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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

Fugakyu Sudbury Appalling

I share your opinion when it comes to sushi. I am a traditionalist when it comes to Japanese restaurants and suhi in particular. The quality of the fish being served is paramount to anything else. I also don't care for "designer rolls" with things inside you would never find it Japan. After having lived in Japan for 7 years and been traveling there for over 25 years I have yet to see any sushi bar serving maki rolls that include cream cheese and salmon or anything that has been deep fried (aka Spider Rolls)
Thanks for the tips on the two places you mentioned. I will definitely give them a try. By the way, Irshai means "welcome" in Japanesed.

Oct 14, 2014
RoyRon in Greater Boston Area

Anniversary spot?

Although it is not what I would call a "special occasion place I really like SONO Asian Cuisine in Arlington for very good Japanese food. Tom, the manager does a great job serving excellent sushi and sashimi and IMHO the best Hamachi Kama in all of Boston. They also do many of the standard Japanese dishes you will find almost everywhere but I usually stick with the sushi/sashimi offering and the Hamachi Kama. On Thurs, Fri and Sat they usually have a couple of specials. This past weekend it was baby Sea Bream and Flying Fish. I tried both and found them very, very good. They will do all the "designer rolls" too but I stick with the more traditional styles.

Oct 13, 2014
RoyRon in Greater Boston Area

Fugakyu Sudbury Appalling

Don't know how convenient it would be for you but I would highly recommend SONO Asian Cuisine in Arlington. It is now my "go-to-place" for Japanese food. Excellent sushi and sashimi offering.

Oct 13, 2014
RoyRon in Greater Boston Area

Matsutake Mushrooms in Boston area???

I found two or three suppliers on-line that will ship them to you for about $35.00 per pound. The sources are in Oregon or Washington. I know from living in Japan that the prices in Tokyo are astronomical and Japan imports a lot of them from the US and Korea.

Oct 12, 2014
RoyRon in Greater Boston Area

Anniversary spot?

For a special occasion like a 10th anniversary I would suggest any of the following:

Liquid Art House on Arlington
Bar Baloud in the Mandarin Oriental Hotel
Bistro du Midi on Boylston

And if money is no object, O-Ya for excellent Japanese.

Oct 12, 2014
RoyRon in Greater Boston Area

Nazca Cafe Restaurant in Chelsea or another resto option in Peabody - FRI 10/10

It might be a bit out of your way but for excellent Spanish food you might consider Pintxo Pincho in Woburn center. They serve a wide variety of tapas as well as paella.

Oct 05, 2014
RoyRon in Greater Boston Area

Something reasonable at the intersection of 93 and 128

Felicia's always has 3 or 4 daily specials, some of which can be very good. I like their version of Lobster Mac & Cheese when its a special and recently they had a twin lobster special that was very reasonable. On Thursdays they also offer Tripe ala Marinara which is rather hard to find and quite good.

Sep 30, 2014
RoyRon in Greater Boston Area

need seafood

You might consider Row 34. Great craft beer selection and excellent sea food. They also take reservations but you will need to make them ASAP because this place is very, very popular. Row 34 is owned by the same team that owns ICOB and Eastern Standard Kitchen. The restaurant is located in the Seaport District.

Sep 26, 2014
RoyRon in Greater Boston Area

Bar Boulud

I have to agree on the Ravioli. My SO thought they were good but certainly not nearly as good as my Sole. The real highlight for me and the dish I would go back for was the Shrimp al Ajillo. It was outstanding.

Sep 25, 2014
RoyRon in Greater Boston Area

Northeastern Parents weekend restaurant suggestions please

I would suggest Eastern Standard Kitchen in Kenmore Sq. Average prices with a nice variety of menu items. You also might consider some of the places in the Seaport District (Legal Seafoods, etc) or something in the North End where there are many, many good to really great Italian restaurants.

Sep 25, 2014
RoyRon in Greater Boston Area

Bar Boulud

Yes. They are a side order of Mushroom Fricasse. It was mixture of several different types of wild mushrooms simply sauteed with butter and a bit of garlic. Very nice accompaniment to our dinner.

Sep 25, 2014
RoyRon in Greater Boston Area

visiting Boston after 8 years!

