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"New" restaurants...where would you go?

owen_meany Mar 1, 2007 05:10 AM

My husband and I used to be pretty up on new restaurants -- not "scene" type places but places that were creating good food for reasonable money. Then came a difficult pregnancy (bedrest) and a bouncing baby girl and we find ourselves 18 months later without a clue where to go now that we've started using the occasional babysitter.

What are your favorites of the places that have either opened in the last 18 months or come into their own during that time period? Bonus points for actually being able to get in -- both in terms of parking and dining.

We're north of Boston but are happy to go into town to enjoy good food.

We're heading out this Sunday so we're looking forward to your suggestions!


  1. p
    phatchris Mar 4, 2007 08:54 AM

    I second the Good Life

    1. Food4Thought Mar 2, 2007 06:34 PM

      I'd offer up Good Life. While the establishment isn't new, the chef is (Michael Scelfo) and he is presenting some fun, tasty and imaginative food and the prices are moderate (for Boston).

      1. p
        PhillyFoodDoc Mar 2, 2007 04:46 PM

        "Aujourd'hui - a new chef with luxurious and refined French-based cooking, grand and expensive as one would expect for the Four Seasons."

        Anyone have any intel or experience with the New Chef? I had not seen a recent review and am coming to Boston in a few days staying in the hotel and have a few reservations there.

        3 Replies
        1. re: PhillyFoodDoc
          MC Slim JB Mar 2, 2007 06:34 PM

          I thought I saw some comments from local Houond tatamagouche not too long ago, who I believe has dined at Aujourd'hui under the new regime, but I can't find them with the crappy new Chow search function.

          1. re: MC Slim JB
            wittlejosh Mar 4, 2007 11:58 AM

            I've eaten at Aujourd'hui twice in the last few months (since the regime change). The chef is William Kovel, who used to be sous over at Radius. Very young guy.

            The food is fancy but very creative, especially if you splurge for one of the tastings.

          2. re: PhillyFoodDoc
            limster Mar 3, 2007 09:54 AM

            Ate there a few months ago under the new regime (see link below). Loved the cortland apple puree with sweetbreads, sardines with pickled onion, bacon shortbread. Dessert (grand marnier souffle) was very nice but not as special. The tasting menu (5 courses for $88) might be a better deal relative to the a la carte prices.


          3. Alcachofa Mar 1, 2007 02:05 PM

            Anise in Kendall Square for a refined version of Sichuan.

            2 Replies
            1. re: Alcachofa
              Sgt Snackers Mar 1, 2007 05:54 PM

              I'll second (third?) Anise. Kind of place that makes you go "wow". Not too upscale; easy to get in; good cocktails; unique food. Worth the trip into town...

              1. re: Sgt Snackers
                yumyum Mar 2, 2007 07:02 AM

                Plus $5 validated parking at the lot next to the movie theater. I wonder if hubby would like it, though ...

                You might try Sagra soon. Service issues aside, the food is great.

            2. h
              hungryi Mar 1, 2007 12:43 PM

              If you were a fan of Perdix (South End, where Pops is now), you should check out the newly renovated Biltmore in Newton Lower (Upper? Whatever) Falls. Former chef Seth Morrison is at the helm in the kitchen (along with other Perdix alums in both front and back of the house), and you'd be sure to enjoy thoughtfully prepared and inventively adapted gastro-pub fare. Worth the trip to the burbs.

              7 Replies
              1. re: hungryi
                hiddenboston Mar 1, 2007 12:48 PM

                It's still called The Biltmore, huh? Boy, I remember when that was a place for darts, a hockey game on TV, and an occasional donnybrook. They must have really done a lot to make it more upscale! I'll have to check it out.

                1. re: hiddenboston
                  Bostonbob3 Mar 1, 2007 12:51 PM

                  Is that the same as "Johnny's Biltmore"? A guy hit me in the face with a sawed off broomstick there. (I evidentally brushed up against his girlfriend).

                  Good times, good times.

                  1. re: Bostonbob3
                    hiddenboston Mar 1, 2007 12:58 PM

                    Yes, that is the infamous Johnny's Biltmore Cafe. We used to go there after softball games for food, beer, and lots of laughs. A sawed-off broomstick, huh? That seems to fit with the old Biltmore...

                    1. re: Bostonbob3
                      Northender Mar 1, 2007 12:59 PM

                      not really about the chow - but yours made me laugh out loud. i wonder if we all have been there or somewhere similar in another life. good times...

                    2. re: hiddenboston
                      Angel Food Mar 2, 2007 08:02 AM

                      You won't recognize the place. They did a great job with the re-styling. Working right around the corner, it's become a go-to spot for lunch and Friday night dinner. Haven't been disappointed yet. Try the meatloaf, the fish & chips, the mac & cheese. Good cocktails too.

