If you only had two months left in Boston...
Where would you make sure you eat? After Match Day yesterday, my wife and I learned that we'll be spending the next 5 years in NYC, starting in June. Certainly not a bad proposition for a Chowhound, but I still want to leave Boston with a bang.
I have a list of places in my head where I want to go. But I don't want to sway the hounds opinions one way or another. Given the very loose time constaints of 2 months, not worrying about budget (not that we're not worried, but I don't want that to hold anyone's suggestions back), where are the places you just couldn't leave Boston without eating at one more time?
I am actually in a similar situation (although I am graduate from graduate school and moving for my new position). My list so far includes both places I love and places I have been meaning to try and still have not yet been to, but want to try before I leave. My list is slightly skewed towards things that are not quite as good in my future destination of Minneapolis (cocktails, Italian, Thai).
Meaning to try:
Troquet (going here after my defense next week)
Favorites for one last time:
Eastern Standard (at the bar)
King Fung Garden- scallion pancakes, steamed pork buns or peking ravioli or dumplings, shanghai chow mein
Pizzeria Regina- the original in the North End
L'Espalier- Monday Night Wine Club is wonderful
Union- french toast, bacon, burger
Excelsior: lobster pizza
Stella (the scallops are my fave)
Giacomo's: calimari and the gnocchi
Oleana (sit on the patio)
O Ya http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/20...
Oiishi (try the miso cod app- it is delectable
)Franklin Cafe (turkey meatloaf!!)
Oak Room (bar nuts and ambience)
Flour: egg sandwiches, lemon ginger scones, any of the lunch sandwiches
Sam La Grassa's: pastrami traveler's
Silvertone: mac and cheese and other comfort foods
Teatro for caesar salad
Via Matta for crunchy eggplant and bread and basil oil
Santarpio's for garlic pizza and side of sausage
Neptune Oyster for fried clams and boardwalk fries
Prezza for egg ravioli
No9 for lobster gnocchi
Bartleys for burger and onion rings and lime ricky
Eastern Pier for clams in black bean sauce
Flour for a BLT
Bristol Lounge for the ambience
Duozo for fresh wasabi
Caffe Bella in Randolph for Duxbury Oysters with housemade cocktail sauce and.......
Paramount for 2 eggs over easy, sausage and fruitplate
Aquitaine for Steak Frittes
For a start......
Wow, NYC, huh? I'm envious! Don't forget to try Donovan's in Queens and Lombardi's in Little Italy if you like pizza and burgers, respectively.
Hmmmmmm, if I were soon to leave Boston, I'd definitely hit these places at least once before heading out--some for food, some for atmosphere, some for sentimental reasons:
Cafe Polonia, South Boston
King Fung Garden, Chinatown
Dok Bua, Brookline
Jasmine Bistro, Brighton
Angela's Cafe, East Boston
Santarpio's, East Boston
Cafe Azteca, Lawrence
Kelly's, Revere Beach
Eastern Pier, Waterfront
Doyle's, Jamaica Plain
The Old Mill, Westminster
Galleria Umberto, North End
Heh, you got that right. Duck feeding as a kid, going on out there after work for dinner, birthday parties, family gatherings, dining on the way back from ski trips and hiking, etc. Lots of memories of the place. I've actually had some decent meals there, too, though nothing that has knocked my socks off...
Same situation that I'm in, but I only have a couple of weeks left before we move to San Francisco!
I have to try Angela's Cafe before we leave... what should I get there, since I'll only probably be going once? Mole of some kind? I usually don't eat beef or pork.
Oishii Boston on Sunday
Lunch at Flour probably sometime next week
Eastern Standard for drinks (maybe going away drinks! *sniff*) is another great idea
Where's the best gnocchi in (or out of) the city?
Maybe Orinoco for some low $ arepas... I'll keep my eye on this thread, I hope I get some more good ideas.
don't waste your time going to angela's, any mexican rest. in sf will blow angelas away. i lived there for 20 plus years and really miss all the great food form mex, italian, french, you name it its there food heaven, a true mecca one of the best food dstinations in the world you are sooooooooooo lucky
Some really great suggestions so far! I'm still gathering my thoughts, but this is my plan of attack so far.
Had Dim Sum at China Pearl this afternoon
Just made a reservation for Grotto tonight
Haven't tried but must get to's:
- O Ya
- Oiishi Boston
- Icarus (we're very close by)
- King Fung for Peking Duck (I've eaten there, but haven't had the duck)
- Neptune Oyster
- 9 Park
- And by far the most important... a Speed's Hot Dog!
