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"New" Goodlife + Michael Scelfo = Winning Combination

Rubee Feb 5, 2007 11:41 AM

We finally made it over to Goodlife (downtown) after hearing that Michael Scelfo is now in the kitchen. I've been a fan ever since one of the Hounds - Dax - put Dedo on my radar when he was cooking over there, and have since been able to enjoy his cooking at Umbria for a time, and then at his most recent stint at North Street Grille. Niblet's recent rave finally convinced me not to wait any longer.

http://www.chowhound.com/topics/365339?query=good%20life%20monkfish

I hadn't been to Goodlife in a long time, not since it's wood-panelling decor days, so it was a surprise to see such a nice redo. Three of us, E and I, and Niblet too, ate upstairs in the window-lined dining room with its centerpiece piano covered in flickering votives. I started with the mac and cheese with hens of the woods mushrooms, topped with foie gras, and served in an individual casserole dish. As have been all of his versions of mac and cheese I've tried, it was delicious. E enjoyed his plump, crispy fried oysters with Old Bay tartar sauce and celery root salad, and our friendly 'Hound shared her tuna tartare. I was happy to see he's brought over his addictive prep from NSG with sesame aioli, served over crisp seaweed salad and topped with homemade potato chips. For his entree, E had the steak frites with thin, rosemary-dusted skin-on fries and creamed spinach. For me, it was the smoked cheddar, apple, and caramelized onion pizza. Once again, the hallmarks of Scelfo's cooking - generous portions at reasonable prices (we took half our entrees home), and creative spins on classics. I'm glad this spot is convenient for us - the whole menu appeals to me and it was hard to decide. The special of the night was a blue crab pizza, which I almost ordered. Other dishes to order for next time might be his version of a "Cubano" with avocado and carnitas, the carbonara with Kurobuta bacon, the duck confit Reuben, the cider-braised bacon with onion rings, the...

We also had a nightcap (or three) downstairs in the vodka lounge (Afterlife) which I think Gini had mentioned in a previous thread. Excellent selection with 150+. I started with the Charbay green tea vodka, but then decided to switch to a new one for me. The friendly bartender Lauren suggested one of her favorites, Zyr, which is now one of my favorites - exceptionally smooth, it's a Russian vodka distilled from wheat and rye. It was a nice way to end a great dinner, and the Goodlife is a comfortable, casual spot serving great food where we'll be spending more time.

Goodlife dinner menu:
http://www.goodlifebar.com/fuel/dinner

  1. gini Feb 5, 2007 12:01 PM

    Nice review, Rubee! Sounds like great comfort food. Seriously need to get there and stuff my face with actual nutrients instead of vodka sometime soon:).

    1. tatamagouche Feb 5, 2007 02:07 PM

      Awesome, Rubee, thanks! (I know we're both fans of his...)

      1. Niblet Feb 6, 2007 07:42 AM

        Nice descriptions Rubee! I don't usually like pizza but this was a delicious combination with perfect proportions on a thin, cracker-like crust.

        I've been craving that tuna tartare.

        Also, owners Peter and Chris are very welcoming. Chris gave us each a sample of an unusual vodka (forget which kind, a couple of martinis and the details escape me). Rubee if you remember what kind it was I'll be interested; I'd definitely order it again, although I'd make sure I wasn't working the next day!

        1 Reply
        1. re: Niblet
          Rubee Feb 6, 2007 09:04 AM

          It was Stoli Peachik (Peach). Yah, as usual, our "one" drink turned into multiples ; )

          That was another thing I liked about GoodLife - E and I thought everyone was very friendly on our first visit here. Our waitress was very sweet (though forgot a couple of things - extra tartar sauce, water), the chef came out a couple of times to visit tables and get feedback, and downstairs we met affable Chris, who turned out to be one of the owners, chatted with him, and he generously ordered us all a round of shots. I liked being able to have a casual tasty dinner with white tablecloths and candlelight, and then head downstairs to lounge around the vodka bar for after-dinner drinks and music.

        2. n
          Northender Feb 6, 2007 10:09 AM

          Thanks Rubee. I work nearby and ran into Michael in the street last week. He said that he is there from 10 AM to 10:00 PM most days but he seemed to be very excited about the change. I miss having his cooking nearby in the North End but I am pleased that he has a larger and more popular venue. He really is very talented and seems to be a very regular guy. I wonder if it might be a good place for a 'Hounds team meeting.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Northender
            Rubee Feb 6, 2007 10:40 AM

            What a great idea - I'd be up for that! Nice to know he's there for lunch too.

          2. l
            lypp Feb 6, 2007 02:09 PM

            I can't wait to go - I love his food and have heard nothing but raves. Thanks for the review.

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