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What restaurants don't we talk about enough?

About a year ago I was catching up on the posts and learned about this new place, The Hungry Mother. I've now been twice and loved it. I haven't looked at the posts now for probably 2-3 months, but I'm not seeing new names. Of course, a down economy will certainly slow things up quite a bit, but there's got to be something different / noteworthy / recently upgraded out there. Where do you like?

Personal faves include: East Coast Grill, Oishii, Casa Portugal, The Helmand, Oleana, Chez Henri, Vinny's at Night, Shangri-la, China Pearl, The Blue Room, India Quality, Lala Rokh, Belle Isle Seafood (lobster rolls). For those of you who are more "old-timers," the original Green Street Grill, and Chef Chandler's were particular standouts.

Sometimes, it's just about inspiration...

Thank you!

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  1. Places I like that aren't talked about much on this board include:

    Cronin's in Quincy
    La Cascia's in Medford
    Pasta Lina in Medford
    Qingdao Garden in Cambridge
    El Paisa in East Boston
    Great Thai Chef in Somerville
    Simco's in Mattapan
    Sabatino's in Arlington
    Mrs. Jones in Lower Mills
    Kashish in Belmont

    9 Replies
    1. re: hiddenboston

      Is Great Thai Chef the place in Union Sq.?

      1. re: galleygirl

        Yes, it's in the plaza area with the parking lot.

        1. re: hiddenboston

          Okay, so let's discuss. What's good there, and how does it compare with some of my Brookline faves, like Dok Bua, Khao Sarn and Rod Dee? Or even S&I in Allston, which I don't get to enough....

          1. re: galleygirl

            I don't like Great Thai Chef quite as much as Dok Bua or Khao Sarn, but their chicken coconut soup, rama garden, and drunken chicken are all excellent, IMO, as well as several of their other dishes. And I'm a big basil fried rice fan, and theirs is better than most, I'd say. The dirt cheap prices (most dishes under $10) and friendly people working there don't hurt, either.

            1. re: hiddenboston

              Good to know; thanks!
              When I';m in that nabe, for down and dirty, I tend to grab kim bop, the Korean sushi, from Reliable. They have the best kim bop around, with a high seaweed to rice ratio, (there's one with two layers of seaweed, inside the rice, and outside) which I love...

              1. re: galleygirl

                Where do you find the kim bop at Reliable? in a case? near the registers? would love to try it.

                I got a still warm mung bean pancake there one time (apologies I don't know the proper name) which was on a plastic-wrapped styrofoam tray close to the register. It was delicious!

                1. re: yumyum

                  If you're at the register, look down, and it's there. They have a more traditional kim bop that looks like sushi rounds, but they have one in uncut rolls, which is the one with double seaweed...
                  They're both in styrofoam trays, $4.95 I think...

                  1. re: galleygirl

                    For kim bop, another place to try is Han a rum market, really close to Qingdao Garden. It's not nearly as large as Reliable, but for prepared food, I like them better. It's all made on site rather than shipped in from New York.

                    Weekdays, there's side dishes in the fridge, marinated BBQ meats as well. On weekends, they make kim bop, duk (rice cakes), and a nice jun (pancake with scallions and other vegs).

                    1. re: selfish shellfish

                      SS - I concur! The prepped foods at Han A Rheum are delicious (a good variety of ban chan that I can see being prepped behind the counter)!

                      When I've run out of mom's supplies in the fridge, I always go there. The overall selection is small, but the place is clean and tidy and run with a lot of pride, and I find whatever basics I need.

    2. Here are a few that come to mind...
      Savant Project - Mission Hill
      Casa De Pedro - Watertown
      Ashmont Grill - Dorchester
      Quince - Needham

      2 Replies
      1. re: eiareis

        You better get to Quince quick if you want to try it one more time. I understand they failed to renew their restaurant license for 2009. Also closing is Gabriella's, on Highland.

        1. re: random amblings

          I believe that Quince is closed already. I'll double-check on this, but an acquaintance of mine who was heading there the other day told me that the phone was disconnected.

      2. I'd vote for Stellina in Watertown Square. It's been a favorite of ours since we lived in Watertown from 1998 to 2000. We've eaten there dozens of times over the years (most recently last week) and have seldom been disappointed. Food and service always hit the mark, and the ambience is extremely warm and pleasant.

