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Chinato in Cleveland? Murray Hill?

Thanks everyone, this is helpful.

Jun 13, 2014
lescaret in Great Lakes

Chinato in Cleveland? Murray Hill?

I'll be visiting Cleveland at the end of the month with my wife and her family and we'll be celebrating my wife's 40th birthday. They're an Italian family so I thought I'd look for a innovative Italian restaurant that uses fresh, first rate ingredients and has a degree of polish and atmosphere. In my search, I came up with Chinato Ristorante.

What do you Cleveland hounds think? Is this a good choice? Anybody have any recent experiences at Chinato?

Someone mentioned to me that, for Italian, we'd do well to scope out places in Murray Hill but I have no knowledge of that area or any of the restaurants. Does anyone?

Jun 09, 2014
lescaret in Great Lakes

John Crow Farm CSA - What Happened to Them?

Exactly. The whole troubling thing about this situation is that, on the face of it, the farm knew as early as last September that they were in trouble. Yet they continued to take people's payments for shares they had to know they couldn't deliver. Scurrilous business practices are not the kinds of "risks" that CSA participants should have to worry about.

As someone mentioned elsewhere in this thread, had there been some kind of open dialog, some reasonable communication between the farm and the share holders, then this wouldn't have been such a punch in the gut.

Apr 17, 2014
lescaret in Greater Boston Area
1

John Crow Farm CSA - What Happened to Them?

We haven't gotten any reply from email or phone messages. The complaint we filed with the AG will, I assume, take awhile. Joint legal action might be a possibility ... except I fear that we'll end up spending as much on legal fees as we'll get in any refund. It's hard to know what to do.

As far as the animals go (to answer catsmeow), they seemed okay to me but I didn't look closely. The dog that confronted me, one I've petted before when picking up our CSA shares, didn't seem to be particularly hungry or desperate. While it didn't exactly threaten me, it is a big dog and, with no one else around (seemingly), I didn't want to test its temperament by snooping in the buildings.

Apr 04, 2014
lescaret in Greater Boston Area

John Crow Farm CSA - What Happened to Them?

I drove by the farm site in Groton yesterday. The gate to the buildings and fields was open, so I drove in and parked. But walking around, I couldn't find anyone. There were ducks and geese and chickens and dogs and open farm buildings .... but not a person. Three farm trucks parked in the parking area. The whole thing was spooky. I felt like I was being watched from inside one of the buildings. I called out "Hello" a few times but no one emerged. I would have walked around more but the large dog that greeted me as I walked toward the back greenhouses deterred me from further investigating.

We have filed a complaint with the AG but, as with most complaints and petitions to bureaucratic entities, I don't expect a response anytime soon.

Apr 03, 2014
lescaret in Greater Boston Area

John Crow Farm CSA - What Happened to Them?

I tried both those phone numbers. The one from their web site is no longer associated with the farm. The one from yelp just went to voice mail. I saw that comment on Yelp by the person who got the refund - lucky them.

I live only a couple towns over from the farm, I'm going to have to make a trip over there and see if I can find a human.

This whole thing is very unfortunate, and so abrupt.

Apr 02, 2014
lescaret in Greater Boston Area

John Crow Farm CSA - What Happened to Them?

Indeed, do you have a name and/or phone number for the lawyer? And how did you contact the farm in the first place?

Apr 02, 2014
lescaret in Greater Boston Area

John Crow Farm CSA - What Happened to Them?

A few years ago, we got word of a new CSA in Groton, MA: the John Crow Farm. We signed up and enjoyed great produce for several seasons. Then we signed up for their meat CSA about a year ago and we liked that too.

This past November, we signed up for a meat share, a poultry share, and a vegetable share.

Not long afterwards, Blood Farm burned (it being one of two sanctioned slaughterhouses in the state and, presumably, the butchers used by John Crow Farm, among others).

Then our December meat pick-up was cancelled. We did receive our share in January and February ... but then March pick up was cancelled. They sent out an email saying to stay tuned.

Some 40 days and three emails to them later, we've heard nothing. I just tried calling the phone number on their website and it is NOT the farm phone number. Seems like their Facebook presences is gone too.

So what is going on? I'm getting the creepy feeling like they've folded and are not telling the people who bought into their CSA.

Is this happening to anyone else? Does anyone have any information on them?

Apr 01, 2014
lescaret in Greater Boston Area

Feeling frustrated by the Arlington-Lexington dining scene

Oh my goodness, this almost reads like satire. "Lack of options", are you kidding? You list (by my count) twenty places. Ha, come out our way (west of Concord) if you think you lack dining options!

