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How do I replace Hamersley's as my "go to" special occasion restaurant? (Very detailed list of criteria inside!)

Sorry, I had assumed that you had done your research and already discarded these three options. I would certainly suggest the La Voile and Bistro du Midi based on personal experience. Although Bistro du Midi is not a Boston institution, the space it occupies certainly is. No tablecloths, either, but I think it fits your other criteria quite well. Images at https://www.google.com/search?q=bistr.... Both Sorellina and Lucca are multiples, rather than only children.

Sorry again, I misunderstood "I am not crazy about the Cambridge dining scene, and would greatly prefer to avoid Cambridge" meaning that your number concern about Cambridge was the dining scene, which is why I wrote "Can you explain your preoccupation with Cambridge being a "scene"?" You had seemed to virtually cross off two places without even having tried them, apparently, for the single con of "Cambridge" (plus "worried it's a "scene""). Harvest is a Cambridge classic (or institution) that would, I think, also fit most of your criteria, including the tablecloths. Rialto, except for the hotel setting, too.

Aug 20, 2014
youngho in Greater Boston Area

Row 34

We had a great meal at Row 34 this evening. We checked on OpenTable and called at 5:05, reservations all booked up, but we were welcome to try walking in (last time we got this line was at ICOB, where we were assured a 5-10 minute wait on the phone when we were 5 minutes away on Commonwealth Ave but told 45-60 minutes walking in), so we took a chance driving in, and indeed, we were seated outside right away at 5:35.

We ordered some raw bar dishes, the tuna tartare, the striped bass entree, the shrimp bucatini, and several sides. There was a minor hiccup on the raw bar entrees, about which our server and the rest of front of house really could not have been sweeter. The smoked uni toast, as well as the smoked bluefish and trout, were all delicious (our eight-month-old son enjoyed half of the trout).

The tuna tartare was spicier than we anticipated, perhaps reflecting both French (scallion) and Japanese-American (cucumber and ?Sriracha, just a hint of mayo) influences. The bass was a thick filet, just about perfectly cooked (bordering almost the tiniest bit undercooked for some tastes but perfect for ours, as well both of our children). The bucatini was also virtually perfect for us (again, the pasta might have been a little bit chewier than some might expect for fresh pasta, but wonderfully al dente in our teeth, nicely seasoned (maybe half a pinch of salt too much for some), a little grated cheese, and large, plump, flawless shrimp). Our friend thoroughly enjoyed his snap peas (warm side) and grilled garden vegetables (cool side), less so the onion rings.

The three of us also imbibed the Maine Beer Co beer selection (Mo), the Vollbier Helles, the Stone Unapologetic, the Downeast Cider, a Notch corn lager, and another IPA that I'm afraid I can't recall. Among the desserts, the chocolate peanut candy bar was one of the best desserts that my wife has had in recent memory, and the butterscotch pudding was smooth and rich, with the puffed rice adding a bit of texture. We found the crust of the peach pie to be a little bit perhaps oily-tasting, though still crispy (perhaps overfried was one first thought, I thought maybe fried on slightly too low a temperature for too long).

We had actually taken that same friend to ICOB when we had that issue, so Row 34 was really the perfect antidote. Probably the best striped bass entree in memory, the bucatini nearly flawless and certainly one of the best shrimp pasta dishes I've had, and the chocolate peanut candy car "maybe one of the best things I've put into my mouth."

Aug 19, 2014
youngho in Greater Boston Area

How do I replace Hamersley's as my "go to" special occasion restaurant? (Very detailed list of criteria inside!)

I agree, I would have thought it would have filled the major criteria expect for the lighting issue. Perhaps the chef's table at Bistro du Midi could be adjusted to fit

Aug 19, 2014
youngho in Greater Boston Area

How do I replace Hamersley's as my "go to" special occasion restaurant? (Very detailed list of criteria inside!)

Ah, La Voile, especially Bistro du Midi, probably Rialto, possibly Harvest are all probably too well-lit, sorry. Good luck with your search.

Aug 19, 2014
youngho in Greater Boston Area

How do I replace Hamersley's as my "go to" special occasion restaurant? (Very detailed list of criteria inside!)

Boston: what are your specific issues with La Voile or Bistro du Midi for French, maybe Lucca for Italian, dunno what fits your American criteria? I'm going to guess Sorellina is too Miami-feeling, Stella too casual for your tastes?

Can you explain your preoccupation with Cambridge being a "scene" requiring scare quotes? What's wrong with the Harvest or Rialto, for example?

Aug 19, 2014
youngho in Greater Boston Area

Anywhere Similar to Rendezvous?

Right, you guessed what I was thinking, but parking can be a little tricky. Price point will also end up being a little higher after adding up the small plates, but the service, food, and cocktails are simply fantastic. Although we liked the room, too, we can't speak to the noise factor because we do tend to eat on the earlier side with our children.

Aug 18, 2014
youngho in Greater Boston Area

Anywhere Similar to Rendezvous?

