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Looking for our new go-to restaurants: strong flavors, fun atmospheres

Glad to hear from you!

How about River Gods in Cambridge as your Dali replacement? Irish Pub, crispy and well-seasoned fries, a juicy and meaty steak-and-Boursin sandwich, and respectable veg/vegan options. Good beer, gargoyles aplenty. Street parking is consistently gettable but rarely a breeze - you might orbit a few times.

You’ve probably already considered Sarma, in Somerville, if you like Oleana.

Sportello - well-prepared pastas, stylish atmosphere, open kitchen full of cooks who want to move up in the Barbara Lynch ranks…

Highland Kitchen in Somerville - people love the playlist music; excellent beer list, a great cheeseburger.

about 5 hours ago
enhF94 in Greater Boston Area

O Ya: to omakase or not to omokase?

I can’t think of a better way to introduce yourself to the menu at O Ya than the omakase. While obviously expensive, the omakase gives you a good bang for your buck, since it doesn’t generally include the few items on the menu that might soak up half your budget. As others have said, the “omakase” at O Ya isn’t “what’s good today,” but instaid a fairly set menu (with more variation now than five or six years ago, a critique you may find if you search archives here).

My experiences with the omakase have been lovely - you can trust that if you let them bring you their choice, you’ll have a good meal. I’ve only ever had one dish that was less than excellent (the potato chip, which is not to my taste). The dishes I can’t miss (the raw oyster, the fried oyster, and the foie) have always, without exception, been on the omakase every time I’ve seen it or eaten it. Same with the mushroom sashimi, which is also much-discussed.

You will likely leave un-hungry but also un-stuffed. After dinner, you may be able, should you try, to stuff down a crappy grilled-cheese sandwich from South Station. For some this is a serious critique for the money; I tend not to worry about it because if I can eat this well and not get heartburn, so much the better.

I don’t do the omakase anymore because I’ve done it more than twice (I am lucky). I would recommend it for you in particular, since 1. it’s your first time and 2. you’re not food-restricted.

Jan 18, 2015
enhF94 in Greater Boston Area

Ethnic breakfasts?

I suggest Sound Bites in Ball Square! The owner has several “best-of” breakfast and pancake awards under his belt, the menu has excellent specials (pumpkin waffles), and the coffee is self-serve “so you can enjoy a bottomless cup at a reasonable price.”

Or, for a slightly less-expensive and better-atmosphere alternative, consider Kelly’s Diner, also in Ball Square.

Jan 17, 2015
enhF94 in Greater Boston Area

Best sandwiches in Boston?

you bet your bippy; mine too. I looked up their FB page after posting and there’s a cauliflower and black pepper chèvre sandwich special that looks really great.

Jan 12, 2015
enhF94 in Greater Boston Area

Best sandwiches in Boston?

I could see that. I’ll also add that I suspect (and admire) that Pennypacker’s usual secret ingredient to a delicious vegetable sandwich is a whole lot of fat. (olive oil, frying oil, cheese, mayo, nuts…)

Jan 12, 2015
enhF94 in Greater Boston Area

Are there any highly recommended vegetarian entrees in the Greater Boston area?

That’s a hilarious way of putting it, and you’re not wrong. I generally order a rebel bowl; all those vegetables will make my jaw ache by the end of the meal, and there’s a lot of fiber there, so I often order the demi (small) size. I often add beets.

When I don’t want the Rebel, I have the Adventurer, which has almonds and cheddar cheese.

Most of the bowls, you can choose either tofu or sprouted legumes, which doesn’t seem to make much difference to the flavor, because, well, tofu.

I avoid the red lentil hummus, which I find dry, chalky and a chunky.

As I think about it, I must admit that on Tuesday nights, the Central Square Life Alive loses every time to Picante’s red chili-stewed pork shoulder with the avocado sauce on top, which is simple, unassuming, and crave-worthy. (But not suitable for this thread.)

Jan 12, 2015
enhF94 in Greater Boston Area
1

The new Rosebud, Davis Square

You’re welcome! And I don’t get to Belmont much either (and for that matter, Zoe’s either, despite liking it a lot). When you do get to Shangri-La, there’s streetside parking up and down that large street. Aim for the same-side parking as the restaurant, as the street is wide and not particularly pedestrian friendly.

Jan 12, 2015
enhF94 in Greater Boston Area

Staying at Cambridgeside, restaurant suggestions

and if you’ve never had Afghani, this is a good place to start. Although I must admit my last visit was… a good while ago.

Jan 12, 2015
enhF94 in Greater Boston Area

Best sandwiches in Boston?

I respect but don’t love that porchetta, but I’d add the rotating vegetarian sandwich at Pennypackers.

Jan 12, 2015
enhF94 in Greater Boston Area

The new Rosebud, Davis Square

I would order the dry-fried green beans again, yet simultaneously agree with other posters that they border on over-salted. I like the pork bits and don’t mind the oil, although I agree that “dry-fried” is a bit of an overstatement here.

For my personal favorite dry-fried green beans, I go to Shangri-La in Belmont. I could order those, and the lovely turnip cakes (!), and nothing else, and leave very happy.

Jan 12, 2015
enhF94 in Greater Boston Area

Are there any highly recommended vegetarian entrees in the Greater Boston area?

For very casual non-tasting menu entrees, I am a fan of Life Alive (several locations, I’ve only tried Central Square) for their well-seasoned bowls of unashamedly hippie chow.

True Bistro in Teele Square Somerville (also happens to be vegan) doesn’t do tasting menus, but does have tablecloths and wine pairings. I don’t ever crave it, but I’m often happily satisfied when I eat there.

