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Aug 13, 2007 09:03 AM

Chris Douglass's (Ashmont Grill) Next Venture

I'm sure some folks have already heard about this, but it looks like a new Italian restaurant (with emphasis on pizza and pasta) will be coming to Dorchester around the beginning of next year. It's going to be called Tavolo, and it will be run by Chris Douglass, the owner/chef of the Ashmont Grill. It will be in located in that new (huge) building that is going up on Dorchester Avenue in the Ashmont section of Dorchester.

Dorchester Avenue is certainly getting its share of new restaurants these days...

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  1. Let's hope he does better with the new one. I refuse to go to Ashmont Grill anymore.

    I'd love for the nabe to get some interesting new eateries, but overpriced pizza and pasta is not it for me.

    16 Replies
    1. re: C. Hamster

      I like the Ashmont Grill, but I'd rather go to Zon's in JP or Geoffrey's in Roslindale for that kind of food/atmosphere. I hope Tavolo won't be overpriced, but I guess I wouldn't be surprised if it was.

      Based on my initial visit to Mrs. Jones in Lower Mills last week, I'm thinking that it may end up being the place I go to most often in Dorchester over the coming months. I just hope they add some more items to the menu, including pulled pork (which I asked the co-owner about--she didn't say no, which is perhaps a good sign).

      1. re: hiddenboston

        I've heard of that Mrs. Jones place. Where exactly is it? Fields Corner?

        1. re: larrydoby

          It's in Lower Mills, next to the Thai place.

          How I wish Zon's were in Dorchester!

        2. re: hiddenboston

          what did you eat there? i haven't been yet and i'm curious to hear what's good.

          1. re: DotDiner

            I've had a few dishes there, including the portobello burger, which was probably the best item I've had there. The Cuban sandwich is excellent, though not as good as Chez Henri in Cambridge. The mac and cheese is nice, and the handcut fries are very good. The pulled pork sandwich I had there, however, was awful. Maybe it was an off night when I got it, but it was almost inedible (I say "almost" because I'll eat nearly anything!)

            1. re: hiddenboston

              wait, is this what you had at Ashmont Grill or at Mrs. Jones? i was asking about the latter. i've been to Ashmont Grill several times and don't feel any need to ever go there again. i think their brunch is particularly awful.

              1. re: DotDiner

                Doh! No, I definitely wasn't clear in my response. My bad! I had meant the pulled pork at the Ashmont Grill. It was terrible, though everything else I've had there is good.

                So far, I've had the mac and cheese, the red beans and rice, and the cornbread at Mrs. Jones. Very good, gooey, cheddary mac and cheese, excellent red beans and rice with a bit of a kick to it, and really dense, hearty cornbread. I also wanted to get the brisket, but they were out of it. I may go back tomorrow or Wednesday, hopefully to try the brisket, black-eyed peas, collard greens, and, well, I guess that's plenty, isn't it? ;-b

              2. re: hiddenboston

                Sorry, I got confused by all the threads; the dishes above I had at the Ashmont Grill, not Mrs. Jones. Sorry about that!

          2. re: C. Hamster

            C. Hamster, what happened at Ashmont Grill? I'm just curious b.c the time I went, I enjoyed my scallop appetizer and the sweet potato thick cut fries with the cheese (don't remember which kind). My DC's enjoyed their dishes as well, and our server was friendly. excellent clean bathrooms too, always a plus. mind sharing your take on AG?

            on a non-chow note, I've asked Chris to donate food to past nonprofit fundraisers I've planned in the past, and he was always gracious and generous. i like knowing that there are still some non-pretentious celeb chefs left :)

            1. re: rosie17

              The food was VERY inconsistant. Some things are very good while others are average -- a few have been terrible, like their wings and a few of the sandwiches. Almost every time I ate there something had to be sent back (i usually went in groups of about 4 and we are not incredibly finicky). The ala carte pricing is (was -- did they get rid of it?) ridiculous. They often could not accomodate food allergies.