        TM

        -----
        Stellina Restaurant
        47 Main St, Watertown, MA 02472

        1. Boston is lucky to have even one restaurant that represents the staples of West Africa - hearty, homecooked deliciousness such as stewed goat, jaloff rice, moi-moi (steamed black-eyed peas patty), dodo (plantains), fufu, eguzi (melon seed soup), etc. Served up by a very friendly Ghanaian man, any adventurous Chowhound should schlep to Hyde Park to at least give this place a try. It's cheap, delicious, out-of-the-ordinary; three things that embody the spirit of being a Chowhound.

          It's called "The African Cuisine", and it's on Hyde Park Ave, where it intersects w/ River. Across from Ron's Ice Cream (which is also very good, by the way).

          This place is almost NEVER talked about - ha, I think the two posts about it were by me.

          9 Replies
            1. re: Prav

              Prav - I have to note - another hound and I made a big effort to get there, and unfortunately, weren't excited - We did order "strange" - e.g. calve's foot - and weren't shocked that it wasn't very interesting. Other stuff - along the lines of what you've mentioned above - was just OK, although the fufu wasn't appealing.

              One unfortunate but important note: Neither of us are fussy abt our surroundings (I've traveled "on the cheap" through Guatemala) but both my male DC and I would suggest using the bathroom at the police station across the way, rather then the restaurant's.

              Would love to hear that others have had good experiences like Prav's - Maybe we were just there on an off night!

              1. re: fredid

                I think Dante, in East Cambridge, gets the short shrift. It is all around excellent ... and the entire staff really knows their food. The gnocchi is beautiful, the arancini (with truffled honey) is divine, and the menu is always inventive in terms of flavor but never overly fussy. And the view/surroundings ... one of the best views of the Charles anywhere ... and the interior/bar ... it is like cool Miami meets Boston. (Dante did finally get a Best of Boston 2008).

                1. re: academicbistro

                  I actually agree with you! I love Dante-they turned me on to Cauliflower Bisque that I absolutely cannot get enough of. Everything Ive had there has been tasty, and the wait staff is very knowledgeable. Youve actually reminded me that Im due for a visit :-)

                2. re: fredid

                  I can't remember if I ate there before or not. I did notice there's a new place on Hyde Park Ave. more toward Boston that used to be Chez Tata. I think I mentioned this in my recent post about Townsend's $15 deal. And another Latino place between that spot and River St. that used to be Angelina's or something similar. Will do some exploring.

                  1. re: fredid

                    Chowhounders sent me to The African Cuisine to get food for my book club more than a year ago. The owner was absolutely charming and helped me choose items and wrote out cooking and serving instructions for me.

                    A couple of members of my group had been to Africa and throughly enjoyed this food.
                    My experience was with take-out so I can't vouch for the rest rooms.

                    1. re: fredid

                      I also had tried the restaurant when it first opened. Agree with the restroom comment. Asked the waitress what I should try, she came up blank. I asked her what would she order if it was her birthday... Basically she told me I wouldn't like anything. A picky eater I am not, but she was absolutely right.

                    2. re: Prav

                      I completely agree that this place is a rare find. I was in West Africa in Peace Corps and finding this place filled a lonely spot in culinary heart. I LOVE the fufu, moi-moi and palm beer!

                      1. i love this topic. because my wife and i stay within a certain radius of home, i don't have a very deep knowledge of many places, but my favorites are (some of these palces I have seen mentioned and are well-liked, but don't seem to me to be that prominent on the board still):

                        Singh's Roti, Dorchester
                        Joyful Garden, Brighton
                        Chung Shin Yuan, Newton
                        Pho 2000, Fields Corner
                        El Oriental de Cuba, JP
                        Basta Pasta, Cambridge
                        India Quality, Kenmore
                        Taiwan Cafe, Chinatown
                        Hong Kong Eatery, Chinatown

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: jylze

                          LOVE Singh's Roti; I've posted about them before....Always good to mention them!

                        2. any latin restaurant in east boston besides angela's

                          1. Alex's Chimis In JP - amazing Dominican style rotisserie chicken.

                            -----
                            Alex's Chimis
                            358 Centre St, Boston, MA 02130

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: hoolese

                              mmmm...2nd alex's chimi's..excellent chicken w/a delicious sauce that they'll give on the side (extra) if you ask..

                            2. Well, it is not new, different or recently upgraded. However one place that is top notch and frighteningly consistent is Hamersley's. Compared with some of the popular haunts, reveiws for them can tend to be far and between on this board. Every time I eat there I wonder why I don't come more often. Food, service and atmosphere are all top notch.

                              I think opinions are consistently positive, and while it has garnered more mentions here in the New Year, Hamersley's sometimes does not get its due. I will take a meal there over many of the popular choices on this board. Just last week we went and the mushroom sandwich and cassoulet were as wonderful as ever, while the striped bass was a pleasant surprise. I really like the way they do the menu (keeping the old faves, while changing the majority up on a seasonal basis).

