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Dec 8, 2008 12:54 PM

New (last 3 yrs) noteworthy places?

Moved back to the Boston area after 3.5 yr absence, any must-visit places that have opened since then? Have been to O-Ya, Sorrelina, Jo Jo Taipei, but not much else new. New cocktail places also welcome. TIA!

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  1. As an "other side of the river" kind of guy, some Cambridge notables:

    Craigie on Main, Salts, Gran Gusto, Hungry Mother, Rendezvous, Garden at the Cellar, the recently revamped Green Street.

    The first three on the list all make it onto my ultra-super-duper-awesome list right now, as does Green Street for cocktails.

    If cocktails are your thing, definitely check out Eastern Standard in Kenmore. The food there is consistently outstanding as well.

    10 Replies
    1. re: finlero

      i always did love the duck at Salts, will have to go back and see what;s new there, thanks! I did visit ES in Kenmore once, enjoyed the bar/food a lot (Hoskins mmm)

      1. re: barleywino

        Hi BW!

        Lots of great suggestions, and I think you'll really like Craigie on Main. We loved it on our most recent visit. Excellent cocktails too with Tom, formerly of ES, in charge of the bar. I had a Hoskins, and a Camino (Rittenhouse rye, bitters, mirto, and housemade vermouth). You might be interested in one of their cocktail classes too. From their latest newsletter:
        Stirred not Shaken: How James Bond Got it Wrong! -$40 per person
        The lore of 007 has led to the misconception that all cocktails, properly made, should be shaken. Through a series of side-by-sides we will learn the basics of when to stir and when to shake. Drinks we will explore (and taste) include the Vesper, the Last Word, the Florentine Flip and the Italian Greyhound.

        When Bar Meets Kitchen: Making Your Own Vermouth-$40 per person
        Vermouth has been made since 1786. You will learn to make your own vermouth which you can use to spice up classic cocktails, as well as new libations. Enjoy tasting your new creations.
        (Both classes taught by expert bartender, Tom Schlesinger-Guidelli)

        1. re: Rubee

          Hi Rubee! Craigie on Main sounds like a must-visit...especially since ES no longer makes Hoskins. Vermouth classes sound like a lot of fun-- thank for the tip!

          1. re: barleywino

            Yes, Craigie is definitely a must-visit. We loved everything about the place - the comfortable warm atmosphere, the fantastic food, great service, and excellent cocktails.

            Don't worry, you can still get your Hoskins fix at ES - I had one on our last visit where Hugh and Kit took good care of us at the bar. Be sure to try the Heather in Queue (gin, vermouth, fernet branca, flamed with lemon peel), and my new favorite app there - the mimolette croquettes.

            BTW, another spot that opened this year which I really like is the Marliave, I love Angela's cafe in E. Boston for Mexican (Pueblan), and make sure you check out John Gertsen's new place Drink - try the Obituary with gin and absinthe.

            1. re: Rubee

              According to Jackson at ES, they are (permanently) out of Amer Picon, hence no more Hoskins. But he did mix up a variation of Heather in Queue for me using chinato and mirto instead of vermouth and fernet which was excellent.

              1. re: barleywino

                Oh, thanks for the update BW, I didnt know that. Glad you enjoyed the Heather in Queue variation - it's actually named after one of our very own Chowhounds.

          2. re: Rubee

            Is there a linke somewhere to their newsletter? I didn't see it on their site.

            1. re: jgg13

              I had signed up for the newsletter by email. The latest one had a lot of information, including NYE info (5-course dinner for $110, later seatings 7-course and champagne toast for $150. 3-Course menu for $75 available at the bar). They will be open NY Day in the evening, Christmas Eve, and the bar will be open Xmas Night (12/25).

              They also have a couple of special events coming up:
              6-Course Truffle Dinner and Wine Pairing - $250 pp.

              High On the Hog Dinner and Pairing - rusticity meets refinement in this dinner of all things pork - $200

              (At both dinners, you’ll be perched at our Kitchen-Side Chef’s Tasting Tables as you are guided through each course by Chef Tony Maws and Wine Manager Kai Gagnon - maximum 14 guests.)

              If you want, you can email me (in my bio) and I'll forward it to you.

              Craigie on Main
              853 Main Street, Cambridge, MA 02139

            2. re: Rubee

              speaking of vermouths, Via Matta has a great huckleberry/juniper vermouth going right now...makes for a great Martinez...their crunchy eggplant is as good as ever, too...their bar needs comfy-er seats and better lighting tho, imo

          3. re: finlero

            Ditto what Finlero said re Cambridge. Also TW Food and Small Plates.

          4. Just off the top of my head, eats: Angela's Cafe (Eastie Mexican, very authentica Poblana cooking), Hungry Mother (French/Appalachian), Saray (Turkish), Grain and Salt (Pakistani / Punjabi), about a dozen shabu joints (Kaze probably still my fave), Mrs. Jones (soul food), Orinoco (Venezuelan), Yoma (Burmese), Scampo (new Lydia Shire Italian), 51 Lincoln (chef-owned New American in Newton), Vlora (Albanian/Greek), La Voile (rustic Southern French), Benatti (fine Emilia-Romagnan), Grezzo (raw food), Mike & Patty's (Bay Village breakfast/lunch), Ecco (Eastie eclectic bistro), Marliave (modest bistro food in the downstairs cafe), Oran Cafe (very modest Morrocan place in Eastie, terrific food), Estragon (South End Spanish), Pops (South End upscale comfort food), Coda (above-average bar food in old Tim's Tavern space), Craigie on Main (same chef/concept, bigger/nicer space where La Groceria used to be), El Paisa (Eastie Colombian), Gran Gusto (great Neapolitan pizza in North Cambridge),

            Drinks: bar at Green Street, Drink (new Fort Point home of John Gertsen and co.), Scampo, The Independent (newly revitalized from a cocktail point of view), Toro (ditto, as they hired Courtney, ex-No. 9 Park as bar manager), Deep Ellum (also an excellent beer bar), Craigie on Main (ex-ESK barman managing), Marliave (both upstairs and downstairs bars).

