BeantownHound's Profile

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Anyone else noticed any recent price hikes on Boston chow?

Hotoynoodle, you need to shop your prices! It is true though that almost all goods have been going up for restaurants, also including a fuel surcharge. AP flour was 12 or so dollars a year ago, now running closer to 25. Portion cut halibut is 19 per pound wholesale. Restaurants get higher prices on their goods, and then in turn have to make up for that by charging more. Boston is a difficult market to make it in, rent is high, we have a small population to sell to in comparison to other big cities, and people don't go out no matter what (think about a snowy day, or a nasty rainy day), where NYC diners might be more apt to hop in a cab and go out to eat. Damn you recession!

Jun 04, 2008
BeantownHound in Not About Food

Lunch on Newbury/Back Bay area?

So we decided to do lunch at Cafeteria Boston friday. Great weather and a nice patio might have given the entire meal a boost, but the food was far better than it had to be (being one of the Newbury St spots with a patio). Had a very good buffalo mozz Caprese salad and the kobe burger. DC had pear salad and margharita pizza. Mozz was three nice sized slices of gooey, tangy mozz, layered with surprisingly decent tomatoes (hot house I am guessing, its only may) some arugula, basil, & olive oil. Pear salad was a simple, crisp salad with arugula, julienne pears, gorgonzola, and toasted walnuts. Burger was cooked nicely, with cheddar, carm onions, lettuce, and tomato with a nice brioche roll, and ok fries. Pizza was simple margharita, not too cheesy, thin crispy crust, and perfect for one person or as an app for two i would think. All that with a bottle of sangria, great patio, and nice crowd (not all students, or europeans, or tourists, rather a nice mix of everyone). It wasn't cheap (14 i think for the kobe burger, 10 or 11 for the pizza), but not to bad seeing they have to pay rent at Newbury and Gloucester. Most of the entrees were in the low 20s, and I think they do the same menu. I used the restrooms inside and it was kinda interesting. Cork looking booths and chairs, clean modern look, a big marble bar. They also have an upstairs dining room, The patio is def. their bread and butter though, and from my first trip, I would actually venture to Newbury street again. I'm sure at night they have a good cocktail scene and they have a little lounge kind of area that would seem interesting. Pleasantly surprised I would say.

May 31, 2008
BeantownHound in Greater Boston Area

What is so special about Tavern on the Water??

Spend an afternoon with about 5 Long Islands, crappy fish an chips, and a few friends on the back patio. Have the lowest expectations for food, ok drinks, and a chill spot and that what it is good for. I have been a half dozen times and couldn't tell you a thing about the food except for it wasn't memorable. I do know that it is a good place to hang with friends (for us poor folk without a roof deck).

May 29, 2008
BeantownHound in Greater Boston Area

Lunch on Newbury/Back Bay area?

So I don't venture to this part of town too much, it isn't really a chow destination of Boston, minus Lespalier and Clio I would say, but I am meeting a friend for lunch and want to make the most of it at least. Lespalier is out just for the fact that it is a little to formal, and I was thinking about sitting outside as it is going to be one of those stellar Boston spring days. My options that I was thinking of about are La Voile (have been seeing a lot of negative reviews lately tho), Cafeteria Boston, Vox, or...

Find Sonsie to be pretty awful from my few visits, Kashmir is out as DC wouldn't really dig it, but otherwise all help is appreciated.

Let me know if anyone has any insight on these places, or other places that have patios. Doesn't have to be a top end meal, a really good burger would do, maybe a couple of creative menu items, a decent outdoor patio, and good drinks. Thanks for any help.

May 29, 2008
BeantownHound in Greater Boston Area

Chowhype

Barbara isn't the one in the kitchen tasting food, Colin Lynch (no relation) the exec sous chef is. I have been in that kitchen and believe me when I say that everything is tasted from when it is prepped, to when it is being plated. When is is very busy, not every plate is tasted, but for the most part they are. I applaud that kitchen for caring about every single plate, be it a pasta bolognese for the bar or a $128 4 oz wagyu ribeye, every dish matters to them, which is more than I can say for most restaurants.