Puritan & Company? Slightly higher price point, different culinary frame of reference.. On our last visit (last year), we recognized one of our waitstaff from Rendezvous, actually. I assume you're not interested in Harvard Square due to parking issues.

Aug 17, 2014
youngho in Greater Boston Area

Questionable bill

Would just deduct $1.50 from tip

West Bridge

We love West Bridge!

It is just above our usual price point, and with two children now, it's a little harder for us to pull it together these days, but we took our daughter several times when she was 2-3 years old. We went twice very early on, when crispy chicken skin was the amuse bouche, and the third time, when it wasn't but she asked about it, the kitchen was so kind as to send out some pieces, which they typically reserved for the Egg in a Jar, just for her. I think we also went a fourth time, when she had forgotten about it. Many of the small plates were stunning, and I remember the fish dishes being particularly well-made. The Conant's Island cocktail has been mentioned, deservedly so, in reviews.

Anyway, the effort on the part of the staff to accommodate our daughter was particularly endearing to us. We hope you'll enjoy your experience there.

Apr 24, 2014
youngho in Greater Boston Area

El Centro: Awful. Boston, terrible food city.

The "only way" for "a rational reason"?

Is gender important for "those people" (or are they some sort of relatively homogenous, semi-processed biomass)? Like, which gender has historically done the cooking in "the home land"? Perhaps this gender has also learned from similarly gendered ancestors? Which gender typically emigrates earlier from "the home land" and starts working outside the home in the US earlier?

Perhaps the gender historically working in US kitchens and working their way up the job ladder is not the same one as has historically done the cooking in their native countries? Interesting that Anthony Bourdain doesn't seem to mention any female cooks of Central or South American descent in the NYC kitchens in Kitchen Confidential, as I recall.

Are there cultural reasons why certain gender-specific roles might exist for expected domestic duties and working hours? Are typical dining restaurant hours compatible with familial expectations, both in "those people" and even in many US households?

Sorry, just thinking out loud and being irrational. I really enjoy La Superior just about every time I go to Brooklyn, but I also like the tacos at Taqueria El Amigo, especially once I take the time and fuel consideration into account. I would like to try Beantown Taqueria, which I wish had opened while I still lived in Cambridgeport.

Say "au revoir" to Rendezvous

Oops, didn't read the rest of the sub-thread

Apr 20, 2014
youngho in Greater Boston Area

Lunch near newton Wellesley hospital....with a child

Two casual options include Blue Ribbon BBQ in West Newton (http://blueribbonbbq.com/newton/) and the food court at H-Mart in Burlington (for a variety of Korean and Korean-Chinese options, plus Vietnamese and basic sushi/sashimi), just a short detour off I-95N on your way back home, plus Asian grocery shopping galore. Weekdays are usually easier than weekends for both

Best of luck with your husband's health.

Apr 17, 2014
youngho in Greater Boston Area

Ain't nothin' but a ghee thing, baby!

Bonus points for using the word "grandmother," right?

Apr 06, 2014
youngho in Greater Boston Area

Ain't nothin' but a ghee thing, baby!

I thought our dinner at Royal India Bistro in Lexington a few months ago was one of the best Indian meals we've had in an extremely long time.

Apr 04, 2014
youngho in Greater Boston Area

Boston Chinatown

http://www.bostonmagazine.com/2013/01...

We really like Hong Kong Eatery (for Chinese-style dumpling noodle soup and the BBQ and roast pork, also rice plates and dry-fried chow fun), but it's kind of a hole-in-the-wall vibe (step up from hole-underground of Wai Wai). Shojo is super-cool but maybe a little expensive for what you might be looking for. The Q offers a nice variety of broths and things to order, including beers on tap.

Mar 29, 2014
youngho in Greater Boston Area

Don't see much about The Blue Room in Cambridge Lately?

We really enjoyed the pork belly appetizer and branzino entree on our last two visits there. The pork belly must be roasted slowly like at Momofuku, with the fried yucca cake providing a little crunch, the sambal a little heat, and the ginger a little zing. The grilled scallions were perhaps superfluous. We thought the branzino was one of the best fish dishes we'd had in years, beautifully balanced with the cubanelles adding a touch of welcome capsaicin. The one minor quibble was that the first visit had a larger piece of fish, the second occurring during Dine Out Boston weeks.
The rabbit tagliatelle on the first visit was delicious, but I found the fresh pasta itself to be a little gelatinous in texture, though I also had the same issue with a tagliatelle special at Puritan & Co, so perhaps the issue is with me, rather than the pasta itself. My hanger steak on the first visit was a little rare for my tastes, the lamb shoulder on the second was spot-on.

I see that there have been a number of chefs who've come through Blue Room over the years (http://www.chefdb.com/pl/5593/The-Blu...), so it's not surprising that experiences there have been varied over the years. I think the current exec chef Andrew Bonner was a sous chef for Jorge Lopes for a number of years before the last exec chef, who seemed to have some ambitions about taking Blue Room in a different direction than previously. I felt like the lamb shoulder was totally something I would have eaten in the Lopes years.

