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CODA

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I have been excited to try this place out since I knew they were coming there. First off they completely gutted Tim's, which I am sure they had to do, and have turned it into an absolutely beautiful space , with a long bar and a decent amount of tables. The drinks are cheap which is usually enough for me , so when I tried the food my expectations were low.

I was there on Opening night and have been there 3 times since (it is across the street) . The first night I had Turkey Portabello Meatloaf which is unbelievable. The portabello gives the turkey a more beefy flavor and the gravy was perfect. It came with whipped potatoes that were light and creamy and an asian vegetable mix that was still crisp. The service was professional and responsive (granted this was opening night and the place was empty). One complaint is that the entrees take a little longer to come out , but since the drinks are cheap it makes it an easier wait. The owners Mike and Jim are from "The Common Ground" in Alston and seem like very good guys.

The next time I had the Grilled Pork Chop, with potato Gnocchi. The Pork chop was very good and moist and had what we thought was an Apple Chutney, but turned out to be more of a compote. The Gnocchi were amazing little bites of heaven that just exploded with flavor. This time we sat at the Bar and the entree still took a bit and the bar staff was not super charismatic.

The last time was last night and I brought a friend. I had the Roasted chicken, which also came with the Asian Vegies, but I got greens instead of the potatoes which are too fattening for me right now and too hard to resist. We had a great Bartender named Blair who sold me on a french rose they had by the glass that was fantastic with a hint of fresh strawberries. The chicken was roasted, but somehow was so moist it seemed impossible. I asked them to ask the chef how he did it, but like the Turkey Meatloaf he is not sharing his secrets. My friend had the short ribs which I tasted and almost orgasmed over,they were so tender and rich. He is a big food snob and was raving. My Friend had the Key Lime Pie for desert. I don't think they make it there, but it was excellent.

For a place to be great ,three separate nights, a week after opening is pretty rare in my experience. I was constantly waiting for something to be wrong but nothing was. Prices are very reasonable for what you get I almost didn't want to write this because I want to save this little gem for myself, but I also hope he survives, restaurant business is not easy.

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  1. Prices? I'd love for it to be a $15-ish place.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Joanie

      It is right in that range. highest priced entree was $18 I believe. and did I mention the cheap drinks Mix Drinks 5.50 and wine $8/ glass <30 for bottles, and their list is great , stuff I have not seen anywhere else. He told me that the consulted with a Sommelier from Cambridge on it.

      1. re: hefood

        They open for Lunch on Monday and they have a burger on the Menu which "supposedly" is from the recipe that they used for the Tim's burger, however it is not called the Tim's burger or anything like that as I think he is trying to create his own Identity , so if you go in just ask for the burger and leave off the "Tim's"

    2. Are they open for lunch? And what about the famous Tim's burger?

      1 Reply
      1. re: BBHound

        Coda isn't open for lunch yet, but it is planned.

      2. Sounds great. Thanks for sharing your secret. Is it a good place to watch a Sox game. How's the quality and positioning of the TV's? I'm sure I'll see you at the bar. Thank you.

        8 Replies
        1. re: BostonBarGuy

          Great review, the place sounds awesome. So far it sounds like everything I had hoped Pops would be with a little less attitude. Nothing like cheap drinks too!

          Here's the menu if anyone is interested. Simple comfort food (which admittedly is getting played out these days): http://www.codaboston.net/menu.html

          1. re: heWho

            You've experienced attitude at POPS? I must say I've had some of the most genuinely nice service there...

            1. re: tatamagouche

              I agree with that wholeheartedly.

              1. re: tatamagouche

                I didn't mean attitude from the servers, more just the "upscale" attitude of the whole place in general. The patrons there can be a bit snotty.

                Pops is ok, but the food didn't bowl me over and the prices are low, but not as low as Coda it sounds.

                1. re: heWho

                  Interesting comment on Pops patrons: I never see the same people there twice, so I don't detect a common thread. As long as they're dressed appropriately for the venue and not shouting into cellphones, I can usually ignore other patrons. Definitely find the servers at both places very competent and very friendly.

                  I like both Coda and Pops a lot. Coda's prices are definitely a bit lower: $13-17 for entrees, where Pops tends to be more $16-20. Coda seems to have a more budget-friendly wine list and cheaper cocktails, too. Pops has much prettier atmosphere and a good patio.

            2. re: BostonBarGuy

              The TV is at the end of the bar and it is not big, but it is sufficient . The bar has a neighborhood bar feel , but since the neighborhood has changed so much Coda is a much better fit for the hood crowd now. It is not a great Game watching place, but it is Ok.

              1. re: hefood

                Based on your recommendation, I stopped in tonight. It reminds me of the "new" Franklin. I actually think it's a great place to watch the Sox. Bartender was very nice guy. Menu was similar to Anchovies and Pops in terms of price point and quality of food. It's "upscale" pub food at a VERY reasonable price. I had the PEI mussel appetizer ($8) that was great. They did a nice job renovating the place. Wine and drink list is good and reasonably priced. I'll go back often and I'm rooting for them. Great new neighborhood bar and a good place to get a bite to eat.