May 16, 2008
BeantownHound in Greater Boston Area

Greatest meals

1-Sitting at the bar at Neptune the first time and having a dozen oysters and a beer, so simple, but so fresh and delightful. I swear I could have three dozen myself (if my wallet wasn't so skinny)

2-Standing up in a dirty industrial parking lot eating a loaded speeds dog, dripping a plethora of condiments and hot dog juice on myself, mmm

3-Eating my first Figs pizza about 3 years ago at the one on Beacon Hill off of the upside down sheet pan and having a watermelon feta salad on the side

May 15, 2008
BeantownHound in Greater Boston Area

Chowhype

I think when you see 50 posts about how great (insert restaurant here) and how they have the best whatever and they have great service, ambiance, etc etc, you are bound to start thinking oh that sounds great, and when you get there, oops they have a long wait or the bar is crowded or you get a server who doesn't want to be there or the line cook puts too much salt on your salad. Restaurants are very hard to run because you can't make everyone who comes in happy, no matter what, someone will not be blown away. Consistency is an everyday struggle front of the house and back of the house. Great restaurants make extra efforts. Perfection is a lot of little things done well.

Some better places the chef tastes almost every salad, every risotto, etc (No. 9 park does for sure), some places that would be utterly impossible, but even then your tastes may not be the same as the chefs. I know when my risotto is cooked enough or needs more butter or more salt, but what if you don't love butter like I love butter? Or you like your risotto well cooked (puts finger in throat, just kidding)?

Anyways I try not to get overly excited about going to somewhere that I find on chowhound, and am usually not super let down when the meal doesn't blow my socks off (rendevous, butcher shop, aquataine, gaslight, hamersley's), but am usually happy with places that I don't expect to be mind blowing (angela's, neptune, toro). That being said I know that angela's is a small 30 seater in east boston with 3 or so cooks making tacos and mole. It isn't going to be a wow you, showy, dover sole filleted table side, with a rolling cheese cart, and your wine coming from some dungeon in france (hooray for angelas getting b&w tho), but I do know that I am going to get simple, fresh awesome tacos, and the family that owns it is there and they want you to try the chipolte sauce, and they are just happy to be doing what they love (plus i can eat the whole left side of the chalkboard for like 30 bucks).

In closing I think chowhound has opened me up to many places in Boston and other cities that would take a long, long time to just find on my own. I want to eat tapas somewhere near fenway, oh go to taberna de haro. I want to eat pizza in charlestown, oh try figs. I want to get ceviche in east boston, how about rincon limeno. Good reviews should be a way of saying that a restaurant is given an honest effort and it makes me consider trying it. If a restaurant is getting super hyped I usually want to try it more, but wont get myself overly excited. I love food and dining out is my personal vice, but I understand that restaurants are just like people, they have their highs and lows, but no one is perfect.

May 15, 2008
BeantownHound in Greater Boston Area

24-Hour/Late Night Chow in the City

I had started a thread about this a while back you can search. Pretty grim situation.

May 08, 2008
BeantownHound in Greater Boston Area

3 nights in Boston

Toro is no reservations, just a waiting list I think. You should def.go early as possible if you plan on doing other things/eating other restaurants. Toro has communal tables, regular tables, and a bar. Rocca lounge has sofas, high tops, etc which would work for for a 14 year old. B&G has a few tables, a low bar, and a high bar, which are primary eating areas. They are not "bar" by any means and a 14 year old would be fine eating there. I haven't been to Radius, but from what I see in your plans (No 9 and OYa) Radius would be in that same class, sort of, and it would be cool to get a more casual change of pace at the other places. I also tend to find Toro fairly affordable in comparison to other places in its class. You can eat a decent meal with Sangria and Tapas for three people for 100 bucks, depending on your selections. In comparison you'd prolly drop about 400 or so at Clio if you do a tasting with wine. I hope you enjoy your trip.

May 06, 2008
BeantownHound in Greater Boston Area

Speed's Hot Dogs 4/16

Made my first visit to Speed today, one with everything. Enjoyed it, but I do understand the debate on different types of dogs for everyone. I do think it is a delicious and well made hot dog, but I would have to be in the mood for it. Sometimes I am more in the mood for a "traditional dog" (thinner like a sabrett hot dog) with just mustard. Worth the short trip, especially if you are in the area.

