Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Greater Boston Area >
Mar 17, 2002 08:51 AM

Todd English's Bonfire and Rustic Kitchen

  • b

Has anyone been to these two restaurants? I've been to Olives in NY and Las Vegas, and enjoyed them very much, but these two restaurants are newer, and I haven't heard as much about them. Any thoughts?



  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. I've been to both and thought both were okay. Bonfire is more expensive with interesting fish dishes. It's a pretty cool space and I'd recommend it. Rustic Kitchen is more casual, esp. since it's situated in Fanueil Hall Marketplace and you have to go out to use the general bathrooms which is kind of lame. I had a double thick pork chop that was great, some interesting sides for about $18, but the apps were expensive and the dessert we split wasn't that great. Personally I'd choose Bonfire.

    6 Replies
    1. re: Joanie

      You would think there would be a bathroom in the rest proper considering the prices for entrees.

      1. re: BLT

        Thanks for all your comments! I probably won't have a chance to go to Bonfire; Rustic Kitchen is more likely, since my hotel is very near Faneuil Hall. I probably won't even have time to go to RK, but ....everytime I think I have my list narrowed down, I find something else.

        1. re: Betsy

          Yup, it's rich, but wonderful. We went ther e few weeks ago and the pork scallopinne adn risotto was so good, I could have rolled in it. Great desserts too, and the decor is just great. We had a blast.

      2. re: Joanie

        Man, I'm stupid and was totally thinking about Kingfish Hall instead of Bonfire. Haven't been there so ignore anything I said about it. Duh.

        1. re: Joanie

          So, while we're on the subject, Joanie, can you elaborate on Kingfish Hall? Entree prices? Seafood more fun than East Coast Grill? Haven't been, and I'm loathe to venture into Quincy Market, but if the seafood is cool....

          1. re: galleygirl

            I think it's a more pleasant dining experience. Only been there once with a large party seated in the boring back room, but the downstairs bar is fun with the open kitchen (altho it gets hot) and the main room upstairs is really nice with rounded booths. It's maybe a bit more expensive than East Coast but they've got some pretty interesting twists on their seafood dishes. Of course, I can't remember what anyone had except my brother's father-in-law who got some ridiculously huge lobster bake dinner. Dessert was good too. It's definitely worth a try, esp. if you don't want to deal with the crowded, noisy East Coast.

      3. I really like Bonfire (haven't been to Rustic Kitchen), but usually stick to the Latin-style appetizers and side dishes. I've had a couple entrees - Veal Oscar, and steak. Both were good but not worth the prices (although they make a great Yorkshire pudding). I'd rather go to Grill 23 or Abe and Louie's for those type of dishes. However, the tacos are excellent and lately that's what I've been sticking to. We usually sit at the bar and order a few of those. Some of my favorites - the sushi tuna with wasabi, the tongue with pumpkin seed mole, and the grilled lobster with almonds and sherry. They also have a great brisket-stuffed potato as a side dish that is a meal in itself.

        1. I've been to Rustic Kitchen twice and for the most part I like it. They have some sort of tuna tartare appetizer that is really good; I forget the details (it's been a while) but it's something like chunks of raw tuna over crispy potato slices and avocado-y mayo. The rest of the things I've tried there ranged from just okay to really tasty.

          My overall impression of the food is that a lot of the things I have tried are really good for the first couple of bites. Then as I eat more of it, it just becomes too much somehow - maybe too rich, or too salty, or something. For example, I ordered a lobster risotto once that was really good when I started eating it: nice and creamy, but still with good texture from the grains, big chunks of lobster, yummy brown butter, but after a little while I just could not eat anymore of it. It wasn't that I was stuffed, it was just too much butter or something. Same with a friend's mac&cheese: really good for tasting, but that was all I could eat of it. Of course not everything on the menu is that rich so it could just be what we chose. A taste of another friend's pork chop was really tasty, and a polenta entree (I forget which one) was just okay (and HUGE - it would have fed several of us).

          For the reason I stated above, I have generally enjoyed the appetizers there more than the entrees. The appetizers are only a few bites anyway (when split; they are pretty good sized) and some of them are really good. But some of the entrees pack too much punch for an entree sized portion. We didn't really explore much of the dessert menu either time I went (we were too full - the portions are really big), but the couple of things we did try were mediocre.

          I keep it on my list of good places to take people who are not particularly adventurous eaters. There are some things I really like, yet it seems "normal" enough for the safe eaters. They feel safe, and I don't have to eat at The Cheesecake Factory. Everyone wins.

          3 Replies
          1. re: Jujubee

            Jujubee, I know what you mean about some dishes being so rich that you can't have too much of it.

            I once went to a restaurant in Denver that makes this utterly delicious version of mac n' cheese, with lobster and mascarpone. They served it as an appetizer, and it was really a perfect portion...except the fact that it was sooo good that I would have killed for more. I might have ordered another except that I knew I would have a hard time eating the entree and dessert if I did so.....

            1. re: Betsy

              Do you remember the name of the restaurant in Denver?

              1. re: gigi

                It was called Mizuna, and was fairly new when I went there. Already, that was the signature dish. I can still taste it; have you been there, Gigi, or are you going to Denver? It's a wonderful city.