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Some odds and ends: Samurai, Burdick's, China Pearl, observations

I'm behind on my eat-reporting. Couple of notes:

I was a little worried after seeing that it's a Japanese/Korean restaurant, but based on recent experiences, Samurai in Back Bay is pretty good. Sake selection isn't great, but we managed to find a bottle with the help of our server. The grated mountain yam with pickled plum paste, bonito, and nori was excellent, but beware that mountain yam is extremely slimy if you've never tried it. The cuts of fish on the chirashi were beautiful, as was the selection. Was a little put off by something incredibly sweet and pink that was flaked all over the top of the rice, which could have been seasoned better in general, not just on top. I'd definitely go here again before Shino Express or Typhoon, but Douzo still ranks at the top for Japanese in the Back Bay for me.

Burdick's hot chocolate (pudding) is so good. You already know this. Just a reminder. Friend had the white chocolate version that was way too sweet for me, but if you like a white chocolate bar, just imagine it melted. The dark chocolate, my choice, was excellent.

Dim sum at China Pearl was great! Dishes:
lou mai gai, 糯米雞, sticky rice wrapped in lotus leaf: Rice was excellent, as was the assortment of meat, but I found the sauce to be a little gloppy
dou fu fa,豆腐花, tofu flower: Silky tofu, sweet ginger sauce - a lovely version. The tofu was gorgeous.
cheong fun, 腸粉, rice noodles: we had ours with shrimp. Too gummy for me. I like the ones at Chau Chow better.
char siu baau, 叉燒包, char siu buns: Lovely. I like the char siu here better than Gitlo's, but the baau were on par.
Shumai, 燒賣: fine.
chiu-chau fun guo, 潮州粉果, dumplings filled with water chestnuts, peanuts, chives, and pork: A taste explosion! The filling may be slightly superior at Gitlo's, but the wrapper at China Pearl was perfect.
I stupidly ordered taro sou when I meant to order wu gok, 芋角. Entirely my fault as I dislike taro sou. The deep fried taro balls were fine for what they were.
head on crispy fried shrimp: excellent.

The steam table in addition to the cart service was a great variation as one could get up and order something else if one was feeling peckish. I'm always feeling peckish. I've been getting terrible msg headaches recently at Hei La Moon, so I was so happy that China Pearl is just as good (same owners, afterall) without the headache.

I feel like I've been eating a lot of scallion pancakes lately. Some observations: the ones at Zoe's in Somerville are not good. They're dense, not flaky, and incredibly chewy - the exact opposite of what I look for in a pancake. At Wang's, I was very happy. At King Fung Garden, I'm in heaven - flaky, crusty, light - it's my current goto scallion pancake.

For those of you looking for a lounge and a cocktail, you might want to avoid Clink and Alibi. There was a line outside in the snow (outside of The Liberty Hotel, in fact) to enter Alibi early on Saturday night. Clink was barely any better - the crowd was 4 deep around the bar. Seating and service was so scarce we left after doing a lap.

I think I'm caught up now!

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  1. Really? China Pearl and HLM are owned by the same folks?
    Zoe's regular chinese-american items are very average in my opinion - I agree with you on the quality of the scallion pancake.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Bob Dobalina

      I also heard that they were owned by the same people a couple of years ago when Hei La Moon first opened.

    2. Burdick's hot chocolate is the best I've ever bought. I like their iced dark chocolate concoction as well.

      9 Replies
      1. re: Kenji

        I love the dark, too, but I know a lot of people who get "half and half": half white, half dark.. good balance

        1. re: Kenji

          I can totally appreciate why people love HC from Burdick's but I myself find it a bit too sweet and thick, especially in its quantity - almost like sipping fudgy chocolate sauce. If I could order a quarter-portion I would!

          1. re: Prav

            Same here. I'm a huge hot cocoa fan, but I've tried the Burdick's hot chocolate a few times and found it Too Much - turns out I don't completely love drinking a melted chocolate bar, even if it is excellent chocolate. I want about a shotglass full, with a large mug of steamed milk on the side.

            1. re: voodoocheese

              Ooh.. would it be blasphemous to order it half choco/half with milk? Or could I even order a separate glass of milk? Do they do that? Am I unclassy?

              1. re: Prav

                Some parents ask for their kids hot chocolate to be "extra milky". I doubt it would raise any eyebrows if an adult did it... I don't usually work bar (I'm a chocolate girl myself)- but people have all kinds of crazy requests. Besides- everyone who works there has their own concoction, and almost no employee drinks the dark straight up. Once, I steeped some orange peel in a white hot chocolate- so yummy!

              2. re: Allstonian

                sorry; I wasn't tracking this thread. If you wish, you can get the "demi" size, which is about 4 oz, I think.

                1. re: Allstonian

                  Haven't had the hot chocolate at Burdick's, but the description sounds a lot like what you'd get in Madrid when you order this drink. I tried hot choc in that city a couple times and it was almost like trying to drink chocolate pudding! I didn't consider that a bad thing, myself, especially with a couple churros on the side.

                  1. re: bachslunch

                    So anyway, decided to drop in and have a hot chocolate at Burdick's recently. Loved it, myself. It's somewhat thicker and richer than what one normally gets for this drink here in the US, but it's nowhere near the density of Spain's pudding-thick version.

                    1. re: bachslunch

                      The Burdick's hot chocolate would still be great with churros, though! Burdick's pastries aren't half-bad twith HC themselves.