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When "the Best Steak Ever" Is Not an Exaggeration [moved from Boston board]

Hi O. C.

Have you heard that the Island Creek Oyster Bar/Row 34 group will be opening a new place in Portsmouth within the next month or so? I think its going to be called Row 34 too.

May 04, 2015
RoyRon in Northern New England

Japanese restaurant or cooking class

I am a lover of Japanese cuisine and a few months ago had the pleasure of spending a few days in S.D. The highlight of my visit was two dinners at Tadokoro Sushi in Old Town. This is one of the finest and most authentic Japanese restaurants I have ever been to in the USA. I lived in Japan for a long time and have been traveling there for over 25 years and each time I went to Tadokoro I was transported back to Tokyo. Although it is primarily a sushi restaurant they do offer a wide variety of other very traditional dishes. If your son loves Japanese food make a reservation to sit at the sushi bar. He will love it.

Apr 30, 2015
RoyRon in San Diego

Good and old school.

For old school Italian American drive out to Stoneham and try Felicia's Of The North End. They do all the Italian American favorites as well as some nice daily specials. Another bonus is they have what I would call one of the most "generous pours" in the Boston area when it comes to drinks. I really like their Zuppa Di Vongole (Steamed Littlenecks in your choice of red of white sauce. Delicious and you get a large bowl of freshly steamed clams with a nice chunk of Italian bread to mop up the sauce with for under $10.00.

Apr 13, 2015
RoyRon in Greater Boston Area

Best Boston restaurants that are also great for kids

The Liberty Hotel and Scampo might be a good choice too. The kids may like telling their friends they had dinner in an old jail. The food at Scampo is very good and there are some kid friendly menu choices (spaghetti with marinara sauce and various pizzas).

Apr 13, 2015
RoyRon in Greater Boston Area

Most elegant new restaurant

I would also suggest Bistro Du Midi. Very nice room and soon all the flowering trees in the Public Garden will be in bloom so if you arrive in the early evening when there is still daylight the view from the tables near the windows will be very, very nice. We have also found the food and the service to be very good and they have a very competent bar staff too. We've been to Deuxave and were not overly impressed. The food was okay but nothing I would make a return trip for.

Apr 11, 2015
RoyRon in Greater Boston Area

Mandatory 20% at Select?

I don't have any problem with it because I almost always add a 20% tip but I can see a lot of people being very opposed of it. As one of the other posters said, "if it is mandatory the service ought to be damn good". Also, with a mandatory 20% added to your bill some would say it doesn't give the servers much incentive to offer really good service.

Apr 06, 2015
RoyRon in Greater Boston Area

Top quality chinese restaurant in(near) Boston

I would add Sichuan Garden in Woburn to the suggestions. For very good Chinese seafood I would consider the Peach Farm and East Ocean City both in Chinatown.

Apr 06, 2015
RoyRon in Greater Boston Area

Any great Indian buffets on the North Shore?

I would suggest Ritu Ki Rasoi in Burlington for a really good all vegetarian buffet but its only served at lunch. On Wed nights they do a buffet that features vegetarian dishes from a specific region of India. I also like The Pongal on Rte 3A in Billerica. They do a very nice and varied lunch buffet every day.

Feb 03, 2015
RoyRon in Greater Boston Area

how would you describe the Boston restaurant scene to an out of towner?

Hi Slim

I agree with your analysis of Yakitori Zai. I eagerly awaited the opening because I love yakitori and it seemed like this place was going to do it correctly. Unfortunately the prices they had to charge were very high even compared to Japan where most offerings at a good yakitori-ya cost around 100 to 200 yen. I also found that on the two times I went there they didn't have some of the more exotic choices which, for me, are the best part of going to a good yakitori place.

Jan 30, 2015
RoyRon in Greater Boston Area

Sushi Tadokoro

You San Diego CH'ers are making me crazy. I'm sitting here in Boston, up to our asses in snow with temperatures in the teens dreaming about the two fantastic evenings I spent at Tadokoro in early December. We have a couple of good to very good Japanese places here but nothing that comes close to Tadokoro. I'd even stop griping about our weather if I knew there was a place like that here.

Jan 29, 2015
RoyRon in San Diego

how would you describe the Boston restaurant scene to an out of towner?

I am total agreement regarding your comments about the lack of variety available in Japanese restaurants in Boston. I would love to see a really good izakaya open up or, even better, a Kappo Ryori, style izakaya but that is probably too much to wish for. The specialty restaurants that exist in Japan are tough to find here in the US unless you are in NYC or LA. Others I'd like to see here would be an authentic Yakitori place, a dedicated Tonkatsu place, a dedicated Tempura place and a Unagi place but I guess to find any of these I will just need to keep finding reasons to go to Japan. Why can't someone open an authentic Teppanyaki restaurant that serves high quality beef and seafood without all the BS and theatrics that most Tepanyaki places here do?

