birthday recommendation and, is quincy really a culinary wasteland?
Hi Boston, I'm a recent transplant from the san fran bay area with my fiance - we're here for 4 months. He turns 31 in late October and I'd love a suggestion for wonderful, special occasion place. His favorites are sushi, small plates, and good steak - and it's gotta have really on-target service. Feel free to shower me with advice on before-or-after drinks and walking around options, too - I'd be eternally grateful.
We're in Quincy, so something convenient to T (with cabs) is best... and... based on what we've seen, and the local zagats, Quincy doesn't seem to have much - anyone care to weigh in?
You'll get plenty of suggestions from others, although I'll mention Toro in the South End, Taberna de Haro in Brookline, and Cuchi Cuchi in Cambridge as my favorite "small plate" restaurants.
If you do a search on Quincy, you will see that it's far from a wasteland. There's plenty of great Chow.
There's a huge Asian population in Quincy, and many excellent restaurants have opened here recently. My favorites:
Little Q Hotpot(Hancock St. in the Registry building): The first US branch of the Chinese chain, which is really delicious. It's Shabu Shabu Chinese-style, and everything is fresh and tasty. If you go, try the lamb dumplings and the Scallion pancakes, both of which are already cooked. For the raw choices, the meats are the speciality, especially the High Choice Lamb, which is great. Lots of discussions about it here, so do a search and read up more.
East Chinatown restaurant (Hancock St. N. Quincy): An excellent Chinatown-style restaurant with great food and inexpensive prices.
Mandarin King (on Washington St., just before the Fore River Bridge): Great Mandarin/Hunan style food. If you are adventurous, try the beef soup for two. It's got chunks of beef and cilantro in a sort of egg drop soup base. Really tasty.
For Sushi/Japanese, on Hancock St. directly across from Little Q, is Kagawa, which has great Japanese food, and their Sushi is quite tasty. Next door is Fuji 1546, which is more Japanese fusion/high-style Asian, although the food and the sushi is good there as well (I give a slight edge to Kagawa)
For Vietnamese Pho Yuen Dong in the Kan Man Marketplace on Quincy Ave. is very good and dirt cheap. Excellent Pho, and I've heard the other dishes are good as well, but I haven't had a chance to try those yet.
For some different cuisines, my favorite Indian restaurant in all of the area (including Cambridge/Boston) is Classic India, which is also in the Registry building on Hancock St.
Next door to Fuji is Terra Brasilis, which is a quite decent Brazilian Churrascaria restaurant. The beef is the best thing about it. Their sirloin with a parmesan crust is fantastic. They also make great Caprinihas (sp?).
On the other side of Kagawa is Trattoria Alba, which is a lovely North End style Italian restaurant with excellent and tasty food.
Recently I had the chance to try another great place in Quincy, the Atlantic Bar and Grill (do a search for my review of it here on the board). It's just down the street from Mandarin King, on Washington St. (Rte 3A), just before the Fore River Bridge.
For a neigborhood place with good basic food, large portions, and cheap prices and very tasty, try Grumpy White's on Sea St., just past the Quincy Police HQ. Their Fish and Chips, Meatloaf and Prime Rib are all really good, and excellent burgers as well. If you like steak tips, Cronin's Publick House is a real divey bar place that makes a great version of those. Go in, get a Bud, watch the game, and feast on those.
Well, there are some more places I like, but that's enough to get you started. I find that guides like Zagats tend to overlook a lot of the suburban market, so it's always good to ask the local chowhounds for suggestions outside of the Boston/Cambridge/Somerville/Brookline axis :)
Also try the Hong Kong Eatery in Quincy Center on Hancock Street just down from Alba's Trattoria. Ate there for the first time on Friday and it was great. Highly recommend the peap pods with garlic and the corn with chicken soup. Not for a celebration but a good regular night out. Very inexpensive.
My parents live in Quincy and love both Alba's restaurants for special occasions. You can also try although it is hit or miss, The Inn at Bay Point. It does have a lovely view.
My favorite at the Marina is Ciro's. It has good service and good food but not over the top food.
Try Cucina Mia (just out of the center by the lovely Library)for a nice hand-made Italain lunch: pre-made--order at the counter and they'll bring it to you. They being the dear ladies who cook up the tasty soups, salads, sammies and such. While you wait, you can browse through a small but select collection of Italian products to cook at home. Then get an espresso.
Or Siam House-in the Center-for yummy pad thai. Yes, there are other dishes, but a good pad thai is hard to pass up when rarely indulged in.
Tullios-North Quincy(while not what it once was) is still great for a tasty dish and cute (though noisy) atmosphere.
Second-or third, fourth fifth- all the other rec's except Siros and Henry's-especially the dear Alba's.
Go to the Holy Ground (again in the center) for beer and Blues on Thursday nights.
When you're not dining there, the bar at Alba is a good Friday night drink spot.
If you want to walk around, get some clams at Tony's and walk around Wollaston beach (disregarding ongoing "improvements" or get a burger at Louis' on Houghs Neck (by bus if T is the only option) and take a walk over Great Hill to Nut Island-the views alone are alone is worth the bus ride.
None of this list is special occasion, of course-but if you're lucky enough to be in Quincy for a few months, then you'll need some back ups. Enjoy!