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Nothing 'Wow's" me lately..how about you?

Maybe I've lost my taste for food but nothing has thrilled me in a long time.

I had a very good steak at Pellana in Peabody recently but nothing has really wowed me in a long long time. I've had some good meals in the past year but Prezza was my last truely memorable dining experience.

I like the usual suspects...I enjoy steaks, seafood, Italian, Asian...even something as simple as a great burger...a good sandwidch or a nice pizza would do.

Anything wowed you lately?

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  1. I go to S&I almost once a week and I always walk out of there feeling surprised and delighted. Just go and point at something exciting-looking (on the wall, or in the picture menu) and have them make it for you.

    4 Replies
      1. I'd been feeling that particular malaise lately, too. But then we went to Habesha in Malden on Saturday night, and I was totally wowed. It's definitely not in the "usual suspects" category of dining, so may not be what you're looking for. But it snapped me out of my dining drudgery!

        Another spot that impressed me lately that may be more in the vein you're seeking is L'Andana in Burlington. I had a really tasty steak there two weeks ago. My husband had meatballs in a Madeira sauce that were tender and delicious. He didn't love his carpaccio appetizer (too heavy-handed on the truffle oil), but my app of prosciutto and fresh mozzarella with smoked tomato balsamic glaze was very nice. The apps were big enough to share - should have just got the one.

        Good luck with your search!

        2 Replies
        1. re: Eatin in Woostah

          Thanks for your Habesha recommendation. We went on Saturday and it was great -- another star for Malden!

          1. re: WilderPenfield

            I'm so glad! We were at Fuloon on Saturday for the first time. Just ate my leftover wok baked beef. Mmmmmmm.

        2. I think we all feel like that on occasion. When I do, I turn to my home kitchen and go for the good old fashioned comfort foods (i.e. beef stew, meat loaf, mac & cheese). That said, I had a lovely beef wellington at Marliave recently. Maybe it was the suprise of finding this dish on the menu on a late afternoon, or the wine that complimented it, but when I left the restaurant, I felt happy!

          1. Fancier: Coppa's combination of great charcuterie, outstanding pastas, hot small plates, various crudi, and inventive cocktails; the wood-oven pizza's not bad, either. Erbaluce's creative, original take on Northern Italian cuisine. Bistro du Midi's luxe but relatively affordable (for the location) Proven├žal fare. The bargain-priced two-course prix fixe at Locke-Ober, though that deal might be over.

            Cheaper: Traditional tacos and great weekend soups at Taqueria Jalisco. Fabulous falafel at Fordee's. Desi Chinese dishes at Indian Dhaba. Chicken cemita at Dorado. Pork gyros at Zo. Osso bucco milanese special at Rino's Place. Coq au vin at Bon Savor. Rabbit stewed in white wine and herbs (special) at O Senhor Ramos. Goat curry roti at Ali's Roti. Wood-oven pizza at Fiorella's.

            I'm still encountering a fair amount of so-so food, but I also regularly taste dishes that make me beam and start planning my next return visit before I've even left.


            5 Replies
            1. re: MC Slim JB

              Really liked the Bucatini with duck sausage, cauliflower, garlic and asiago cheese at Rendezvous in Central Square last night. My first visit there, and I'll be back.

              1. re: MC Slim JB

                Beacon Hill Bistro was unexpectedly excellent when I went there several months ago and very comfortable in its way. The Druid never disappoints--almost anything on their menu will perk you up (chicken soup, burger, amazing veggieburger, fish and chips). Winter here is always a bit tough, but nothing that some Chongqing Chicken and Ants on a Tree from Zoe's can't help with.

                1. re: hckybg

                  things I am always happy to eat: the steamed pork dumplings and lion's head meatballs at Shanghai Gate, anything at Erbaluce's so far, the cauliflower and calamari at Lucca's on Huntington, sweetbreads at La Voile, and the frisee salad at ESK. Love the burgers at the Washington Square Tavern too and the donna kebab sandwich at Family Restaurant.

                2. re: MC Slim JB

                  good call on the indo-chinese food at indian dhaba

                  1. re: galangatron

                    I think it was your tip on Chowhound that led me to Indian Dhaba!


                3. The "Sakura Smoked HAMACHI Sashimi served in Smoky Glass" at Oishii in the South End. We ordered it last week and it absolutely knocked my socks off. It's four slices of fish that arrive in a tall glass atop several tiny smoking pieces of cherry wood. They take the lid off the glass and plumes of the most deliciously scented smoke waft upwards and towards you, flavoring the fish itself and also contributing to the flavor as you breathe it in. In addition to the wonderful smoky flavor, they must glaze the fish with something sweet because there's a layering of flavors. I just wish it weren't so pricey: about $20, maybe $22. I would love to see this kind of preparation in other restaurants. Playing off the sense of smell like that is genius. Dramatic too.

                  1. The monthly Chef's Table dinner at The Dining Alternative in Somerville. Five courses of creative cuisine with wine pairings. Chef Peter Ungar is extremely talented.

                    6 Replies
                    1. re: RichardA

                      The Dining Alternative is a like a private-dining thing, yes? Would love to hear more details about this.


                      1. re: MC Slim JB

                        Yes, it is a private dining service but the Chef also hosts a special Chef's Table once a month. The event is held at the chef's home in Somerville and only 12 people can attend. You get a 5 course meal, plus amuse bouche, intermezzo and mignardise. And it is paired with about 5 wines. You sit in a large open living room/kitchen so you can watch the team prepare your meal. Each Chef's Table has a different menu and the food is phenomenal. Plus it is a fun experience.