In the North End for seafood try Neptune Oyster on Salem St. Very small place, no reservations so best to go at lunch or very early (4:00PM) dinner. If it is busy they will take your cell phone number and call you so it gives you time to stroll around the neighborhood. They are well known for their raw bar selections, fried clams and lobster rolls (hot & Cold versions). For upscale Italian in the N.E. try Prezza. People also like Scampo in the Liberty Hotel which is run by Lydia Shire. Some of the new spots that might not have been here 8 years ago are Island Creek Oyster Bar in Kenmore Sq (Make reservations early)for great seafood and nice atmosphere. Another choice near the Seaport District is Row 34 for very good seafood and oysters. For something on the romantic side you might like Bistro du Midi which overlooks the Public Garden on Boylston St. A couple of other very new places are Liquid Art House on Arlington and probably the newest restaurant in town Bar Boulud in the Mandarin Oriental Hotel.

Sep 24, 2014
RoyRon in Greater Boston Area

Bar Boulud

I was anticipating the opening of Bar Boulud in the Mandarin Oriental Hotel so last night my SO and I took one for the CH team and tried it.

The room, in the space formerly occupied by Asana, has been completely restyled and has a much more casual feel to it than Asana. The walls are covered with pieces from wooden wine boxes showing the names of all the famous wine growing regions and chateaus in France. The ceiling has large wooden arches which gave me the feeling that you were on the inside of a large wine cellar. Overall it is a pleasant dining environment. The restaurant was about 90% full last night and the noise level was quite high but about what you would expect in a busy place.

The service was very good and we recognized several of the staff who had previously worked at Asana. The waitstaff were all very professional and knowledgeable about each of dish on the menu.

I started with a very well mixed Rye Manhattan that at $17.00 was expensive but at the same time a very generous pour. For starters I had the Shrimp al Ajillo $17 (sauteed ruby red shrimp, lemon, garlic) and my SO had the Caesar Salad Provencal $15 (baby gem lettuce, shaved Parmesan, sourdough crouton herb anchovy vinaigrette. Both these dishes were very good but the Shrimp al Ajillo was excellent.

We followed with Aubergine Ravioli $25(charred eggplant, sheep’s milk ricotta green olive, confit tomato)and Lemon Sole Meunière $31 (cauliflower, lemon, capers, marcona. Both dishes were spot on but my Sole was one of the better seafood offerings I've had recently.

For dessert I chose Gâteau Basque $9 (traditional basque custard cake,brandied cherries, vanilla anglaise) This was a very light custard cake that was a perfect ending to a great meal.

I think Bar Boulud is another great addition to the Boston dining scene. We were very happy with our first meal at Bar Boulud and will certainly be back.

Fred's Franks- New home in Medford- NOW OPEN !!!

Congratulations Carl! All fans of your great dogs, sausages and of the Snurble will be looking forward to seeing you again.

Sep 23, 2014
RoyRon in Greater Boston Area

Gene's Chinese Flatbread Cafe has opened in Woburn today!

Hi Ferrari Nice to meet you too. Hopefully next time we can chat and compare notes on some of the other places in the area.

Sep 18, 2014
RoyRon in Greater Boston Area

Gene's Chinese Flatbread Cafe has opened in Woburn today!

I have been reading about Gene's ever since he opened in Chelmsford and so finally I was able to try his location in Woburn today. I don't know what took me so long but I had the #9 and it was outstanding. I noticed the specials Gene has listed and briefly thought about trying one or two but not knowing how the large the portions would be I just stayed with my first choice, the #9. I will definitely going back to Gene's frequently. All the other menu choices look too good to pass up. At noon today there were only about 8 people theree

Restaurant/bar for deep conversation over dinner

You might consider Liquid Art House on Arlington St. It is a large restaurant and one of the things I like about it is that the tables are well spaced so you can carry on a dinner conversation easily. I have found the food and service to be extremely good and they have a very professional bar staff too. Prices are definitely on the high side but I think this place would fit your needs very well.

Sep 17, 2014
RoyRon in Greater Boston Area

All-time best dessert?

Yikes!! How did I forget that one? I agree that it is fantastic and a real guilty pleasure

Sep 15, 2014
RoyRon in Greater Boston Area

All-time best dessert?

I would add the Quintuple Chocolate Cheesecake when Asana was still in business at the Mandarin Oriental and the Let's Split It chocolate cake at the Four Seasons Bristol Lounge. Total chocolate decadence in both cases. MY SO would also add the Butterscotch Bread Pudding at Eastern Standard too

Sep 15, 2014
RoyRon in Greater Boston Area

Scenic Drive from NYC to Boston..

In Washington, CT which is a couple of hours drive from NYC there is the Mayflower Inn. Washington itself is a beautiful town and it should be perfect for the foliage at the time of your trip. The inn itself is beautiful but even if you don't sty there the restaurant is worth a stop. You could then continue north into MA through the Berkshire Hills pick up the MA Tpke and drive all the way to Boston.