Places I love and have to make sure I hit before leaving:
- Xinh Xinh for soups
- Union for brunch
- Mei Sum for pork buns (though I took care of that this afternoon!)
- Lu's Sandwich Shop for Pork Meatball Bahn Mi
- Eastern Standard for drinks (elena3141, good call on a going away get together!)
- Tacos Lupita
- Cafe Mami
- And maybe one good old fashioned pub crawl around the city
It sounds like there are a few of us in the same boat! After your cross some places off your list, make sure to report back here on places we need to make a point to get to before leaving. I'll start, make sure you get to China Pearl for Dim Sum!
OK, time for a report back.
Unfortunately, our trip to Grotto was lackluster. When I made the reservation I hadn't realized it was the last night of restaurant week, at 9pm... possibly the worst time to try a restaurant, so there's my disclaimer. When in the bathroom I even heard an exaspirated staff member praising restaurant week's end.
For appetizers my wife got the cavatelli which came with peas, bacon I think and had a rich sauce. It was pretty good, no complaints. I, however, had the crab ravioli. This dish should never have been served, I can't remember having a worse dish in Boston. The crab tasted incredibly fishy, no sweetness whatsoever, it was awful. To make matters worse it was served in an incredibly thin, watery broth that added nothing. To top it off there were a few straggly, overcooked pieces of asparagus, and two or three dead looking steweded tomoatoes, that looked like they were thrown in at the last minute. I'm not one for presentation, but I'd be ashamed to serve something like that at my own house, let alone a restaurant.
My entree faired better. I had gnocci with short rib and gorgonzola. By nature the dish was rich, but I was fine with that. The gnocchi was nothing to write home about, and the flavors didn't really pair well together, but after the crab disaster, this was much better. My wife's entree was awful again. She got the sweet potato ravioli (it may have been squash, not positive). The ravioli had no dressing that I could see and were topped with pomogranate seeds. She said the dish had little flavor and what flavor it did have didn't work.
The staff was almost non-existant. Employees from the back of the house brought out our dishes, we had a server refill our water once or twice but that was about it after they'd taken our order (which takes about 2 minutes during RW).
We got our deserts to go, we just wanted to get out of there at that point. None of the options really bowled us over... I got the tiramisu. I had a bite the other day, it was your standard tiramisu.
I really wish we'd gone at another time. I feel bad slamming them at the end of RW, but the crab dish alone was cause for me to never go back there. Food like that should not come out of a kitchen, ever.
A milion good suggestions. I'd add at least a drink at Locke Ober if you haven't gone. And one at the Top of the Hub. Did someone suggest the Franklin already? Lots of good stuff but while I have fond family memories of the Old Mill, not sure it's worth a drive anymore other than the nice setting, esp. with the zillions of choices you have.
Good call, I've never ben to Locke Ober, so I'll try to give that a shot. My wife really wants to go to the Top of the Hub for a drink. She's only been there once and she said it was on a really cloudy day. I love the view up there, but I don't think it merits dealing with the staff, even for a drink.
As for Franklin, I used to live on Shawmut and have been there a ton of times. I love the place, but for some reason I'm not being pulled toward it for a last meal. I'm more interested in making my way to spots I've never been to, kind of like a "no regrets" thing.
I definitely don't see myself getting to the Old Mill. I just don't have much interest there
More reports... we squeezed in a trip to Rendezvous on Central Square last week. A review can be found here: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/503349
Last night, after a long weekend/Monday of work, my wife and I made our way over to Icarus. The setting was really great, it definitely had a clubby feel, but unlike an old steak house, this room had a romantic air about it.
First off, the bread basket was very solid. It came with warm, onion focaccia which had a great saltiness to it. Delicious. Another heartier bread was also good.
For my first course I had Maine Rock Shrimp Risotto with Asparagus & Fine Herbs. This dish was a total stinker, it was severely lacking in flavor. The risotto was simply arborio, most likely cooked in water. The asparagus was fine, but nothing to write home about, the shrimp were small and lacked a shrimpy punch. The dish was just plain bland, it was in desperate need of salt. I wish I'd ordered something else.
My wife started with Grilled Escarole Salad with Roquefort, Warm Bacon Dressing, Baby Vidalias & Walnuts. Now this was more like it. A complete 180 from my first dish, this was packed with flavor. Large lardons of slab bacon with a fantastic cheese, great dressing and delicious grilled escarole and a bit of radicchio. Give the people slab bacon... add a bit of blue cheese, and it's hard not to come up with a winner. Delicious.
