Best *new* food in 2006?
I was thinking about the best new** entries into the Boston chow market in 2006. Of course I return to my favorites, but this year I was happy to have for the first time:
- salty spicy chicken from Mulan
- pepperoni pizza from the Paddock
- Beef on Weck at ASSBar
- lavender ferns at Anise
- many new nibbles at Gargoyles' bar, most notably tuna poke
- my first try of Hei La Moon
- mutton chops at Tamarind Bay
- chicken liver crostini at Trattoria Toscana
- salade nicoise at Eastern Standard
- squid and borlotti beans at Rendezvous
- beef stew with bahn mi at Xinh Xinh
- cold noodles with asian pear at Wu Chon house
** Some of these aren't new, but they were new to me, and for that I have Chowhounds to thank.
What tickled your fancy this year?
New to me:
--The Chez Henri Cuban sandwich (looks like a lot of us discovered this one this year...).
--The tasting menu at No. Nine Park--turns out that hype about food I can't afford is sometimes actually true: see http://www.chowhound.com/topics/show/341288#2012635
--The food court at Super 88, now a treasured place for lunches on rainy days (Chowhounds, with this recommendation alone, you made Boston a better place to live for me, and you can't possibly know how grateful I am for that).
--I just discovered I can finally once again use my old pre-CNET workaround: using google to enter |Site:www.chowhound.com "query phrase"|.
Just plain new:
--Petsi Pies new branch near my house: excellent scones (I'm a partisan of the pear and pecan scone, with a hint of ginger); and their pear, prosciutto and gorgonzola sandwich is something made of "gourmet" ingredients that serves as comfort food.
--El Oriental de Cuba: phoenix from the flames. Straight-up Cuban sandwich that's a simpler, more basic thing than the Henri version, but great--EOdC:Henri::Ibrahim Ferrer:Ry Cooder. ( http://www.pbs.org/buenavista/musicia... )
--Rendezvous in Central Square. We find that we make good meals of their small plates; of these, I especially liked their sardines, fresh, piquant and strong, dissected with skill by my comrade-in-chow--looks like they're rotated off the menu now, but I hope they'll be back.
Although it sucks that Toscanini's is getting pushed out of their Harvard Square spot for at least half a year, and I'm bummed that Rendezvous has nixed the bluefish cakes and the sardines, and I miss the f-ed up design of the old chowhound that made me feel like I was part of an arcane underground sect, still, like my old chowhound search strategy, I hope that all good things will in some form return.
Nice! You did the No 9 tasting menu, I'm glad it was as fantastic as the first time I had it. Be sure to try the decadent lunch one - especially if it's an occasion and you take the day off. :)
On your list, which I still have to try is Petsi's, and yes, I'm another one who has yet to try the fantastic Cuban's at either Chez Henri or El Oriental. I've been to Chez Henri for dinner (great, but it's been about 5 years), but never at the bar. We already have plans for our New Year's resolution to do that in January.
these lists make me realize that i had sort of a staid, stick-with-the-old favorites kind of year. i guess i'll have to use this post as a road map for 2007!
that said, the three things "new" that are really memorable for me from this past year are:
tasting menu at dante
salt and pepper pork chop at mulan
the paddock in general, a great neighborhood spot in somerville that i had neglected for the ten years i've lived in the town but which i was finally enticed into trying by this board and that i now can't wait to drag my friends to.
I forgot two winners:
1 -- naanwich (I had tandoori chicken as my filler, tangy smoky and great!) at Punjab in Arlington
2 -- grilled octopus at Desfina -- served drizzled with a little olive oil and a lemon wedge to squeeze over. Perfectly cooked. Another dive, in a good way.