            I'm sure I'm overlooking some worthwhile places.

            3 Replies
            1. re: MC Slim JB

              Thanks for all the suggestions! Got some serious catching up to do -- maybe I'll get a Drink first...

              1. re: MC Slim JB

                i'm sorry i can't figure out what "Eastie" means? i can't believe there's so many new ones in the last few years since i moved! thanks!

                1. re: paddlestick101

                  Eastie is short for East Boston; many worthy, inexpensive restaurants there.

              2. A few of my favorites that have opened over the past 3 or 4 years include Gran Gusto in Cambridge, Angela's Cafe in East Boston, Geoffrey's in Roslindale, Orinoco in the South End and Brookline, and Mrs. Jones in the Lower Mills section of Dorchester.

                Here's a list of notable places that I can think of (a few duplicates in here from previous postings):

                Craigie on Main, Cambridge
                Franklin Cafe, South Boston
                Sportello, Boston
                Erbaluce, Bay Village
                High Street Grill, North Andover
                Olivadi, Norwood
                Oran Cafe, East Boston
                Max & Dylan's, Boston
                Marliave, Boston
                Jo Jo TaiPei, Allston
                G Bar and Kitchen, Swampscott
                Townsend's, Hyde Park
                Hungry Mother, Cambridge
                Persephone, Boston
                Benatti, Cambridge
                Winsor Dim Sum Cafe, Chinatown
                Fat Cat, Quincy
                Gitlo's Dim Sum Bakery, Allston
                Da Vinci Restaurant, Boston
                Saray, Allston
                L'Andana, Burlington
                Myers and Chang, South End
                Savant Project, Brigham Circle
                Gaslight, South End
                Mooo, Beacon Hill
                Scarlet Oak Tavern, Hingham
                Suvarnabhumi Kiri, Allston
                T.W. Food, Huron Village
                Con Sol, Cambridge
                O Ya, Leather District
                51 Lincoln, Newton Highlands

                3 Replies
                1. re: hiddenboston

                  thanks! fortunately I will be living quite close to the new Franklin, so will at least have a back-up for chow emergencies

                  1. re: hiddenboston

                    I'm not familiar with Olivadi in Norwood. We live in Mansfield and when we want okay Italian, but don't feel like driving into Boston (or Providence) we go to Bon Caldo or Lastoria (Stoughton). How does Olivadi compare?

                    1. re: Arnie

                      I haven't been there yet but I've read some great reviews on it. Olivadi and Lastoria are both on my radar right now, though I'm not sure I'll have time to get to either place before the end of the year...

                  2. You're moving back!? Hooray and good news for the Boston board!

                    7 Replies
                    1. re: Alcachofa

                      yeah, i got tired of being Foodless in Seattle ;)....maybe i can join you guys next time you have a chow outing!

                      1. re: barleywino

                        I haven't been to ALL of the places listed so far, but definitely think Hungry Mother and Angela's are the real deal.

                        And Green Street (new incarnation) and Drink for drinks.

                        (I would also add ESK and Rendezvous, but I think they were open 3.5 years ago?)

                        1. re: barleywino

                          Shoot, who will give me the insider tips next time I'm out there (which should have been for that Pats game but Europe came first)? I don't think anyone's mentioned Vee Vee in JP in the old Cha Fahn (sp) space. I still haven't gone but it seems to get good marks.

                          And Townsend's in Hyde Park, yes Hyde Park. Going again on Tues. for their $15 deal before 7PM.

                          And Masona in West Roxbury (who have a $12 deal!).

                          Geoffrey's which was in the south end and back bay is now in Roslindale. There's a new place called Blowfish on Washington St. but not sure what that's all about.

                          There's a new pie place in Newton Center, both sweet and savory.

                          There's a newish latino place on Brighton Ave. by the Jackson Mann school, can never remember their name. And Privus next to the Kells for sushi and Asian in a loungey atmosphere.

                          A Z Square opened just outside Kenmore Sq. Was U Burger here before?

                          Someone must have mentioned the Beehive in the south end for jazz and hanging out, maybe not so much for the food.

                          Hopefully I didn't repeat.

                          1. re: Joanie

                            Joanie, since you were last out there, a couple places have opened which might interest you for next time, Spur (cocktails and bites) in Belltown area and Spinasse (rustic Italian) in Capitol Hill area...and if you didn't get to Crush last time, put it at the top of your list for next time (sit at the bar, order a hot toddy w/ honey foam, fennel or fresh spruce martini and enjoy the ringside seats on all the kitchen action)

                            1. re: barleywino

                              You never ate at Rover's, Original Pancake House, or Thai Tom?! (seriously, though, welcome back)

                              1. re: enhF94

                                funny you should mention Thai Tom, I was supposed to go there my last night in Seattle (for the 1st time) but it fell time

                          2. These are pretty comprehensive lists, but I can add one more: Shiki in Coolidge Corner, for Japanese that goes well beyond the typical sushi menu. It's in the downstairs space where Firenze used to be.