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Savannah & Charleston Eats

Did a visit to these two cities not long ago, and felt the two "musts" were Mrs. Wilkes in Savannah and SNOB in Charleston. For Mrs. Wilkes, they're only open M-F for lunch from 11 AM to 2 PM, and a line often begins early -- I was told to get there about 10:30 AM, and that was good advice, as the line started forming in earnest right after that (and they don't take reservations).

Atlanta--southern charm

Did a trip to Atlanta not that long ago and tried two of these spots. I actually didn't care much for the Colonnade (very tough chicken fried steak and bland sides) but liked Mary Mac's Tea Room (liked the fried chicken and sides, had more flavor about the latter than at Colonnade).

If you're considering BBQ joints (ribs, brisket, etc.), I really liked Fox Brothers tremendously and enjoyed Rolling Bones a good bit.

Charleston, WV suggestions?

Am planning to be in Charleston, WV (downtown area, specifically Capitol complex, train station, Clay Center) in the foreseeable future for a day, and am looking for suggestions on chowish options, any and all meals possible. The only thing I've found here is a general discussion about West Virginia hot dogs (they actually sound like southern style chili-slaw dogs), though nothing specific to this city.

Any help here? Many thanks.

May 11, 2009
bachslunch in Mid-Atlantic

Chicago questions after some research

Am planning to visit Chicago at some point in the foreseeable future and have done some research before posting here. Would appreciate suggestions or corrections as needed. While there, my goal will be to seek out some eateries that are easily reached with a home base area in The Loop or via a reasonable El ride -- will not have a car -- and would also be open after a full sightseeing day (no lunch-only spots unless they're quick and easily reached in a sightseeing itinerary). Specifically have interest in cuisines we're not strong in where I live (Eastern European and German especially), or things that are unique to Chicago or that this city does really well. Specifics follow.

-deep dish pizza or stuffed pizza. Poking around here suggests that the best options fitting the bill would include Gino's East (deep dish), Lou Malnati's (deep dish), Giordano's (stuffed), Pizzeria Uno (deep dish), and Pizzeria Due (deep dish). We have Uno's locally, so am thinking I'll concentrate on the first three.

-Italian beef sandwiches. Al's #1 Italian Beef and Mr. Beef, with the former having an edge around here.

-Chicago style hot dogs. There are some otherwise worthy options that apparently are either not accessible via public transport or have short lunch-style hours (Hot Doug's, Superdawg), so I'm passing on them. That leaves Portillo's and Gold Coast Dogs, perhaps Wiener's Circle, from what I've seen.

-Eastern European, German. Am thinking Red Apple Buffet (Polish, the one at 3121 N. Milwaukee is near the Belmont stop on the Blue Line) and Russian Tea Time (Russian) are good possibilities. Might have considered Berghoff (German), but there seem to be some questions about whether it's even open nowadays, and it appears to get minimal love on this board. In fact, no German places seem much liked here, from what I've seen.

Would very much appreciate any feedback, including other spots I'm missing here.

May 06, 2009
bachslunch in Chicago Area

Brookline Family Restaurant -- brief report

Went to Brookline Family Restaurant for lunch recently and thought a recent brief report might be useful. Got three things, all of which were unusual and utterly first-rate:

-Mucver sandwich. The bread used was a little like focaccia, but lighter and topped with sesame seeds and circular shaped like the bread used for a muffaletta. Inside, the main ingredient was essentially a zucchini fritter (not greasy or leaden as things like this can sometimes be) -- added to this were touches of a condiment that was probably yogurt-based as well as shreds of lettuce, onion, and cucumber, which overflowed out between the bisected sandwich sections to become an impromptu salad. Despite its size and ingredients, this was not overly heavy or grossly filling, instead fresh and tasty, very satisfying.

-Collard green soup. Had never seen this before, and it was a real winner. Am guessing the stock was chicken based, but couldn't swear to it. Nevertheless, it struck a nice balance, not too hearty, not too light, with a pleasing flavor I can't say I've experienced before. It was chock full of carrots, potatoes, and shredded greens, with some rice grains that were soft almost to the point of disintegration.

-Turkish coffee. Was thinking this might be like espresso, but it wasn't really. This was a modest-sized cup of coffee somewhere in strength between espresso and regular drip, with a muddy deposit of grounds coating the cup bottom. Got it unsweetened and black -- it had an interesting flavor that almost suggested a hint of cinnamon or something similar.

Definitely a must as far as I'm concerned. The 'hounds who like this place are spot on. We're blessed to have two really good local Turkish places (the other being Sultan's Kitchen near Faneuil Hall).

Best Seafood On The Water?