May 06, 2008
BeantownHound in Greater Boston Area

3 nights in Boston

No 9 is definatley one of my favorites. If I were you I would think about hitting up the south end, maybe for a small tour. I would do Toro early to avoid long waits. Tapas, Sangria, cool scene. Then maybe the lounge at Rocca for cocktails, baby octopus, and another bar snack. From there I would grab a seat a B&G for oysters, white wine, and an app. B&G (and the butcher shop across the way) are both from Barbara Lynch from No 9 park. Sounds like your going to have a killer trip.

May 06, 2008
BeantownHound in Greater Boston Area

Value at the High End

Not exactly High End, but I do enjoy Hungry Mother in Cambridge. I have only been twice but always feel like it exceeds expectations, and the bill never stuns me. Also I also have to say that the last time I went to Toro I was shocked by the bill, but only by how small it was. I think that you can eat very well there and not feel sticker shock. Also second Taberna de Haro, fantastic visit there about three weeks ago, it is really nice to see the chef/owner doing it all (bussing tables, seating people, recommending wine, cooking) and very large portions for tapas. My personal favorite lunch though is 6 oysters and two apps from Neptune, with a glass of wine or maybe two draft beers. That usually runs in the $50-$60 range, but I always walk out of there with a smile on my face and full.

Apr 23, 2008
BeantownHound in Greater Boston Area

Toro or Butcher Shop

Toro does usually have a wait, but if you are willing to sit at the bar or at the center tables then you should cut that back at least a few minutes. I find the food and ambiance better at Toro than at the Butcher Shop, and it usually tends to be a tad cheaper.

Apr 21, 2008
BeantownHound in Greater Boston Area

Best Boston Area Mexican

Just as a confirmation of my love, I ate at Angela's today. I had all of the chalkboard appetizers and the Mole, but with pork. Wow. Gorditas, Pulled Beef Tacos, Soupe Azteca, Guacamole, Chicken Flautas, and many more treats. A slightly excessive but incredible meal (with 2 dc). Total bill, $57. Less than 20 bucks a head for one of my favorite meals I've had in Boston. Please go.

Apr 12, 2008
BeantownHound in Greater Boston Area

Best Boston Area Mexican

Angela's in East Boston for sure, Tu Y Yo in Davis also pretty solid

Apr 11, 2008
BeantownHound in Greater Boston Area

Recs for a culinary student's parental visit?

Check out hungry mother off of kendall square. Moderate pricing, very solid food, and a funky, upstart atmosphere.

Apr 02, 2008
BeantownHound in Greater Boston Area

Pho Pasteur in Needham Closed, Tu Y Yo taking it's place

Hooray for grasshopper empanadas!

Apr 02, 2008
BeantownHound in Greater Boston Area

Calling all hounds: Angela's Cafe needs your help!

Likewise got to make my first trip to Angela's. Had amazing rajas poblanos, followed by chicken mole. The poblanos were extraordinary, so simple, but couldn't stop eating them. If they had come out in a five gallon bucket, I might still be working at it. Chicken Mole was fairly moist for chicken breast (my least favorite piece of meat) and had a terrific sauce. I love the feel of the little place and can't wait to get back and do an appetizer tasting.

Mar 30, 2008
BeantownHound in Greater Boston Area

Chowish Spots Near Cambridgeside Galleria

Check out Hungry Mother, off of Kendall Square, less than five minutes from the Mall. Search the Hungry Mother posts on CH for some recs.

Mar 29, 2008
BeantownHound in Greater Boston Area

5 days of lunching alone

Second Volle Nolle and Neptune, both in the North End. Volle Nolle has great sandwiches (althought not that cheap say $8 or $9) but well worth it. Neptune is killer, new chef(Nate I think) doing great since Dave Nevins left. The owner Jeff is usually behind the bar at lunch. I also always drop like 80 bucks at Neptune, but whatever its worth it. I haven't been yet, but Persephone in the Seaport area is doing lunch (i think?) and that is kind of a hot new place. More towards the back bay Sonsie is the people watching place, but the food is pretty lackluster IMO. Lespalier is too formal for a single diner, I would feel all naked and out of place there (and I eat alone alot). Not sure if they do lunch at either( i think i had lunch at Butcher Shop), but B&G Oyster and Butcher Shop in the south end come to mind. I wish No 9 park still did lunch, that was my favorite sorry.

