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2009 New Year recaps

Where did you hounds eat to celebrate, what did you have, and were there any standout dishes or restaurants (good or bad)?

Wax poetic!

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  1. The weather was so bad that we went the casual comfort food route--Campanale's in South Braintree. I've been there several times and have to say that it is a terribly inconsistent restaurant, but when they are on, the food can be excellent, and they were definitely on (at least for the entrees) this time.

    I thought the Caesar salad wasn't very good, as the dressing was watery and tasteless, but the entrees were excellent--the chicken and sausage larossa included outstanding sweet sausages along with goronzola cheese and mushrooms, while the chicken panino was just as good, with a nice mix of prosciutto, cheese, and roasted red peppers in a white wine sauce. The tiramisu that we had for dessert wasn't bad, though it didn't really stand out.

    One funny note: I had ordered a scotch and soda and as the server went to the bar, she yelled back, "You want that on the rocks?" I said yes. Well, she brought me an 8-ounce glass of what I thought was scotch and soda with ice. Halfway through, I realized that it was an 8-ounce scotch on the rocks (no soda). Between that and the rum and coke, I was out like a light by 10:00!

    2 Replies
    1. Went to Teatro.Unable to make reservations on Opentable for the time that I wanted (9pm), but was able to by phone. Decided on this restaurant for three reasons 1) We didn't want to try out a new restaurant on NYE, 2) Location. In this weather coming in from Cambridge we wanted easy on/off T, 3) Didn't have a special menu. The restaurant was full, but it more of a "business as usual" and not "it's NYE!" Both service and food were par with our previous experience. Never felt rushed or left waiting.

      For apps we had the Beef Carpaccio with Shaved Parmesan & Black Pepper Croutons and Steamed Black Mussels with Smoked Tomatoes & Pesto. Nothing special about the carpaccio, but was still quite good. The mussels were served sans shells in a pesto broth. Very good and the broth was perfect for dipping bread in. As our mains BF had Fettucelle with Gulf Shrimp, Tiny Tomatoes & Garlic and I had Chatham Diver Scallops with Caramelized Baby Brussel Sprouts & Pancetta. Again both dishes were solid. The scallops perfectly cooked w/ almost no grit (one w/slight grit). And for dessert BF had Tiramisu and I had the Vanilla Bean Panna Cotta with Local Strawberries. Like the rest of the meal we weren't disappointed. One of the better tiramisus that I've had and the panna cotta had a pronounced vanilla flavor. Over all the meal exceeded out expectations.

      1. Tremont 647 - special NYE menu - I think $57 pp. Amuse of vegetarian momo - fine per usual. Ala Cuban cigar rollers from Seinfeld, I am told that there is some sort of authentic Tibetan who exclusively makes momos for the restaurant. First course of fried oysters was meh. Gnocchi app looks and tasted much better. Second course, choice of salad (fine) or lobster bisque (also fine). Mains - were out of the swordfish by 10:30 - it was by far the most interesting item on the menu - left with a pork belly dish that was suggested we avoid by DCs, yet another braised short rib, I think a chicken dish and a vegetarian dish - the last two did not seem to inspire so short ribs it was - they were fine - I think we (diners, chowhounds, etc.) have figured out that it's not hard to braise a short rib, that no matter what, they all pretty much taste the same...let's move on chefs...find a new binkie, ok? Dessert was....hazy....as we were well past midnight at this point, and well into "celebrating." T647 is never "wow" but you know, it's fine.

        1. Went to Rocca. Had a 10 pm reservation so we could ring in the new year there. Their NYE mane was $65.00 and $25.00 w/ wine pairings. For appetizers folks in our party got either the foie gras, proscuitto and fig pizzetta or seared sea scallops. I had the Pissetta and it was amazing. For the pasta course I had branzino ravioli in fish broth (others had a leek and artichoke lasagna)....both were very good. Entrees in for the group included the grilled veal porterhouse (very good), roasted chicken (I did not try any) and seared tuna. I had the tuna and it was great. Desserts included a great pear tart as well as a cake with nutella mouse. We had a great time, service was excellent (wine pairings were in sych with every course)

          1 Reply
          1. re: stradacouple

            We had 9:15 reservations at Rocca and had a wonderful time. One friend and I started w/ drinks at the Sage bar and I told the bartender I was trying to expand my horizon and wanted a cold weather drink (what a nite for it) but the 'blood orange' (I think that was the name) w/ Maker's Mark was too much for me. He saw me take a couple slow sips then whipped up something else that was more summery but more to my liking. Friend stuck w/ the usual Johnny Walker. Met our friends at Rocca and seated almost on time. Had a great waiter and started w/ a bottle of prosecco. I chose the scallops which were tasty, agree that the fig/foie gras pizza was yummy. Then gnocchi w/ braised lamb and could have stopped eating at that point. Tasted the leek lasagna which I loved, didn't try the branzino ravioli and that person didn't seem thrilled with it. We all got the veal porterhouse and loved it, the sides of mashed and broccoli rabe were great too. I took half of it home. Really liked the crust of the spiced pear tarte, choc. dessert tasted good, one person got gelato. Took about 2 hours to eat and had a lot of fun. Had thought about Tremont 647 but it sounds like Rocca was the right choice.