Belle Isle makes an honest and affordable (if not oversized anymore) lobster roll. Their tiny eat-in counter space is awfully grungy and uninviting, though -- not much of a view either, except for the road running past.

Best Seafood On The Water?

For me, there are two good things about Anthony's Pier 4, the view and their popovers. Not a fan of anything else there, including their snarly, neglectful service. It's a no-go in my book.

Lunch fare in Medford, Somerville

No one's mentioned it yet, but there's an outpost of Kelly's Roast Beef in Wellington Circle.

Going to the North End Friday Night For Dinner. What's your favorite?

My biggest gripe against Trattorio Il Panino is that they refuse to serve patrons tap water on request, followed by consistent pestering during the meal to buy a beverage if you refuse to. I just can't in good conscience recommend a place that does this.

If they stop doing this, please post about it here, as I'd be interested to know.

Going to the North End Friday Night For Dinner. What's your favorite?

I don't think much of Fiore unless not having a rooftop outdoors dining area is a deal-breaker. There are many better places in the North End from a food standpoint.

If you want good Southern Italian red sauce stuff at a non-break-the-bank price, you might consider Pagliuca's, Antico Forno, Maurizio's (like Northender said, more Sardinian), or Rabia -- or for Southern Italian seafood, Daily Catch or Giacomo's. I actually like Saraceno's, but it's best to stick to standard red sauce basics there.

Marco and Taranta are excellent, though not really old-school red sauce places (Taranta is actually Peruvian/Italian). Prezza and Mamma Maria are both top-notch, but Northern Italian and expensive.

Feel free to check out my aging but still useful North End report:

First time in Boston - 2 adults no kids - what are your favs?

Haven't been to the Parish Cafe really recently (I had to do a look at their menu online to jog my memory), but if memory serves I've gotten The Zuni Roll, The Burke, and The Alternative, all with no regrets. Have seen some Zagats complaints about the service at this place, but have never experienced a problem on that end, either.

First time in Boston - 2 adults no kids - what are your favs?

Well robertlf, if we all agreed on this board on absolutely everything, that would really be a first. <grins>

I actually think Mike's is very good, but Maria's and Modern are even better. The North End is blessed with worthy options here, and I'm OK with any of these to varying degrees. Cheers is another matter entirely, a major-league tourist trap with below average pub grub. I do indeed like Bartley's burgers, and that seems to be a commonly voiced sentiment on this board as well.

First time in Boston - 2 adults no kids - what are your favs?

As long as we're mentioning sandwiches, I'll definitely bring up Parish Cafe on Boylston Street.

First time in Boston - 2 adults no kids - what are your favs?

Yes we do have a Chinatown, and a board search will bring up several excellent threads on the subject.

First time in Boston - 2 adults no kids - what are your favs?

Given what I've seen on this board, the opinion that the pies at Pizzeria Regina (at least at the original Thacher St. location) are only OK would seem to be very much a minority opinion. For me (and I'm thinking many other regular posters here), it's among the city's best options.

I'm not at all a fan of Fig's pizza. Have been to the Charles Street location, and the place seemed less than clean, the service was brusque, and the pizza was in my opinion nothing to write home about.

Flat Patties and UBurger are arguably the best of the relatively cheap Five Guys/In and Out type of burger locally, and the prices are easy on the wallet. Others that routinely get mention among the area's best here are those at Mr. Bartley's (Cambridge) and O'Sullivan's (Somerville). See this thread, for one:

First time in Boston - 2 adults no kids - what are your favs?

No, tdmort, not kidding.

I found the thread you were talking about, and there were only five places mentioned there that were listed as doing *lobster* mac 'n' cheese -- as opposed to plain or with other added stuff (sausage, etc.).

Of the five spots listed there, have not been to Max & Dylan's or Fat Cat, and I can't in good conscience recommend a place where I've never eaten, no matter how good or bad it might be. And for all I know, one or both may be really good. Have eaten at Finz in Salem and liked the food there, but did not know they offer this dish -- if so, it's the only seafood restaurant I know of that does so. Have not been that impressed with Amrhein's food, though haven't been recently -- and I don't remember this dish being on the menu, though maybe it is now. Did try this dish at The Loft and wasn't impressed -- there were hunks of lobster in it, but any seafood flavor got overwhelmed in cheese, and the whole thing was generic tasting. To my taste buds, it might as well have just been plain old M&C, with the notably lower accompanying price tag that should accompany such a dish.

The Google search I did only brought up Max and Dylan's (haven't tried) of these five, along with Stephanie's and Tremont 647. A further exploration of a Yelp page on the subject turned up Capital Grille, Boston Chowdah Co., and Scollay Square. Capital Grille is arguably one of the better steak chain spots, and I'm lukewarm to negative on the other options.

