Big Papi's Opens Today
David Ortiz's new restaurant is opening on Route 9 in Framingham today. It is replacing the Metro 9 Steak House, though the new spot will have the same ownership, with Ortiz being a partner. Looks like Big Papi's will be an upscale American restaurant, with Caribbean influences here and there.
If anyone tries it later today, please post!
From the news it looked like a lot of the Red Sox team mates were at the opening in support of Papi, however that didn't include Beckett as he was at the table next to us at Abe & Louie's enjoying a steak dinner.
OT, but Red Sox sightings and observing the cougars and game show hosts interact in the bar area aside, I will stick to lunch or brunch at Abes from now on. For an expensive steak dinner I just prefer Cap Grill or even Morton's in every way (quality of beef, starters, sides, service), save one (Abe's does offer a great, albeit pricey selection of wines by the glass). However I wasn't paying, so I can't complain too much,
A friend and I stopped in on opening night. Since we're both burger aficionados, we toured the burger offerings: chimichurri burger, sliders, Kobe beef burgers.
BAJA CHICKEN EGG ROLLS
This $8.50 menu item was one of many opening night $5 appetizer specials, so we chose this to preceed the burger tour. It wound up being a single egg roll cut in two pieces, with generous scoops of guacamole and pico de gallo nestled in endive (the "En Fuego" hot sauce listed on the menu as an accompaniment was missing). The crunchy egg roll shell dominated the bits of chicken and black bean that hid inside. If the regular $8.50 menu version includes two egg rolls, this "$5 special" wasn't so special. If the regular version also only includes a single egg roll for $8.50, I'm bringing agent Scott Boras with me if I ever come back.
TRIO OF SLIDERS
Unless that's all the restaurant does, sliders are overrated in that you're basically trading away quality for variety. And if all the sliders are the same, you're trading away quality for nothing but novelty or mere sharability, and you'd be better off simply sharing a full burger (splitting one burger four ways as an appetizer is one of my signature ordering strategies). Knowing that going in, we ordered the sliders anyway because it was the only way to get the crab and lamb varieties, which aren't available on their own.
All three of the sliders' patties were small compared to their sesame studded mini buns, but the pebbly beef patty exhibited the most shrinkage, the most dry-outage, and a serious outage of flavor. The lamb patty, topped with plum sauce, had a refreshing gaminess and real juiciness to the meat. The crabcake, topped with a dollop of a spiced aioli, had the most flavor of the three (including a little heat) and had a nice texture, even if a little loose.
The chimichurri sauces promised on the menu were not on any of the burgers and not anywhere on the plate. The fries were abundant and flavorful but limp.
I love Chimichurri sauce on steak, so I had high hopes for this burger ($10). We purposely ordered this one early in the game so we could work our way up to the Kobe.
Our first full-sized burger arrived naked on a well-toasted ciabatta bun, prompting us to wonder where the chimichurri was. It turns out that the patty is made with the chimichurri mixed with the meat. It added a little flavor, but this burger was just plain dry and just plain plain. With no ketchup or other toppings on the table or the plate, this one had to rely on a nicely roasted tomato to provide moisture. If they added a healthy dose of chimichurri sauce on top of the burger as a condiment, that might have made ip for the flavor and texture deficiencies. On a technical note, the burger didn't skimp on size (no stats listed but I'm guessing 8 ounces), but its diameter fell short of the bun. The rice we ordered with this one never showed up—we instead wound up with another round of limp fries.
KOBE BEEF BURGER
The Kobe burger ($13) can be customized with choice of cheese, bacon and assorted vegetable and sauce toppings. I ordered mine with cheddar, bacon and caramelized onions, and I received bacon, sauteed mushrooms and an unidentifiable cheese. The size of the burger, the inclusion of toppings and the generous amount of fries make this a good value. This burger, ordered medium rare, was juicier and more flavorful than the previous round. Despite the topping mix-up and some incredibly limp bacon to go along with the once-again limp fries, this was a good burger. Not memorable or worth a quick trip back, but good.
Overall: 1 for 4, with not much power. Just like with Big Papi's 2009 on-field performance, an early stumble doesn't necessarily mean a lost cause, but things could be a lot better.
The bottom line: If you're the type of restaurant goer who thinks Papa Razzi is a good choice for Italian, Big Papi's Grille is a good choice for upscale casual. For everyone else, it might be better to wait until the slump is over.
[more detail and numerous photos at http://www.pigtrip.net/review-BigPapi...]
Call me a cynic, but does anybody think this place will be anything other than a celeb-themed trap with medicore food? I love Big Papi and congratulate him on a well-deserved naming rights deal. Considering the corporation behind this runs faux Irish bars like the Asgard, however, I'm maintaining low expectations in terms of food etc. Perhaps I'll be proven wrong, but I'm not holding my breath.
re: Bob MacAdoo
re: Bob MacAdoo
I'll withhold judgment, but I share Bob MacAdoo's lack of optimism here. I'm scratching my head trying to think of a single celebrity-nameplate restaurant that's any good at all. I've been to some bad ones like Michael Jordan's and Shula's. Planet Hollywood was just dreadful. DeNiro is a partner in a few NYC places, but his name's not above the title: I've been to Tribeca Grill (mediocre) and Nobu (pretty fabulous, if insanely pricey).
I was supposed to head over to the opening party last night but couldnt get there so Ill be interested to hear how it is as well.
I can say this much-I have 4 bottles of his hot sauce-differing heats of course- and they are pretty tasty. Really good heat, little chunky with ground peppers....good stuff