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Dec 15, 2006 01:19 PM

Exceptional Dishes in Unlikely Places

Have you had a truly well-executed dish (entree, app, side, whatever) in the Greater Boston area that really surprised you, that it would even be worth going to the place, sitting at the bar, and just ordering that dish?

Especially a place not usually on the Chowhound radar.

Examples for me:

1. The grilled artichoke hearts appetizer at Houston's (the Boston one).
They are really smoky, well-charred, perfectly tender, with lots of lemon. Unbelievable. I would be willing to bring a couple of foodie friends there, order a cocktail, and a few plates of those.

2. Skirt steak tacos at Bonfire.
Yes, Bonfire suffers from the over-the-top Todd English mediocrity, but the skirt steak tacos are really something special. Well marinated, darkly charred (a theme!), with avocado crema, in a soft flour tortilla---perfect contrast of smoky, creamy, hot, cold...

3. Frites au Bercy at Les Zygomates.
Not a huge fan of Les Zyg. BUT: These fries, served with gravy and a big, nasty knob of compound butter are a fat-addict's dream.

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  1. Higaditos Mexicanos (spicy sauteed chicken livers) at Sol Azteca.
    Not your typical Tex-Mex fare, these little guys are absolutely scrumptious. They're listed as an appetizer but if you ask they'll make you an entrée-sized plate of them.

    1 Reply
    1. re: BobB

      Oh, I second this suggestion. Fab chicken livers in a scrumptious, slightly spicy sauce. Absolutely delicious, and horribly addictive.

      For another unexpected treat, try the steak tips at The Paddock.

      And while I'm not a huge fan of Assagio's in the North End, their risotto always blows me away.

    2. The meatballs at Anchovies in the South End are probably some of the best I've had in town. I think their pasta is out of a box, still, I get the meatballs any time I'm there.

      1. Good question. Wednesday's crispy pork shank at Abe & Louie's. I'm in the "steakhouses are generally overrated" camp but that dish wowed me. And the tuna tartare app at KingFish Hall--one of the best preparations of a ubiquitous dish IMO.

        1. This is a great question. I absolutely agree about the artichokes at Houstons and the tuna tartate at Kingfish. I'll have to try those frites.

          Here are mine; the only things I'll order...

          Cheesecake Factory: Grilled artichokes with garlicy dip
          Steve's: Avgolemono soup
          Summer Shack: Tuna tartare
          Border Cafe: French Quarter chicken, or fish in same sauce
          Red Bones: Catfish fingers and potlikker soup. Also dirty rice.

          1. I've said it before, and nobody seems to believe margherita at Amelia's in Teele Square.