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Trip Report from July 4th weekend- The Good, Bad and the Ugly (LONG)

This has been my experience too, barleywino. ICOB isn't bad, but I'm not a fan of the food.

Jul 12, 2012
rlove in Greater Boston Area

Marliave, Mantra, or Stoddard's? A pre-Theatre dilemna

If you are having trouble deciding, I'll cast my vote for Marliave.

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Marliave
10 Bosworth Street, Boston, MA 02108

Mar 09, 2011
rlove in Greater Boston Area

Trip Report: February 25, 2011

Wow you hit Boston's highlights, or at least my personal favorites--Craigie on Main, O Ya, and Neptune Oyster are all something special, unique. Great choices, and happy to hear you enjoyed yourself so much. Thank you for the review.

Next time you are in town, give Coppa or Erbaluce a visit for some excellent, interesting Italian--and, separately, visit Craigie again to enjoy its oft-changing menu.

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O Ya
9 East Street, Boston, MA 02111

Neptune Oyster
63 Salem St Ste 1, Boston, MA 02113

Erbaluce
69 Church Street, Boston, MA 02116

Coppa
253 Shawmut Ave, Boston, MA 02118

Mar 06, 2011
rlove in Greater Boston Area

Desperately seeking a local's advice

AsheABQ, I apologize for sending you to an awful meal.

I promise Bistro du Midi is well-loved on this board so mine is not some crazy lone recommendation. The chef, Robert Sisca, was just nominated for the "people's choice" portion of Food & Wine Best New Chef. My experiences have always been positive.

Again, my apologies! I hope the rest of your visit was great.

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Bistro du Midi
272 Boylston Street, Boston, MA 02116

Feb 15, 2011
rlove in Greater Boston Area

Is Deep Ellum on par with ESK and Drink?

I agree with this analysis nearly 100%. Spot on.

My only modification is I find it hard to order cocktails at Deep Ellum. They do a fine job, but they are much more of a beer bar, and they truly excel at that. Thus, like Slim, I put it below ESK and Drink for cocktails, but perhaps a bit further so.

But, if you are already in Allston, by all means stay there and enjoy Deep Ellum. It is an excellent haunt.

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Deep Ellum Bar
477 Cambridge St, Allston, MA 02134

Feb 04, 2011
rlove in Greater Boston Area

Deuxave or Towne?

Glad to hear you enjoyed it!

I would have gone with Deuxave over Towne anyhow.

Feb 04, 2011
rlove in Greater Boston Area

To anyone who has dined solo at Marea...

Given Marea's fame, I'm not sure why the OP would want to go without a reservation?

Even dining for one, you might as well make one. Doesn't hurt.

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Marea
240 Central Park South, New York, NY 10019

Jan 28, 2011
rlove in Manhattan

To anyone who has dined solo at Marea...

I dined there solo quite recently. Enjoyed a wonderful meal at the bar.

If you aren't interested in eating or spending a lot, the lunch prix fixe is perfect: $42 for one primo and one secondo. You can get one crudo and one pasta and have a delicious but not huge lunch.

I wouldn't feel intimidated eating at the bar. It is the the easiest, most liberal route to eating at a restaurant.

Jan 28, 2011
rlove in Manhattan

1.25.11 Globes review of Citizen Public House & Oyster Bar

On the topic of not experiencing the inconsistencies: How many times have you been to Citizen Oyster House?

Jan 27, 2011
rlove in Greater Boston Area

Chicken livers: Any great recommendations?

The buffalo chicken livers (chicken livers breaded and served like chicken wings, doused in wing sauce) at The Gallows are rich yet balanced and quite addictive. Highly recommended.

I also really like the chicken liver pâté at La Voile. Very liver-y, rich, unctuous. Reminiscent of liver pâtés in France--not for those not fully bullish on liver.