                      1. re: Angel Food
                        hiddenboston Mar 2, 2007 08:07 AM

                        Hmmmm, I might just head there over the next few days. It'll be strange seeing the place after all these years (haven't been since I played softball in Wellesley), but it'll be interesting to see what they've done with it.

                    3. re: hungryi
                      MC Slim JB Mar 1, 2007 06:46 PM

                      The Biltmore is near the top of my to-try list; I've heard they've gotten serious about the food without losing their neighborhood pub kind of vibe. Definitely Upper Falls, on Chestnut Street between Route 9 and Highland Ave near 128,

                    4. limster Mar 1, 2007 11:58 AM

                      Adding a few places to all the great suggestions in this thread:


                      New Shanghai - was taken over by the Shanghai Gate folks with a chef from Shanghai. Now really serving pretty serious Shanghainese. Best stuff tend to be small dishes, dumplings and some of the Shanghainese gluten dishes.

                      China Pearl Best Cafe - my favourite char siu (Cantonese glazed roast pork) in the area, currently also serving food from Ho Yuen Ting's menu as the kitchen staff from HYT is there while it's being renovated.

                      New Jumbo Seafood - given a shiny makeover but the kitchen staff appear to be the same.

                      Xinh Xinh - I really like their banh mi bo kho (beef stew with French bread)

                      Lucky House Seafood - Cantonese cooking, pretty even all round, although no match for the belated Gourmet Seafood

                      *North End

                      Volle Nolle - great sandwiches in the North End (open from 11am - 8pm)

                      *Financial District

                      Vintage Lounge - fusiony cooking with fairly well composed flavours, relatively fair prices, but not sure if prices have changed since opening

                      *Back Bay

                      Domani - creative interesting Italian/Asian fusion, a kitchen that doing what everyone else isn't doing. I remember really digging their pheasant meat balls.

                      *Theater District/Park Plaza

                      Aujourd'hui - a new chef with luxurious and refined French-based cooking, grand and expensive as one would expect for the Four Seasons.


                      Salt and Grain - very detailed Indian cooking with mostly Punjabi and mughal dishes; some Pakistani classics served as specials on weekends that I'm looking forward to trying.

                      Cafe Jakarta - go on weekends for the more elaborate Indonesian dishes

                      Spice King - another pretty good Indonesian place -- slightly better spicing I think, but less elaborate cooking

                      Ken's Ramen House - the only serious ramen I've had in the area.


                      Taqueria Mexico - a new branch of the Waltham store in Brookline. Love their lengua (tongue) and superbly smooth horchata drink.


                      Cafe D - anything with remotely North African spicing is likely to be good

                      *Davis Sq

                      Sagra - rough service but good, rustic and inexpensive Italian

                      *Inman Sq

                      Kolbeh of Kebab -- good varieties of Persian kebabs, fairly satisfying rice (occasionally offer tahdig, you'll have to ask), pretty good pickled garlic/torshi

                      *Kendall Sq

                      Mulan - very good Taiwanese cooking, along with dishes from all over as can be typical of Taiwanese places

                      1. MC Slim JB Mar 1, 2007 07:48 AM

                        New or refreshed in the last 18 months and worthy:

                        South End -- Pops (brand-new, beautiful, value-priced New American/Eclectic), Petit Robert Bistro II (modest traditional urban French), Orinoco (cool, tiny Venezuelan), Toro (good Spanish tapas, a bit crazy-packed), 28 Degrees (trendy lounge/restaurant with good small plates), Union Bar and Grill (handsome upscale New American with great service and cocktails, recently made its menu more affordable)

                        North End -- La Brace (mid-priced Italian chophouse: great grilled meats, excellent pasta and seafood), MarcO (upmarket Roman cuisine)

                        Kendall Square -- Anise (upscale, authentic Sichuan with good cocktails)

                        Central Square -- Green Street (no-longer-divey value-priced American, great cocktails), Rendezvous (excellent value, upmarket New American, great service, good cocktails)

                        Harvard Square -- OM (very creative, pricey Eclectic, cool atmosphere)

                        Fenway -- Trattoria Toscana (modest, authentic, superb Tuscan and other Italian), Eastern Standard (brasserie French, American, Italian, great cocktails)

                        Back Bay -- Sorellina (pricey, chic, creative Italian), Douzo (upscale Japanese, good sushi)

                        JP -- Ten Tables (outstanding value for French-influenced New American under a new chef), Alchemist Lounge (new hipster bar with good modest food, great cocktails)

                        Beacon Hill -- Bin 26 (excellent wine bar with good small plates)

                        7 Replies
                        1. re: MC Slim JB
                          winedude Mar 1, 2007 08:09 AM

                          This is an excellent list, a great resource for the board. Thanks for putting it together.