Business has seemed to be good at our visits there, even though we have tended to eat on the earlier side since our first and now second children were born (we once waited more than hour at Strip-T's with our daughter, who was less than two at the time, but we try to plan around issues like that now). We do find that there seem to be more restaurants in the area that are interesting than there used to seem to be.

We think the owners are lovely. We also really like Steve Johnson, incidentally.

Mar 29, 2014
youngho in Greater Boston Area

ISO: Butcher or Meat Shop in Metrowest For BBQ Season

You could try contacting Fresh Beef Market (508-879-4600) in Framingham. I was going to suggest John Dewar, but the website said they closed :-(

Mar 12, 2014
youngho in Greater Boston Area

Seta's Cafe Belmont

I really enjoyed the lamb sandwich when I had it a few weeks ago. The lamb was juicy and nicely cooked, no unpleasant char. At first, I thought it was a little underseasoned, but actually the lamb itself was nicely flavorsome without being gamy at all. I feel like the freshly baked lavash wraps really take the sandwiches to another level. I felt like things tasted fresh and were put together with care, whatever that is worth.

Mar 03, 2014
youngho in Greater Boston Area

Chicago Beef Sandwiches and Giardiniera in Boston?

Reading about Italian beef here made me go to Spalla's today. Today was even better than I remember it being: a touch more salt, a little more pepper and oregano, also the giardiniera was spicier than in the past (I used to ask for one or two sport peppers). Perfect amount of jus, just a trace left after soaking it up with the bread as I went. Good stuff, good folks.

Jan 14, 2014
youngho in Greater Boston Area

Clover -- not exactly free fries

Right! "Restrooms reserved for customers only" is not enough information!!

https://www.google.com/search?q=custo...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=msEfgB...

"Your honor, the sign "Handicapped only" didn't specify CURRENTLY handicapped only"

"What do you mean, 1/2 price for six and under? I used to be six and under, so I should only pay half price"

Clover -- not exactly free fries

I agree!

Actually, whenever restaurants have signs that restrooms are for customers only, I also find this ambiguous, so I feel free to walk in off the street to just use the restrooms if I've eaten there before (The same thing applies to parking for stores and businesses that say "for customers only." If I've ever shopped there, it's free parking for me!)

Chicago Dog at Spalla's in Natick

Yes, she's really lovely. I personally like my jus on the side (I find non-disintegrating bread easier to eat, but I'm a little sensitive about messy hands/fingers) and request it that way. I thought a touch more oregano and black pepper would suit my taste. I also requested the spicier pepper from the hot dog, as I thought the standard for the Italian beef might be a little mild. I'll have to go back this week!

Feb 03, 2013
youngho in Greater Boston Area

one pork shoulder, two recipes

Jan 12, 2013
youngho in Home Cooking

Spalla's/ Culinary delights in Natick

Nice friendly folks, tasty Italian beef (certainly the best I've had in the Boston area), good chili dog.

Jun 04, 2012
youngho in Greater Boston Area

Any good cheap seafood in Natick area? On the idea of Zalek's or SeaWitch??

Waverly Market often has sandwich specials with fish or scallop.

Dec 16, 2011
youngho in Greater Boston Area

Any good cheap seafood in Natick area? On the idea of Zalek's or SeaWitch??

Sichuan Gourmet in Framingham can do two off-the-menu fish lunch specials, if you ask the management up front. One is the fish filet with basil (spicy, also comes with asparagus), and the other is fish filet with black bean sauce (not spicy, also comes with assorted vegetables including mushroom). The former is one of my favorites. I think there's a shrimp one, too.

Dec 16, 2011
youngho in Greater Boston Area

Costco Chicken Pot Pie

Ours was a little salty but otherwise good

Oct 05, 2011
youngho in Chains

JunJiangMein- My Jones and Korea's Noodle Comfort Food

Based on the dozens of times I've had it there, the jajangmyun at Buk Kyung in Allston should have small pieces of meat, as well as minced onion and zucchini. No potato. Also, I recommend getting the ganjajang (the sauce is sauteed first, so it's thicker). The noodles are quite good.

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Buk Kyung
MA, MA

Sep 30, 2011
youngho in Greater Boston Area

Brasserie Jo

If they're not on the bar, you can just ask for them (along with a little mustard). Goes great with beer!

Aug 31, 2010
youngho in Greater Boston Area

Brasserie Jo

Another vote for Brasserie Jo! We used to live around the corner, and it was also our go-to joint. Since we would usually sit in the bar area on weekdays, Cesar was our usual man. Generously portioned martinis (my favorite martini of all time is still the Colonnade Royale), great warm baguettes, "secret" hard-boiled eggs on request, and dependable fare.

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Brasserie Jo
120 Huntington Avenue, Boston, MA 02116

Aug 30, 2010
youngho in Greater Boston Area