Seriously, Arlington is loaded with choices.

Za's is good, Sabzi (which I tried for the first time recently) is delicious (maybe you need to go more often and bring your friends and create your own "scene"), Tango is a fine option, Sichuan's Dumpling satisfied our crew not long ago ....

I love chowhound and really like everyone's take on things but sometimes you come along a post like this and it's just, I don't know, sort of absurd.

Thanks to all the people who provided some context by noting that once upon a time in the not too distant past Jimmy' Steer House was Arlington's answer to "fine dining."

Really not trying to be boorish here but my goodness, you have a surfeit of riches within about a five mile radius.

And one thing that I don't quite understand. When folks report that a place has "gone downhill" or "taken a nose dive," how many times do you have to dine there to make that call? I mean, if you go to a beloved spot and get a mediocre (or worse) meal, does that mean the place is going downhill? Couldn't it just be an off night?

Nov 26, 2013
lescaret in Greater Boston Area
4

Where to eat near Concord

Gibbet Hill Grill in Groton is topnotch and worth the drive down rt 119 on occasion. Also in Groton is Fihlo's, a small Italian-esque eat-in (small) and takeout restaurant. They have excellent dishes at reasonable prices.

In Ayer there's a hole-in-the-wall Korean restaurant called Woo Jung that is consistently good (and has been for years). It's located at 174 West Main St. Note - it's not much of an atmosphere so we usually order take out from there.

Aug 07, 2013
lescaret in Greater Boston Area

Lamb gnocchi at Garden at the Cellar

Thanks for mentioning this. I had this dish about a month ago and for me it was a revelation. It was incredibly good! And yes, the gnocchi were light and airy and fantastic. The entire dish was a tremendously harmonious coming-together of goodness.

Jan 29, 2013
lescaret in Greater Boston Area

Why does the Acton/Concord area have NO GOOD RESTAURANTS?

Don't be too dissuaded by Finn's comments, and certainly not on the basis of mediocre eggplant parm. I mean, it's eggplant parm, probably one of the least 'exciting' dishes on any menu.

What Fihlo's does, they do well - and that is provide fresh, reasonably-priced fare that is not bland (perhaps excepting the aforementioned parm) and that is consistently good. It's certainly not "fine dining" but it is a restaurant that would certainly thrive in places with more options, not just in Groton.

On that note, a really good place in Groton for top flight dining is the Gibbet Hill Grill.

http://www.gibbethillgrill.com/

Oct 19, 2012
lescaret in Greater Boston Area

Store with Best Champagne Selection Boston Area or Metrowest?

StriperGuy, thanks, Gordon's in Waltham, that's a good call.

And rlh, thanks for the suggestion of Cambridge Wine and Spirits.

I know both of these establishments so I think between the two I'll be able to get what I need.

Jul 09, 2012
lescaret in Greater Boston Area

Store with Best Champagne Selection Boston Area or Metrowest?

I'm entrusted with buying a case or more of champagne for a 50th birthday party and would love to go to a shop that has a great selection. It would also be great if the store has knowledgeable merchants who could answer questions about their offerings. Am interested in true French champagne but am not averse to mixing it up as well.

Anyone have any suggestions? I'm located west of Boston out rt 2 so probably wouldn't travel to the south or north shores but immediate Boston/Waltham/Cambridge stores and west would be great. Thanks!

Jul 09, 2012
lescaret in Greater Boston Area

Mediteranean Turkish Food, Framingham

I don't know what else, if anything, is in it. I quoted the menu, that's how they describe it. Seemed pretty simply to me, but it was really good.

Jun 27, 2012
lescaret in Greater Boston Area

Mediteranean Turkish Food, Framingham

Next time you're there, try the Havuc Kavurmasi appetizer ("cooked grinded carrot mixed with garlic yogurt"). It doesn't sound like much but the first time I had it was one of those 'OMG this is incredible!' moments.

Jun 25, 2012
lescaret in Greater Boston Area

Looking for great food outside of Boston

La Carreta Restaurante Mexico serves pretty good Mexican at reasonable prices. It's next to the Framingham Post Office in a building that once might have been a Brighams (or something similar). Atmosphere leaves something to be desired but the food (what I've had) is worthwhile.

Apr 02, 2012
lescaret in Greater Boston Area

Looking for good Back Bay restaurant with comfortable bar for solo diner

I'm not sure what NapaTj's criteria for "comfortable" is, but the bar at the Beacon Hill Bistro is really, really small. I would say "cozy" is being generous. If you have a drink, some bread, a salad plate, a dinner plate, and water glass, you're going to be encroaching on those sitting beside you.

