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Dj's near the Garden. Any reports?

Saw a new place opened up near the TD BankNorth Garden. I think it's called DJ's. Looked pretty good from the outside with lots of Plasmas inside. Any reports?

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  1. Where is it? Haven't seen that yet.

    1. Are you talking about Johnny's On The Side (the former Anthem)?

      1. Was at the Junction in South Boston last night and they had a big sign telling everyone to go visit their sister restaraunt DJ's at the Garden.

        1. Okay, here's the scoop:


          It's in the old Hooters. (Guess that would make it like Dolly Parton.)

          1. I actually have eaten there a couple of times. They just opened and are having a big opening party with the Dropkick Murphy's in March, I believe. I wasn't sure what to expect but the food was actually REALLY REALLY good. I highly recommend the salmon udon salad (unusual pairing but it worked) and the teriyaki pork meatballs (this is what I had my second visit and they were YUM). The desserts weren't bad, either - cookie dough souffle, anyone?

            1. I went last night (Sunday) after remembering this post; in short, I'll be back.

              I ended up being the only patron for much of the night, so I ended up talking to the staff (GM, bartender & chef), all of whom were welcoming and seem eager to get the place rolling. They've been open for ~ 10 days so far, after 10 weeks of rehabbing the place - and I have to say they've done an amazing job for just 10 weeks. Exposed brick, dark wood floors, big dark bar with lots of plasmas behind, tasteful Garden-related memorabilia. They're setup for the Garden crowd - big space in front of the bar, a big 20-top near the front (good for groups) - but also have plenty of smaller tables for less hectic times.

              I, too, got the short ribs and agree they were great - tender and tasty, over nice garlicy potatoes and pleasantly bitter greens. The portion was gigantic - I'm a big eater and it almost got the best of me. Excellent value for $16 and change. I managed to make a little room for a really rich chocolate & mint-cream amuse later when I was talking w/ the chef (Josh) & GM (Ian).

              Excellent service from the bartender, Brian, as well, but given the 3-to-1 employee to patron ratio at that point, that's to be expected ;-). Large, decent beer selection on tap and in bottle.

              There are a couple pork items on the menu - pulled pork and a pork meatball dish - that I'll be tackling next, and the rest of the menu looks inviting as well.

              So, not to sound like a total fanboy, but I think it's the best food option in the Garden area and I'm exceedingly pleased to have them move in (I'm local-ish).

              I'm a fairly low-volume poster, so don't take my word for it - go, give these guys some business. Assuming things remain good when there's more of a crowd (and I have no reason to think they wouldn't be), I'm thinking we've got a winner.

              2 Replies
              1. re: ritcey

                OK, follow-up visit on Saturday (is it wrong to reply to myself?);

                I went w/ 3 DCs & sat at the bar again. More of a crowd this time, but still not close to what they could handle - only a few folks eating at that point. There was a bit more noise from the corner, where they have a Golden Tee (!), but somewhat to be expected given the location, I suppose.

                Saw the chef, Josh, as I sat down - he swung by for a quick chat and gave DC #1 & I the pork meatballs while we were waiting for the others. He did them over udon noodles instead of the standard asian slaw (the website has been updated w/ the menu). They were far lighter in texture than I was expecting - the ginger was pronounced and went v. well with the noodles. Almost like a dumpling filling, and I mean that in a good way.

                When DCs #3 & 4 showed, we ordered fairly quickly & Josh delayed leaving to cook for us himself, which was a nice touch.

                I had the pulled-pork sandwich as did DC #1; the saucing was light, with a bit of slaw on top, served on a ciabatta (not the onion roll listed on the menu); it was a good-sized portion and the ciabatta, while untraditional, ended up being a good choice, as the heftier crust meant there was almost no chance of a blow-out (as I've had w/ pulled-pork before). The pork was rich and tender, with the sauce & slaw lending it a bit more of a vinegar than tomato overtone (i.e., more eastern NC than western NC, as I understand it). I'm sure some BBQ purists will set me straight, but I really enjoyed it and would order it again w/o hesitation. The sandwich came with a side of hand-cut fries; I'm not much into fries but the couple I had were tasty. DC #1 cleared her plate, so I take that as a thumbs-up on both the pork and the fries. I wasn't quite so stuffed as after the short-ribs, but happily full nonetheless.

                DC #3 had the aforementioned short-ribs and raved about them.

                DC #4 had the fish tacos - the fish that day was tilapia; I had a bite and it was light, with a nice bit of spice. If I can resist the pulled-pork next time I go, I'll be getting this.

