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Restaurants decorated for Christmas

Anyone have any suggestions or recent experiences at restaurants in the Boston, Cambridge, Somerville area that have really decorated for Christmas? Looking for someplace that has done a really nice job and not just a poinsettia or two around. Trying to get into the Christmas spirit!

Dec 15, 2011
JWR in Greater Boston Area

Saturday Lunch in Salem

Any suggestions for a spot for lunch in Salem on a Saturday. It needs to be within walking distance of Pickering Wharf, Peabody Essex, etc. Looking to avoid Beers Works, Tavern in The Square and such. I noticed a couple of places don't serve Saturday lunch (ie. The Lynceum and 62 on Wharf). It doesn't have to be any particular type of food. Great sandwich spot, good restaurant flying under the tourist radar, anything. Thanks

Jul 28, 2010
JWR in Greater Boston Area

sofia sparkling wines in cans

I was looking at a can last night and it is actually carbonated wine and not sparkling wine. A minor difference but the bubble size is much larger than you would find in a true sparkling wine or Champagne. More of a soda/megabrewery beer carbonation.

Jun 19, 2009
JWR in Greater Boston Area

Bay Scallops at J Hook today - first siting

Nantucket commercial season doesn't begin until Nov.1. The recreational season opened Wednesday. I don't know if "recreational" scallops can make their way to the market or not.

Article in the Nantucket newspaper about scalloping yesterday.

Oct 03, 2008
JWR in Greater Boston Area

Drink opening tomorrow?

Last night John said that they would be there seven nights a week. He also told me that they were going to be opening at 4:00 but he told me that a few weeks ago so I don't know if that has changed.

Oct 03, 2008
JWR in Greater Boston Area

Al's State Street - Second Location

It was open today. Planned on going but the line was out the door...although if it does business like the original location it will be like that on a regular basis.

Sep 18, 2008
JWR in Greater Boston Area

Local beers w/ cranberry?

Whether Sam Adams is a local brewer might be up for debate (since most beers are brewed out of state) but they make a cranberry lambic that is available in their winter mix pack (and at one point in a 22oz bottle). The mix pack probably won't be out for a couple of months (maybe a little less) so it is not going to be available if your looking for something right now.

Sep 16, 2008
JWR in Greater Boston Area

David Drew : new chef @ cambridge brewing company

I have to agree that there has not been a upswing in the food quality. I go to CBC twice a week and I had high hopes when I heard they were getting a new chef but I have been left less than impressed when I have tried some of the entrees. If you stick with the basics then you can have a decent meal/snack. The buffalo chicken tenders (now back on the menu after a brief time off), Mediterranean Plate (not as good as you might get at a middle-eastern resaurant but good) and the blackened chicken sandwich are the items I usually go with. I will say that the reason to go is the beer. I can say that I have not had a "meh" beer in years. Perhaps the Regatta Golden could be percieved as "meh" but that is the for the non- microbrew or craft drinker. I had the ESB cask, Heather and Berliner Kendall (no syrup) last night and all three were terrific.

Sep 03, 2008
JWR in Greater Boston Area

Best Steak Tartare in Boston area?

Now that I can no longer order the steak tartare at 9 Park any thoughts of other places in the Boston area that offer an exceptional tartare? I enjoy the ESK version (in fact I have enjoyed it twice over the last week) and I also like the Butcher shop version (although I don't think it is as good as the 9 Park Cafe version). Any others that are recommended?

Aug 18, 2008
JWR in Greater Boston Area

Best Non-Alcoholic Cocktails/Virgin Drinks/Mocktails/etc.

Boston Public Meat isn't making soda or anything these days.

I have never ordered one (I had a taste of my niece's) but 9 Park makes a nice limeaid type drink. They use mint simple syrup and lime juice. Since it is two of the ingredients in a Palmayra it is somewhat similar in taste although served over ice.

Jun 30, 2008
JWR in Greater Boston Area

Cheap drinks outside

I was looking at that article on regarding outdoor dining the other day. In the picture for Via Matta Mario Batali is sitting on the patio. I don't know if it was intentionally submitted by them or if he just happened to be there on the day they took the picture.

