So, I have this list...
I have a list of places that I have been wanting to check-out but have not been yet. some are new, some old. I have been living in Boston for 6 years now and have read the CH boards about them, but yet to go to them. Where should I go and why. Please ne honest
The List -
Meyer's and Chang
I do not want to go during RW - too crazy!
no 9 park (my favorite is that damn prune gnocchi with foie)
bin 26 is a good place to pop in for some wine and a light dinner. not a "big deal" place but a really great place to have in your arsenal in the beacon hill/park st area.
i was underwhelmed by:
grotto (i've been there a few times now and have never been wowed, even in the "cute neighborhood spot" category)
lala rokh (maybe i had hear/read too many rave reviews on this, but again, didn't find it to be anything special)
can't comment on but are on my to try list:
and i definitely agree, skip RW. luckily, most of these places don't offer RW menus.
I've been here for 8 years and i also have a list. I LOVEEE no9park and i think if $ is not an issue, no9 is a DEF MUST TRY for boston.
also, my bf ONLY eats meat and carbs so he obviously loves steakhouses. KO prime was a huge dissapointment and the kobe beef was NOT kobe CERTIFIED beef but just beef from kobe (there is a huge difference). another group of friends went to KOprime, all ordered steak, and only thought the ribeye was alright, but again thought the kobe was disgusting. id say stay away from MOO & KOprime - trendy steak houses - and stick with grill23.
my bf and iwere also greatly dissapointed with meyer's & chang. I am a huge fan of hers and had high expectations. I was very confused by the contemporary twist to asian food she was trying to do. some dishes were way too sweet, while some too bland. my bf and i feel its not worth going back again.
My take on some of the places I've hit:
Thumbs up : O Ya, Grotto and Helmand.
O Ya (provided you have the budget for it) for a unqiue dining experience mixing interesting flavors that you don't find paired often. Very original for Boston in particular.
Grotto for mixing reasonable prices with a cute, laid back space and just plain delicious food. One of the few places where I feel they do RW well (they don't offer the typical option of chicken or hangar steak).
Helmand for a nice roomy and comfortable space, yet great value for the food. Also great for the adventurous eater (not in a "Bizarre Foods" sort of way) who wants something different - food is simply tastey. Took a guest from NYC here and she loved it.
Not thumbs down, but places I wouldn't rush to get to: Dante
Good, but not great. Some dishes I found to be ridiculously small in portion. The only great thing about my meal was the fried dough balls for dessert. Those are YUM!
Thumbs down: Midwest Grill
Go there only if you are being dragged by a group of carnivores who insist on trying this place. Just wasn't that good. While some of the items were ok, I wasn't wow'ed by any of the food. Not even the "exciting" chicken hearts, and they really weren't that exciting. Save your $15 and go to one of the high-end steak places if you insist on meat.
Of those, I would check out the following (ranked in order of personal preference):
- Salts: One of my favorite places in Boston. Service and food are always great. Thanks for reminding me to get back there.
- Grotto: Great value and great food. Always something new and interesting on the menu.
- Craigie St: Really spectacular every time. The menu may not look like the best online (depending on your adventure level), however any concerns will vanish after you eat there. The while concept works, and the food is always flawless.
- 9 Park: Not my personal favorite among Boston’s elite restaurants. Definitely worth a visit (or several) if you have never been.
- O Ya (over Uni): Incredible flavors. However after several visits I do think it goes a bit beyond over priced into gouging territory. The upside is you can get a table any time (even on a weekend night).
- Hemland: Have never eaten food like this anywhere else. For me a unique, and always satisfying experience.
Not only is RW too crazy, but IMO a bad time to try somewhere new (unless it is simply a matter of economics) as you do not get the full flavor of what a particular restaurant offers.
The rest of your list is fine, but I am not necessarily rushing to get there. The only two I would avoid are Moo and KP Prime, these ultra high end steak houses don’t cut it for me.
Grotto - romantic, subterranean, rich and indulgent Italian food at bargain basement prices. I see an unverified correlation between people that like Prezza and people that like Grotto. Based on your profile and my bad analytics, you might too.
Uni/O Ya - the top two sashimi/fish restaurants in Boston, both unique, both killer. They've got their shigoto down pat.
Salts - they have an attention to detail here that is remarkable.
Craigie Street Bistrot - sustainable ingredients, seasonal cooking, French technique, subterranean vibe - Chef Shaw is holdin' down the fort.
Lala Rohk - unique Persian cuisine in an incredibly romantic atmosphere.
Another vote for Salts, Craigie Street, and No. 9. These are some of my regular special occassion restaurants.
Most recently went to Salts and I loved how welcoming they were from the minute I made the reservations. The service was very attentive and personable, the space is warm and cozy and the food was exquisite.
No. 9 Park has that old Boston elegance. Their prune-stuffed gnocchi is one of my favorite dishes. My favorite time there was a tasting menu on New Years Eve 2001-02. Other times I've been there have been great too but their talent really showed in the tasting menu. It was VERY expensive that time but worth it.
Craigie Street's food is on par with Salts and No.9. The location feels a little less formal so your evening is going to be more about the food then luxurious atmosphere. But in someway the space is very transporting.
Finally, I know you didn't ask what we didn't like but I throw this out there: I wasn't all that impressed with the food at Lala Rohk. I only went one time though. Perhaps I need a greater sample size to really make a judgment.
Of the places in your list, I have been to Dante, No 9 Park, KO Prime, Grotto, Uni, O Ya, Mela, Lala Rohk, Bin 26. Of those I've been to I go back somewhat regularly to:
No 9 Park-I was just there last weekend at the bar and had the tasty truffled gnocchi with peas and lobster. The portion was actually a bit bigger than I remembered. I also had some kind of Boston lettuce salad with bacon and boy it was more than bacon, it was lovely braised pork. I think both of these might have been on their cafe menu.
Grotto is great for when you're in the mood for reasonbly priced Italian in big portions of often rich food.
I like both O Ya and Uni a lot. I had a fab meal at Uni a few weeks ago though I think I prefer O Ya though I don't think you can go wrong at either if you're after upscale, creative sushi preparation.
Bin 26 is great for their wine selection which I like to enjoy with plates of cheese and cured meats.