                Dessert was a shared "chocolate chip cookie dough souffle"; again, I'm more of a savory than sweet sort of person, but this was excellent - a (large) dish of warm half-baked cookie dough w/ cinnamon ice cream a la mode. It tasted like it sounds and probably has 7,000 calories. It was popular =)

                So 2 for 2 - I liked what I had a lot & had a bit of personal service from the crew. The food remains the best I can think of in the area (which, woefully, is not that high of a bar, but this easily surpasses it). By way of recommendation, I was trying to decide if it would be piggish to return the next night for another pulled-pork sandwich =)

                They seem to be trying to walk the line - Garden-area sporty bar v. good eats destination. I _think_ they can pull it off; while it's not going to be the place you want to go for a romantic date, it should be a good choice for a fun night out that starts with dinner. There's nothing mind-blowing on the menu -- due, I suspect, to the Garden's proximity -- but they seem to be making an effort to offer something a bit interesting for those who want it.

                I'm hoping another hound hits it up so I can see if I'm crazy and/or just easily swayed by people who remember my name and give me free apps =)

                1. re: ritcey

                  Tried DJs last night before the Celtics playoff game. After being in the Garden area for a couple of nights, we became tired of the surrounding spots (The Fours, Canal Bar). We decided to finally try DJ's since last time we stopped in the kitchen was already closed. I had the fish tacos, great choice. The salsa vinagrette along with the sour cream really was tasty. Tilapia was the fish used and it was grilled with some cajun spice. My husband ordered the pulled pork sandwich with fries also and he really enjoyed his meal. The wait wasn't as bad as the other area spots, about 15-20 mins and it was an hour and a half before game time. Plenty of tv's. The waitress we had was accomodating but didn't seem overly enthusiastic about working that evening. Definately great to see a restaurant with different choices in the area. Looking over at some of the other tables the meatball appetizer and sirlon salad looked delicious! Can't wait for our next visit. Go Celts! oan....the bathroom was really clean!

              2. Is there an online menu? I didn't see anything online or on their Myspace page.

                1 Reply
                1. re: soxchik

                  They have a website at djsatthegarden.com. It doesn't appear to have a menu. Also, for the chef who posted above - I can guarantee you that if I hadn't read the posts here but instead saw that website, that I'd never go. In fact, I already contacted several friends of mine and they're turned off by the images on the website, figuring it to be a place trying to be a yuppy martini bar w/ mediocre food. Perhaps its intended to be a yuppy martini bar with good food, but that wasn't really the vibe I was getting from this thread (where it was coming across as a more laid back upscale comfort food with good beers/cocktails sort of vibe. Not unlike Deep Elum).

                2. Certainly sounds ambitious for the West End. I hope it flies, and will definitely give it a look.

                  1. I am sorry to say my experience wasn't so great. I ordered the rueban sandwich (one of my all time favorites), and it came on white bread!!!! White bread!!!!! I am sorry but that's wrong. Also, the french fries while clearly home made and handcut (that's a plus) were limp and soggy. They would do better to use the two fryings method for their fries for crispier results.

                    That being said the salmon and corn chowder was actually pretty good, a little salty (something I don't mind so much in a soup), but with a nice kick of heat to it that I liked quite a bit, and plenty of salmon chunks. Most likely a great way to get rid of the extra bits of the salmon after butchering it for the salad dish mentioned earlier.

                    8 Replies
                    1. re: devilham

                      gah, that doesn't sound too good - what time of day did you go? Was it crowded or no? Both times I've been it's been pretty slow, food-wise, and the chef himself was in the kitchen; I'm wondering if that makes a difference.

                      1. re: ritcey

                        It should not matter who is in the kichen! If this dude wants to be taken seriously then he needs his crew to step up in his abscense. No excuses!!

                      2. re: devilham

                        I've seen the white bread complaint a few times (although it might be the same person/group on multiple forums!). It seems like that's Just How They Do It.

                        1. re: jgg13

                          No this was my first and only post on the subject, and it probably is 'just how they do it', but I feel as though it's a classic sandwich that has certain elements that are not substitable with it still being referrred to as a Rueban.

                          To answer Ritcey, I went at lunch on thursday, and it was quiet there, funny 3 of the 5 or so tables that were seated in the place were from my firm....we were all pretty excited to try it!