Mar 25, 2008
BeantownHound in Greater Boston Area

Hungry Mother of Cambridge open!

Stopped by Hungry Mother for dinner at the bar. Small, clean space on the first level with 7 or 8 bar seats and a pair of high tops for 4. Kitchen directly in front of you when you walk in, as well as a wall listing all of the people who helped fund the place when they were getting strapped for cash (those pesky restaurants aren't cheap to open, you know).

Menu is in 4 sections, a small bites "to tide you over", apps, mains, sides. Ice water in mason jars. Started with beef tongue canape, fried oysters, and pork rillettes from small bites. Oysters crispy, cornmeal fried with small bit of slaw and lemon. Good start. Beef tongue, meaty, mustard, soaking into bread. Oh yea. Pork was about a sake glass full with toasted baguette, cornichons, and dijon. Simple but tasty. Kitchen is likely helped out by having these little plates, by getting people something to eat that is fairly easy to prepare and not having to wait too long for apps and such. Seemed like a tiny kitchen. Wine list seemed pretty solid with glasses starting at 6 or so and bottles ranging up into the 75 dollar range. Had a half bottle of sauv. blanc for 22. Very solid crisp white.

Next was apps, which I had the BBQ Quail, served with quail egg, aioli of some sorts, and fried green tomatoes. Quail was nicely charred, perfectly cooked, and just overall terrific. Fried green tomatoes, crisp breading, nice with the aioli and some of the quail. Felt like a slob eating the quail with my hands. Who cares.

A glass of chenin blanc for about 7 or 8 bucks and the next course was catfish. Was originally going to get the pork, but catfish at a 'southernish' place sounded right. A slight delay between courses (more later), but alas I had my supper. Fried catfish was moist, well seasoned and served with a charred cauliflower salad with capers, bright collards, and one of my favorite things, very very small crisp croutons. They add a nice bit of crunch to the dish. A pretty good value at 16. Nicely done.

Midway through the catfish I asked the bartender, Ned to recommend another glass of white and he poured me an interesting glass of a German wine, I don't remember which one though (uh oh)...

Pot De Creme with cardomon was very rich, and as noted above very thick, but hey I like it and it tasted pretty damn good. Lemon shortbread with it was very nicely done, light and crisp. Coffee was delicious, from Cafe Nation in Allston.

Upstairs dining room cozy, but not cramped with a separate area to the right with a few tables tucked away. Bathroom has Mastering the art of french cooking by JC as wall paper. Cool touch. Was told that the other bathroom had a virginia housewife cook book in the same manner.

To wrap it up, I had a very solid experience. Great service, moderately priced, cool ambiance (maybe some postal service, jack johnson, and bands of that like playing, but not too loudly, it would be cool to check it out a little later at night, see if they turn it up and make it more of a late night place), solid food, and drink. Another note is that they try to use as much local product as possible (which is very little in march) and recycle and compost 90 percent of their waste. When my main seemed to take a while, one of the owners came over and asked me how my app was, thanked me for coming, asked me how I heard about them (chowhound of course), and later my dessert and coffee was taken care of by the house. Nice touch.

Overall one of the better meals I have eaten in Boston in a long time, and somewhere that is not crazy expensive that makes it hard to frequent. If it is grouped in with say Rendevous, Central Kitchen, PRB, Eastern Standard, and restaurants of that type($15-$25 entrees), then I say they are far ahead in terms of food. I can't wait to get back next week to get through more of the menu. The place has love.

Mar 24, 2008
BeantownHound in Greater Boston Area

Frozen Sweet Plantains in Boston Area?

Ah the great maduro debate...My family has been running Cuban restaurants for years and I find that using fresh plantains from the store (almost always very green) are great for doing tostones, or the yellow more starchy fried plantain(score the skin long ways, blanch in boiling water for a minute or so, peel the skins,cut in chunks, fry, smash, and fry again, lots of salt and mojo, mmm). These can also be ripened for a week or two or however long it takes, and you can make maduros. But..I tend to find when you make them from fresh they tend to be a little drier and a bit less sweet. My abuela even started using the bag or box frozen ones for maduros, because I think they may have a sweet coating of some sorts on it. Its certainly not natural, healthy, and def. not traditional, but its damn good. Also I need it by Monday for a group of 40 or so, and don't have time to ripen some up. Anyhow back to the search, where is the North Beacon St Stop and Shop?