Apr 25, 2008
JWR in Greater Boston Area

Ritz-Carlton for Mother's Day

I would disagree about the Ritz. The only restaurant that they have open is Jer-Ne. It is nothing special more of a lounge than a restaurant and I would be surprised if they even had a Mother's Day brunch. You might be thinking about the Taj which used to be a Ritz.

Apr 17, 2008
JWR in Greater Boston Area

Mid-Town or West Side Cocktails

Any suggestions on a place to go for good cocktails in Mid-town or West Side? In Manhattan for two nights and one night we are dining with people on West 55th Street. I would like to go out for a drink (or two) in that area because I know others in the party aren't going to go down to The Village area for a drink. We will save PDT, Little Branch, Employees Only, etc for the other night. Any bars that are doing good classic cocktails in the area? Or are there any old school hotel bars with good drinks in the area worth a visit? Thanks.

Apr 09, 2008
JWR in Manhattan

Organic Butcher Shop in Boston area?

Not specifically regarding organic meat and probably before you come from Toronto but Stir is having a class on April 1 & 2 called, "Sustainable Agriculture: Local Meat". I don't see it on their website at the moment but I received an e-mail about this course and the rest of the offerings last week.

Here is what it says in the e-mail.

April 1, 2: Sustainable Agriculture: Local Meat $125
What is all the fuss about eating locally these days? What does sustainable agriculture actually mean? To kick off our spring series, Greg Reeves, Chef de Cuisine of The Butcher Shop, prepares a menu highlighting meat from New England and celebrating the dedication of some of our favorite local farmers to (as the U.S. government defines sustainable agriculture) "enhance environmental quality and the natural resource base upon which the agricultural economy depends." He will also discuss the philosophy of sustainable agriculture, locavores, and the "100 Mile Diet." Learn how to become an educated meat buyer and how to preserve this local meat's great flavor when it comes time to put it in the pan to cook!

Mar 19, 2008
JWR in Greater Boston Area

local source for bitters?

I went to Brix a few minutes ago and they are currently out of Peychaud's but they had Fee's Orange, Regan's and Angostura. Much to my delight they had just received a box of Fee's Whiskey Barrel-Aged Bitters. While a little expensive ($22) they are a treat when I have had them at 9 Park or Green Street.

Jan 24, 2008
JWR in Greater Boston Area

No.9 Park - 28 day in advance?

Yes, you can still order from the dining room menu when seated at the bar (but still not at a cafe table).

I'm not sure how I felt about the setup. I thought the cafe/bar area was a little crowded and when it was busy it was a little bit of a squeeze to get through. That said I think that the area where the large talbe was in the front window will help when waiting for a table. It gave it more of a feel of being a little lounge area where mutlitple parties could sit while waiting for a table or bar stool. I'm sure that they will make adjustments as they see how things work out.

I will say that I thought the food was everybit as good as ever and the service just as great. It was nice to see Ryan, Ben and John (working as a host/manager) all in one night.

Nov 30, 2007
JWR in Greater Boston Area

No.9 Park - 28 day in advance?

I was in last night and starting this week the cafe has changed. The big table by the window is now an area to have drinks with only two small tables for cocktails. The booth/long bench along the wall is now gone as well. They now have more tables but it is a bit more crowded. Also gone are all granite tables and they have been replaced by tables with tablecloths. Another change is that they are now offering a three course menu in the cafe for $45 per person. It is mostly the same items as the old cafe menu and you can still order all the items ala carte. Last night they told me that this was the first step towards the eventual change over to a all cafe/bistro type restaurant once Barbara's other locations open up in the Fort Point Channel area.

It will be crowded on a Saturday at was crowded (SRO) last night for most of the evening; however, the hosts will help you to get a table or bar seat as they become available.

Nov 30, 2007
JWR in Greater Boston Area

Brookline Oysters?

I read that "the owner of Perpetual Oyster rescinded the application for personal reasons."

Whatever those were? But now she is in NYC...