For my main I had Poached Rabbit Loin, Braised Leg, Gnocchi, Pancetta. The loin was stuffed and wrapped in Pancetta. It was a very nice presentation and although the loin was a bit dry (hence, the need for Pancetta), it was great when dipped in the accompanying sauce. The braised portion of the dish was jumping with flavor, rich, meaty, just great. The gnocchi were mixed right in with the braise, which seemed odd at first, but they really played well. Super light, there was almost no texture to them, but I liked them regardless. I loved this dish.
For her main, my wife had Grilled Shrimp with Mango & Jalapeno Sorbet. The dish came with 4 enormous shrimp, I was suprised by the size of it. The sorbet was excellent.... the jalapeno flavor was there, but with very little heat. A great balance. The shrimp however were just ok... I think I was turned off because they were served luke warm... maybe this was to assure that there wasn't too much contrast between the shrimp and the sorbet, or maybe to keep the sorbet from melting on the plate.
Service was good, but not exceptional. We were a bit disappointed that the Polenta with mushrooms couldn't be served because the chef needed an hour to prepare it. This was probably due to a sparce dinner crowd on a rainy Monday night.
To finish the meal, I took a look through their lending library. A neat feature, but the books were mostly out-dated. Fun to look, but very little caught my interest.
I'm glad we got a chance to eat here before leaving. For the cost (my main was nearly $40), I think there are better fine dining values out there, but the menue was great, the food was mostly solid, and the atmopshere was a 10.
Great review. What a surprising shame about the risotto. I once had a risotto like that (not there): rice with a bunch of stuff in it. They should do a lot better than that at Icarus. I've never had a miss there in my limited experience. I'm going to try their gnocchi. They sound just like I like 'em, so light they're almost not there.
How could you stop short of the chocolate souffle for two?!
I'm not a big desert guy, but my wife definitely is. I offered to try the chocolate souffle but she turned it down. I was shocked!
The gnocchi were great, but they weren't the star player in the rabbit dish, they were more like a bit player (as were the carrots that were on the plate). But I'd give them the "best supporting accompaniment in an entree or side dish award" for the night! There were only about 4 or so on the plate, so I wouldn't go just for the gnocchi, though I would for that rabbit, yum.
Pizzeria Regina - pepperoni pie, beer and some rolaids!
Jasmine Bistro - anything hungarian or french
Taqueria Mexico - Waltham
Doyles - JP: some of my favorite comfort foods and beers!
Dok Bua, Brookline
Eastern Pier - try to go on a warm spring day and sit outside...ahhh!
Places I'd love to try (but too poor!):
No. 9 Park
There are ways to try the Oak Room even for those of us who don't have a gazillion dollars, CC. The Sunday brunch there has many items under $20 (including a Kobe beef burger), and most items on the lunch menu are under $20, too. I really do want to get to the Oak Room. It does seem like the type of place that everyone should try at least once.
In no particular order:
Artu's for the scampi pizza
Waterfront Cafe for stuffed olives
Santarpios for a pepperoni pie
Cafe Polonia for the gypsy pancake
Angelas Cafe for the enchilads mole
Fat Cat (Quincy) for the lobster mac & cheese and a farewell drink at:
the Oak Room preferably Moscow Mules
I'd revisit all my favorites:
East Coast Grille
Hong Kong Eatery
Taqueria El Amigo
Bartley's Burger Cottage
Kelley's, Revere Beach
Pho Viet/Mei Sum
Formaggio Kitchen/Hi-Rise/Clear Flour/Flour/B&R Breads/Iggy's Mothership/other bakeries
Then I'd focus on some Boston area specialties:
Clam shacks to the north
Muqueca/your favorite Brazilian
Atasca/your favorite Portugese place
Rincon Limeno/your favorites in East Boston
Taj tea service
While I think all of the suggestions that have been offered so far are wonderful restaurants, I think they are missing the point, which is food that you CAN'T get in NYC. Don't get me wrong, I love Icarus and King Fung Garden as much as the next person, but NYC has 1,000 restaurants just like them. Here is my list of places to visit that you WON'T be able to find while you are away (get in your car and drive, you'll be glad you did):
1. Woodman's of Essex: Cup of Chowder, Order of Steamers, and the Fried Clam Plate
2. The Publick House (Sturbridge, MA): French Onion Soup, Lobster Pie, Indian Pudding. Visit Sturbridge Village beforehand to get in the mood.