              Service was also very inconsistant. Some friendly, some not. Some servers would deliver little freebies, like a bowl of nuts, while other tables had to ask for them. Often very slow. Many mixups.

              The bartenders were great though, and cocktails, though $$ were nice and the bar was a nice spot to hang out.

              The sad thing is that I'm just the kind of customer they want to attract. I eat out quite a bit, I live nearby and don't mind spending $$ on good food. But I do mind incredibly average, very overpriced food. And I do mind inconsistant food and service from a place that has been open for well long enough to get those problems ironed out. After giving it many, many more chances than it deserved, I just refuse to go back unless I really have to for some reason. This even though I feel slightly guilty because I know that A Grill has been a big deal for the nabe.

              I am not alone in feeling this way and refusing to go back.

              Give me dbar any day.

            2. re: C. Hamster

              C. Hamster, post #2:

              Lemme get this straight....

              the place hasn't even opened yet and you're already pronouncing it "not for you"?

              And your provocative opening

              1. re: crumber

                Perhaps you should reread it (post #2).

                Then of course, my other post would give it context.

                1. re: C. Hamster

                  I agree with C.Hamster. The Ashmont Grill is mediocre and way over priced. I live in Dorchester and want this place to survive, but I have yet to have a satisfying meal there. The menu is incredibly limited, and yes, I can have a sandwich or a burger, but it is not a pub and it's not a restaurant...yet it has a limited selection of both types of items on the menu, but not enough of each to place it firmly in one of those categories. I must say, the bar is great, and they have great bartenders.

                  One of the problems is that it is expensive. On my last trip there about a month ago, I had the Pasta Bolognese and my DC had a fish dish. Two glasses of wine each and it was nearly eighy bucks. I don't mind shelling out that kind of money for dinner, but I want a better selection and a better value for it.

                  Chris Douglass is a wonderful and generous man, but this restaurant just misses a beat and therefore I have no desire to go back. I hope his new creation is a better offering.

                  1. re: dotdude

                    Wow...this is really a fall from grace! I thought Ashmont Grill got great hound reviews in the beginning (enough to get me down to Dorchester to try it out) -

                    Again, what happened?

                    1. re: dotdude

                      D-dude: exactly, exactly, exactly.

                      Bob, I have no idea what happened, as Chris has been pretty well aware of what customers like dotdude and i have been saying. There are many of of us. Folks willing to part with $$ for good food, service atmosphere in our own neighborhood.

                      I have met Chris and he is a very nice guy and I respect what he's tring to do but I can't understand why things haven't changed. He has had more than enough time to work out the kinks of a new restaurant, but still major issues remain. He serves overpriced pizza (mediocre) and pasta (better) @ Ashmont Grill. He doesn't need to do that across the street.

                      1. re: C. Hamster

                        Like others, I really wanted to love Ashmont Grill, but the place is so inconsistent, and the waitstaff and managers seem to not care one iota about service, which is sad because when the place opened they were touting the whole "your neighborhood restaurant" shtick. (Nice run-on sentence!)

                        I have been served undercooked pizza with raw dough and when I told the waitress she said that I should have ordered the pizza well done. Okey dokey.

                        I went with my husband and our infant for an early Sunday dinner and they were super rude about seating us and wanted us to put our infant carrier (with infant inside) on the floor next to the table. My husband and I were ready to lay down some $$ on dinner and a nice bottle of wine, but we changed our mind very quickly. Again, not very neighborhoody.

              2. The only thing I really like there is the Train Wreck Fries. You pay a lot and get very little. I thought he was going to bring affordable gourmet food to Dorchester. I'm dissapointed. I think I liked the Ashmont Grille better than the Ashmont Grill. At least you got something for you money, even though the place was a dump.

                To quote Robert Duvall in True Grit: "Too thin, Rooster...too thin".