                        Here is a link to one of my reviews. The post also has links to more info and another review.


                        1. re: RichardA

                          Scouted it out and it looks pretty cool. Is it mostly couples that attend the chef's table event.

                          1. re: stradacouple

                            No, there is always a mix of people. I have seen plenty of singles there, as well as just small groups of friends.

                            1. re: stradacouple

                              At my dinner I think it was four couples and two sets of friends. I enjoyed speaking with the other guests. I wouldn't feel uncomfortable going alone. The food gives plenty to talk about.

                          2. re: MC Slim JB

                            I HIGHLY recommend it. I was at the December Chef's Table and have been meaning to leave a review. Get on their mailing list MC Slim JB. Also, you can view several short videos of the dinners online at youtube.



                            Chef Ungar worked for years at Aujourd'hui. Now, among other things, he does private fine dining in one's on home and holds these monthly chef's table to promote this service.

                            Food, wine, and service were all SUPERIOR and well worth the money spent.

                        2. I had a killer panini at Audubon on Beacon street two nights ago. Sometimes that's all it takes.

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: Snoop37

                            Yep, just as many "wow" moments in my recent experience at inexpensive places as the swanky ones. I love Audubon for its consistency: solid food, very good bartending, good prices. They introduced a sandwich last year that I just love, a pressed ribeye sandwich with horseradish aioli and pickled onions. Good enough to get me skipping their awesome burger a couple of times pre-Sox. Great stuff.


                            1. re: MC Slim JB

                              Had a Cuban at Stone Soup in Ipswich; helped me defeat the dreaded Jaded Palate Syndrome.

                          2. Not making any commentary as to whether you would need a diet, but...
                            Whenever I have lost the thrill for food, I have taken it as a good time to try to drop a few pounds. And there is nothing like a diet to help make food taste better.

                            1. The ribollita at Trattoria Toscana wowed me recently - perfect for a cold winter night.

                              1. Yes, this usually occurs for me in winter and i call it seasonal food disorder. I miss the fresh flavors of summer's produce and i try to compensate by having comfort foods (braises and stews) that also warm the house and bold flavors. Recently, the goat haleem from Kebab and Tandoor, charcuterie plate from Ten Tables (which now has a wine bar beside it making it easier to get a spot for casual dining) and oysters at Bon Savor.

                                1. We were bowled over once again by our meal at Dok Bua in Brookline a few days ago. The steamed pork dumplings and chicken with chili peppers were both tremendous, as was the hot basil fried rice.

                                  1. It's not terribly fancy or a rare dish, but I absolutely adored the roast chicken I had at Townsend's in Hyde Park last week. The skin was perfectly crispy/herby and the meat was moist. The mashed potatoes (red bliss) and broccoli were nice sides. The little gravy "boat" (for lack of a better word) on my plate was lovely. It was all just seasoned and cooked perfectly, for me, and reminded me of the fresh vegetables and great roast chicken I've had in Ireland. The 21st Amendment Black IPA on tap was nice with it, too.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: langley

                                      For me, beer has been where most of the wow has occurred lately. There is an explosion of micro and macro-brews available in this area. There are beers to satisfy every palate, and it's lots of fun finding the ones you like.

                                      My other consistent WOW is the chefs boneless tea smoked duck from shangri-la in Belmont. Can't ever get myself to try anything else on the menu.

                                    2. Thanks for all the ideas...not sure if I'll get my taste for food back but I've got a lot of new places to try...thanks again

                                      1. Maybe that corn that they have at Toro might fill the bill - it blew me away, flavor-wise, and has the added advantage of being kind of a summery item.

                                        1. I got 'wowed' last night by the chili at Highland Kitchen in Somerville, A real Texas red chili (no beans), albeit with ground beef instead of chunks of beef. Deep flavor and lingering low burn on the taste buds ... best Texas chili I've had since Houston in '94.

                                          4 Replies
                                          1. re: Bob MacAdoo

                                            Ah, a man after my own heart! I HATE chili with beans! I used to keep a copy of an article that Craig Claiborne wrote about how real Texas chili has NO beans to show my friends when they would pick on me for making them make my chili bean-free!

                                            1. re: southie_chick

                                              I'm not sure I would look to Craig Claiborne as the final arbiter of that particular argument. Simple fact of the matter is that plenty of real Texans (myself included) make "real Texas chili" that has beans in it if we want beans and doesn't if we don't.

                                              1. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps

                                                I love chili with beans. But as a Bostonian with some Texas trips under my belt, I was duly informed that real Texas red does not have beans. So that's how I came to know it - no beans about it! Anyhow, I was wowed by the chili at Highland Kitchen. The drinks too.

                                                1. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps

                                                  I know he's not the best "expert" on this matter, but 20+ yeras ago he was one of the first well known "food experts" who made the point that you did not need beans to make a good chili. Could NEVER find a recipe without beans before that, & back then my friends thought that recipes were like the Bible - you HAD to put in everything that was listed on the recipe or it wouldn't come out right. Glad we're soooooooo over that now!

                                            2. since you mention beef...the long bone beef short rib (on Scampo's winter menu, it disappears in the spring) is pretty outrageous in marbling and size and not stringy like so many versions are...