                          All in all, I have a hard time critizing to hard on a place that has been open for little over a week, I have been in food service myself (over 10 years behind the line, and involved in two resteraunt openings), and know that working out the kinks can be hard to do (I feel like this place sprang out of nowhere!), so I am willing to give them another chance, they just need to buy some rye, and fix the fries

                          1. re: devilham

                            Hi, the chef here. This will get booted off soon enough, but my response. We have changed bread. We will be getting Nashoba Valley Rye starting Tuesday. As for the fries. Fresh cut fries are the way to go. We are still working out the logistics of a 200 seat restaurant and keeping the fries fresh. Thanks

                            1. re: uwebres

                              Actually, chef, please refer to our posting guidelines at http://www.chowhound.com/topics/367605. We do allow posts such as yours, where you disclose your affiliation and stick to the facts. Thanks for the info!

                              1. re: uwebres

                                Great news! As I said earlier, I am more than willing to cut some slack on the logistical side, I am sure it's just a matter of tweaking. I am very passionate about food, and sandwiches in particular, so please don't take my criticism as negative, it's not meant to be, I just would love to have a place like what you seem to be aspiring to be in the neighborhood (there has been a vacuum since Anthem closed for quality food).

                        2. Hopefully they are getting the bread from Lavallees Bakery. Challah Burger rolls are great. Reuben should be on marble or dark Rye.I think they can work out the kinks.

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: Northstar22

                            The chef here again. We will be getting our bread from lavallees. Dark rye for sure, and I will try the challah rolls.

                            1. re: uwebres

                              The menu is up on the site:
                              It looks awesome! I commute in and out of N Station and I'm always looking for something close by. Boston Beerworks used to be my standard, but the food is really going downhill. I can't wait to try DJ's.
                              Best of Luck!

                          2. DJ's looks promising especially if it's the same people as the Junction. I have missed Anthem (nothing like some nice wine with cheese fondue) and haven't been in that area recently. It sounds like a good place to try during restaurant week when all the other restaurants are serving chicken and salmon.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: Pegmeister

                              Chef..great for you to reply check out Lavalees website to see the complete line they offer. I look forward to dining at Dj's and best of luck. That area needs a great dining option.

                            2. I went the other night before a Celtics game and have to say that I wasn't impressed. Now, i know that it just opened and it may take a little bit to get the kinks out, but my gripes are these: ordered and appetizer and the entrees came out first and my onion soup was luke warm at best and overly sweet for my taste. That said, I am not giving up yet, but it was not a promising start. I know that the pre-game crowd may be difficult to handle, but if you are going to be located in the area, you won't survive if you can't. I will report back on my next excursion...

                              1. Went last Friday for lunch. Not crowded but a certainly several tables of diners. We got great service and the vibe was good. No blaring music as is the case with too many sports bars in the area. I liked the elevated booths. I ate a salmon blt. The salmon was well cooked and plump, the bread was pleasantly chewy and it came with a pesto may. One DC got the crabcake over greens and another a salmon salad (think tunafish sandwich). Everyone was very pleased although we all commented that while the taste of the fries was great they were a bit limp. Happy to have an Anthem alternative in the area and will def. go back.

                                1. Tried it for lunch on Saturday. My original plan was to try Johnny's on the Side but they weren't open for lunch so I remembered the posts and headed over to DJ's. It's a nice large open space with a comfortable bar and plenty of Garden photos. I guess I do have some mixed opinions on the food though. Some of the terriyaki meatballs were really dry but they did have a nicely flavored sauce It was the asian slaw, however, that saved this appetizer. From there I went with the pulled pork sandwich. The bread while excellent, was an odd choice, it was as big as a sub roll and the pork was spread thinly across the bread. The pork itself was perfect. Nice BBQ sauce, not to sweet so the flavor of the meat came through. I just cut the roll in half and piled up the pork. As for the fries, some were crisp others not, but I liked them well enough. My DC went with the mac & cheese and the spoonful, I stole was delicious, creamy and with a little sharper cheddar flavor than others that I've tried. Bar staff was friendly and efficient. I think it's a nice addition to the area and will definitely go back. I still want to get to Johnny's on the Side though.