                              Not that it gets bad reviews or is a hidden gem. I just don't think Hamersley's gets enough mention for its sustained level of excellence. If you haven't been there in awhle, check it out. If you have never been, run!

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: Gabatta

                                Went to Hamersley's about a week ago for the first time in a while. It's always been an aging favorite of mine, but I was blown away by not only the consistency but the freshly spruced up menu.

                                Although when I mentioned to the server that the menu seemed to have a number of interesting additions---did he have any recommendations?---he informed me that "the chicken is something we're famous for." Funny.

                              2. Blue Room: Can't comment on the dining room but service at the bar is WEAK! Went there last night with my husband. The food was good but the bartender was marginally friendly and inexperienced. No greeting, forgotten wine, empty plates left for far too long (a pet peeve of mine) and basic inattentiveness. If we weren't sitting right next to the bread station, I'm sure she never would have asked how the food was (yes, we were done by that time). It was also clear she didn't have the personality to be a bartender...or any kind of service role really. Blue Room management should take note! This low level of service definitely impacted our impression of the place and we won't be returning...at least to the bar.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: sadieeats

                                  I'd give it another shot. We have eaten many times at the bar and always had welcoming, attentive service, especially when Reggie's tending. Our time is usually limited by dashing from work in Brookline, arriving around 6, having time to eat and make a 7-7:30PM movie. We always let the staff know about our time constraints up front. That gal may have been working one evening w/another male bartender, but he was the one to take good care of us. Reggie is really an added bonus of good cheer.

                                2. La Casa de Pedro in Watertown is great. Ive been there several times now, at lunch and dinner, and have had scrumptious meals each time. All entrees comes with some of the most delicious rice & beans, yucca frita, and plantains ive ever had. The cumpleanos de Pedro consists of flank steak, spanish chorizo, and Venezuelan black chorizo, and is amazing! I had the trout the other day, and it was quite nice, with a good amount of fried calamari on top as a nice little bonus. Entrees run from about $15-25 and are more than enough to fill you up. Their specialty drinks are between $10 and 13 or so and are also very tasty!

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: givemefoodnow

                                    Just went to La Casa de Pedro for the first time last night, and second this recommendation, especially the parts about the rice/beans/yuca/plantains, and the Venezuelan black chorizo. Really excellent! Very good service, too. I'll be looking for opportunities to go back again.

                                  2. One place that gets very little press on this site (and which I'll be reviewing soon) is Equator, a Thai restaurant on Washington Street in the South End. It's a stone's throw from Mass. Ave., so it's a bit away from other restaurants in the area, but it's a really nice spot with great atmosphere and decent food. The people who run it are very friendly, too.

                                    4 Replies
                                    1. re: hiddenboston

                                      I have always been curious about both Equator and Seiyo- looking forward to your review! Any insight on Seiyo?

                                      1. re: southiesouthend

                                        No, I was looking inside the place and it looked pretty nice. But I haven't heard much about the food there. Perhaps I'll have to take a run back to Washington Street to check it out...

                                        1. re: southiesouthend

                                          Seiyo has always been my go-to for carry out sushi, with the added bonus of being able to grab an interesting bottle of wine in their wine store. They have now worked out their liquor license issues (by adding a glass wall between the restuaurant and the retail wine sales), so you can order alcohol while eating in. A very solid choice for sushi.

                                        2. re: hiddenboston

                                          I've tried both Seiyo and Equator in the past and sorry to say was not impressed. Found the sushi at the former mediocre (blah taste and presentation, nothing special) and the pad Thai at the latter atrocious (unpleasantly greasy dish with hard noodle pieces that I was consistently fishing out of the mouth). Given how many good sushi places there are in Boston at various price points and how bad the food at Equator was, I'm not in a hurry to go back to either.

                                        3. Tempo on Moody St. in Waltham. I think the food has improvided tremendously since it first opened. My husband and I ate there last night and were extremely pleased with our meals, drinks, and the service.

                                          1. We LOVE Something Savory in Arlington. John and Jodi from the old Green Street Grill own the place and the food is as every bit as delish as the old Green Street. It's small, so be sure to go early, but everything is out of this world. They are open for lunch, too. They are right on Mass Ave conveniently in the same block across the street from Penzey's.

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. Here's a place I just checked out on Friday night, for the first time, that isn't even mentioned once on CH - Yokohama in Brookline Village. I've had a sushi craving for a while and this place really hit the spot! Good price for a great meal - quality sushi, very attentive service and all-around great restaurant. We used to go to Mr Sushi for our sushi, but we've got a new place now. Plus, I like supporting mom-and-pop places like this one, making it even better!

