Food Court OPEN at Allston/Brighton Super 88
- ld Aug 8, 2002 06:15 PM
Yes, it's open -- folks eating, wonderful food scents. Here's what's offered (courtesy of their flyer): Ajisen Noodle (Japanese noodle soups), Kantin (Chinese), Rickshaw (Northern Indian tandori and curry), Oubon Cafe (Thai and Laotian), Sugar Bowl (Vietnamese pho, goi, bun), Lollicup TeaZone (teas, juices, smoothies), Tsunami (sushi, sashimi, tempura), Mambo Cafe (Venezuelan). Misono Grill (Korean) will open soon. Looks very good. Couldn't stop tonight -- will report back soon!
Yup! I popped into the Market for some vegetables and tofu late this afternoon, and I saw the Food Court doors open, woks and pots steaming, folks eating, and wonderful odors wafting my way. [One small caution, however, now that the Food Court is open, the parking lot is much more crowded. Market shoppers may want to avoid standard meal times...]
ld is absolutely right. The 88 Food Court opened yesterday. Like him, I couldn't check it out yesterday although some chow friends dropped in for dinner (but they left town on a long weekend afterward so I'll have to wait till next week to hear their comments, by which time I'll have checked it out myself).
This is rough, but here goes:
Mass. Pike (90)to the Cambridge/Allston exit.
Head towards Allston/Brighton.
Go about 1/2 mile.
You will go over a little bridge and see the Sports Depot and a Rug Store on your right.
Take a left on Harvard right after the Sports Depot go about two blocks and take a left on Brighton Ave.
The 88 will be on your left after about 4-5 blocks.
The neighborhood in general has some great restaurants and the 100 (really) or so beers on tap at the Sunset Grill are amazing.
A very brief report from two chowhound-type friends who were there at the opening yesterday :
Rickshaw (Indian) - they were not impressed by the food. And ".... the counter staff looked like they were out-of-work dot-commers...."
Ajisen - got the thumbs up.
Prices are on the high side.
Things really aren't up and running yet...I met Michael B there at lunch today, and we did a little sightseeing...About half the places weren't serving yet, because the Board of Health was still doing their inspections..
The Chinese place will open in about a week, their proprieter was running around, bubbling full of energy, and offering to send everyone coupons..Give her your name! Same for the Korean grill..The sushi place is a branch of Tsunami, they weren't certified yet, but seemed about to be."My" sushi chef from star Market was filling me in, as we stood in line for Vietnamese..
The Vietnamese place in back had a fairly basic menu, but $5.75 bought a HUGE, fresh goi tom with a healthy amount of shrimp...I'll have to remember to ask for Srichicha next time, tho..Michael B got the goi cuon..A little on the bland side, but really nice texture on the wrappers...They needed herbs inside, I thought.I didn't have a bun, but the ones I saw looked very good, nicely grilled shrimp..I also saw a pork plate, including pork chop, pork skin and pork cake that will probably make you pig fans very happY!..You could see their pho pots, big enough to cook a large child in! The open kitchens in all these places were fun to look at..The Vietnamese place will also have a bakery by next week, and will be serving banh mi! Hooray!
The Japanese noodle place in front looked the most promising. They're up and fully functional, and had some nice noodle options, including salmon and eel..They offered 3 different broths, Miso, a veg.based chili-flavor, and a soy based one...
The Thai/Laotion place opens tonite (Friday) there was no menu out yet...They were shredding green papaya with a knife when I walk by; looked promising..I was a little taken aback by the large selection of canned curry sauces under the counter, tho..
The Indian curry take-out place looked like it could belong in any suburban mall food-court..
A big favorite among the gringos there seemed to be the Venezuelan Mambo Cafe...At this point, they also seemed to be the most fully evolved operationally...We were gonnah pass them by, til I noticed they had ceviche, and MB noticed arepas...Hmm, different..The ceviche was shrimp, cooked, with a salsa-like sauce...Not spicey enough for me,kinda boring, but still light and fresh..MB's arepa was grilled, as in GRILL marks..A little different..He did not notice an etherial lightness, but he did like the chicken and avocado filling..
The Bubble tea place, needless to say, was doing a land-office business!
The kinks aren't worked out yet, not everyone's open. Don't make a special trip yet, but if you're in the neighborhood, and need a bowl of noodles before midnight, or a Venezuelan breakfast, stop by.
I checked out the Japanese noodle place after scarfing down a chicken and avocado arapa -- I've never had an arapa before so I'm not sure how it stacks up, all I know is it's gooooood. Think of a very tasty chicken salad made with avocado instead of mayonnaise, schmeared between the halves of a grilled masa disk. Tiny but filling.
The noodles were very good -- we chose the curry flavored noodles with bbq pork. Despite a dubious looking preserved egg on the top, the broth was tasty, the pork was very good and the noodles were, well, noodles. They were having a 20% off sale today, so it was quite reasonable as well.