                                  1. My husband and I stopped in on Saturday before heading to the Hockey East game at the Garden.

                                    We sat at the bar and ordered the Guinness Short ribs (based on reviews here) and the Tenderloin Steak Sandwich. The ribs were great. They were very flavorful and tender. Another poster mentioned that they though the mashed potatoes were too garlicky. I thought they were great. I also enjoyed the bitters that accompanied this dish. The steak sandwich was a respectable sandwich. Nothing wrong with it. Nothing that made it a standout dish. The meat was cooked to the requested temperature. It was tender. I thought the fries were soggy and limp. They tasted good, but needed to be much crisper. We ordered the chocolate chip cookie dough soufflé. This was very good, and a huge portion. It is a sinfully rich dessert served in a small casserole dish with crispy cookie edges, but cookie dough inside. It is served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and sprinkled with cinnamon. My dining companion ordered a coffee to have with dessert. It was tepid at best. It was like the morning's coffee, not even warmed up. I thought service at the bar was okay. There were a few times were I waited longer than I would have liked for a drink refill. I had an unfortunate seat behind a pillar so getting the bartenders attention was impossible unless I wanted to get out of my seat. I think they should have checked in a little bit more. Not food related - but another issue that they need to fix... at 4:30/5:00ish on a Saturday, there was no toilet paper in the ladies room. I went back in a little while later and the toilet paper situation was corrected, but in some stalls it was on the floor (JUST GROSS). I'll cut them some slack as they haven't been open long and are still working out the kinks.

                                    I would go back to DJs if I'm in the area for another event. It is better than other places I've been to prior to other games.

                                    Some pictures of our food are attached.

                                    2 Replies
                                    1. re: Bluebird

                                      So I went last night, pre concert. I thought the place was full but too packed or too busy. I could easily walk around. they kept the same lay out!.

                                      So , in short on the food: GREAT! very good. Had a turkey burger, ribs, the Cadillac burger and a few other items all very good, even if the server forgot cheese on one or the other.

                                      the service: AWFUL. to a point that this is the email I wrote them:

                                      I went to your place last night based on reviews of the great food, friends recommendations and based on your sister place the Junction.

                                      The place was busy as it was Pre-Concert, however it was not packed, I could easily move around freely.

                                      There were four of us and two arrived 5 min. ahead of the others. When we arrived we waited 25 min to be greeted at the table. Then when we were, there was no hello just a fly by of our waitress dropping menus off at our table. Another 15 min. 'till she bothered to remember us and got our drink order, did not offer to take our food order (as we had been sitting there almost 45 min at this point, we had ample time to decide what we were eating). Another 10 min to get the beers. Another 20 min to get her back to take our order...to which she made a mistake and certain things were left off that we had asked for. I would have loved to bring this to her attention, however not once did she or a manager come by to ask how everything was. Had this happened I would have informed her and had the food made correctly, in the way it was ordered. Not to mention it is incredibly obvious when a medium rare burger has been sitting in the window for some period of time.

                                      This was all laughable. I did not want to fault her. I don't know if her section was too large, if staff levels were off that night, was it her first day?? I don't know. I know that for whatever reason she was so awful and never was there a manager present to address this issue with her or the table, or even jumping and help her out. It was obvious to those in her section that she was seriously struggling and a simple look at the faces in her section could have signaled to a manager just how unhappy her entire section was. To a point that other tables were talking to each other about just how bad her service was.

                                      The final straw however was that of the 4 of us two had ordered Guinness. And then we watched them sit at service bar for over 30 min. I was almost to a point of just walking over to the service bar and getting them myself, however one of my dining companions was uncomfortable with me doing that as none of us want her loosing her job. I tried to explain that there was no manager on the floor who would notice, so I doubt she would have been fired. What bothered me more is that the service bartender never once said " hey, these have been sitting here for a long while, some one run them to the table".

                                      So when we were presented with our check the Guinness were STILL sitting on the bar. We told her she could take them off since she never delivered them. She was puzzled, and unapologetic. And then walked over to the Guinness and looked as it dawned on her that she never took them to our table. Not an apology just another 10 min to get a correct check and another 20 min to get her to run it(at this point I did walk up to her at the POS terminal and hand her our credit card)

                                      I don't know if I am more disappointed in the server or the lack of a manager on the floor to actually recognize that she was struggling, that there were unhappy customers, or that a pair of Guinness had been sitting there for well over 45 min at that point.

                                      As I am in this industry, I know I would really like to know if a situation like that happened at my establishment. I would have liked to bring it to a managers attention, however only when I was leaving did a man in a yellow polo shirt emerge from behind the scenes. And at that point the check had been paid, the horrible service had completely ruined any possibility of redeeming the establishment. And I was eager to move on to a place where I could receive a Guinness in under 10 min before going into the concert. I found such s place...down the street.

                                      1. re: marthayou

                                        and I have NEVER received a response from the manager.....confirms my feelings

                                    2. Finally hit this place up recently and was pretty disappointed but partially because I really wanted to like this place.

                                      Service was overall friendly, but very hands off (it looked to be just the bartender but for most of the time there wasn't anyone else in there). The food took a long time to come out (admittedly since this was a 'catch up' type of meal I wouldn't have minded if we didn't end up crunched for time due to this).