          2. Stone's Public House for it's close proximity. Stone Pale Ale was superb, and DC's sparkling Moscato was sweet as she likes it.Fried Calamari with curry slaw was the 2nd best calamari of the year.DC had sirloin with horseradish butter and chips. Good steak, not dry aged quality but well trimmed and tender and cooked med as ordered. My seafood stew was delic with calamari, shrimp, scallops, mussels, cod and chourizo. I would have liked more broth to dip the crusty baguette in. Soda bread basket that they serve did not match either meals.

            1. New Year's Day (close enough, right?) we did the Chef's whimsy menu at Craigie. It was a little offal-heavy for my tastes, but everything was nicely prepared and presented and we enjoyed ourselves. Started with an amuse of lardo (I think- thin, shaved piece of fat back), cracklings, and "fromage a tete" which they insisted on refering to only in French, as if it would be any less head-cheesy that way. You can probably guess that it was not my favorite. Next was 2 oysters with a salty, lemony foam- delicious. Then, a blood sausage- boudin noir in a turnip puree. Okay, but not great. A bit underseasoned, actually. Then a marrow and oxtail dish over faro- this was the winner of the night we both agreed- extremely rich marrow flavor and delicious oxtail. The last savory course was a duet of veal- a veal short rib and a rather large piece of sweetbreads. My short rib had good flavor but large pieces of tendon or fascia. Dessert was a poached pear with armagnac ice cream for me and a dark chocolate mille fieulle for my dining companion, then a bonus cookie/candy plate with the check. The Earl Grey truffle that came with the check was divine. I thought the price ($55 for 6 courses) made it a very good value, but I felt like the chef might have been taking a certain perverse joy in serving up course after course of "challenging" foods to some tables. For example, the people sitting next to us got a tuna sashimi with avocado course as well as some sort of trout and lobster concoction that I have to admit, had they not finished promptly, I would have attempted to trade some sweetbreads for. Ah, well- I do love Craigie but I think I've learned that I'm also they type of person who likes to pick her own food. And plus, now I know- if sweetbreads cooked by Tony Maws are not to my taste, they probably won't be to my taste anywhere so I can spare myself the trouble.

              3 Replies
              1. re: Parsnipity

                Had the sweetbreads at Petit Robert (SE) last week and they were fantactic.

                1. re: Parsnipity

                  Several of the items you had on New Year's Day were the same served the night before! Re: lardo - after describing this to my Memphis born brother-in-law who used to butcher hogs, I researched the difference between lardo (or lardon) and fat back. Lardon is from the belly of the pig and fat back is from the back (DUH).

                  I had the trout for my meal on NYE and it was fantastic. Not a meat eater so stayed away from the offal, but H loved it all.

                  1. re: kate used to be 50

                    It's all starting to come together... the chef's whimsy New Year's Day items were the choices not chosen by New Year's Eve diners. Apparently, there were many more people interested in eating duck and trout than sweetbreads...

                2. A group of 4 of us went to Craigie on Main for New Year's Eve and had the bar $75 menu. Overall pretty good. Among the table we tried both the seafood coquillage and the sashimi of Kona Kampachi for the first course. I thought the coquillage was delicious and my DC really liked the sashimi. Second course was a choice between sea trout (slow-cooked), PA duck three ways, and a veal tasting which had short rib and sweet breads. We all agreed that we liked the duck the best (confit, breast, and I forget the last preparation). For dessert we all had the mocha mille feuille which was delicious. None of us wanted to pass up on the chocolate to get the pear dessert. They also handed out hats, favors, and champagne toasts to ring in the New Year which everyone in the restaurant seemed to enjoy.

                  1. Spent the evening with 6 friends and dined on pulled lobster meat from J Hook and a tenderolin roast from Savenors. Thrilled we did not go out.

                    1. I got reservations at Hungry Mother. I had been wanting to try it, and thought that NYE was the perfect opportunity. The short walk from the Kendall T to the restauarnt was torturous thanks to the weather, but it was warm and welcoming inside the restaurant. Definitely worth the trek. They had additions to the regular menu, but no pre-fix... which I was happy about. I liked that there were lots of small plate options at reasonable prices before dinner, as it gave us the chance to try several things. We had the deviled eggs, biscuts w/ pepper jelly & smoked ham (yummmm.....), and fried oysters to start. All were very yummy... although I didn't think the deviled eggs were all that special or different from what you might make at home. For entrees we had the catfish & the chicken. Both were very good.... the chicken was actually even better than I expected it to be with a perfectly brown, crunchy skin and beautifully roasted veggies. For dessert we had the persimmon pudding... which I really enjoyed. I was unfamiliar w/ persimmons until recently when a neighbor gave us a bag of them around the holidays. I decided to make a pudding with them and was very happy to learn that my first attempt rivaled the delicious treat we had at Hungry Mother. They also have sparkling wine on the menu at $6 a glass, which was nice on NYE.

                      1. My wife and I went to New York last week, so I posted my food experiences on the Manhattan board: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/585218