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Where for a good lunch in Maynard, Mass?

o
oystertripe Feb 21, 2009 01:59 PM

On Wednesday, we will need a nice place to go for lunch in Maynard, ideally around Clock Tower Place. Any suggestions?

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  1. trufflehound RE: oystertripe Feb 21, 2009 02:15 PM

    Cast Iron Kitchen

    8 Replies
    1. re: trufflehound
      Harp00n RE: trufflehound Feb 21, 2009 03:29 PM

      Unfortunately truff, unless something has changed, the CIK is only open for lunch on Fridays. For "fine dining" within walking distance of the Clock Tower I'd recommend Monsoon Indian Bistro, Siam Village or 51 Bar & Grill. Understand that "finer dining" being a relative term here.

      Here is a handy website that list most/all of the restaurants in town and includes the individual restaurants web-sites, where available, as well.; http://web.maynard.ma.us/dining/

      Harp

      1. re: Harp00n
        greygarious RE: Harp00n Feb 22, 2009 07:25 AM

        We've only been to the Monsoon buffet once - ho-hum. Food okay, typical offerings, but not many of them - most Indian buffets have 2-4 more items than Monsoon.

        It's not near the tower, but how about Christopher's? Haven't been to that one, and it's ages since we ate at the Cambridge location.

        1. re: greygarious
          m
          Mayflour RE: greygarious Feb 22, 2009 10:01 AM

          Christopher's in Maynard is not the same Christopher's in Cambridge. The one in Maynard is more of a steakhouse. Not a very good one unfortunately. It's expensive and fair at best.
          I ate at the Monsoon lunch buffet on Friday and it was pathetic. The food at Monsoon is usually o.k. (for Maynard) but the buffett is that same just o.k. food sitting out in warming pans looking old and not very fresh. At at $9.95, I expect a lot better.
          From Clock Tower Place, you could walk to Neighborhood Pizza and get a basic pizza and a greek salad and not feel sick, disgusted or ripped off.

          1. re: greygarious
            Harp00n RE: greygarious Feb 22, 2009 03:13 PM

            Hi greygarious & Mayflour,
            First, two disclaimers:
            I neither "do" buffets at any kind of restaurant, regardless of ethnicity, nor even salad bars. You can call it a character flaw or even a King Henry VIII complex, if you wish. I sit, I order, I pay, period.

            All though I've been to Monsoon on many occasions, it's always been either for week night dinners or weekend lunch or dinner. In the negative reviews I see here, and some in the past, they've usually revolved around buffet dining.

            Coincidental? I just don't know. What I do know is that the majority of reviews that I've seen over the course of time have been very positive. Both of your experiences are your experiences, duh. I'm just quizzical if there's any choices or handling of the buffet connection.

            My experiences with their wonderful Naan, Lamb Rogan Josh, Goat Vindaloo, etc. have been superior to anything I've found in the Metro-West. The only complaint that I have, and it's not limited to Monsoon, is in convincing the waitstaff that , yes, when I order a spicy dish I really, really do want it Asian Sub-Continent hot!!! :-D

            All the best,
            Harp

            1. re: Harp00n
              greygarious RE: Harp00n Feb 22, 2009 03:51 PM

              You may be onto something, Harp. I had an excellent lunch once at the Acton Monsoon, which has no buffet. After Indian Village in Billerica closed in the fall of 2007, I went on a search for a new favorite lunch spot, and tried many other Indian places. My favorites are The Pongal and India Palace, which have buffets, and Khushboo, which does not. But since the lunch buffet represents a large chunk of the traffic for the restaurants that offer them, it behooves them to make the best possible impression. The buffet is often a diner's introduction to a particular restaurant, and if s/he has a negative experience, returning to order off the menu is unlikely.

              1. re: greygarious
                Harp00n RE: greygarious Feb 23, 2009 06:33 AM

                That's a more than fair observation, greygarious.
                Obviously, as you've layed it out, it behooves any establishment to put their best foot forward for all the reasons you stated. I l-o-v-e Pongal but have never been to India Palace which is in Chelmsford, in believe. At Khushboo, in Lexington, I've also had some good dining experiences but not quite at the level of Monsoon, imo. Like you with Indian Village, Dakshin of Framingham was my go-to of choice. They offered the widest range of Indian regional cuisines that I am aware of in the Greater Boston area and amazingly pulled them off equally well. The Big Chowhound Guy. Jim Leff, actually turned me on to Dakshin in one of his travel blogs.

                Unfortunately, after an extended period of well justified popularity they made news in the local broadsheet with Board of Health violations. Nothing involving actual food handling or preparations, as I recall, but they did have some varmint issues in their basement. Needless to say, it impacted their business severely as the buzz about their issues were exaggerated. I don't mean to minimize those issues but the owner was making a more than good faith effort in addressing them. In the end, he couldn't overcome all the bad press resulting in a shuttered business and also losing his heavily mortgaged home. A cautionary tale for would-be restauranteurs indeed.

                Harp

                1. re: Harp00n
                  greygarious RE: Harp00n Feb 23, 2009 07:11 AM

                  My only serious quibble with India Palace (yes Chelmsford) is that they use what seems to be pre-fab chunks of chicken breast in the korma, tikka masala, etc. But I've had addictive okra bhaji and fried idli (deeply browned bits with onion, which made them akin to the best home-fried potatoes ever) at the lunch buffet; the possibility of something that good keeps us going back despite the particle-board chicken.