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La Voile
261 Newbury Street, Boston, MA 02116

Jan 26, 2011
rlove in Greater Boston Area

1.25.11 Globes review of Citizen Public House & Oyster Bar

I enjoyed my visits, but feel Devra's review is too generous. Although I hate to legitimize the star system, three stars is one to many.

Some of the menu items are uneven, and the service at the bar isn't always great. The oysters are fine, but they aren't the best oyster shop in town. That trotter schnitzel is pretty good, though.

Certainly worth checking it out, though. It isn't a large time or money commitment. Sit at the bar and enjoy a drink, some oysters, and an appetizer.

Jan 26, 2011
rlove in Greater Boston Area

Where can I find fresh galangal?

Today (and for the last two weeks or so), Formaggio Kitchen has had both kaffir lime leaves and fresh, whole kaffir limes. The whole limes were gorgeous. They also had beautiful yuzu, which I had not noticed until today.

I haven't seen them at South End Formaggio; just Formaggio Kitchen.

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Formaggio Kitchen
244 Huron Ave, Cambridge, MA 02138

South End Formaggio
268 Shawmut Ave, Boston, MA 02118

Jan 16, 2011
rlove in Greater Boston Area

Thoughts on lack of menu changes at Sorrelina/Mistral?

I agree if restaurants stay packed while continuing to serve the same menu, you can't blame them for not changing it. Plus, as restaurants are around longer, they need to keep more and more of the favorites on the menu to keep their regulars happy.

That said, the unchanging menu is why I don't often go to Mistral or Sorrelina. With so many restaurants such as Craigie on Main, Bondir, and Erbaluce, that often change the menu weekly if not daily, I find it hard to go to joints that offer the same options day after day.

I also think a menu is indicative of a chef that is still in the kitchen, pushing his or her craft, working with the market and trying new things. I love eating something different every time I visit Craigie on Main, trying the specials at Coppa, or seeing where the market leads Bergamot. At the very least, I expect seasonal changes to menus.

So I suppose I agree completely: I understand the unchanging menu from a business perspective, assuming it works for that particular restaurant, but my favorite restaurants all offer menus that change with the seasons, the market, and the chef's whim.

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Craigie on Main
853 Main Street, Cambridge, MA 02139

Erbaluce
69 Church Street, Boston, MA 02116

Coppa
253 Shawmut Ave, Boston, MA 02118

Bondir
279 Broadway, Cambridge, MA 02139

Jan 16, 2011
rlove in Greater Boston Area

Who is taking Ken Ramen's place?

Stopped in today to say goodbye and enjoy one last bowl of "Kita no Kuni" salt ramen. Delicious as always.

Sat at the bar and watched Kenji do his thing. Boston will definitely miss him.

Today is their last day and they should be open until 9pm as usual. You've got three hours to drop in, enjoy one last excellent bowl of ramen, and bid Kenjo sayōnara!

Jan 16, 2011
rlove in Greater Boston Area

Where can I find fresh galangal?

Yes. 1 Brighton Ave at Commonwealth Ave.

I saw plenty of galangal there about two hours ago (Saturday afternoon). It is in the refrigerated part of the produce section.

Jan 16, 2011
rlove in Greater Boston Area

Desperately seeking a local's advice

I can't comment on Encore B&B, but I can offer some thoughts on seafood in Boston, focusing on romance, ambiance, and excellent seafood, as you requested.

Mare is OK but you can find better. It suffers, as with much of the North End, from a strong tourist clientele and is not really a chef-driven enterprise.

Instead of providing you with a long list of suggestions, I will give you exactly two. Both excellent, but different in style. Perhaps you can try both!

Bistro du Midi (on Bolyston St across from Boston Common) is a provençal-style French restaurant with a fish and shellfish-heavy menu. The chef, Robert Sisca, is formerly the sous chef at Le Bernadin, New York's temple to seafood. Most dishes at Bistro du Midi are very good, but the seafood really shines. I recommend the mussels mariniere or stuffed calamari for appetizers and the pan-roasted cod, roasted monkfish, and shellfish bouillabaisse for main courses. The wine list is very good, with well-paired French whites. The ambiance is dark, romantic, and chiq, with professional service and a view of Boston Common out the second story windows.

