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f
finewineserver Aug 5, 2007 07:26 AM

Well, I can no longer put off a visit to my hometown to see the relatives. After long tortuous visits with aged aunts & uncles (I swear their houses haven't had a whif of fresh air in at least 15 yrs & coming from midcoast Maine this is severe culture shock!), I plan to get together with friends.

We plan to visit Glenn's in Newburyport & Michael Timothy's in Nashua. I'm wondering about Bistro 5 in Medford. I had a fabulous meal there several years ago but since then have heard scattered reports that it has gone seriously downhill.

Does anyone have current info? Thanks.

  1. l
    lisa13 Aug 5, 2007 08:19 AM

    Our first visit to bistro 5 was excellent - midweek, later in the evening, it was relaxed and the food was great. Second visit was on a Saturday evening. It was packed, and they could not wait to get us out of there. Food was still pretty good, but it did not outweigh the noise and rush. We are not keen to go back.

    If you are going to be in Arlington, I would recommend Flora. So far we have had excellent experiences whether we visit midweek or on weekends. The food is not overly complicated, but very well prepared and they focus on sourcing local ingredients. The service is top notch, and they make great cocktails, too.

    1. rlh Aug 5, 2007 11:42 AM

      Go to Something Savory on Mass Ave near Park Ave in Arlington Heights! The food is consistently outstanding, the service has always been great, and now they've upgraded the decor a bit and have a beer/wine license.

      Menu favorites include all of the soups (amazing gazpacho this past Friday -- wow!), Caesar Salad, and BBQ shrimp.

      Go to Lakota Bakery in the next block and get their cookies for dessert -- none better to be found anywhere, especially the Florentines,Triple Sec Bon Bon, shortbreads, and Rum Ball.

      Scutra on Summer St at Mill St. is a good, solid, more upscale choice and just expanded so it's quite comfortable now.

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      Something Savory
      1312 Massachusetts Ave, Arlington, MA 02476

      Lakota Bakery
      1373 Massachusetts Ave, Arlington, MA 02476

      1. Harp00n Aug 5, 2007 01:41 PM

        All good recs so far but two of the top pics are missing. That would be Tryst and Blue Ribbon BBQ. Tryst is great, IMO the best, for either a jazz brunch or for dinner. There is nothing in State-O-Maine the even approaches Blue Ribbon BBQ Take-out is mostly the name of the game here. You can eat-in at the BRB but most people don't.

        Harp00n

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        Tryst
        689 Massachusetts Avenue, Arlington, MA 02720

        Blue Ribbon BBQ
        910 Massachusetts Ave, Arlington, MA 02476

        7 Replies
        1. re: Harp00n
          rlh Aug 6, 2007 07:31 AM

          How could I forget Blue Ribbon?? Thanks for pointing that out!

          What are your favorites at Tryst?

          I really want to like the place and support a local upscale option, but the food so far hasn't been that great on my visits (in fact, a bacon cornbread crusted trout once was completely inedible -- not fresh and very gloppy -- also a banana cake dessert was disappointing).

          It seems to me to be more of a "concept" place with a cook vs. a chef in the kitchen -- what should I not miss on the menu next time (dinner, not brunch)? Thanks.

          1. re: rlh
            Harp00n Aug 6, 2007 09:32 PM

            Hello rlh,
            I order the specials a lot and, most often, they've been vg to excellent. On the set menu, I love the lobster & corn soup, fried green tomatoes, breast of duck & the lamb chops. I'm sorry your experiences have been so very different than mine. My only negative comment, and it's been observed before by myself and others, is the strange layout of the dining room. French 75's make that feeling go away when the need arises.

            Harp00n

            1. re: Harp00n
              rlh Aug 7, 2007 07:52 AM

              Thanks a lot -- it's now on my short list for a nice night out in Arlingto using your crib notes on the menu (and cocktails -- that's a new one to try for me). I completely concur on the dining room -- and usually try to eat in the bar area instead, as it's pretty comfortable and inviting if not too packed.

              1. re: rlh
                Harp00n Aug 7, 2007 08:13 AM

                Be VERY careful or have a designated driver handy if you're doing French 75's, they're like Cosmo's on steroids!

          2. re: Harp00n
            l
            LStaff Aug 6, 2007 09:05 AM

            I guess you have never been to the all you can eat bbq at the Atlantic Brewing co brewery in Bar Harbor on a Saturday afternoon. Q there is just as good as anything at blue ribbon.

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            Atlantic Brewing Company
            15 Knox Rd, Bar Harbor, ME 04609

            1. re: LStaff
              Harp00n Aug 6, 2007 07:29 PM

              Hi yah LStaff,
              BBQ has a lot of passionate devotees so anytime you make a pronouncement (aka my version of the truth) you're gonna get shellacked. I've been to Atlantic on a couple of occasion and it's a greqt spot for an alfresco all-you-can-eat chow down. It really has a great ambience. But as John McEnroe used to say; "You can't be serious!". They serve very good Yankee BBQ. Not to bust your chops, but they're not even the best brewers in Bar Harbor. That would be Bar Harbor Brewing, home of the mighty Cadillac Mtn. Stout and the also terrific Thunder Hole & Harbor Lighthouse ales. http://www.barharborbrewing.com/

              The best 'Q that I've ever had in Maine is at Buck's Naked BBQ on Rt.1 in Freeport, across from the Big Indian. This is seriously real southern dry rub 'Q. http://www.bucksnaked-bbq.com/

              Blue Ribbon BBQ , IMO, is the best at more phases; pork ribs, beef ribs, brisket, pulled pork, chicken and sides than anywhere else in New England that I've been, and I've been. ECG, Jake's and Uncle Pete's are up there as well. When, pray god, Holy Smokes in W. Hatfield re-opens, after their disastrous fire, there'll be some jockeying in those positions, I like Redbones more for the brews and scene than for their 'Q, no matter what the Purple Pimps would have you believe. In fairness, they do seem to be getting better lately. Firefly's in the 'burbs can be very good but variable at times.

              Harp00n

              -----
              Buck's Naked BBQ
              US Route 1, Freeport, ME 04032

              Bar Harbor Brewing Co
              135 Otter Creek Dr, Bar Harbor, ME 04609

              1. re: LStaff
                g
                Gabatta Aug 7, 2007 08:02 AM

                I have, and it is not even close to Blue Ribbon in taste IMO. No contest really.

            2. b
              Bluebell Aug 6, 2007 11:19 AM

              I haven't been to Bistro 5 in years, though it was OK at the time. I second the suggestion of Flora, particularly as a summer option. Something Savory is cool, but it's a very small storefront, so not that great for catching up. I still don't get Tryst - it has never impressed me the way Flora does.

              1. LauraBear Aug 7, 2007 06:49 AM

                I second (third, fourth?) Flora. Nice people, cool room, great food. Best high end restaurant in town, surpassing Tryst and Scutra.

                Punjab has moved to larger space right in the center - good Indian. When Scutra lost our NYEve dinner reservation, that's where we went.

                We too had a good meal at Bistro 5 when it first opened but haven't had much reason to go back.

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