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Boston Market's tasty comfort food

j
Jonzo May 22, 2007 04:39 PM

I haven't seen much mention here of this upscale fast-food eatery chain, which built up several locales around L.A. during the '90s, then shut down seemingly the majority of them late in the decade. I believe the name does them no favors; that many Angelinos think they are merchandise stores of some sort. There are still two Boston markets in my general vicinity, each being twelve miles from home in opposite directions.

I visit the one in San Dimas five or six times a year, most often for a sandwich, which is served on a white or wheat Kaiser roll. The meatloaf sandwich is simply out of this world. The sirloin dip with Swiss cheese is excellent also, though the beef can be just a tad on the dry side. I am a red meat lover, but have also tried the turkey dip with Swiss and found it tasty and moist. Sandwiches are around $6, or $4 for a half.

If you're in the mood for a sit-down dinner, there are delicious entrées pf rotisserie chicken, roast sirloin, turkey and meatloaf, with choice of two sides and cornbread for around $7 -8. The sides are excellent and include mashed potatoes and gravy, sweet corn, creamed spinach, and truly awesome cinnamon apples. There is also a killer chicken pot pie, a friend’s favorite menu item. Soups and salads are available also, which others say are excellent.

There are neither frills nor ambience, just great comfort food, very well prepared from fresh ingredients. Check out their website (Google Boston Market) for menu and locations.

  1. p
    Panini Guy May 24, 2007 02:02 PM

    Our issue with Boston Market is that for the most part, the only times we really need them is when the day has gotten away from us, it's 9pm-ish and we neither have anything ready to eat nor energy to cook... a slab of meatloaf, a quarter chicken, some mashed and a side would be perfect. But they're already closed by that time, or if they're open, the selection is quite limited toward end of the day.

    Good thing we always have a bag of frozen shrimp to run under the faucet for such emergencies.

    1. chowser May 24, 2007 04:33 AM

      When Boston Market first started as Boston Chicken in the 80's, it was really good. Being single, my friends and I went fairly often so we wouldn't have to cook. But, as commonly happens, when it expanded larger and larger, the quality went downhill. I haven't had it in a while but their chicken got dry, sides were reheated for too long. While it's possible to get a healthy meal there, check out the nutrition contents first. Things like the creamed spinach and chicken pot pie are very high in calories and fat. It's too easy these days to get better rotisserie chicken to pay what Boston Market charges.

      1 Reply
      1. re: chowser
        Bob W May 24, 2007 11:36 AM

        Your last sentence is spot on. Here in Falls Church VA, for example, there are several excellent Peruvian chicken joints. In fact, one of them (Crisp and Juicy) replaced a Boston Market.

        I haven't been to Boston Mkt in years. It's just not that good anymore.

        PS I remember the original Boston Chicken, on Harvard St. in Allston (a section of Boston).

      2. m
        mlgb May 23, 2007 08:24 PM

        Reminds me of hospital cafeteria food.

        1 Reply
        1. re: mlgb
          ccbweb May 23, 2007 08:40 PM

          Having eaten way too much hospital food, both as a patient and in the cafeteria, I'll weigh in that Boston Market is a cut above that. Not disputing that it reminds you of it, just saying in my experience I'd take Boston Market every time. Granted, that's not really saying much.

        2. n
          nosh May 23, 2007 07:31 PM

          I really like the meatloaf at Boston Market. It is beefy and does not taste "soft" with filler. Be sure to get the darker beef gravy rather than the lighter chicken gravy -- the beef is much tastier and a little thinner, not as gloppy. I like the mashed potatoes and the stuffing -- though both are primarily conveyances for more gravy. The corn is good but on the sweet side, so I'm guessing they add sugar or another sweetener. I agree that their sliced turkey seems processed, and the ham also is served in chintzy servings. But I think an occasional meatloaf carver sandwich combo makes a satisfying lunch, and is even more economical when combined with one of their coupons.

          1. r
            rochfood May 23, 2007 01:00 PM

            I've been a regular non frequent visitor to BM over the years (does that make sense ?) I have always liked their carver sandwhiches. I once (in my non cooking days) got their thanksgiving feast. The turkey was horrible and very processed. It was not "natural" like the chicken. I have gone in the last few months (they oddly send out tons of coupons in the Sun paper) to use a few of those coupons. The sides are average at best. I love stuffing (even processed stuffing like stove top) and do not like theirs at all. I got a rotisserie chicken (their suppossed forte) and thought it had an odd taste. Supermarket rotiesserie chicken is better. I like to use coupons, and they have a bunch, but I secretly find myself wishing I was at KFC or just throwing together a supermarket rotisserie meal (i love mac salad from the deli (from the lower end supermarket in town), the real sweet mayonaissie kind , not the buttery tasteless kind found at the more upscale Wegamans)

            1. maxzook May 23, 2007 12:13 PM

              I was a huge fan of Boston Market when they first opened, one of the fist L.A. outlets was in my neighborhood. Then they overexpanded, declared bankruptcy and were bought out (if the message upthread is to believed, by McDonald's).

