Rocca, Estragon, Wild Willy's
- Joanie Jul 21, 2008 06:09 AM
Ended my cocktail week visits at Rocca Fri. evening and had a good time even if they were a little Nazi like with their patio rules. Their app of fried cauliflower, calamari and an arancini sounded great and I looked forward to outdoor dining but they told us this special was only in the bar area. So we moved indoors and had nice service and got one giant 'green monster' (bacardi w/ melon and pineapple) and a gin drink with cranberry, ginger (couldn't really taste it) and one other thing and was more of a real cocktail than the green thing. Fried food was great w/ a wonderful aioli, altho it was the smallest arancini ever. We then thought we'd move outdoors for different drinks and more apps but that wasn't allowed either, full dinners only. I tried to talk them into a table for 2 that wouldn't be close to this supposed large party that was arriving but no go. And I *have* eaten on the patio before having only drinks and apps but whatever, we reclaimed our seats for rose, prosecco and a wonderful (but small) fresh mozzarella pizza w/ corn, zucchini and pesto ($9). We walked down to Estragon and I wasn't moving from the patio even tho the rain started, but our umbrella did the trick and it was a quick storm. I tried their potato tarte which came with a lemony mayo which seemed a little odd but was fairly tasty for $4. Friend had a nice sangria type drink. It has a cool bar area that I'll try when the weather cools off.
Had never gone to Wild Willy's in Watertown before so after shopping in an un-air-conditioned Target, drove down there. Most burgers were $6.10 on their own, was surprised there was no burger/fry platter. Went with the "wicked good" burger (sauteed mushrooms, onions, swiss and cheddar) w/ small fries. Not bad overall but won't go out of my way. The burger was tasty but cooked beyond medium and had a preformed look that I was surprised to see. Mushrooms were canned I think. Thought about asking for just swiss cheese, should have done that altho I made cheese fries with the excess. Fries are definitely hand cut and taste of potato but could be crisper. Comfortable clean space.
Hadn't had the famous (in my mind) choc/almond croissant from Canto 6 in forever and splurged. Very good but almost too much almond filling. That was basically all I ate that hot day (altho it probably has about 2 meals worth of calories) except for ending the nite with a passable slice from Inbound Pizza in Allston which I hadn't been to in years.
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I have had the burger and fries several times in Watertown and although it's pretty good, not great, my problem is that because you have to purchase the fries separately by the time you're thru the burger and fries go for about $10-$11 and it's just not worth it. They will be opening soon in Needham but I much prefer the burger and handcut fries at Not Your Average Joe's at about $8.50, a much better deal.
I live right across from the Wild Willie's in Watertown (and can even say that five times fast). Yeah, it's an decent burger, pretty much whatever configuration you get. The fries are okay, a bit flaccid, as mentioned above, and the onion rings are strangely gritty and flat out unappealing to me. I waited forever for the place to open originally and was exceptionally underwhelmed by the look and the food when it finally did. That dumb mural has to go!
The food has improved a bit over the couple of years they've been open, but for the price of a burger there alone I can walk another block to Demo's and get a double cheeseburger plate with fries that is heart-stoppingly good.
In addition, the early closing times at Willie's (8PM on Sun, 9PM M-Sat) have always struck me as odd in and area such as Watertown Sq. I get home from work about 7-7:30 and seldom want to eat immediately out of the gate at that point. No biggie there, they can close when they want, but the staff tends to be a bit rude -even nasty- about the closing time (especially on the phone and especially if you haven't noticed that you've passed it). That lack of politeness has been as much of a reason for pushing it to the back of the consideration line as the okay food and slight pricey-ness.
I've been to Wild Willy's twice in 2 years. And both times I ordered a veggie burger with BBQ sauce, and had it come with both BBQ and mayo on it. A LOT of mayo and BBQ. Ew. If only I had remembered to clarify it the second time...
I didn't think the fries or onion rings were that great, and there were too many kids running around crazy for my taste. Not worth standing in line there, in my opinion.