Hope this clarifies.

Where should I *drive*?

Good suggestions. Should note that it's actually possible to reach Wakefield Center via commuter rail or bus (but it takes a while from Boston), and Rockport can also be accessed via commuter rail (again takes a good while, and there's a bit of a walk to the waterfront area from the stop).

Essex, Sudbury, and the area in Medford where Moulton's is are indeed anywhere from tough to impossible to access via public transportation.

Where should I *drive*?

Belle Isle Seafood actually can be reached via public transportation if you take the Blue Line to Orient Heights and then walk several blocks (or take a Winthrop bus from the subway stop).

Where should I *drive*?

Not sure where you're located and how long you have for lunch/dinner, but here's a few thoughts.

If they're open, I'd think the clam shack places in Ipswich and Essex might be among the hardest good-quality spots to reach without a car. The Clam Box is a long way from the Ipswich commuter rail stop and not reachable via bus, while Essex (J.T. Farnham's, Woodman's, The Village) is neither reachable via commuter rail or bus.

There are also a few decent Italian spots on the North Shore (Donatello's in Saugus, Ponte Vecchio in Danvers) that definitely can't be reached via public transport.

J's at the Nashoba Valley Winery in Bolton definitely can't be reached except by car.

First time in Boston - 2 adults no kids - what are your favs?

I'm not sure you'll find lobster mac 'n' cheese at any seafood specializing restaurants locally. Capital Grille might be the most reliable place in Boston to get it -- just did a Google search for "Boston lobster mac 'n' cheese" and the list of restaurants that came up aren't ones I'd readily recommend.

First time in Boston - 2 adults no kids - what are your favs?

No, Barking Crab isn't even remotely close to Neptune Oyster in terms of food quality. I'm one of several folks on this board who greatly dislike the place, and I for one would strongly recommend not going there.

First time in Boston - 2 adults no kids - what are your favs?

A board search is a must for questions like this, though you've already gotten some good advice from mabelm4050 and rlh. For my aging but still useful North End report, please see:

Also, if you're going to choose between Mike's City Diner and Charlie's Sandwich Shoppe, I'd opt for the latter.

Help-Manhattan 2 day 2 kids

I did have cheesecake at the Carnegie not long ago and thought it was really good.

Apr 23, 2009
bachslunch in Manhattan

Best Restaurants on North Shore

I'd seriously consider one of the seafood shack spots (The Clam Box in Ipswich or J.T. Farnham's in Essex) or perhaps The Village Restaurant, also in Essex.

I'm not such a big fan of the Red Rock Bistro. The view can be great depending on where you sit, but the food's just pretty good and the service can have an attitude problem. And it's not especially close to Hamilton.

Disappointing meal at Redbones

I've always done fine with mains (buffalo shrimp, pulled pork, pulled chicken, ribs of various kinds) at Redbones. But I'll freely admit the beans they serve as a side are consistently weak and the cole slaw can be inconsistent (their dirty rice is fine). I just ask for a cup of the sweet molasses style sauce and drown the beans (and the slaw if it's not as good) in it. Works for me.

Flying in the face of "Chow Wisdom"

Does the original North End (Thacher St.) Pizzeria Regina even do slices? In my experience, they don't (unless they started selling them recently) except during the St. Anthony's Festival -- and even then, they sell them only from an outside stand at the side of the restaurant.

Toronto chowhound first visit to Boston/Worcester

Will second Science Chick on this, with some suggestions for good New England clam chowder places:

-for the thick gloppy kind: Legal Seafoods.
-for the thinner kind that actually tastes like clams: Neptune Oyster or B&G Oysters.

Flying in the face of "Chow Wisdom"

Thanks for posting, mwk -- I thought I was the only other person here who didn't utterly despise the No Name. It isn't at the level of Neptune Oyster or even Dolphin Seafood, but my experience has been that if you stick to fried seafood and fish chowder, it's perfectly fine.

As noted above, I'm in agreement with you about Durgin Park.

And for steak at blue collar prices, I've had my best experiences at Frank's (which I find better than Jimmy's Steer House or Hilltop, or heaven forbid, Ken's Steak House). Sure, Grill 23 and the Oak Room do steak better than any of them, but they're a different critter altogether. Kind of like comparing Prezza in the North End to Greg's in Watertown -- they're both Italian, but that's where the similarity pretty much ends.

Flying in the face of "Chow Wisdom"

I've been to Durgin Park a couple times since the ownership change and didn't notice a drop-off in quality.

Flying in the face of "Chow Wisdom"

No secret from me, but I like Durgin Park a lot, which not everyone here does.