, Woburn, MA 01801

Aug 22, 2011
StevieC in Greater Boston Area

Aragosta experience

I hadn't seen your review, though I will say that the picture of the lobster fra diavolo accompanying it looks completely unappealing. The "sauce" looks like soup. Hardly a properly dressed pasta.

May 16, 2011
StevieC in Greater Boston Area

Aragosta recs?

Yes, Bosch.

I put my review in a new thread: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/784888

There really is no view to speak of from inside (the patio a little moreso, weather permitting). From where I sat I looked out the window onto the Coast Guard Station next door. If the restaurant was at the other end of the wharf it would be a different story...

May 16, 2011
StevieC in Greater Boston Area

Aragosta experience

This is a follow-up to my post last week asking for Aragosta recommendations.

My SO and I went last Wednesday night. We did not go when the location was Sensing (except for the outdoor patio) so we can’t make any comparisons on the décor. Aragosta has blond wood and a light green/orange/brown color palette. It has a distinctly 70’s feel. Very odd and a little off-putting.

For a starter, we split the baccala fritter with tomato sauce. Based on the name, we were expecting light, but deep-fried fritters, akin to something we would get at a clam shack. In actuality we received three cod cakes shaped like small Twinkies. They were very good, though my SO found the acid balance lacking in the sauce.

For a pasta course, we each got a half order: lobster ravioli and gnocchi with lamb. The ravioli were fantastic, definitely freshly made, lots of lobster, with a slight touch of lemon that brought out the dish (though my SO didn’t care for the truffle oil, but she doesn’t like truffle). The gnocchi was like eating a Sunday dinner – the lamb was succulent and outshone the gnocchi, and the sauce under the gnocchi was as good as gravy.

For the main, we tried the special: rack of lamb, and were the first to get the order. The dish definitely showcased the quality of the lamb chops, and they were cooked perfectly. The polenta, billed as “crispy”, had gone limp because it was presented sandwiched between wilted spinach and placed in the lamb jus. Tasty, just not crispy, despite the obvious care that had been taken to make it cripsy. SO ordered the cod loin, and it was buttery good. It was an embarrassment, however, to call its accompaniment risotto. The rice was flavorful, but lacked any of the creamy, al dente goodness that is risotto. Just call it rice! The pistachios didn’t seem to make any sense on the dish, either.

For desert, we shared the olive oil cake with lemon sorbet. The cake was a real stand-out: light, airy, perfect deep-dark crust. I thought the sorbet was forgettable, but being next to the cake it didn’t matter.

Service was very attentive, though our server had a tendency to ask a question and then walk away as we were answering. The food runner was far more engaging and interested in how things were going.

Overall, we were somewhat underwhelmed for the price point, but will try a luncheon on the terrace when the weather improves.

May 16, 2011
StevieC in Greater Boston Area