Which is not to say that the Beacon Hill Bistro isn't a fine place to eat and drink, it is. I just think that eating at the bar would be pretty tight.

Feb 29, 2012
lescaret in Greater Boston Area

Looking for good Back Bay restaurant with comfortable bar for solo diner

Brasserie Jo is a great recommendation. The food is consistently good, the drinks too, and the mood is just right for solo dining. Plenty of room, handsome decor. I've eaten there solo on a number of occasions.

Feb 29, 2012
lescaret in Greater Boston Area

Disappointment at Chez Henri

It makes me sad to write this because Chez Henri has always been one of my favorite restaurants in the Boston area. I have fond memories of celebratory repasts there over the years. However ..... the last two times my DC and I have gone there we've been thoroughly disappointed (both times within the last 8 months).

The food has been indifferent. My steak frites, while admittedly not the most creative dish to begin with, was little more than a well-grilled piece of steak and a mountain of uninteresting french fries (pre-cut, prepackaged?).

A bigger complaint, however, has been the service. Each of the last two visits we've had unskilled, indifferent waiters; the kind of waiter who would be more at ease in a Bertucci's or an Olive Garden. We asked about a particular dish but the waiter had nothing informative to say about it. The cocktail we asked about, he was unfamiliar with. The 1st bad waiter experience was the kind where we spent an inordinate amount of time throughout dinner looking for him in vain; we ended up flagging down a busboy and the hostess.

The 2nd bad waiter experience was more of the same. He apparently hadn't tried anything on the menu and had nothing beyond the blanket "it's good" when we asked about a specific dish (I forget which one). When we ordered our entries (me, the aforementioned steak), I asked that he bring me a glass of cotes du rhone when he brought my steak. He didn't. Then he disappeared and I was halfway through my meal before the wine appeared. Very disappointing.

So something seems to have happened there. After the most recent disappointing dinner (December, 2011) my DC and I resigned ourselves to confining Chez Henri to the category of "Once Beloved Restaurants That No Longer Deliver."

Has anyone else noticed how amateur and lackluster the staff has become there?

Jan 03, 2012
lescaret in Greater Boston Area

Where to dine between Cambridge and Ayer, MA?

31 Main and the Wholesome Cafe are both in Ayer. 31 Main is better for atmosphere and drinks while the Wholesome Cafe has delicious organic & veggie-style fare.

In Groton, try the Gibbet Hill Grill which is outstanding (though comparable in price to 80 Thoreau).

Hey, in Arlington, you couldn't go wrong eating at Za's.

Dec 15, 2011
lescaret in Greater Boston Area

December 2011 Winter Markets, CSAs, Farm Stands & Other Fresh, Local Sources

We're enjoying Cape Ann Fresh Catch (though we only do the every-other-week delivery). Our pickup is in Bolton.

www.capeannfreshcatch.org

This is our third or fourth season with them, highly recommended.

Dec 09, 2011
lescaret in Greater Boston Area

Recurring Dream - Bar or Lounge with Fireplace - North of Boston

Not exactly as you describe but there's a fireplace and sort of cozy bar area at the Gibbet Hill Grill in Groton (which is more west/north than strictly north).

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Gibbet Hill Grill: Restaurant
61 Lowell Rd, Groton, MA 01450

Nov 07, 2011
lescaret in Greater Boston Area

Thanksgiving in Central MA

A little outside your specified range but you might consider the Bull Run in Shirley. If you know the Bull Run from years gone by, you might shrug your shoulders and roll your eyes. I would have too. However, they've changed chefs, approach, & philosophy in the last year or two and these days they are quite good.

That said, I haven't ever eaten Thanksgiving there but, given their new direction and commitment to fresh, local food, I'm betting their T Day dinner wouldn't disappoint.

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Bull Run Restaurant
RR 2 Box A, Shirley, MA 01464

Oct 26, 2011
lescaret in Southern New England

Chatham Report October 2011

Hey phelana,

Thanks for the complimentos. We stayed at the Chatham Guest Houses: http://www.chathamguestrooms.com/

I don't know whether it was ABBA or me but it just felt off as soon as we stepped in the door. The waiter was definitely annoying (that wasn't just me). I will say, though, that the seared foie gras appetizer we had was excellent, as was the bluefish pate.