Neptune Oyster (Salem St in the North End) is a European-style oyster bar with excellent crudos, pastas, and fish main courses--and, of course, an excellent raw bar. I highly recommend a plate of raw oysters, a crudo or two, and perhaps whatever the special of the day is. The wine menu contains some odd selections, but most work and are well paired to the seafood. The ambiance is romantic, cozy and small, like a Parisian oyster bar.

I could not pick between both as they are so different. Neptune Oyster is one of my favorite places in the city (and many other 'hounds concur) but Bistro du Midi excels at fish and is a very nice, romantic restaurant. As I said, perhaps you can do both!

I hope this helps! Good luck with your choice and enjoy Boston.

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Neptune Oyster
63 Salem St Ste 1, Boston, MA 02113

Bistro du Midi
272 Boylston Street, Boston, MA 02116

Jan 14, 2011
rlove in Greater Boston Area

Who is making the best restaurant desserts in New York now?

FYI, wd~50's pastry chef, Alex Stupak, just left the restaurant. His last service was this weekend. I wholeheartedly agree that his desserts were excellent. Often the star of the meal.

I have not been since he left nor have I read any reports. I did hear that Wylie was promoting a sous-chef to pastry chef. I suspect that for awhile the desserts will remain roughly the same, and I can't imagine that execution would slip much. The real test is where things go in the coming months.

Jan 12, 2011
rlove in Manhattan

Olives in Charlestown--gone?

I forgot to mention it in my comments, but Madrid nailed it: The vegetarian tasting menu (again even if you aren't a vegetarian) is excellent and worth it. I have not been able to convince myself or my dining companion to order anything else since we first enjoyed it.

Jan 12, 2011
rlove in Greater Boston Area

Olives in Charlestown--gone?

Definitely skip Olives, even if it reopens.

Oleana is excellent, a fine dining Mediterranean restaurant, focusing on the cuisines of the eastern Mediterranean, notably Turkey and Syria. Excellent vegetarian dishes, even if you aren't a vegetarian.

In the summer, the outdoor patio is my favorite al fresco dining spot. In the winter, I'm less enamored by the tight indoor space, but it is cozy and adorned by a wood-burning stove.

I recommend it.

I am less in love with Scampo and would not recommend it given alternatives. Scampo receives a lot of attention because it is helmed Lydia Shire, once Boston's dame of cooking, and it is in a trendy and popular hotel. But I think the hype derives more from Shire's PR prowess than the food. While good (you can certainly do much, much worse) it isn't where I'd go as a visitor looking for something special (try Craigie on Main for that), nor as a local looking for good Italian (try Erbaluce). If you do go to Scampo, the flatbreads, pizzas, and other items out of the tandoori-esque oven are good. The wine menu is poor; stick to by-the-glass.

Wherever you go, enjoy!

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Scampo
215 Charles Street, Boston, MA 02114

Oleana
134 Hampshire St., Cambridge, MA 02139

Craigie on Main
853 Main Street, Cambridge, MA 02139

Erbaluce
69 Church Street, Boston, MA 02116

Jan 12, 2011
rlove in Greater Boston Area

North End Italian? Good bars?

I'd head back to Neptune Oyster if I was you. :)

For Italian in the North End, my favorite is Prezza (creative Italian with a wood grill bent). I'd follow that with Marco (Roman trattoria) and Taranta (Peruvian-Italian hybrid).

Speaking to bars, Prezza has a good one with decent bar tending.

It is telling that the best Italian isn't in the North End: Erbaluce and Coppa get that nod from me.

Finally, I'll note that the North End isn't adjacent to South Station but North Station, and the two aren't connected on the same T line. Fort Point is near South Station, which opens up Sportello (good Italian in a modern diner setting--I'd go there over many places in the North End) and Drink (fantastic cocktail bar).