Topped it all off with a tapioca milk boba. The line was out the door, and they are very slow, but this being my very first bubble tea, I was delighted.
Shopping in the market itself scored my friend and I long beans, baby bok choy, many tins of Maesri thai curry paste, various soba noodles, a new stainless steel strainer, and some funny little snacky things (like little cookie treats in the shape of mini-hamburgers) and pocky -- "Men's Pocky" in deference to MichaelB.
NB: not all the prices are that good, some of the Japanese items are cheaper in Porter Square, but the experience was a lot of fun.
I went there today, but closer to 3:00. Also tried the Vietnamese place - I thought the rolls were very bland - just iceberg lettuce and rice vermicelli with pork/shrimp but no fresh herbs. I had the lemongrass shrimp which was almost exactly like Pho Pasteur's version (is there a standard recipe for that or is Pho involved in this outpost?), which I really like. Lots of ground peanuts in a sweet/spicy sauce. The Bubble Tea line was too long when I was there, looks to be the most popular counter.
YumYum - I stocked on those curry cans too. Made steamed mussels in red curry this weekend.
Apparently Mambo Cafe is an off-shot of Casa de Pedro, the very good Venezuelan place in Waltham. Your description of the ceviche certainly describes Casa de Pedro's ceviche as well -- not their best dish. Good fresh flavors, but not much spice, and a little boring. I guess Pedro always uses that salsa-like sauce, which isn't my favorite marinade for ceviche.
The arepas, on the other hand, are often very good at Casa de Pedro, so it's no surprise they were enjoyed.
Casa de Pedro at even lower prices sounds good to me . . .
re: chuck s
THAT'S why it seemed like she knew me! Thanks ChuckS...I actually went by there 10 days ago or so, and they have a great selection of congees, 4 different seafood ones, including a shredded dried scallop, which I didn't notice til I had already ordered the fish fillet version (very good!)...Also go a rice plate w/fish and Chinese broccoli, and a serving of their roasted cuttlefish, which I found better than the version at Hong Kong eatery.
" "the counter staff looked like they were out-of-work dot-commers" What does this mean? Just curious, since I know some out-of-work dot-commers, some of which are Indian."
Since I wasn't the one who originated the comment, I can't tell you what was meant exactly. My interpretation is that the counter staff looked like they'd be more at home behind a PC than a counter.
I did a walk-through of the food court at lunch today. The Japanese noodle place had a 1-hour "out of order" sign so that foiled my plans for lunch. I ended up having an arepa with roast pork from Mambo. The arepa was heavy and rather unappetising, and even with the roast pork it tasted mono-dimensional and boring. If only they'd put in some avocado or shredded lettuce. I ended up eating the filling and junking the arepa. Was still hungry so ended up ordering takeout from the 88 supermarket cooked food counter - a large serving of 'pei tan chok' (rice porridge with 100-yr-old eggs) for just $3 - it was delicious!
Stopped in for lunch on Friday and was very impressed. I had braised beef over chow foon from the Chinese stand (Kantin) which was quite tasty, large (too large really, but i'm not a stickler for presentation in styrofoam) chunks of thick boneless beef rib meat over good noodles. The beef had a layer of fat on it, but that was easily cut off, and I'm sure helped the flavor a lot -- wouldn't be for everyone tho. A huge portion -- more than I could eat -- for $5.50.
Also had tea from the bubble tea stall, although they didn't have my first choice and I subsequently forgot to ask for boba in my alternate :o( My friend ordered from the Vietnamese place; the vegetarian options were good but seemed a bit overpriced. I had one of the fresh rolls (vegetarian); galleygirl is right, the fillings needed some more zip, but the sauce was wonderful.
I'll definitely be back. A great addition to that neighborhood -- I wish I were closer.
Stopped in Saturday and tried the white-cheese arepa at Mambo Cafe and a bowl of curry noodles at Ajisen. The arepa was my first, and a bit of a disappointment after all the glamour generated by the NY Arepa Lady fans. You could see the poor thing had been sitting around for some time and then inadequately reheated on the grill. I watched the cook split the arepa and pile on pre-grated cheese direct from the refrigerator, thus ensuring that it would arrive in my hand lukewarm at best. Oh well, in that setting they're probably not moving enough of them to keep them very fresh. However, I got a sense of the overall taste and texture of arepas, and I'll probably like them a lot once I get my teeth around a well-made one.
The curry noodles were more of a hit. The curry broth was nothing special - just curry and salt - but hot and flavorful enough, and filled with ramen and fresh vegetables...rather a lot of corn...but I enjoyed it.
Partner was less enchanted with his roast pork noodle soup, also from Ajisen. This is their specialty, but it didn't live up to his high hopes. He compared it to McDonald's for quality.
I'll be back to try some of the other spots, next time I run out of fried tofu and have to make another trip to the Super 88!