Cheap Eats - Chronicle's Version -- Part 2
- Tord Svenson Jan 26, 2000 11:42 PM
The next cheap eats expert was Caroline Fox (a fox) affiliated with Gastronomia Magazine. Caroline took us to:
The Blue Ribbon Barbecue in West Newton. "Everything is made from scratch" All the meat is cooked over wood fires -most of slow cooked for hours. The BRB is a small place with lots of take-out customers. Sandwiches are under $5 and nothing is over $10. I hope some of our locals try this place. Good barbecue in Boston isn't easy to find.
The Captain's Take-Away in Welsley was the seafood find of the show. The restaurant is small -mainly take out -with a large seafood retail store attached. Many "top-tier" Boston restaurants were said to get their seafood from the Captain. Everything was under $10 - the daily specials board showed:
Grilled Swordfish Tips with rice $6.95
Broiled Haddock plate $6.95
Fried Smelt plate $5.95
The Chronicle video guys showed a great looking broiled seafood plate with fish, scallops and large shrimp. The $9.95 top-end Lobster Salad plate was loaded with lobster meat. Then there was a fine looking clam roll with fries. The captain also serves a good looking clam chowder.
Zartar's Oven in Coolidge Corner in Brookline was next. Zartar serves up pita bread basted in egg wash and filled with various great sounding stuffings. One was Cod combined with eggplant, zucchini, green pepper, onions and olives. This is a fast service cafeteria style place with a beautiful wood-fired stone oven much like Bertucci's.
Carambola in the center of Waltham is a Cambodian paradise where the food is in the "royal style" - meaning you won't find it any Cambodian restaurant in Cambodia. Caroline likes the Monk fish. They use real monks -Buddhist monks. The owners are the Elephant Walk This Way family. The cuisine seems French influenced with chocolate "Land Mine" desserts. A favorite is "The Killing Fields" Special which features "Long Pig" in a royal style.
That was it for part 2. Part 3 tomorrow.
Blue Ribbon is definitely worth a visit. I would rate it among the top 3 Barbecue Joints in the Boston area. They actually have 2 locations. The original is on Washington Street in West Newton and their second location is on Mass. Ave. in Arlington.
The Captain's Take-Away is "OK" but the real Nautical Gem in the Western suburbs is Ritcey's in Waltham. This 560 Moody Street eatery is a real gem. Starting out in the 1940's as a fish market it has slowly evolved into the current restaurant. The fourth generations Ritceys manning the kitchen still turn out the best Seafood dinners around. Scratch preparation is the norm with home made tarter sauce and great onion rings. The French fries are cut from fresh potatoes "hard to find today"! There menu is not huge but you can get a good selection of fried, broiled and baked fish, Thankfully . they are not from the "thicker is better" school when it comes to chowder. Both their Clam and Fish have a nice flavorful milk base with plenty of fish. They also serve beer and wine. Décor is simple and they just finished an interior renovation.
re: PAUL DESORCY
Paul ---thanks for the info. I have not tried either of the Blue Ribbons. The one in Arlington sounds more accessible for me via the MBTA.
Which other barbecue joints do you like?
For seafood I tend to confine myself to Chinatown. I really like Ming's and several others are fine. The Golden Palace has rarely let me down.
Have you found any places that serve shrimp with any flavor like it is supposed to taste?
I've heard tell of Ritcey's but never got out there. Friends have wheels -- and love seafood --so, based on what you say, a trip will be in the offing.
re: Tord Svenson
Actually the king of barbecue in Boston is where you were going to have dinner last night. Redbones has held top honors in these parts for many years. Robert usually does a great job but my last 2 visits were disappointing. He at least has the good sense to use a "wood fired" finishing grille. I don't understand why people open Barbecue joints and use gas fired grills. Have you tried M&M Ribs out in your neck of the woods at 195 Adams Street Dorchester? I am a member of New England Barbecue Society. They put out a monthly newsletter called "Burnt Ends". If you're interested, I will post the member info.
Chinatown is a great place for seafood. I like Chau Chow 52 Beech Street. They do a great ..dry cooked salt shrimp. In addition, they perform culinary magic with soft-shell crabs when they are in season.
I feel very fortunate to have grown up on the East Coast, the undisputed seafood capital of the world. We have always had and great selection of "fresh" seafood. One of the few exceptions is shrimp, which is now and always has been available only frozen. The exception is Maine shrimp when they are in season. As I am sure all chowhounds know freezing is not a good thing to do to seafood. I have often wondered how much better fresh shrimp would taste. Once in a wile John at Magnolia's 1193 Cambridge St. Cambridge will have a shrimp fest and fly it in fresh from Louisiana.
I hope you make it to Ritcey's. Let me know when you are going and I will come by and give you the benefit of my 50 years of eating there. You were probably hoping I would say "pick-up the check".