                                              2 Replies
                                              1. re: nader

                                                Tried Yokohama once a couple years ago -- the sushi there was unpleasantly strong and fishy. It's been on my short list of just plain bad local sushi spots.

                                                Maybe it's improved?

                                                1. re: bachslunch

                                                  I dunno, I think it went downhill awhile ago...I lovd Yama when he was at Takeshima years ago, but having a small place proved tough. After getting some still frozen sashimi there, I finally gave up. but they have been keepin' on...Takeshima has been and gone, but they're still here. maybe I need to try again? I'd love for them to have gotten better.
                                                  I think what put the screws on them a few years ago was Zen 123 around the corner doing their half-price sushi for months on end...

                                              2. It's funny, last year/the year before, it felt like almost every post was answered with "Gargoyles" and these days people don't seem to recommend it at all. While I"m not looking to go back to the Gargoyles monopoly, I think it could use a bit more love these days! Unless things have gone downhill? It's been a while since I've been there.

                                                2 Replies
                                                1. re: Chris VR

                                                  Nope, Gargoyles still rocks. Tho I usually end up there for bar food. My only complaint is that they change the menus around so often that I can't find something delicious I had earlier - like the roasted bone marrow app. But I did have delightful waffle fries with goat cheese and oxtail there recently. Never been disappointed.

                                                  1. re: SmartChow

                                                    Those oxtail fries were delicious... but as if to put an exclamation point on your comment, they're already off the menu. Each time a new menu iteration comes around, I keep hoping they'll revive the rice sticks from the bar menu prior to Chef Santos' tenure. Anyone else still start drooling thinking of those?

                                                  1. Fulloon in Malden - it probably has the best Chinese food in the Boston area, very friendly service and free partking too!

                                                    2 Replies
                                                    1. re: Delhiwala

                                                      After reading about Fuloon endlessly, we did a mid-week late night dinner there and were sorely disappointed - granted though, we were the last diners there that night. It was good but not great and my whole fish had not been cleaned well enough - I got mouthfuls of scales which really grossed me out. Sticking to Zoe's henceforth.

                                                      1. re: Delhiwala

                                                        I love Fuloon, but do you really think that they fall into the category of "restaurants we don't talk about enough"? I just did a board search limited to the past year and came up with mentions in 120 threads!

                                                      2. Some still not mentioned here:
                                                        Martsa - Tibetan in Davis Square
                                                        Olde Magoun's Saloon - Magoun Square, Somerville
                                                        Wang's - best handmade dumplings ev-er - Broadway, Somerville
                                                        Punjab - best indian roadside chaat made fresh in the back of the store - Arlington Center
                                                        Renee's - my fav. breakfast/brunch place - Teele Sq., Somerville
                                                        Fasika - weird atmosphere but great, cheap Ethiopian food - East Somerville on Broaday
                                                        Local Brazilian bbqs like the one in Magoun Square (Churascurra) and the newly revamped on on Broadway (Minas Grill)
                                                        Marrakesh - delicious Moroccan food but bad service and long waits - Cambridge
                                                        Coast Cafe - best soul food takeout place, don't miss their fried chicken - Cambridge
                                                        Ole - Mexican fusion food and the best guacamole, made at your table with much style - Inman Sq., Cambridge
                                                        O'Sullivans - good bar food and Boston's best burgers - Beacon St., Somerville
                                                        Orleans - decent food and great atmosphere though not as amazing as Gargoyles - davis Sq., Somerville

                                                        6 Replies
                                                        1. re: SmartChow

                                                          Fasika has gotten plenty of discussion lately, nearly all of it really really bad.
                                                          The Churascurra you're referencing has a current thread going - now called Pampas - http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/589999
                                                          Orleans? Really?

                                                          1. re: Bob Dobalina

                                                            I was at Fasika a few months back and we had great food so I am surprised by your comment. Granted the atmosphere is what it is, which is about what I would expect if I were in Ethiopia. I thought the food was far superior to the limited local alternatives.

                                                            In contrast, the takeout I had from Addis last week was pretty disappointing. In general it seemed quite bland and the lack of an adequately sour teff injera was the kicker. On the phone I asked for teff injera. Without telling me they don't serve teff injera, they told me they would give me half "light" and half "dark". I told them I didn't want the "light" injera but they gave us 50/50 anyway. I would have been better off picking up my own injera which I see semi-regularly at convenience stores around.