Jan 29, 2015
RoyRon in Greater Boston Area
2

Chinese Tea in the 'burbs?

I would suggest Solana Garden Farm in Winchester. They have a very wide selection of loose teas that include may of the Chinese and Japanese favorites. I enjoy black teas and think their Solana blend is excellent. They sell their teas in small containers of various sizes but you can also just buy it in bulk. Most of the tea they sell is also organic if that is important to you. Solana also has a wide range of spices and some very unusual salts from around the world.

Jan 05, 2015
RoyRon in Greater Boston Area

What's your *favorite* restaurant in San Diego?

Hands down Sushi Tadokoro. And I don't even live in San Diego but dined there twice on a recent trip. I just wish Boston had a Japanese place this good and this authentic

Dec 30, 2014
RoyRon in San Diego

Sushi Tadokoro

Don't miss their house made Ankimo (Monkfish liver) or his house cured Salmon Eggs. I also loved his version of Hamachi Kama. I like it Shio Yaki style (Salt Broiled)

Dec 30, 2014
RoyRon in San Diego

Christmas Dinner Petit Robert

Many times on this board people ask about restaurants that are open on major holidays. Well, after checking out all the hotel restaurants for this year's Christmas Dinner we decided for the fourth year to go back to Petit Robert in Kenmore Sq. Each of the previous years were very good and we liked the fact that although they offered a special Christmas menu you could still order off their regular menu which was what we opted for. I stuck with the classics and ordered Onion Soup followed by Beef Bourguignon. My SO chose the Hearts of Romaine Salad and the Grilled Salmon with Ratatouille. Each of was very pleased with our choices. The portions were ample and the flavors and quality of each course was very, very good. We shared an order of the Tart Tatin for dessert topped off with a glass of Port and two espressos.

We were seated at a very nice table near the front window on the first floor. We like the ambiance of Petit Robert because it really does feel like a small bistro in France. The service was top notch and the prices are very reasonable.

I would recommend Petit Robert for any holiday dinner when the choices at many other restaurants around Boston are somewhat limited to over priced prixe fix menus.

Dec 26, 2014
RoyRon in Greater Boston Area

Tadokoro, Fantastic experience

I reiterate what I wrote in my post. It was fantastic and the Toro and Uni were both superb. I also really enjoyed the Mirugai (Giant Clam/Gooeyduck) which is very hard to get here in Boston for some reason. The chef also told me that they prepare their own Ankimo (Monkfish liver pate aka Japanese Foi Gras). We also tried their Hamachi Kama and had it prepared Shio Yaki (Salt Broiled) It too was excellent. Tadokoro is not inexpensive but I would go back in a minute if I had the chance.

Dec 02, 2014
RoyRon in San Diego

new yorkers annual trip to san diego

I just came back from a week in S.D. and I'm a huge sushi fan. I absolutely loved Tadokoro if you want a traditional Japanese sushi spot. It's small and Japanese owned and I found it to be fantastic.

Dec 01, 2014
RoyRon in San Diego

Tadokoro, Fantastic experience

On a trip to your fair city about a week ago I was fortunate to have an opportunity to dine at Tadokoro in Old Town. I now live in Boston but I also lived in Japan for about 7 years and have been traveling there for over 25 years and I love Japanese food. After researching Tadokoro on line and reading some very favorable reviews I decided to try it because it sounded like the traditional style Japanese place that seem harder and harder to find these days. I am a traditionalist when it comes to Japanese food and Tadokoro met my expectations on every count. So many Japanese places in the US now days focus on what I call "designer rolls or fusion sushi". I know this type of sushi is very popular here in the states but it is not my taste.

Me and my two companions sat at the sushi bar and ordered everything ala carte (okonomi de). We also took some of the Itamai-san's recommendations for what the best offerings were that day. I have to say that if I lived in San Diego a substantial portion of my income would be spent at Tadokoro. The quality and variety of the fish, the presentations and the exquisite attention to detail made for a memorable dining experience. They even had Shirako (fish sperm) which I have never seen in the USA. Our dining experience at Tadokoro was so good that we made plans to return again one night later.

There are a number of Japanese restaurants in Boston but very few are Japanese owned and operated and most of them focus more on fusion sushi. San Diegoans (sp?) are very fortunate to have a place like Tadokoro. I just wish they would open a branch in Boston. My only other choice is spending a lot of money on airfare traveling to San Diego.

Dec 01, 2014
RoyRon in San Diego

Broasted Chicken Anywhere?

I lked Eri's too because fried chicken is a guilty pleasure for me but the two times I tried it I found it to be incredibly salty and I love salt. I wonder if they brine the chicken to keep it very moist but don't rinse the brine off before they cook it.

Dec 01, 2014
RoyRon in Greater Boston Area

Polar Seltzer Limited Winter Edition 2014

Hi O.C.