                                      The space reminded me of the Tavern in the Square (Central Sq edition), that's not really a compliment - still, I think the space "works" for what it seems they're trying to do so I won't really knock/praise it either way ... plus I have a bias against the Tavern (I was going to abbreviate it until I realized the unfortunate spelling that abbreviation would have).

                                      I did like their beer selection though.

                                      But on to what people here would care about: The food ...

                                      Overall I found it to be pretty mediocre. The appetizers that we had were pretty good (quesadilla very good, jerk wings pretty good) but everyone seemed to be pretty disappointed in their entrees. I had the half rack of ribs, I thought they claimed to have been smoked and they clearly weren't but just looking at their menu again it was "slow cooked for 12 hours" so I suppose I can't really ding them on the lack of smoke but they still didn't really seem to have been slow cooked at all really - reminded me of parboiled ribs. Perhaps they really do slow cook 'em, but it didn't come through. They weren't *bad* but they weren't *good* either, which seems to have been the stance of the other folks I was with as well with their dishes.

                                      To sum up, I really saw no reason to go out of my way to go there. If I happen to be down by North Station I'd probably choose that over a lot of other spots, but it didn't wow me at all.

                                      2 Replies
                                      1. re: jgg13

                                        One compliment from me is that they have a much better beer selection than most places in the area.

                                        1. re: phatchris

                                          That's definitely true.

                                          I wrote a review on Yelp that was similar (but didn't think to copy & paste) to what I wrote above and I think the takeaway I had there was that it definitely was a nice "upscale sports bar" but I couldn't see myself ever bothering to go there in that capacity unless for some reason I was already at North Station. I'd much prefer to go there than say, Beer Works (since I don't really think their beer is all that and their food is less than mediocre IMO).

                                      2. After reading about this place a few months back, me and a DC gave it a go for lunch.

                                        I was impressed - I had the pulled pork sandwich, which was decent enough, but I really liked their fries.

                                        As the place was always pretty quiet, we went back on a number of occasions, but I have to say my opinion started high and has been slowly going down since.

                                        The pork sandwich was my staple. I tried the signature short ribs once and really enjoyed them. But on subsequent trips the fries have become more variable, and on our trip last week some of the fries, although browned on the outside, were pretty raw inside. Both of us had that problem. Also, the fries just did not taste half as good as they used to.

                                        I had a burger, which was meant to be medium-well. it was blitzed, charcoaled.

                                        Thinking of giving them a miss for a while. Maybe they will pull it together.

                                        1. My impression of DJ's, much like The Junction, is a matter of context. Outside of its neighborhood it might seem very average, but for its environs it's above average. In Southie, your nearby options are awful American Chinese and burrito joints. Near the Garden, your best option is, hmm, The Fours, maybe? These places aren't going to make anyone forget Silvertone or Audubon, but they're better than most of the nearby alternatives.

                                          1. I went on Sunday during the Patriots game. We were the only people in there and the bartender was surely. Mojito was just OK. Not a good impression.

                                            1. The dreaded pre-game food debacle rears its ugly head... I'm bumping this post up as we're considering grabbing a burger or wings at the bar here tonight. After searching and coming across numerous "chow wasteland" quotes, I'm wondering if anyone's been back to this place lately and if it would be an okay choice for pub food near the Garden.

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: Parsnipity

                                                I moved out of the area a few months ago, but unless things have changed, your options are quite limited. If folks are down on DJ's, The Hill isn't terribly far and is usually quite tasty.

                                                Hill Tavern
                                                228 Cambridge St, Boston, MA 02114

                                              2. Well, to answer my own question, DON'T eat at DJ's. I think I took one for the team here. I set my expectations to "mediocre" and I must say it fell far short. We ordered a burger (to split) and an order of wings (to split- we figured we'd hedge our bets in case one or the other turned out awful. I'm serious when I say our expectations were not that high). The wings were soggy and luke-warm. The celery that came with them had brown ends. The burger (no temperature asked, and I completely forgot to ask for it medium rare) was hockey-puck-like, perhaps appropriately as we were headed to the Bruins game which was the reason for this victual predicament. The menu said it was made with "Irish cheddar and leeks." I'm sorry, but leeks do not come in that particular shape. They were clearly onions. The roll was slightly stale. I would not ever eat here again- not ever. The service was adequate, but with dreadful food no caliber of service can make ammends.

                                                2 Replies
                                                1. re: Parsnipity

                                                  Yeah, I went in the fall (it wasn't recent enough that I felt I could honestly chime in), and was so disappointed that I doubt I'll be back.

                                                  1. re: Parsnipity

                                                    A shame - they started out pretty well but I'm guessing the realities of that area have led to it becoming just another bar...