Again, neither of them upscale but both very good.
cubano @ chez henri
ginger soda @ dante
tacos al pastor @ tacos lupita (somerville)
chicken hearts @ churrasco (magoun sq)
fresh corn soup @ clio
infused bourbon @ gargoyle's
spicy green beans @ shangri-la
fatback bacon thing @ monte cristo (somerville)
palm-oil orange rice @ churrasco
brioche au sucre from Peytra @ flour
...and a moment of silence for the (temporary) loss of Urban Gourmet due to fire.
Mouhamara and grape leaves at Karoun
Lamejun at Eastern Lamejun
Beef in flatbread (not exact translation -- niu rou jia bing in Chinese) and pearl meatballs at New Shanghai
Bahn mi bo kho (beef stew with bread) at Xinh Xinh
Veal chop at La Brace
Oatmeal with huckleberries, grilled bananas and candied walnuts at Volle Nolle
Beef rendang at Spice King
Mini ristaffel at Jakarta Corner
Fried sweetbreads with cortland apple puree at Aujourd'hui
Crepe at Bon Savor
Grilled fish with a Moroccan sauce at Cafe D
Tea (e.g. the rare Scarlet Robe) at Swan cafe, Park Plaza Hotel
Lasuni gobi (cauliflower with potato) at Kebab Factory
Pheasant meatballs at Domani
Khinkali at Bazaar International Foods
7 kinds of fish and beef at Anh Hong
Hotpot at Little Q
Cubano at Chez Henri
Bolognese at No. 9
Pan con Tamate at Toro
Grilled cheese with coarse mustard at Eastern Standard (don't laugh - it's THAT good)
Pepproni pizza and steak tips at the Paddock
Big Night dinner at Grotto
Reuben Fritters at Gargoyle's
Grape leaves appetizer at Oleana
Tuna tartare at Sibling Rivalry (the former version with asian flavors)
Okay this is why this Board contribues in a negative way to my waistline. Called King Fung Garden (usually have to order 24 hours ahead but sometimes they have extras!) - and my 3-course Peking duck dinner, along with their excellent scallion pancakes, will be ready for pick-up in half an hour. It's all Lissy's fault for mentioning it on her list and reminding me that it's been a while since I've had it.
It's a plan Lissy!
Dax, that's funny you mention the dumplings because that's our 'usual' order for pick-up - Peking duck, dumplings, and scallion pancakes, but, ya know, I'm on a diet. :P.
BTW, the Peking duck was delicious as usual. Lots of leftovers. Plenty of pancakes, I crisped the skin up in the oven, and the duck stir-fry was especially tasty last night, though the soup could have had a little more flavor. Scallion pancakes were great - flaky and crispy.
Oh, I agree! Well, then if I was doing another list of new favorites that I didn't read about first on the Board, then it would be that dish (I just love that hint of sweetness from the reduced Barolo), along with Sorrelina's spicy tuna tartare with mostarda. I thought I was bored with the ubiquitous tuna tartare, but I'm converted.
Hmmm...some other local highlights this year -
Michael Scelfo's rosemary french fries at (formerly) North Street Grille
Copia's baby octopus in harissa
Pimiento de Padron peppers at Prezza
Dave's Juicy Bacon Cheeseburger at Pizza Oggi - always medium rare
Churros with chocolate sauce at Avila
"Fries with Eyes" at Dante
Uovo raviolo with white truffle and butter sauce at Prezza (in fact, this would be my #1 dish of the year)
Rubee, I look at your list and realize I didn't have one really upscale meal this year in Boston. I had a couple in New York, and certainly ate well in the middle ground, but I need to put aside some time and money for a really great meal at No. 9, or Troquet which I've never tried. The list for 2007 is already taking shape.
A couple of newish dishes that moved me in 2006:
Pan con tomate at Toro. This place annoyed and charmed me by turns, sometimes in the same night, but I and everyone I brought here loved this eminently simple dish.
Arepas. Didn't really know them before I tried them at Orinoco, but became more enamored with a less swanky version at Viva Mi Arepa in West Roxubury.
Overstuffed pork-skin banh mi at Pho Viet in the Allston Super 88 food court.