Have you tried the HINT brand at Whole Foods? They are not carbonated but they have a wide range of interesting fruit flavors that, IMHO, are unique because they taste exactly like real fruit. No artificial taste at all and they are totally sugar free. My favorites are the pear and the orange.

Dec 01, 2014
RoyRon in Greater Boston Area

O Ya - guess we should have gone years ago (long...and sad...)

Amen and you are correct about SONO. Tom and his team do an excellent job as long as you stick to the traditional styles of sushi and sashimi. They offer the more creative "designer rolls" but that is not what I go there for. Put yourself in Tom's hands for a wonderful Omakase. You will be happy and it won't cost $150 per person.

Nov 18, 2014
RoyRon in Greater Boston Area

[UPDATE] Vote for your favorite restaurants in the Boston area for "Best of 2014."

SONO Asian Cuisine Arlington, MA www.sonoasian.com

Very good Japanese restaurant that focuses on serving high quality sushi and sashimi. SONO also has the best Hamachi Kama in Boston.

Nov 18, 2014
RoyRon in Greater Boston Area
1

O Ya - guess we should have gone years ago (long...and sad...)

This is indeed a very sad review. I went to O-Ya numerous times soon after it opened and although it was expensive each time was a memorable dining experience. I even had one European friend tell me that it was the most memorable meal he had ever had. It would really be a shame if O-Ya has started to slip. Although it is not a "traditional" Japanese restaurant the quality of the ingredients was always very high and the combinations were always unique and delicious. It would really be a shame if Boston lost a restaurant like O-Ya because they couldn't maintain the quality and consistency they have been known for.

Nov 18, 2014
RoyRon in Greater Boston Area

best bolognese in boston area?

I won't claim its the best but I like Davio's version quite a bit

Nov 13, 2014
RoyRon in Greater Boston Area

Liquid Art House

I just read your review and am in complete agreement. We've been back several times since our first visit shortly after they opened and have not been disappointed. No argument that the prices are high at LAH but we've found that overall the restaurant delivers what one would expect at those price points.

Nov 12, 2014
RoyRon in Greater Boston Area

Sakura Bana

I remember Tatsukichi more for the Japanese style karoke club they had on the second floor and Gyuhama for their Rock & Roll Sushi which they used to start at around 11:00PM on Fri and Sat. nights. The waitresses would change into mini skirts and they would play MTV music videos. The oldest place I remember in Fresh Pond was Little Osaka which was in an old house.

Nov 11, 2014
RoyRon in Greater Boston Area

Sono Asian Cuisine, Arlington. Continues to improve

Many Japanese restaurants will do what is now commonly called an "omakase course" Omakase means, "its up to you" or in other words the chef chooses what he will serve and usually this includes what is best on that particular day. In some high-end places you can specify an amount you want to spend and that will determine how many courses they serve and what types of fish. It is a great way to really experience a wide range of sushi or sashimi and you may find things that you would have never tried otherwise

Nov 07, 2014
RoyRon in Greater Boston Area

Anniversary Dinner North of Boston

L'Andana in Burlington is very nice but a bit expensive or Davio's in the Marketplace Mall in Lynnfield would be nice too

Nov 04, 2014
RoyRon in Greater Boston Area

Christmas Dinner 2014 reservations

My wife and I have had Christmas dinner at Petit Robert on Commonwealth Ave for the past 2 years. Both times were very good. They offered a very nice menu that covered a range of meat, seafood and a couple of vegetarian dishes. You could certainly get away with less than $500 as long as you didn't get overly creative with the choice of wines. It is a nice room but if you decide to try it I would suggest that you specify that you want a table on the main floor, not the lower level.

Oct 15, 2014
RoyRon in Greater Boston Area

Sono Asian Cuisine, Arlington. Continues to improve

Like you I consider myself a traditionalist when it comes to sushi and Japanese food in general. I lived in Japan for 7 years and have been traveling there on a rather regular basis for over 25 years. I also speak Japanese and have had the good fortune of having dined at some of the top sushi bars in Japan. I do agree with you that at times the presentations at SONO are over-the-top and not "traditional" but I also agree that they trying very hard to deliver high quality fish. I never order any of the fancy makis and stick with sashimi, nigiri sushi and temakis and I think they have the best Hamachi Kama in Boston. I have not been disappointed. I am a very big fan of Junji and was very sad when he relocated to Marblehead but I have made the 45 minute trek at least 5 times now to enjoy his sushi. I have never been a huge fan of Toraya although I do enjoy the overall atmosphere of the place because it makes me feel like I am back in a neighborhood izakaya in Tokyo. What I don't like about it is that because it is small and usually crowded it is not possible to order sushi one or two pieces at a time (okonomi-de). In my opinion the quality of the fish at Toraya is no better than what I have had at SONO but I do like a few of the other menu offerings at Toraya including the Chirashi sushi, Age Dashi Tofu and the Beef Tongue.

Oct 14, 2014
RoyRon in Greater Boston Area