                2. re: greygarious
                  chickendhansak RE: greygarious Feb 23, 2009 08:42 PM

                  Monsoon in Acton has been running a buffet for a few months now, in fact. It's not as good as the one in Maynard, for whatever that's worth.

                  Still my no. 1 Indian buffet in the area is Kebab Factory. Nothing touches it.

        2. b
          bear RE: oystertripe Feb 22, 2009 10:21 AM

          It's been a couple of years since I've eaten there, but Vincenzo's in West Concord used to be okay, and it's not too far.

          Anyone been recently?

          1. Eatin in Woostah RE: oystertripe Feb 22, 2009 07:46 PM

            If you like Korean food, Little Pusan is excellent.

            2 Replies
            1. re: Eatin in Woostah
              h
              hargau RE: Eatin in Woostah Feb 23, 2009 07:22 AM

              ehh its ok and the service borders on rude. I find the Korean in Ayer much better.

              1. re: Eatin in Woostah
                Harp00n RE: Eatin in Woostah Mar 3, 2009 10:00 AM

                I'm with you EiW,
                Yes, the owner sometime seems like she's a one-person rendition of Durgin Park's entire waitstaff. DW & I know that going in and actually enjoy the shtick & abuse. You want a variation on the maki or sushi? Uh, uh and its sez so right there on the menu. Their Korean mains are as authentically good as anything I've found west of 128 and east of Jae's in the Berkshires.

                Harp

              2. MrsCheese RE: oystertripe Feb 23, 2009 05:27 PM

                I'm not sure how "nice", but I think Thai Chili would be a pleasant place to go for lunch. It's not a dive or anything, and the food is very good.

                1. Kat RE: oystertripe Feb 24, 2009 03:15 AM

                  I'd recommend 51 Bar and Grill on Main. It is within walking distance of Clock Tower and it is the most upscale of the downtown restaurants for a "nice " lunch. You don't mention what type of food you're looking for, but 51 has sandwiches and salads as well as larger entrees. Not spectacular food , but the atmosphere is pleasant.

                  BTW, anyone know what is up with Christopher's? I ate at the bar there one Sat night in early Dec and it was fairly empty. I have driven by one various evenings and it has looked closed, dark inside and no cars. Is it gone?

                  1. p
                    pack RE: oystertripe Feb 24, 2009 06:11 AM

                    I'd recommend Blue Coyote Grille on Main St. I've only been there at night, but they're open for lunch. It's not a fancy place, but the food is good, and it's friendly.

                    1. o
                      oystertripe RE: oystertripe Feb 26, 2009 06:57 AM

                      Many thanks for all your suggestions.

                      We chose the 51 Bar & Grill for lunch. And we were not disappointed.

                      As an aside, there's so much press about the bad economy, but the 51 was doing a lively business. I guess folks still like to eat.

                      5 Replies
                      1. re: oystertripe
                        Harp00n RE: oystertripe Feb 26, 2009 07:21 AM

                        Oystertripe, glad you were pleased with the 51. When you're back in the area sometime you must try trufflehound's rec of the Cast Iron Kitchen for lunch on Fridays or dinner nightly. We were there once again Tuesday night for DW's B-Day. We still leave shaking our heads at what an affordable gem of a place CIK is, 'burbs or no!

                        Harp.

                        1. re: Harp00n
                          pondrat RE: Harp00n Feb 27, 2009 07:02 AM

                          Lest we forget Willy's Philly's one of the best cheesesteaks and Philly hoagies that I've had up here. (This from a Philly boy). But you must eat the cheesesteaks on site...not made to travel well. These guys adctually went to every top hoagie and cheesesteak joint in Philly to research the real thing....and it paid off.

                          1. re: pondrat
                            Harp00n RE: pondrat Feb 27, 2009 08:02 AM

                            Nobody's forgotten your scooping the story on Willy's Philly's, Cubby
                            But the OP did request a "nice" place and WP doesn't qualify for what I think he had in mind, Sir! :-D

                            Harp

                            1. re: Harp00n
                              pondrat RE: Harp00n Feb 27, 2009 08:34 AM

                              My Dear Harp,

                              Where I grew up WP was considered a "nice" place. You don't even want to know what the dives were like !!

                              Plus WP just further reinforces the stunning culinary diversity of Maynard when many consider it a post-DEC ghost town. That said I'm not expecting it will be showing up in any romantic weekend getaway guides soon :)

                              1. re: pondrat
                                Harp00n RE: pondrat Feb 27, 2009 11:24 AM

                                What's your take on the Blue Coyote Grille and Morey's Tavern?
                                As I've never been to either.

                                Mr. Dudley pondrat you can't scare me.
                                As I'm from the home city of MA dive-dom;
                                "Lynn, Lynn, the city of sin.
                                You ask for water, they give you gin.
                                It's the damndest town I've ever been in!"

                                Harp

                                BTW, being in the steel business, I sold DEC countless tonnage over the course of years between their Maynard & Westfield plants But that was when we actually still had serious manufacturing in the state.

                      2. p
                        Pastramiman RE: oystertripe Aug 1, 2009 07:01 PM

                        FYI: they are not honoring restaurant.com coupons.

                        Also, they have no air conditioning and had no heat this winter either. Seems like they're cutting back on customer service all around. Not a good sign.

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