3a. Fowles News (Newburyport, MA): Diner Counter Breakfast-Homemade Corned Beef Hash. Stroll Newburyport till you're hungry again....
3b. Gram's Ice Cream & Desserts (Newburyport, MA)- Any flavor
re: InmanSQ Girl
While I like your line of thinking (see my post above on foods you can't get in NYC that I recommended), I have to say that the food at the Publick House in Sturbridge is just not that good. It's all very ordinary and there are better renditions of those specific dishes right here in Boston. See Summer Shack and Durgin Park for details.
re: InmanSQ Girl
Good point, go for what the area offers that NYC doesn't.
Saying that, I'll pipe in that an earlier suggestion of Cambodian would be very
good..the Cambodian in Lowell/Revere is _way_ better than anywhere else in
the US other than maybe Long Beach, and most certainly NYC. Red Rose,
Floating Rock, Petit Cafe, Senmonorom, Tepthida (this place isn't as hole-in-
the-wall as the others, almost downright stylish in here), etc.
Maybe also some other ice cream stands like Kimballs? Or just enjoy Christina's
or Herrell's if you don't want to leave the city for good ice cream.
re: InmanSQ Girl
I know what you're saying, but aside from lobsters, fried clams and chowder, I'm having a tough time thinking of anything I've eaten in Boston that I couldn't get as good or better in New York (suggestions welcome!)
I think that Boston has a number of restaurants that are as good as those you'd find in NY. Every good restaurant has its own charms, quirks, surprises. I'm interested in seeing as many of those as I can in Boston while I'm still here... and I also want to make sure I visit a bunch of old favorites.
As an update, I've never been to Rendezvous on the Square. We've got a reservation booked there tonight, I'm excited to try it out, I've always wanted to go there (even though it wasn't on my list of must-hits!)
And a few more personal favorites - steamers at Half-way Cafe (Dedham, and Watertown I think), Taco al pastor at Anna's, or anything al pastor at Tacos Lupita on Highland Ave in Somerville. Pancakes or Moroccan Eggs at Soundbites in Somerville, Belle Isle Seafood in Revere, a Fenway Frank, a pistachio macaroon from Mike's, and lunch in that Japanese foodcourt at Porter Exchange
I have now re-visited RodDee for Pad See Ew (and tried a little bit of Penang Curry too). It reaffirmed that I love the Pad See Ew and am rather neutral on their curries. There is just something about those fat noodles.
Last night I went to Troquet for the first time. Overall it was a very nice experience. We got there at 8:15 for an 8:30 reservation and it was almost empty. As we walked in they said that there were a number of 8pm theater shows last night such that it cleared out a short time ago. They seated us by the window overlooking the common as I had requested when I made the reservation. A few more tables of people arrived, but it stayed fairly quiet. Our server was very nice, had nice timing and was knowledgeable.
To start I had fava bean agnolotti with poached lobster. Overall, I enjoyed it. However, I think I would have liked it a bit better with one or two more agnolotti (slightly firm homemade pasta with good "spring flavor") and a little less lobster since the pasta and sauce were awesome and the lobster was good. I had a glass of rose champagne to start - after all it was a celebration dinner.
For my entree I had the sucking pig 4 ways. It was served with chipotle grits and the general theme was slightly spicy and southern. My favorite preparations were a saddle wrapped around golden raisins and surrounded by bacon (wonderful combination of sweet and salty) and the rillette (tender and nicely peppery). My dad had the same thing and also really liked it. My mom had a special of saddle of lamb and lamb sausage served with "spring cassoulet" containing fava beans, baby carrots, turnips and a number of other things. I tasted a bit. I was very nice and tasted as much like "spring" as I could possibly imagine something to taste, however I was glad I ordered the suckling pig because I think it is a bit more my style. With the entrees I had a glass of Eclipse Syrah from Caneros which was very nicely balanced.
For dessert, I had a banana napoleon (layers of banana pecan cake, whipped cream and topped with chocolate) served with banana fritters and walnut ice cream. The napoleon and the ice cream were fantastic - especially with a nice glass of tawny port. The banana fritters fine, but not great. I tasted a bit of the chocolate souffle and sticky toffee pudding as well and they were also quite good - nice that they were both traditional, but with some twists to make them special.
Overall, I really enjoyed the food and wine. Thanks to all the chowhounds that have mentioned how much they liked this place.