Jan 12, 2015
enhF94 in Greater Boston Area

Chinese Tea in the 'burbs?

I’m all about Upton, blindly following Cynthia Gold*’s recommendation from several years ago.

*tea sommelier

Jan 08, 2015
enhF94 in Greater Boston Area

ISO Beef Bones

Would you believe Mayflower Poultry (Live Chickens Fresh Killed)?

What to eat and wear in Woburn?

It’s been mentioned in other good comments in this thread, but I’m gonna specifically call out Pinxto Pincho as tremendous. See thread here: http://bit.ly/1xrucEE

Dec 28, 2014
enhF94 in Greater Boston Area

sessa's...

Ooh, I can’t wait!

Dec 20, 2014
enhF94 in Greater Boston Area

Paul Bakery Natick

The assembly square location of Paul has them. I wouldn’t call them great, but I suspect they do use wax, at least.

Certainly I like Paul's better than the Central square Paris Baguette that drizzles them with vanilla syrup, which I think is a travesty despite the obvious specks of vanilla bean in the syrup. Why, why!?

Dec 20, 2014
enhF94 in Greater Boston Area

Sibling dinner in lieu of Christmas presents

Consider the new Rosebud in Davis Square? I’ve stopped paying attention to beer much, but they certainly have a large bar, lots of food, and is working on lively/cool.

Dec 19, 2014
enhF94 in Greater Boston Area

Best seafood restuarant in Cambridge or Somerville?

I don’t know about “adventurous,” and I’m not sure how enthusiastically I would recommend most of the following places, but they are “seafood restaurants” near Somerville.

Out of the Blue in Davis (meh, I can cook this well at home)

Pescatore in Ball Square (lovely family, clams have bellies if that’s your thing, but the better the business does, the more they bring in from outside.)

Moulton’s Seafood Restaurant in Medford, untried by me but has been discussed on this board

Mount Vernon Restaurant in East Somerville - home of the “twin lobster special.” Your stop for steak tips, veggie medley and lots of atmosphere.

Qindao Garden on Mass Ave, Cambridge - I trust that whatever they put in front of me will be delicious and very thoughtfully prepared, technique-wise.

Dec 19, 2014
enhF94 in Greater Boston Area

ISO Tortellini to Cook at Home

Bella Ravioli in Medford, near Oasis Brazilian and Bocelli’s Italian (and, a bit further down the street, Bob’s Italian).

I’ve always found Dave’s pasta way too thick; I haven’t had Capone’s in a couple of years. Bella’s is thinner than Daves, but not as thin as mine.

Dec 19, 2014
enhF94 in Greater Boston Area

Best Transparent Restaurants in Boston?

or at least a junior varsity basketball game.

Dec 17, 2014
enhF94 in Greater Boston Area

evelyn & angels chocolates...

Ah, I misread as “it” was jammed. My bad!

Dec 14, 2014
enhF94 in Greater Boston Area

evelyn & angels chocolates...

I know they recently renovated, and that before the renovation I found it mostly empty most of the time. All that taffy (which lined the walls pre-renovation, haven’t been in recently) started out wonderful but was only getting harder as time went by. Typicall Mass Ave parking problem - Mass Ave spots are often full, and the residential streets nearby are resident only. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve driven by and either missed the sign entirely or thought “I should stop by there when I see a parking spot available."

I was glad they existed but save wholesale or restaurant deals, I didn’t see much future for them in that location. Hope the renovation helps.

Dec 13, 2014
enhF94 in Greater Boston Area

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

Having just loved my first visit to Myers + Chang, and liking what I know of your list, I’mma try Cutty’s soon.

Dec 11, 2014
enhF94 in Greater Boston Area

December 2014 Openings and Closings

The brick-and-mortar location of “Frozen Hoagies,” a food truck, has opened in Somerville’s Powderhouse a couple doors down from the former DooWee and Rice (now Teriyaki house).

They’re getting their ice cream from somewhere in Arlington, I forget the name. When I went in, the employee had 12 of several kinds of cookies, some apple crisp, and a sense of “can I please go back to reading my book if you don’t mind."

Dec 11, 2014
enhF94 in Greater Boston Area

pizza in Cambridge, Somerville, Medford, Malden -- where to go?

eight years later, I hope hiddenboston found good pizza! But I don’t mind revivifying threads, so I’ll add City Slicker for Old Forge style pizza.

Dec 09, 2014
enhF94 in Greater Boston Area

Harvard Square Dinner

Agreed, but with the caveat of “only the omakase.” The menu isn’t all that. See other threads for information on Cafe Sushi “top three Boston sushi spots, but at 40% the price."

Dec 06, 2014
enhF94 in Greater Boston Area

cooking class recs

*Nill

(source: I know him)

Dec 05, 2014
enhF94 in Greater Boston Area

Places like Doo Wee & Rice 2014/2015

Teriyaki House, the new restaurant in the DooWee space got and uses most of chef Tran's recipes - at least the bao and the meat-and-rice dishes. You know how to get there.

Dec 03, 2014
enhF94 in Greater Boston Area

December 2014 Openings and Closings

Bite Kite, a lunch delivery service in a limited but unknown area. Order full meals by the iOS/android app, delivery in 20 minutes.

I haven’t tried it, and can’t say more anyway, because I believe I know the owner/chef, although I haven’t talked to him about it yet.

http://bitekite.com

Dec 02, 2014
enhF94 in Greater Boston Area

cooking class recs

and worth noting that the “cooking couples” classes do not require you to be a romantic couple. Any team of two will do.

Dec 02, 2014
enhF94 in Greater Boston Area