                                                            1. re: chilibaby

                                                              I don't have a horse in this race - just thought I remembered the comments - here are some links to those other threads -

                                                              http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/580210

                                                              http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/567413

                                                              I thought I remembered a particularly scathing review recently, though I am either mis-remembering or it was deleted - did not find it with the search function.

                                                              Hey, glad to be proven wrong!

                                                              1. re: Bob Dobalina

                                                                Somehow I'm now reminded that perhaps I should give Asmara another shot. Although I wasn't 'blown away' the few times I went, several years back, perhaps it is worth a re-try. Now that's a place that doesn't seem to get much attention. Any recent reports?

                                                                1. re: Bob Dobalina

                                                                  I have only been to Fasika once, but it was really good particularly one of the appetizers, I think it was Ayeb Be-Gomen. And, I got a uber cheap coupon on restaurants.com (who always have coupons for their site on http://hot-deals.org/ ). Anyway, I'm not an expert of Ethiopian but it was good.

                                                                  I think Asmara is Eritrean.

                                                            2. re: SmartChow

                                                              Marrakesh - Do you mean Baraka? Otherwise, don't know it.

                                                            3. Pearl Villa in Chinatown seems to be flying under the radar over here.

                                                              3 Replies
                                                              1. re: nasilemak

                                                                not sure if i qualify because i am so new but i don't see a lot about the helmand .
                                                                also not sure if had been mentioned yet....

                                                                1. re: cockscomb

                                                                  I was thinking of Helmand, too. It comes up time to time, but maybe not enough.

                                                                  I was also thinking of Lineage. There's no gimmick here. Its American, its simple, but its good!

                                                                  I kinda want to know... what restaurants do we talk about too much?

                                                              2. Davio's in Park Square. It's been a few years but we always had great food and wine there and I love the space.

                                                                1. I must say that considering the fact that pizza is such a hot topic on this board I am surprised that PICCO doesn't come up more often. I think their pizza is excellent, far superior to the much heralded Upper Crust and it's a pretty cool little place. Excellent crust and toppings, cooked well done and they have an interesting (if not limited) beer list.

                                                                  1. Don't shoot me, but went for lunch at Anthony's Pier 4 the other afternoon - not by choice given all the negative past rants here - and haven't been personally since maybe when I was 8 years old. Have to say I was pleasantly surprised. Excellent Narragansett oysters - very fresh, very tasty, a goodly cup of horseradish to add in to the cocktail sauce. Cold seafood plate had a lobster tail, jumbo shrimp, some crab, a few other goodies - really not bad at all. They also comped us four of the famous popovers. Ordered a couple of drinks - first one was average - second one was a double without asking. Nothing groundbreaking, but I enjoyed it. Is it overpriced? Somewhat. Is it musty? A little. Does it have a great view? Obviously. Is it decent? I'd have to say that our table was happy with their chow, so cautiously...yes.

                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                    1. re: Bob Dobalina

                                                                      i think that tends to happen when you have terrible expectations of a place

                                                                      1. re: Bob Dobalina

                                                                        I'm more forgiving of any place where I feel like the youngest customer in the room by decades. I think your experience is closer to what I've felt there recently,and I'm glad to have a place where I can take my dad and he can relive his glory days in the 1970s when he had an expense account and this was the place to take clients.

                                                                        http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

                                                                      2. Who needs the north end when there is Sabatino's in Arlington. It is awesome, great food and affordable too.

                                                                        3 Replies
                                                                        1. re: souprstar

                                                                          Well given my moniker, I need the North End since it is home. However, I am always interested in a road trip for good Italian fare so tell us more about Sabatino's.

                                                                          1. re: souprstar

                                                                            I need the NE for Regina, Prezza, Taranta and Neptune to name a few. It definitely does not look like Sabatino's could replace any of these from a quick look at their menu.

                                                                            However I am not far from Arlington, so I would definitely be interested in hearing some detail of what you recommend at Sabatino's. Always looking for new places.

                                                                            1. re: Gabatta

                                                                              ok, let me clarify....I am not putting down the North End, it definitely has its gems, however for great take out italian, Sabatino's is a great option. I would recommend the eggplant parm with curly pasta or cheese raviolis, meatballs, chicken scampi or chicken venician with curly pasta. The marinara is excellent. The portions are huge, enough for two. You can not go wrong with a large cheese pizza, large floppy slices.....ny style, excellent sauce. We do take out. There are a few small tables, but it has the look of a typical pizza take-out place.

                                                                              We've also catered from Sabatino's and they did not dissappoint 30 hungry friends.

                                                                              Let me know how you like it! Enjoy!