In no particular order , plces I would definitely go at least one more time and some fav dishes:
Blue Ginger - shittake leek spring rolls, garlic black pepper lobster, sake miso butterfish
L'Espalier - Wine Monday or Cheese Tuesday
Sel de la Terre - malinos champ cocktail, all the petit gouter, and the baked goat cheese salad
Eastern Standard - drinks (esp the whiskey smash and cubano) and the green salad
Aquitaine - mussels, endive salad, and lemon tart
Oleana - absolutely sit on the patio, friend mussels, and all the pret a manger
Craigie Street - any of the terraines
The Helmand - everything
Bukowskis - I like their vegetarian food
Sweet Basil - mussels, rosemary chicken, fra diavolo (spelling?)
Franklin Cafe - late night drinks and food
Pho Republic - cocktails and apps, maybe some over priced pho
Not in Boston, but Fore Street in Portland, Arrows in Ogunquit, and Straight Wharf on Nantucket
Lastly, Top of the Hub late night, for champagne, okay jazz, an amazing view of the greater Boston area - the perfect way to toast good-bye to Boston
Indian Pudding at Durgin Park...and lots of Fried Clams and Steamers from several places I like that have already been mentioned. There's actually a canned version of Indian Pudding that you can take with you. I haven't looked for it for a long time but have seen it in several supermarkets. It has a rust colored wrapper and is pretty good.
re: InmanSQ Girl
I've never had the one with maple syrup. Do you know where I can find it? Sounds interesting. Over the years, the only ones I've ever had have been made with molasses. Durgins is good and there's a restaurant just outside of Portsmouth in Kittery that overlooks Portsmouth and the harbor that has a really good molasses one. I think the restaurant's name is Warrens. It was so good that I got a few to go, and they froze well.
We knew that we'd only be in Boston for a year. Our next stop, as of June, is Philadelphia. Now, I know that Philly has an equivalent dining scene to Boston, but what it does NOT have is good dim sum places (e.g. China Pearl, Chau Chow City, Hei La Moon) nor does it have great lobster, clams and N.E. clam chowder. So, that's the food we'll be eating for the next few months. However, I am looking forward to cheesesteaks, Chesapeake Bay seafood and down home Penn-Dutch food.
Thanks to everyone who replied so thoughtfully to heWho (and me).
I did end up going to Angela's Cafe with my parents, and I'm glad I did. They had the Shrimp Cilantro and Enchiladas Mole, and I the chicken with Rojo ____ sauce, whose name I am forgetting, but it had pumpkin and sesame seeds, chiles, etc. It was really complex, subtle, fresh tasting, with a slow building heat that was just perfect. I'm thrilled, hlerm2, that you think that Angela's Cafe doesn't compare to SF Mexican. I think I'm in for a delicious few years, then!!
I also did go to Oishii Boston, where 4 of us shared mostly maki (at Sunday brunch) with a few other things. The Toro Truffle maki and spicy scallop maki were my standouts.We lingered, and had lots of little courses, and everything was delicious. We ended up ordering two lunch menus, and then supplementing, which made it relatively affordable. We did one lunch menu a selection of sashimi, and the other (brought out later) a selection of maki. Hamachi, maguro, and saba sashimi were all great, and rainbow, Route 66, and shiitake tempura maki were very good as well.
Lumiere was Monday. My socks were knocked off from the get-go by my "Gin and Jazz" cocktail, which had jasmine tea, muddled cucumber and lime, and Hendricks gin. If I weren't too lazy to muddle things at home, that would be my new favorite cocktail for sure! Just enough of a hint of sweetness to take the edge away from the gin, with light refreshing flavors from the cuke and lime, but some complexity from the bit of dry vermouth. Yum. I also loved my scallop entree (also an app... I forget what they called it, but pan seared scallops.) The asparagus app was pretty good, but I wouldn't order it again. I'm not into sweetbreads generally, but one of my dining companions ordered the veal sweetbread app, and I was very impressed.
Elephant Walk Waltham tonight... I had a really fantastic whole trout with green papaya salad on the side and some fried leeks on top... One of the best things I've eaten there. We chose Elephant Walk tonight because we were dining with a vegetarian friend, and it was close to our house. I'm glad we went back if just for the trout! I'd been disappointed by some of their food before. My friend got a tofu special which was nice, tofu a little rubbery (I love tofu generally), and my husband got a shrimp dish which was also just pretty good. But that trout! Wow. I'm sorry I don't remember the names of anything. I've got a few more days, so thanks again for the many replies giving me ideas.