"Gwen Butler, the anonymous blogger we unmasked as the creator of Sympathy for the Restaurant Industry, never officially confirmed that she was the Boston bartender who got $2.75 million from a random patron to open (unsuccessfully, it turned out) her own restaurant. And she would never tell us exactly what she was doing in New York, either. (It was obviously something, since she stopped updating the blog back in September.) But now we know she’s the director of operations for Ron Silver’s restaurant group, including Bubby’s, recently reopened after a DOH closure. Will Butler be able to turn the place around and fight off all those roaches? It’s a cliffhanger worthy of an Internet roman à clef!"

Nov 29, 2007
JWR in Greater Boston Area

Fried Chicken at a Restaurant

Does anyone have any recommendations for fried chicken at restaurants? I am looking for an actual restaurant with servers and a bar not fast food or a take out place. Any thoughts? Thanks

Nov 09, 2007
JWR in Greater Boston Area

Oysters and HDTV

According to their website the bar at Morton's doesn't open until 5:00pm on Sundays.

Oct 12, 2007
JWR in Greater Boston Area

Fresh/Free Range Turkey

I know that this may seem a little early but I was thinking about Turkeys recently. My mother asked me the big question..."What are you doing for Thanksgiving?" So I thought that if I was going to go I would like to buy a fresh/natural/free range turkey to bring. I know how quickly some of the other local poultry sells out so I thought I would try to get a head start. Does anyone have any experiences with any local sources for turkeys?

Sep 18, 2007
JWR in Greater Boston Area

Chinatown - counter service/quick take out?

So, per joestrummer's suggestion I walked over to Saign Sandwich at lunch. What a treat! The banh mi is terrific and for $2.50! Are you kidding a full size fresh sandwich for $2.50! Thanks for the suggestion!

Sep 11, 2007
JWR in Greater Boston Area

Chinatown - counter service/quick take out?

My office just moved to the end of Washington Street in/near Chinatown. Are there any places that have good Asian cuisine (any type) that have either counter service (food court style) or have very quick take out? I am preferably looking for something that I don't have to call ahead or wait long to get lunch. Thanks.

Sep 10, 2007
JWR in Greater Boston Area

top five musts near back bay

One place that is in the Back Bay and I don't see mentioned here is Casa Romero. I bring it up not as a recommendation but as a question. I've been a couple of times over the years but I haven't been in at least two years (and maybe even longer). Has anyone been recently? Any thoughts?

Aug 14, 2007
JWR in Greater Boston Area

No 9 Bar Questions

I think you might be talking about a 1794. Ben has suggested that drink to me a number of times and I think it is a very nice cocktail. Also, one that they have been making for me on a fairly regular basis now is the Hearst Cocktail. Gin, sweet vermouth, orange bitters and Angostora bitters. Also, if you are up for something a little different try the Good Humor. I had it last week and it consisted of Aperol and egg yolk...and something else that I can't remember. That tends to happen after a night when all three bartenders where there. Ryan and Ben behind the bar and John hanging out for a while. I also tried the Toronto with the Fernet foam but I found it a tad too sweet and prefer the original recipe.

And yes, I think the truffled gnocchi and the potato crusted yellowfin are standouts but the food highlight of the evening was the Corn Chowder. Something that sounds so plain was so wonderful that it makes me want to go back and have more...I grew up hating my mother's corn chowder and 9 Park's was so good and it included a couple of fried clams on top.

Aug 13, 2007
JWR in Greater Boston Area

Philadelphia Classic Cocktails

So I thought I would let you know that we took your recommendations and went to the Sothwark and it lived up (and probably surpassed) everyone's posts. George and Kip were behind the bar and we spoke to both for a while. I had a Sazerac with Old Overholt Rye, a Toronto (rye, fernet and simple syrup) with Rittenhouse and then the made me a drink with Isaiah Morgan Unaged Rye. The drink was with Pineapple juice and it wasn't something I would order again it was interesting to see how the different flavor characteristics of the unaged rye came through in a fruit based drink. It just goes to show the wide range or rye drinks you can make. My wife had a Pisco Sour and a Champaign cocktail and both were very well done.

We loved the space as well. Sort of old school and that is perfect for a place that specializes in old school cocktails. We didn't eat but I heard great things for other patrons regarding the food.