Good luck!

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Neptune Oyster
63 Salem St Ste 1, Boston, MA 02113

Prezza
24 Fleet St., Boston, MA 02113

Sportello
348 Congress Street, Boston, MA 02110

Erbaluce
69 Church Street, Boston, MA 02116

Coppa
253 Shawmut Ave, Boston, MA 02118

Jan 12, 2011
rlove in Greater Boston Area

Ten Tables, Craigie on Main, or Salts?

Craigie on Main is the best of this list. I'd also call it Boston's best restaurant. It will make a wonderful nice Saturday dinner.

All are good, though. Salts is more formal, a more romantic date, serving more traditional French fare. Ten Tables is a price point lower than the other two and serves slightly creative bistro fare. I'm increasingly considering Craigie in its own class.

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Ten Tables
5 Craigie Circle, Cambridge, MA 02138

Jan 12, 2011
rlove in Greater Boston Area

Babbo or Scarpetta?

I want to echo the bread at Scarpetta that kathryn mentions: I'm the guy who usually doesn't eat a single piece of bread, and I found the bread at Scarpetta a surprising treat and a highlight of the meal, which is saying a lot given the wonderful pastas and fish courses we had. Point being, even if you are not a "bread lover," the bread at Scarpetta is excellent.

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Scarpetta
355 West 14th Street, New York, NY 10014

Jan 12, 2011
rlove in Manhattan

January Openings and Closings

Quicker than I would have bet.

Jan 11, 2011
rlove in Greater Boston Area

L'Astrance reservations

Thank you both moiraw and mangeur.

Jan 11, 2011
rlove in France

L'Astrance reservations

I am trying to make a reservation for L'Astrance and am having a hard time finding a phone number or email, as I can't find a website.

Does anyone have a phone number or other way of making a reservation that they can share?

And what is the consensus on reservation policy: 30 days? 60 days?

Merci!

Jan 10, 2011
rlove in France

Babbo or Scarpetta?

I like both Babbo and Scarpetta and suggest you can't go wrong at either. I prefer Babbo overall, for its charm and experience, although I've had better individual courses at Scarpetta.

I've also had an absolutely fabulous meal at the Scarpetta in the Fontainebleau. It was only one visit, but it was excellent and is certainly not the case that it is a lesser experience. If you make it to Miami Beach more often than NYC, you could do Babbo in New York and save Scarpetta for your next visit down state.

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Babbo
110 Waverly Pl, New York, NY 10011

Scarpetta
355 West 14th Street, New York, NY 10014

Jan 10, 2011
rlove in Manhattan

Cambridge Formaggio Wine

I regularly buy wine from them and have never had a problem. Can't say I have ever bought those bottles, though.

A lot of their wines are rather austere and mineral heavy, particularly compared to the New World offerings available everywhere else, but cooked or oxidized wine is something I have not experienced from FK.

Jan 06, 2011
rlove in Greater Boston Area

Oak Room or Fleming's

Almost a Morton's Fork, as Slim puts it.

I'd also give the nod to Oak Room, and ever-so-slightly more enthusiastic. Fleming's is DOA.

Jan 06, 2011
rlove in Greater Boston Area

Ginger Park

Funny, I had a comped drink at Stella in the last two weeks.

Moreover, I, like many folks, dislike bars that won't let me hold a tab and make me pay after each drink. I can't think of many non-student-dives in Boston that do that.

Your theory doesn't stick.

Dec 15, 2010
rlove in Greater Boston Area

Disappointed with L'Espalier

Excellent rejoinder, lipoff, and my sentiments exactly.

I'm not fanatical about L'Espalier, but I've always had a wonderful experience, even in the new location (which, while not as charming as the old townhouse, is quite nice and not as bad as folks make it out to be).

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L'Espalier
774 Boylston St, Boston, MA 02199

Nov 30, 2010
rlove in Greater Boston Area