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Sep 16, 2007 10:55 AM

Spicy food, cocktails, and The Replacement Burger

Lots of good food and drink for me this week... After a bad day of bad news and boring work, I went to Green Street Grill with a friend for some drinks. I can't remember the names of the drinks, but they were good. I had one with maple syrup and one with molasses. My friend had some drink that I can't remember with bourbon or scotch and a drink that was like a cosmo, but with apricot brandy. All were interesting and tasty. People next to us at the bar ordered food and it looked pretty good, but we figured why get expensive decent non-spicy food when cheap, awesome, spicy food is just a few blocks away.

So we went to Mary Chung's. We ordered Suan La Chow Show and General Gau's chicken. Our waitress, Alice, asked "You want it spicy?" I thought she was asking if I wanted the General Gau's chicken non-spicy like it is at most places or like it normally was. So I said "Oh, yes! Spicy!" with perhaps a bit too much enthusiasm... Because holy smokes, that food almost killed me. I think I had been getting a bit too big for my britches lately about my tolerance for spicy food. But that meal has humbled me. Even eating plain rice hurt. It was fun, but I don't think I'll be doing it again anytime soon. It was too spicy to be tasty for me.

Last night I went to Washington Square Tavern. And I would like to hereby nominate them for Best Girly Drinks in the Boston Metro Area. As much as I love the drinks at Eastern Standard, B-Side, and Green Street, sometimes I'm just in the mood for something froufy and fruity. However, I don't ever want something sickly sweet. WST has a pretty big menu of fun cocktails and they're all very good. And enormous. Which may or may not be a good thing...

Even better than the drinks, though, is the burger. I finally had a chance to try their burger and it was seriously tasty. And even better, it was almost exactly like my favorite burger in Portland (at Cafe Castagna). It had the same nice bun, butter lettuce, red onion, and good fries. It was a bit over-cooked, but still incredibly tasty. I can't wait to go back...

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  1. Burger sounds fantastic. I'm still recovering from a tussle with take-out dun dun noodles last night. Man, they are so good, I can't resist, but they pack a mean wallop. Even the dumpling dipping sauce was kicking last night, which is unusual. Great, though.

    1. Actually, that's the link to the now-defunct Green Street Grill. The new restaurant in that location is known as Green Street, and its website is .

      I had a nice recent surprise at Washington Square Tavern, which was its wonderful veggie burger, made with black beans and a lot of cumin, kind of Southwestern tasting. Lovely.

      5 Replies
      1. re: MC Slim JB

        Thanks... updated the link.

        Good to know about the veggie burger. Most of my friends don't eat meat, so it's handy to know that there are good meatless options.

        1. re: MC Slim JB

          I must admit, after reading your posts for years, that I am surprised that you would order a veggie burger. Don't know why.... probably my own prejudices against veggie burgers showing through - they have always seemed processed imitation rather than food to lust after.

          As I sit here thinking about it (considering deleting the post entirely), I realize that felafel is essentially a chick pea burger... maybe I should reconsider my opinion.

          1. re: tdaaa

            I could die happy without tasting another Archer Daniels Midland soyburger, but certain housemade veggie burgers are worth ordering. Audubon Circle does a beauty, for one.

            I think the WST folks came from the Miracle of Science/Audubon Circle/Cambridge One/Middlesex Lounge organization, so maybe they carried that legacy with them.

            I saw one good report on The Beehive's walnut/mushroom veggie burger, but I've effectively given up on dining there. Except I still need to try the "piranha ribs" -- a friend of mine (who also thinks their food is mostly pretty bad) raved about those.

          2. re: MC Slim JB

            So Green Street has no more Carribean-influenced food? It's just another 'generic' upscale New England comfort food restaurant? Sad.

            1. re: DanW

              I miss the old chef and menu, too, but the current Green Street menu has steadily grown on me: its updated Yankee cooking is a couple of big steps above the generic. Great bar snacks (homemade pickles, deviled eggs, spiced nuts), good starters (that chowder, fried chicken livers, grilled cheese), some lovely entrees (the one-dish clam bake, the venison pot pie).

              It's also been like this for over a year and half, so the fact that you only just became aware of this now says something about the drawing power of that Caribbean menu. It's tough to complain about something going away if you're not giving them regular patronage. I think the retiring of the live music program is more regrettable, but the big upgrade in bartending compensates some.

          3. I'm a fan of the WST burger too; love to have that with a glass of juicy red wine. Many thanks for the update.

            1. I had a taste of that molasses drink when my friend ordered it, thought it was kind of weird and icky. If you're in the mood for chowder, Green St. has an awesome corn/bacon one w/ fried clams on top. Delicious.

              1 Reply
              1. re: Joanie

                Hrm, yeah, now that you mention it I think my friend ordered the molasses one, but we ended up trading because I love molasses enough to get past the weirdness. Not completely, though, it was a pretty odd tasting drink...

                I love chowder. I think someone at the bar ordered it. Is the fried clam this deliciously seared looking thing? Next time I'll have to get that...

              2. Mary Chung. Oh mama did we get spanked there yesterday -- in a good way. MrLit and I went in for some late afternoon dim sum-ing, and managed to order a collection of spicy things that had us sniffling, crying, and coughing at the sheer power of the chilies. Of course we loved every second of it. We too had that experience of even the plain rice bringing searing awesome pain. I think it was probably the combo of the spicy pickled cabbage side dish and the dun dun noodles that did us in. The cabbage brings on the burn immediately, but the dun dun noodles have a kind of a afterburn that lingers, making one's lips feel as if they're on fire for at least an hour after lunch. The Suan La Chow Show (shrimp version) felt like a cooling mountain spring after those other two dishes. We also tried for the first time the Grand Ma's Pie, which is like a scallion pancake, stuffed with a layer of black and salty chinese cabbage -- it was terrific.

                MrLit and I are no novices when it comes to spice, as South Indian food is our usual metier. We've definitely had plenty of other Asian dishes that have given us what-for, but I can confidently say, I have never had a spice explosion like the one we had a Mary Chung's. It was excellent, tasty, and quite unexpected, since all our previous (and enjoyable) visits to Mary Chung have been weekday affars (no dim sum menu), and we have tended not to wind up with spicy dishes. I think we need to go into training before we head back for the pickled cabbage and dun dun combo, though. ;)

                2 Replies
                1. re: litchick

                  FWIW, the food I got on the 16th ('yesterday', according to the date on your post) was a lot hotter than usual. It seems to vary a lot, although I"ve noticed that its often hotter on Sundays then other days (but this Sunday it was more than usual for a Sunday even)

                  1. re: jgg13

                    Yes, my goodness, it was quite unexpected. I've had this experience at Qingdao as well, with certain nights being spcieir than others, so I suppose I'm not surprised to hear your assessment. It was good, though.