                1. re: BostonBarGuy

                  Yeah I had the mussels on my visit as well. A steal for the portion size IMO.

                  Also, they have a nice selection of really hoppy beers on draught right now.

                  Bear Republic Racer 5 IPA (from Sonoma)
                  Smuttynose IPA
                  and a third... maybe Harpoon

                  -----
                  Coda
                  329 Columbus Ave, Boston, MA 02116

            3. I went on Tuesday night and was extremely impressed. We got the steak frites - cooked just as asked with great salty frites, and then the mac and cheese with pancetta and wild mushrooms. I think mac and cheese is a great way to judge a restaurant: often it's too dry, buried in breadcrumbs, soupy, etc. The consistency was absolutely perfect and the additional ingredients put it over the top. It's the best in town if you ask me.

              Service was great too - we were asked a few times if everything was ok. Rather than feeling bugged, we could tell they were genuinely trying to please.

              7 Replies
              1. re: Lizziefreshh

                I was there on Tuesday night as well and agree with all that this is totally reasonably priced, "sincerely trying to be their best" place that is a great addition to this edge of the South End. One of the owners was around and stopping by each table as well. I'd definitely go back.

                A friend and I had a few glasses of wine each, 1 main each and shared dessert. Totalled the check at just over ~$100.00 w/ tip. Comfort food entrees (turkey-portobello meatloaf + beef short ribs with parmesan grits) were perfectly done and satisfying. Esp. enjoyed how tender and rich each meat entree was. Dessert was the only afterthought--a chocolate mousse that they claimed had an orange liquer essence, but it was blah and refrigerator tasting w/ potentially canned whipped cream. For $5.00, we didn't care though.

                Only addition I'd like to see is a menu evolution to Summer comfort food mains. Liked them, but can't see myself wanting beef short ribs in August temperatures.

                1. re: Sugar04

                  $100 for comfort food?

                  Yikes.

                  Listen, I have no problem spending lots of money on great food. In the thousands on a few occasions. And maybe I'm still mourning Tim's. But $100 for comfort food?

                  Yikes, 2.

                  1. re: Bostonbob3

                    That has to be one of those tabs where liquor accounts for more than half of the bill. Portions here are pretty generous: I think a person with an average appetite would have a hard time tackling a complete appetizer (most expensive: $8) and entree (most expensive: $17) here. At $9, that big burger, with its excellent fries, is a good-sized meal.

                    It's no Tim's, but Coda is still a much better value for the quality than most of the South End.

                    1. re: MC Slim JB

                      Phew. Those are very reasonable prices. It sounded like it was in the $35 entree range which seemed a bit extreme.

                      1. re: Bostonbob3

                        Yes, I am found out. ;). Liquor was exactly 1/2 the tab in this case.

                        It was one of those things where we should have just ordered a bottle of wine at the beginning, but instead ordered 3 glasses of wine each--which were all $8.00 each.

                2. re: Lizziefreshh

                  I went to CODA again on Tuesday night and sat at the bar. The bartender and servers were very efficient and pleasant. I split the mussels, calamari and mac and cheese with a friend. The PEI mussels were very small(I haven't seen plump mussels anywhere in the city lately) and served with some very tough bread. The sauce was a bit bland. I much prefer the rustic, grilled Iggy's bread served with the calamari at Via Matta to sop up the sauce. The calamari was served with vegetables in a soy/ginger sauce, just ok. The mac and cheese was very disappointing, very loose and underwhelming. Before everyone gets overly excited about this place and creates unrealistic expectations for first-timers, it's just a decent bar with above average, comfort, bar food at a reasonable price for the quality(OK). I wasn't as impressed this time around. If you're looking for a comparison, I think of CODA the same way I think of Anchovies, Clery's, Sister Sorel and the Franklin. It's a decent, comfortable, little neighborhood place to have a few drinks on a weeknight. It appears that the owners have accomplished their mission of creating an unpretentious new addition to the neighborhood. It's a nice neighborhood pub with slightly above-average food("cheap eats"). Just don't expect anything more or you will be disappointed.

                  1. re: BostonBarGuy

                    We've moved a digression about The Weekly Dig and its rating system to the Food Media and News board, where fooc critics and rating systems are discussed: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/42278...

                3. I stopped in to Coda last night to feed my burger craving. I've only been in Boston for about 2 years so I know nothing of the Tim's burger from first-hand experience (probably better that way). I thoroughly enjoyed the bleu cheese burger and fries. a little extra grease throughout both, but it was cooked to order, the bun was fresh, and the pickles were crunchy. Great fries - some prefer larger steak fries, but I love the thinner, shoestring variety and they did well with the seasoning - subtle spice mix, no extra salt needed (for my palate).

                  I had a great glass of Malbec with my meal and chatted with the friendly but professional bartender and some neighborhood locals. nice ambience, soothing lighting. Highly recommended.

