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Mar 9, 2008 07:33 AM

Back in Billerica -- Sichuan Gourmet, hoo boy!

Finally got an opportunity to have lunch at Sichuan Gourmet in Billerica: pork with spicy chili sauce, very impressive. I expect to get back here a few times over the coming months: any other dishes I should be seeking out?

Also, is Chung King Rick's Cafe in Billerica as bad as it looks? If so, it has an awesome bad-restaurant name.

What else is worthy these days in the Burlington/Bedford/Billerica axis? I already have visits planned to New Jiang Su (an old friend), L'Andana, and Summer Winter.

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  1. Bamboo Restaurant in Bedford near the Burlington line has an excellent Chinese/Sushi lunch buffet. They also have a seafood dinner buffet on Sunday night but I haven't tried it yet. I have been to Chung King Rick's Cafe in Billerica several times for their lunch buffet. I really like their fried chicken wings but haven't gone there recently. The other items on their lunch buffet were okay but nothing special. Cafe Luigi in Bedford has delicious food and very reasonable lunch specials. Cafe Luigi is always packed during lunch time so get there early.

    1 Reply
    1. re: buffet king

      Not quite a seafood buffet at Bamboo - rather, many seafood dishes and some sushi, and a general upgrade from the lunch buffet for a few extra dollars, and worth it.

    2. Not new, but respectable for the area, The Fish house, just down the road from New Jang Su at 184 Cambridge for fried seafood including the decadent fried lobster. Of course there's Naked Fish (yes the chain) at 15 Middlesex Turnpike in Billerica for a decent cuban themed cocktail.

      When I worked in Bedford a few years ago I was pretty impressed with Ginger at 78 Great Road and right next door was New York Deli (or something like that) which was surprisingly true to it's name.

      1. Rick's Cafe is terrible. I defy anyone to chew the meat served the one time our family went. Emerald Rose also stinks. Lester's BBQ isn't bad. Ginger, the Japanese restaurant in Bedford Center, is good. Ken NY Deli is next door and has good sandwiches and fries.

        If you take a left at 4-Corners in Woburn and head into Woburn Center, then you'll have many choices. There is a brazilian place that gets good reviews and an Indian bakery from which you can get some nice savories.

        5 Replies
        1. re: three of us

          RICK'S CAFE! TERRIBLE?! Are You Nuts?! The Food Is The Best Around And The Staff Is So Welcoming And Nice... Rick Is The Best... He Goes Out Of His Way To Greet Everybody And Always Makes You Feel Amazing... Never Had One Complaint And I Wouldn't Go Anywhere Else... The Restaurant Got A 90 Something From The Phantom Gourmet As Well As Other Awards All Hung Up And On Display...

          1. re: tibbs8705

            "The Restaurant Got A 90 Something From The Phantom Gourmet"

            this is no indication of quality.

            1. re: ScubaSteve

              Methinks it may be an indication of willingness to advertise......went there only once; the only memorable thing was the overpowering saltiness. I live 5 minutes away but wouldn't go back.

            2. re: tibbs8705

              My recent lunch at Chung King Rick's Cafe (whose truly awful name I had some fun with recently on the Not About Food board) was pretty gross, below-average American-Chinese junk: magenta spare ribs, chow mein, oversized greasy egg rolls, subgum egg foo yung and the like. It looks like the kind of place that makes a lot of money off its bar, including a big list of tiki cocktails. It seems like a popular drinking destination, even on a weekday at lunch.

              Of Course, I'm No Phantom Gourmet, So You May Find That Your Mileage Varies And That The Sight Of All Those Awards Influences Your Experience In Some Positive Manner.

              If you do value the Phantom Gourmet's opinion, you might want to consider the intrepid Yelper who dug into this and discovered that the Phantom has never actually reviewed the place: From Yelp Boston: "Another thing that is extremly (sic) bad, is the local advertisements. They claim a Phantom Gourmet rating of 70-80, yet Phantom Gourmet HAS NEVER REVIEWED THEM. E-mail Phantom, they will confirm this."

              I'd email the Phantom myself, but for some reason they never write me back.

              1. re: MC Slim JB

                I think that they're living on a reputation. To be honest, I don't know if they ever deserved that reputation - but I do remember that when they opened up years ago (when the plaza was new - Purity was the original main store - where O'Connors is now), I saw that they had shu-mai on their menu and was suitably impressed, since nobody else in the area did. Rick used to always be around - even after he opened up his other place, I think it was in Woburn. I don't think I've seen him in the last year. The fact is that there is much better food in the area. Sichuan Gourmet is of course best at Sichuan, but they can make a large selection of American-Chinese, including all the pupu platter junk, peking ravioli, and even general what's his name - they're all better executed than what you get at Rick's these days. Any wok fried noodle or rice dish is also much better at SG - less greasy, more meat and vegetables, more flavorful - but with less soy sauce. One of the best in the area for noodles (all kinds, including a good Pad Thai) is in Tewksbury at Long's - a bit of a ways off for lunch from Billerica center (unless you know the shortcuts). Clearly, Rick has seen better days, whether it was all that good back then or not.

                BTW, I wouldn't trust anything from the Andelmans. I seem to definitely remember a review back when they were on their old site. Rick definitely used to advertise when they were on NECN. A lot of stuff disappeared when they went to their new web site, and probably all their great record keeping with it. I was, at one time, a regular on the old site, and I would trust my own memory that they had actually reviewed the place before I'd trust anything out of the Andelmans' mouths other than that they got paid a lot of money to say something, and that they are saying nothing about any place that didn't pay them a lot of money. Perhaps Rick didn't make a payment or dropped being an advertiser. In the end, it doesn't really matter - who cares if the BS is on the Phantom side or the restaurant's? The food is just not very good.

          2. When i worked in the area (years ago)... Bedford House of Beef was a very popular choice in my office. Mainly for their chicken kabob subs and salads. Not bad roast beef and fried seafood either.

            1. Stromboli's serves a decent pizza.

              The Augusta sub shop has a nice salad bar and a good soup/chili bar selection on most days. Their cordon bleu sub is very good.

              Masalaa is an excellent vegetarian southern Indian restaurant - one of those places that has you forgetting that it's actually vegetarian.

              3 Replies
              1. re: applehome

                Masalaa closed and is reopening as The Pongol, but I don't know when.

                1. re: Kiyah

                  That doesn't sound promising... Pongol... is that a Tiki bar or a lubricant for a video game?

                  1. re: applehome

                    I think it's another spelling of "pongal" which is a South Indian dish, and the name of a festival (Wikipedia says the fesival originated in Tamil Nadu).

                    Sounds like it will still be an Indian restaurant.