Mar 22, 2008
BeantownHound in Greater Boston Area

Frozen Sweet Plantains in Boston Area?

I am looking for frozen plantains (maduros) in an area grocery store or market. Has anyone seen them? Brand doesn't matter (La Fey, Goya, whatever), but I need a large quantity by Monday. Any sightings or help would be great...

Mar 22, 2008
BeantownHound in Greater Boston Area

Blue Duck Tavern Thoughts?

Susie Q, lots of fat and butter is definatley my style! I don't care what the NYTimes says this week. Anyways I am looking more towards like a 'Babbo'esque kind of place in terms of pasta. Doesn't have to be super formal or anything, just not red sauce joints. Tortelli, Love Letters, Strozzapretti, all those fun ones with interesting fillings or shapes, where the sauce is more of a condiment rather than the dish. Thank for any advice...

Mar 20, 2008
BeantownHound in Washington DC & Baltimore

Blue Duck Tavern Thoughts?

I'm making a trip to DC from Boston in early april and was wondering what the general thoughts were on Blue Duck Tavern. I searched the board, but not much came up. I have reservations for Monday Apr. 7th, and what are the best dishes, etc., but would also be interested in other recs (maybe lunch) for some killer fresh pasta. Thanks for any help...

Mar 20, 2008
BeantownHound in Washington DC & Baltimore

Brunch (jazz?) for 12+ Boston/Metrowest

Tryst in arlington popped up in my head when i first saw your post and I think it fits the bill. Pretty large space, could easily accomodate 12 people and kids. Full Bar. Jazz band playing. Decent (not spectacular) brunch. Parking fairly easy and not to crowded on my last visit. Should be around your price range too.

Mar 15, 2008
BeantownHound in Greater Boston Area

Restaurant week sucks! [moved from Boston board]

But what is the point of going to a high end place, if your not going to get their 'real' atmopshere and experience? If you don't make enough money (like me) to go out to eat at high end places, then when you do get to go it is a memorable trip and you get the whole package, food, service, ambiance. During restaurant week you get something totally different and I think it hurts places when someone goes in expecting something way more and get a toned down version of the place. If you go to a restaurant that typically has 40 dollar entrees or a 100 dollar tasting and you are getting a 35 dollar three course meal, and then feel like it was just OK then that defeats the whole point of RW, because many people leaving feeling underwhelmed and likely won't go back and try it at full price.

Mar 15, 2008
BeantownHound in Not About Food

Restaurant week sucks! [moved from Boston board]

What do you mean theres no good side? You get to dine on a healthy plate of either very cheap ingredients, or just a very small amount of them, sometimes slapped together because restaurants are two or three times busier than they typically are. Plus it makes restaurants kick into "turn em and burn em" mode to get the 80 people standing at the bar seated and service is usually hurried. Instead of 50 covers on a Monday, they do 300, and make just a little bit more money (for the higher end places at least) because they have to have more staff, more overtime, and the checks are way lower. Yes please kill restaurant week it is LAME.

Mar 15, 2008
BeantownHound in Not About Food

Olives: The Best Value of RW

I usually don't go out for restaurant week, but if I'm tempted I usually sneak into the bar and go especially early (when there won't be an overflow of people waiting for the second, or even third seatings. Good luck getting a spot and Olives tends to really do a solid RW menu.

Mar 14, 2008
BeantownHound in Greater Boston Area

And the catergories are...

So I was reading the post about Clio vs Lespalier and considered the fact that everyone essentially groups restaurants in little packs, so I wanted to run a survey of your top pick for the following classes:

upscale-formal: lespalier
upscale-semiformal: no. 9 park
upscale-casual: olives
aspiring-moderate: franklin cafe
seafood heavy: neptune
sushi: ginza
pizza: figs
sandwich shop: volle nolle
indian: namaskar
grocery store: formaggio kitchen
wine store: bermans
bread: b&r

Mar 01, 2008
BeantownHound in Greater Boston Area