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: rosie17

                    Went there earlier this week and have to agree with BostonBarGuy's statement - "It's a nice neighborhood pub with slightly above-average food("cheap eats")."
                    Food was good, service decent and wine list is great (I attribute this to DEborah De haro doing the list), but i really doubt that the servers could tell you anything from the wine, maybe thats why they put the descriptions right on the list.

                    i just read the 4-star review in the Digg - MC Slim - you think its better than Franklin?

                    1. re: jpeso

                      Actually, I put it slightly below the Franklin, and at the same level as Aubudon Circle, which puts it among my favorite "casual bars serving above-average food". The rating is in comparison to other restaurants of its type, not on an absolute scale.

                      1. re: MC Slim JB

                        an INTERESTING review...

                      2. re: jpeso

                        I didn't know Deborah De Haro wrote the list>>> good for her. we need more people like her around!

                    2. According to their web site, CODA will be open for lunch starting Monday, July 23. No lunch menu on line yet.

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: BBHound

                        I will try the burger at lunchtime. Biases will be in place, but so will fairness.

                        RIP Tim's.

                        Anybody up for a co-visit? I'm not as big a jerk in person as I am here. :)

                        1. re: Bostonbob3

                          Sorry Bob, would have liked to join you but just came from lunch at Pops. Tried to go to Aquitane but the AC wasn't on and I was sweating like I was working a double on the B&G patio. FYI, the steak and cheese sandwich @ Pops was great. Definately will go back there for lunch. Service was great.

                          1. re: BostonBarGuy

                            Haven't gone yet, BBG. Thinking of going the week of the 23rd when it evidently opens for lunch. Again, anybody who wants to join up, just let me know.

                            BTW. I like Pops, too.

                      2. Whoops. They've changed the opening date for lunch to Thursday, July 26.

                        www.codaboston.com

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: BBHound

                          I don't think Coda is even at the level of an Anchovies or an Audobon Circle yet. Service when I went after work on Friday was still really hesitant and clumsy.

                          And what's with the lack of prices on the drink menus? A friend of mine ordered a Lindeman's Framboise (no idea how she drinks that stuff straight) and was shocked at the $11 price for a 12-ounce bottle. I think the Publick House charges, what, $8?

                          When we mentioned this to the waitress, she condescendingly explained that Lindeman's is "a more expensive beer, like Chimay." We were like, "Uh, yes we understand that it's not Miller Lite, however, other places in the area charge $3-$4 less."

                          1. re: robwat36

                            They ought to list prices on the drink menu, and not give attitude about it when asked. I've found most of the servers to be quite competent, though there's one who hasn't taken off the training wheels yet, hasn't quite grasped the timing of busing.

                            I was pleasantly surprised by the prices for up cocktails, though: typically $6 and change for a well-made drink.

                            1. re: robwat36

                              robwat36, sorry you had a negative service issue at CODA. I have so enjoyed my last (3!) experiences there. Once alone, twice with a companion, I've sat at the bar and had a great meal where the prices (drinks especially - I had the "en fuego" martini made with citron vodka instead of tequila, for $6.25) were more than reasonable, plus great camaraderie with bartenders Adam and Blair. I do plan to go with a group of 4 in the next couple of weeks and hope that the table service is on par with my previous visits.

                          2. Here's the latest: According to their web site, Coda will start opening for lunch on August 20.

                            www.codaboston.com

                            1. Finally made it to Coda based on the reports here from earlier in the summer. It was good and, well, not quite so...
                              The good: the burger - cooked perfectly to order (med), maybe a bit heavy on the cheese but who can complain, very fresh toppings and tasty brioche bun. Heavenly thin fries.
                              The not so good: basil gimlet - sweet and cough syrupy. what's up with that? Also, the prices seem to be creeping up. The burger is still $9 as reported, but the fish of the day (a decent but unspectacular salmon) was $20, and the high end of the menu has climbed to $18-$20 rather than $15-17.
                              The service was friendly and helpful (nicely exchanging said nasty gimlet for wine, gratis). I want to like this place and go back when in the Copley area, but without a cheaper veggie/fish option (even a $9 veggie burger would go far), the DC and I are not terribly likely to return.

                              1. Has anyone tried the mussels? I went to Coda once for dinner (I had the turkey meatloaf, which was great, and my friend had the chicken-also good). Our meal was a little bit spoiled, however, after receiving the mussels app. To me, mussels are a seemingly easy enough dish to master—but Coda’s take on them, at least that night, was perplexing to me at best. They looked, and tasted, as though they were just pulled from the Charles (yes, that bad). Based on all the great things I’ve heard about this place from others, I want to believe that this was just an off night (or maybe an off dish). Any feedback would be great, because I would love to get past this little hurdle 

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: nm424

                                  DC has consistently ordered the mussels several times and raved, while I usually go for a salad or burger she always shares a few mussels with me. Never had a bad experience, love dipping the bread into the broth. must have been an off night.