                          1. re: winedude
                            MC Slim JB Mar 1, 2007 08:43 AM

                            Glad to oblige! Of course, it's just my idea of "worthy". There are plenty of other places that are new and other folks might include that I'm less than thrilled with, like Stella, Bouchee, Avila, Mela, Lineage, Met Club, and dozens of others. And there are still some places I've heard good things about but haven't yet tried or tried often enough to recommend, like Cafe D, Oishii Boston, 51 Lincoln, etc.

                          2. re: MC Slim JB
                            bachslunch Mar 1, 2007 01:49 PM

                            Agreed, good list.

                            While the food at 28 Degrees seemed decent the one time I tried it (liked the fries a lot, the shrimp tacos OK enough), I thought the front desk host was snooty and unfriendly (let me know what a big favor he was doing seating me -- party of one -- right when they opened when he had a whole bunch of supposed reservations coming shortly, that I'd better move along for them. None showed up during the half hour or so I was there that I could see.) The waiter was not exactly friendly either, though he wasn't hostile. As you might guess, I'm not too keen to be treated this way, so I won't be back. The whole thing seemed way "too cool for school," as the old saying goes. Maybe others have had a different experience.

                            1. re: bachslunch
                              MC Slim JB Mar 1, 2007 06:53 PM

                              I've heard about this high-hat treatment at 28 Degrees from a few friends. I've been well treated there myself, but not getting a feeling of gratitude that you've chosen their place over about 50 nearby alternatives would be enough to make me not want to return.

                              It's a mistake that hot/trendy restaurants make all the time: thinking they'll be the It Place forever, when by definition that is never true. The spotlight-chasing crowd always moves on to the next of-the-moment venue, and if you haven't been good to everyone who walks through your door, you're in for a well-deserved comeuppance.

                            2. re: MC Slim JB
                              Sgt Snackers Mar 1, 2007 05:52 PM

                              MCSlim, you need a web page, or something, so I can just go and consult your faves list any time I'm thinking about where to head out to eat. Have not seen you give a bad recommendation. I'm just going to print this list out and stick it in my wallet...

                              1. re: Sgt Snackers
                                aadesmd Mar 1, 2007 07:18 PM


                                Slim has become my go to person for reviews. He has been right on. Has the Boston Globe called? If not, shame on them. Their reviews have not been "chow worthy"

                                1. re: aadesmd
                                  Chris VR Mar 2, 2007 05:18 AM

                                  You can find Slim's articles in Boston's Weekly Dig.


                            3. macca Mar 1, 2007 07:19 AM

                              Not "new" restaurants, but may be new to you:
                              In Melrose: Turners for fish, and Mexico Lindo for Mexican
                              In Wakefield: Duck Walk for Thai, Sushi Island for sushi, Portobellos for Italian/Portugese
                              In Everett: Abondanza for Italian
                              In Malden: Tivolis for Italian

                              1. hotoynoodle Mar 1, 2007 07:03 AM

                                restaurant week starts this sunday night, so i suggest you look on-line on bostonchefs.com beforehand and call around. alot of places are already sold out for the week.

                                douzo in the back bay for sushi, and it's right near a parking garage. rendez-vous in central square is good too. don't know if the have valet.

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: hotoynoodle
                                  Angel Food Mar 1, 2007 07:06 AM

                                  There is the garage around the corner from Rendezvous, and they have a Prix Fixe menu on Sunday nights. I would second the rec!

                                  1. re: Angel Food
                                    jenga Mar 4, 2007 12:20 PM

                                    I'm also a big fan of Rendezvous's Sunday menu. Bonus: You can street park for free on Sundays at meters but also resident parking on side streets. (Resident parking does not apply on Sundays.)

                                2. r
                                  RoyRon Mar 1, 2007 06:26 AM

                                  If you live north of Boston you may want to try The Catch restaurant in Winchester. You can check out some of reviews on this board but Catch has been a long time favorite of mine. Excellent and creatively prepared seafood with a nice wine list and very nice service. Certainly would comply with your requests regarding "getting in and parking". Plus it is a small room with a very nice atmosphere.

                                  1. b
                                    Bighead Mar 1, 2007 06:19 AM

                                    I want to hit Pava in Newton and Troquet in Boston.

                                    1. hiddenboston Mar 1, 2007 06:05 AM

                                      It's on the other site of town, but I really like the Himalayan Bistro in West Roxbury. They opened a few months ago. They have a terrific mix of Nepali and Indian food there. The atmosphere is nice, and it's not that well-known, so getting a table shouldn't be a problem. Plenty of street parking (Centre Street), too.

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