Sep 12, 2014
RoyRon in Southern New England

Sono Asain Cuisine Pictures

I forgot to attach a few pictures of the various dishes I tried on my last visit

Sep 08, 2014
RoyRon in Greater Boston Area

Sono Asian Cuisine, Arlington. Continues to improve

Over the past couple of months I have made almost weekly visits to SONO Asian Cuisine in Arlington. I liked SONO when it first opened and I have to say that I like it even more now. Tom, the manager, and his young team are doing a great job serving really excellent Japanese food. I stick pretty much to the sashimi and sushi offerings, especially any of the specialty items they usually have on Thurs, Fri. and Sat. This past Thursday they had Jack Mackerel (Aji) directly from Japan. I ordered it just as sashimi but because it is the whole fish they will serve it as half sashimi and half as nigiri sushi. The presentation, the freshness and traditional garnish of grated ginger and finely chopped chives was outstanding. I followed this with locally sourced flounder (Hirame). This was served with a very nice dipping sauce that Tom told me was a combination of rice vinegar, salted plum paste (Ume boshi) and a few drops Sriacha. The slightly spicy sauce was an excellent match for the Hirame. I also tried the Uni with a raw quail egg yoke that was so delicious I had a second order. I ended my last visit with a Natto Temaki which was a fitting end to a very nice meal.

I also think that SONO does the best version of Hamachi Kama I have ever had in Boston. Each time I have ordered it the portion has been enough for two people if you combined it with some other dishes and at $11.00 it is a bargain. I have also grown to like their Age Dashi Tofu which is much better than the first time I tried it shortly after they opened.

As a long time fan of Sushi Island (prior to their move to Marblehead) and Toraya I now prefer SONO over both of them. In addition to great very traditional Japanese food the friendly yet professional team make a visit to SONO very enjoyable.

Sep 08, 2014
RoyRon in Greater Boston Area

Quiet Cambridge/Somerville dinner with foodie parents

Although not in Cambridge or Somerville I would suggest Liquid Art House on Arlington St in Boston. Unusual combination of an art gallery and a very good restaurant. Creative food presented beautifully with excellent service too. It is a large restaurant but the table are well spaced so the noise level is low making it easy to hold a nice conversation. The have a very good bar and a nice but not extensive wine list.

Sep 02, 2014
RoyRon in Greater Boston Area

Recs please: 3 meals in Boston

I would add Liquid Art House to the list of suggestions. My wife and I enjoyed our second dinner there last night. The place was very busy and about 80% of tables were occupied by 9:00PM. The food, while not inexpensive, is very good and well presented with interesting flavors. We love the wild mushroom dumplings, the scallops and the striped bass. We split the sour cherry bread pudding for dessert. It was delicious! They have a very competent bar staff and my Rye Manhattan couldn't have been better. The atmosphere is unusual but we really like all the art that is displayed.

Aug 30, 2014
RoyRon in Greater Boston Area

Bachelor Party Seafood restaurant

For a late night event like that you might also try Island Creek's sister restaurant, Row 34. They stay open quite late and could accommodate a large party but I would call them at least 2 months in advance.

Aug 26, 2014
RoyRon in Greater Boston Area

Los Angeles Couple Taking Daughter to BU Needs French or Italian Recomendation

For something unique you might like Oleana in Cambridge. The chef, Ana Sortun, does a great job with her Mediterranean Middle Eastern influenced food. Not very formal but unique and very flavorsome dishes.

Aug 20, 2014
RoyRon in Greater Boston Area
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Walking near Sheraton Back Bay

Summer Shack is very close if you like seafood.

Aug 19, 2014
RoyRon in Greater Boston Area

Good food, reasonable prices

If you are looking for something that is not very expensive and serves food that I think is some of the most unique in Boston I would Suggest Oleana on Hampshire St. in Cambridge. If you have never been there they feature dishes with a strong Mediterranean and Middle East influence. There is a long list of interesting and delicious meze (appetizers) and a selection of meat and seafood entrees. If anyone is a vegetarian they will find a lot of options including a prixe fixe vegetarian menu. They offer a nice selection of wine and beer. I like their desserts to and highly recommend their version of Baked Alaska. It can be easily shared between two or more. I find their prices to be reasonable with the meze in the $8.00 to $12.00 range and entrees around $20.00 to $30.00.

Aug 11, 2014
RoyRon in Greater Boston Area
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