When you first hear the name Dorchester, does that immediately turn you off? Well, it shouldn't. Despite what people may think, Dorchester is an up and coming area as far as restaurants go.
Now for the dinning. I would have to say that dbar would have to be one of the better meals I've had this year. We started off with Beef Tenderloin Mini Tacos, and Tuna Ceviche, and both were done very well. For my entree I had Bourbon Dijon Pork Tenderloin and my husband had the Duck Confit (yes, in Dorchester). The chef had great flavor going on in both of these dishes, as was the theme all night. Surprisingly, when we received the bill we managed (with two glasses of wine) to get out for under one hundred dollars. Great value!
The only problem I found at dbar was not being greeted promptly by the service staff. Myself and my husband waited several minutes while the staff enjoyed their conversation. We were unsure whether we were supposed to seat ourselves or wait.
Another great place to eat is Ashmont Grill. The food was enjoyable, but buyer beware, this menu is al a carte'. We started out with the Casco Bay Mussels and Pumpkin Soup. The soup was good, but the mussels could have been better. Next, the entrees. I had the Pan Roasted Cod. While the cod was delicious, I was disappointed to have to pay $17 for a small piece of fish and a little bit of tomato. My husband had the Wood-Grilled Flat-Iron Steak, which was appetizingly drenched in butter. While the steak was great, I enjoy having a complete dish, as opposed to having to build my own. Following the entrees we were still hungry, so we indulged in dessert. We split the Creamy Pumpkin Cheesecake between the two of us. The service was good. A meal for two people came to $150, including two glasses of wine.
224 is another good place to dine. Been there forever, can't go wrong with meatloaf, can you? Well, actually, I didn't get the meatloaf, but I don't know too many restaurants who still have that on the menu.
We began with the Lobster and Asparagus Pizza. The pizza was great, even though lobster was overcooked. For entrees, I had the Pumpkin Ravioli, which was delicious, but very heavy and unbalanced. My husband had the Swordfish over Fingerling Potatoes. The fish was fresh, but the dish wasn't that great. The star of the night was our two glasses of wine. The service was decent, and we got out for just under one hundred dollars.
Here is my view on these three restaurants:
dbar for food
Ashmont for service
224 for portion size
I would love to hear about your dining experiences at these three restaurants and your recommendation for other great Dorchester dining experiences.
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3 years ago I would go to 224 every week but after a bunch of bad experiences and a large staff turnover I've started going to other places. dBar is great as long as you are out of there before 10pm. After 10pm it switches from a restaurant to a gay club and they put away most of tables. Ashmont Grill does a great burger and we have had good brunch experiences but, as you point out, the "a l carte" aspect kills this place. With sides a skirt steak ends up costing $30. For that price I'm going into the city.
My two favorite places in Dorchester are the Blarney Stone and Shanti. The Blarney Stone has a menu that takes it a step above a regular bar meal, awesome service and very reasonable prices. Shanti offers Indian food with an emphasis on Bangladeshi curries. It's not the best Indian I've eaten but for Dorchester it's perfect and they deliver.
I've been singing Dot's praises for a little while now. Most of my favorites have been mentioned. I'd add: Avenue Grill (modest, friendly American and Italian-American), the Vietnamese noodle soup joints (Pho So 1, Pho 2000, Sunrise), Ba Le bakery (banh mi), Chef Lee's II (buffet-style soul food), and Ka Carlos (Cape Verdean).
Cafe Polonia (Polish) is technically in Southie near the edge of Dorchester, but well worth a visit.
Still meaning to try a few others, like Anh Hong for Vietnamese beef seven ways, Singh's for roti, Cesaria and Laura's (Cape Verdean), and a few of the pubs (C.F. Donovan's, the Banshee).
Second Anh Hong.
In addition to the 7 courses of beef, they do a fish version. Very fresh fish and worth getting a group together to do both.
Second 224 on Boston Street, a little slice of the South End in Dot. The meatloaf is quite good and I have always been very happy there. Wonderful dining in the warmer months on the patio.