Also was interested to hear about Blue Coat Gin (which isn't available in MA). I bought a bottle and I am looking forward to giving it a try.

While talking to Kip and George we mentioned that we were staying at the Sofitel and they told us to go see Nick at the Sofitel lobby bar. So we visited the bar and had a nice time talking with Nick and he made me a nice Sazerac and a nice Manhattan (Rye of course).

I do have to add one additional comment about a place on the complete opposite spectrum from the Southwark. We were walking one evening we passed the Oceanaire Seafood Room on Walnut Street and thought we would go in and have a break from walking and partake in a drink. As soon as we sat down the bartender brings the menu and tells us they specialize in old school cocktails. In my experience, at least nine out ten times, when they tell me they specialize in old school cocktails it usually means they have no idea what they are doing but they think it sounds cool. Well this was one of those nine times. I ordered a Negroni, which I think along with an Old Fashion and a Manhattan are good barometers of a bartender’s skills. Well...he didn't use any gin. Needless to say our visit was short.

Jul 31, 2007
JWR in Pennsylvania

Philadelphia Classic Cocktails

I will be in Philadelphia this weekend and I am wondering if there are any places in Philadelphia that serve classic/old-school cocktails?

I'm looking for places that would know how to make the drink and have the proper ingredients. I'm looking for drinks like Sazerac, Jack Rose, Red Hook, Aviation, etc. I'm coming up from Boston so if anyone is familiar with Boston I am looking for someplace that makes drinks like 9 Park, Green Street, B-Side or Eastern Standard. Or places similar to Flatiron, Pegu Club or Milk & Honey in NYC.


Jul 24, 2007
JWR in Pennsylvania

Boston train station & statehouse area

If you go through Downtown crossing you could stop at Chacarero. If you are not familiar with Chacarero it is a Chilean sandwich on soft roll with a combination of green beans, grilled chicken or beef, avocado spread, sliced tomato, muenster cheese and hot sauce. Not everyone thinks it is worth the (potential) wait but I think it is good and very unique. They have two locations (supposedly until 7/31). There is one on the side of the Filenes building on the corner of Washington and Franklin and the new and soon to be only location on Province Street.

Jul 19, 2007
JWR in Greater Boston Area

plea for definitive soft shell crab

I had a really nice soft shell crab at The Blue Room last week. It was deep fried with parsley-garlic bernaise and grilled radicchio. My wife, who isn't completly thrilled with soft shell crab even thought it was wonderful. It was nice and crispy on the outside but still nice and moist inside.

Tonight I am going to go to 9 Park to try the tempura soft shell crab on the cafe menu...along with a few cocktails.

Jul 09, 2007
JWR in Greater Boston Area

Restaurant Selection Assistance

I am trying to think of a place to go out with six people on Friday night. My parents and two of their employees will be coming in to town for a conference/trade show.

I am thinking about the following three restaurants but I was wondering if I missed something that might fit. The three I am trying to decide between are 9 Park Cafe, Rendezvous, and Blue Room. I know that 9 Park doesn't take reservations in the Cafe and the second two don't meet one of the criteria (see below) but these are three or my favorites.

Here are the criteria

-Full Bar (I know my father always has a martini or two after working at a trade show.)
-Good food but not too exotic (I know one of the employees that is coming is not an adventurous eater.)
-No Italian!!! (My parents, wife and I just got back from two weeks in Italy.)
-Not near Fenway because there is a home game Friday night. Unfortunately this eliminates ESK.
-Ideally located in Boston since the conference that the others are working is at the Hynes. Rendezvous and Blue Room are on the list because they fit all the other criteria...and they are two of my favorites. Back Bay, South End, Downtown ideally.
-Not too loud, clubby or trendy. (After all it is my parents are after working all day they are not going to want to have to shout to talk or deal with wanna-be socialites.)
-Preferably not a steak house. (Although KO is in back of my head.)

As I wrote this I was thinking about Hamersley's but I haven't been there in many years. Any other thoughts?

Jun 26, 2007
JWR in Greater Boston Area