Oct 13, 2011
lescaret in Southern New England

Chatham Report October 2011

My partner and I spent a quick 36 hours in Chatham over the long weekend (Friday and Saturday nights) and undertook what might seem to be a pretty predictable dining agenda as we based our eating somewhat on recommendations and comments from this board. The breakdown:

- two breakfasts at Hangar B
- Friday dinner at Impudent Oyster
- Saturday lunch at the Chatham Fish Pier
- Saturday evening at ABBA in Orleans

Hangar B - awesome both days. Having read that the place can be crowded on the weekends, my partner and I got there each morning when they opened (7:00 a.m.) and, needless to say, had no trouble getting in. In fact, we were the first party there each morning. Both breakfasts were outstanding! Lemon ricotta pancakes with fresh berries, buttermilk waffles also with fresh berries, a side of red flannel hash (made with beets among other things and topped with a creamy horseradish sauce), chocolate croissant French Toast, delicious French roast coffee .... all beautiful to look at as well as to eat. The Chef/owner chatted with us Sunday morning in a friendly and interested manner and the wait staff both days were gracious, cheerful, low key and welcoming. We absolutely LOVED the place.

Impudent Oyster - Outstanding food, off-putting waitress. I asked about a cocktail menu and our waitress looked at me a little funny and said they didn't have one but that they'd make anything we wanted. My partner wanted something with gin and asked for recommendations but the waitress manifested impatience. "A French 75, perhaps?" I said to which the waitress said "Where are you from?" in a manner that suggested we were acting like Manhattan bankers or something, a real put-down attitude-wise. Whatever. The food (we both ordered seafood, my partner a local cod dish and me a spicy pasta dish with pancetta, peas, scallops and shrimp) was interesting and delicious (not to mention bountiful).

Chatham Fish Pier - Fried seafood on the waterfront, take-out, we had a Fisherman's Platter, a huge portion of fried scallops, shrimp, clams (bellies & just strips) and haddock, all super fresh and perfectly cooked. Enough for two people! The only drawback was how long it took - a good 20 minutes of standing around the parking lot waiting for our name to be called to the take out window. But once we got it, we enjoyed it thoroughly. A good, easy lunch option.

ABBA - we decided to go a little further afield and traveled to Orleans to eat at ABBA. What a disappointment! We had early reservations (6:00) and arrived on time to a reasonably empty restaurant, a freezing one at that. I don't know what put me off immediately, but I felt, as soon as I entered the door, like the place was all about pretension and sheen and attitude. It felt like Miami Vice in restaurant form. Because our waiter had no other tables at that point, he hovered over us, at times awkwardly. I'm not kidding when I say that not a minute went by without him circling around and seeing if we wanted anything or needed anything or were ready to order something more. How annoying! If we'd been on a romantic date, this would have been a nightmare.

The thought of eating an entire dinner there gave me the creeps so we ended up just ordering two drinks and appetizers. When we then asked the waiter (on his 33rd visit to the table in 15 minutes) for our check, he turned instantly passive aggressive and did not say one more word to us. Not one. He cleared the table in petulant silence, returned with the check which he placed on the table in silence, then came around and got it in silence - weird!

My final carp about the place - the chairs were those wicker seat chairs with high straight wooden backs , the kind that do not let you sit in any other position but straight up. Exceedingly uncomfortable and, for a restaurant obviously aspiring to the upper echelon of dining establishments, oddly lowbrow. A classic WTF touch.

Needless to say, we won't be heading back to ABBA anytime soon.

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Impudent Oyster
15 Chatham Bars Ave, Chatham, MA 02633

Oct 12, 2011
lescaret in Southern New England

Casual dinner recommendation in Acton/Concord/Maynard?

Hmm, well, that's never been my experience. Trotliner, you say you've "always" had bad service - how many times is "always"? And if it's more than twice, why did you keep going back?

Aug 17, 2011
lescaret in Greater Boston Area

Casual dinner recommendation in Acton/Concord/Maynard?

You'd do well to visit Helen's in Concord. It's casual, efficient, and serves delicious food.

http://www.helensrestaurant.net/

Aug 16, 2011
lescaret in Greater Boston Area

Tomatoes at Small Farm in Stow

Thumbs up to Small Farm - either myself or my partner passes by it every day of the week and during the summer we stop almost daily to pick up corn for dinner.

They used to have a communal recipe box that you could contribute to or take from - we tried a carrot souffle recipe (of which we were skeptical at first) and it was delicious!

As someone above pointed out, it's a pretty low key place - more of a farm stand than a farm, really.

Aug 03, 2011
lescaret in Greater Boston Area

Chowhound "bum steers"

Indeed. Went to Antico Forno with high expectations and was completely disappointed. Truly mediocre food, and terrible service.

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Antico Forno
93 Salem Street, Boston, MA 02113

Jul 27, 2011
lescaret in Greater Boston Area