Caldeirada, the seafood stew of the year, at Casa Portugal.
Grilled baby octopus at La Brace.
Mucver (shredded zucchini fritters) at Brookline Family.
Alfajores at Rincon Limeno.
re: MC Slim JB
It's just listed on the menu as "Bi (shredded pork)", and it's not crisped, just cut into thin shreds, quite chewy. There's another item listed as "Thit ngui (ham)", which might be a cold cut type with pate and/or head cheese, but I didn't try it. Other options include grilled pork, grilled beef, grilled chicken, and tofu. The chicken was very nice, a big slab o' chicken breast.
re: MC Slim JB
Grilled baby octopus! Wow...I haven't had that since Baltimore sushi. Definitely going on my list. ( I don't understand why NO sushi places in Boston make baby octos this way - only the cold marinated app, which is not in the same league.)
Were those alfajores home-made? I am pretty sure Capone's in Union has a couple of imported varieties (or at least they did last year around this time).
Nice thread YumYum.
All delicious and new to me this year - Thanks 'Hounds!
Hot buttered lobster roll at Neptune Oyster
Pressed Cuban from Volle Nolle
Garlic and Hot Cherry Pepper Pizza at the Paddock
Flower Tofu and Lavender Fern at Anise
Zaitun- E Parwardeh and Kashk- E Bademjan at Lala Rokh
Tacos from Taqueria el Rancho Grande
Beef and Leek Pancake at Mulan (mmm... I could go for that right now)
Resolution for the coming year:
To try at least one new dish from each list on this thread :)
Great topic yumyum and I'm glad you liked the beef stew at Xinh xinh. Many thanks to chowhounds everywhere. New foods gleaned from this board:
Adana kebab at Family Turkish Restaurant
Fried clams from Agawam diner
Squid salad from Floating Rock
Eel with fried udon from Rainbow Cafe
Yep, they were mutton, (right Alcachofa)? Or were they just described as mutton? They were a special dish made for us because one in our party knew the owner (and hence we didn't think it was appropriate to write a review).
My memory is a little hazy at this point but I believe they were marinated in yogurt and spices and grilled. You might call them and inquire.
I'm guessing that it's called mutton but isn't really. Indian restaurants sometimes use the term interchangeably or to describe older lamb. Even Keen's no longer serves a mutton chop but a larger chop from an older lamb. The one time, I had a mutton chop at Keen's it was gargantuan and gamey tasting in a pleasant sort of way.
Right, a big saddle cut broiled and crispy. I also read that at Keen's it's an "older lamb" but it was clearly much bigger and more flavorful. Not sure about mutton and goat, I've never had goat actually so it might be fun (couldn't bring myself to buy any at Haymarket). I'll try calling.
OMG they were so good (I was the lucky one to share the order with Lissy!)
Basically they are everything that goes on a reuben sandwich (corned beef, kraut, swiss cheese) formed into a (big) bite-sized ball and deep fried. Served with russian dressing for dipping.
SOOOO Good! Definitely an indulgence and not for every day, but man were they good.
Great topic! Here are some good ones that were new to me in 2006:
--pepperoni pizza at Bianchi's in Revere
--Caesar salad at Potbellies in South Boston
--cubano at Chez Henri in Cambridge
--arroz con pollo at Las Palmas de Cuba in Hanover
--cheeseburger at Mission Bar and Grill in Brigham Circle
--beef dumplings at Shanghai Gate in Allston
--steak tips at Salem Wood Cafe in Malden
--country pad Thai at Sweet Chili in Arlington
The best of the best would have to be the cubano at Chez Henri...
Ya know ... I was lucky to be able to compare the cubano at Chez Henri to the one at the Plough and Stars over this past week. The P&S version is not too shabby (although they use gherkins instead of pickle strips which is a little annoying), but I'm changing my last meal request to the amazing sandwich at Chez Henri. Alert the warden. That's what I want before heading to the chair.