              Now I find their food overprocessed, way oversalted and borderline inedible. Believe me, I'm no food snob, but I can think of few restaurants that went so far downhill so fast.

              2 Replies
              1. re: maxzook
                ccbweb May 23, 2007 12:32 PM

                They were, indeed, purchased by McDonald's in 2000. Earlier this year McDonald's announced that they're exploring options...so they might be selling, expanding, closing...pretty much whatever.

                1. re: maxzook
                  Sam Fujisaka May 23, 2007 08:38 PM

                  "Upthread" great, useful word. Will be using it--so thanks ahead of time.

                2. carinole May 23, 2007 05:56 AM

                  In Tallahassee we had a boston market Rotisserie Grill. It was a great place for a fast, nice lunch. You order at the counter but food is brought out on real plates and the decor was much nicer that a normal BM. A few months ago BM scratched the concept and changed back to a normal BM. The service went down and so did the quality of the food. The only thing I will get on the menu know is a chicken ceasar salad.

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: carinole
                    k
                    Kari May 23, 2007 10:14 AM

                    I don't understand the service issue. Ours you order at the counter like any other fast food places and wait at the other end to pick up the tray of food you ordered.

                    I like Boston Market because I don't do burgers and they actually have decent meatloaf. I just wish they'd bring back the tortellini salad.

                    1. re: Kari
                      ccbweb May 23, 2007 10:22 AM

                      Yep, that's been my experience with the service as well. Not much to it, but no problems to speak of and they've always been very happy to personalize or customize a sandwich or meal. I like them OK, its not brilliant food but its fairly tasty for fast food.

                      1. re: Kari
                        carinole May 23, 2007 12:06 PM

                        Ours makes you wait at a table until they bring the food out to you. There are never any clean tables and the wait takes a really long time. The Chicken Ceasar Salads are made before hand and kept in a case. I can get in and out right away. Otherswise it can sometimes take 15-20 minutes to get your order, which is no longer fast food.

                        1. re: carinole
                          QueenB May 23, 2007 01:56 PM

                          Back when they first opened, they used to make the chicken ceasar salad to order, right in front of you. My best friend and I thought they were some of the best salads we ever had.
                          Then, they expanded, changed their name, and the salads went prepackaged and were not as good.
                          I guess I'd think the food was decent if I didn't remember what it used to be like when they first opened...

                    2. d
                      DBrooks May 22, 2007 07:15 PM

                      Geez, how much do they pay you for those plugs... From what I hear, McDonald's bought BM only for the real estate, many of which they have turned into McDs, and now are looking to unload it. I've known a few managers who have worked for them recently and they say it's an unorganized nightmare.

                      1. QueenB May 22, 2007 07:14 PM

                        Boston Market was great when they concentrated on chicken and sides (and called Boston Chicken), and not all the other junk. As soon as they expanded out of their "chicken window", their quality went downhill.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: QueenB
                          eLizard May 23, 2007 05:16 PM

                          they didnt expand outside their comfort window of their own accord. they went chapter 11 and mcdonald's bought them. changed the name and the menu......

                        2. j
                          Jason1 May 22, 2007 06:50 PM

                          At every location that I've ever been to, I'd say at least six separate locations, the service has been absolutely horrible. I prefer not to go to Boston market, but every once in awhile my wife really wants to go. The food is horribly over processed, and the sides are always disappointing.

                          1. m
                            mojoeater May 22, 2007 06:49 PM

                            I have found everything at Boston Market to be just sort of mediocre. It seems healtheir than other fast food, but not tastier. And whatever dressing they put on their sandwiches is not good at all. I do like their pot pies, which you can get in the frozen food aisle at most grocery stores.

                            1. j
                              Josh90004 May 22, 2007 05:27 PM

                              Sounds great. How's the wine list? What's the corkage fee? Can you bring your own stemware?

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: Josh90004
                                j
                                Jonzo May 22, 2007 06:45 PM

                                You might want to bring your own flatware, too! LOL

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