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2010 Winter RW Report

Kick-off is today. Is it okay to have a thread where people post their meal reports?

I'll start:
We ate at BiNA tonight. http://www.restaurantweekboston.com/r...
3 apps choices, 3 entree choices, 2 dessert choices.

We both had the slow braised beef tongue minestrone. Delicious! Beef tongue is flavorful and melt-in-your-mouth tender. Lovely, lovely dish.

Husband had wild boar goulash w/3 cheese polenta. The wild boar flavor is very mild, and he couldn't detect any cheese in the polenta. But still a nice dish.

I had the Maltagliati. While the menu says "homemade chestnut pasta", I can't detect chestnut flavor. But the pasta is great and the chicken/mushroom ragout is lovely. [It's sort of a broth/light cream white sauce; not red sauce.


We both had tiramisu with tiramisu gelato for dessert. Huge portion and tasty.

Overall, we were pleased with the dinner menu. Service was a bit slow when we arrived, they were still busy from the matinee crowd having early dinner.

Another plus was that they happily accepted our Groupon GC with the RW special.

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  1. We ate at La Morra last night (on Route 9 in Brookline, corner of Route 9 and Washington). In addition to their listed restaurant week menu, they had a few extra antipasti and entrees printed on a separate list (probably rotating). Four courses as usual for their restaurant week menu. I had the fried chicken livers with broccoli rabe and fried polenta - the polenta was a star. Very loose and creamy but nice crust. DC had the farro porcini soup, which turned out to be a hearty stew-like concoction with red wine (we've never had farro, but it's similar to barley in texture). Primi: husband got the oyster mushroom risoto, where there was a lot of mushrooms and a great al dente texture. I ordered the chestnut ravioli - four little squares of sweetened chestnut with orange zest, in a broth. The orange zest overwhelmed the chestnut flavor. For mains, DC got the chef's seasonal vegetable plate, which was surprisingly filling: sweet potato puree, grilled radicchio, broccoli rabe and pea greens. My monkfish was a sizable portion, with a celery root puree and broccoli rabe. Dolci course was a maple panna cotta and apple crostini - the crostini was a bit much after the other three dishes, but the panna cotta was a perfect end. Service was pretty good until the last course (dolci), which probably took a while because of the crostini, but the panna cotta came out a little liquidy from sitting out for longer than expected. Overall pretty pleased with this reliable restaurant.

    La Morra
    48 Boylston Street, Brookline, MA 02445

    1. Went to Tangierino w/three friends last night. The menu we were handed at the restaurant was quite different from the one on their website, but in a good way - seemed to have more options than the online version.

      We started with some decent Sangria, accompanied by some tasty bread and hummous with some large spicy green olives plopped on top. Appetizers were v. good all around - one chicken b'stilla, two had lamb merguez, and I had a Morrocan-Sicilian eggplant "tagine", which was really more of a timbale, layers of crispy fried eggplant with goat cheese in between, topped with a very tasty Morrocan tomato sauce called Charmoula. I gobbled it up, which was embarrassing as my DCs offered me tastes of their appetizers (which a took) and I had nothing to offer in return. I would definitely order this again.

      For dinner, one DC has the roast chicken which came with an order of their vegatable couscous; another got the lamp kebabs which came with truffled rosemary mashed potatoes (?), and the other DC and I got the short ribs which also came with the veggie couscous. The roast chicken was pronounced "delicious", and the lamb kebabs also disappeared quickly. The short ribs were a bit fatty but flavorful. The veggie couscous was really some of the best I have had - the couscous light but toothsome, with a layer of onions, chickpeas, and root vegetables on top. A flavored broth was offered with the couscous which added some complexity to the flavor - the dish would have been a bit bland otherwise.

      Dessert was either a mango mousse or a chocolate raspberry cake. Both were tasty, though the mousse was too sweet on its own, and the chocolate cake layers were a bit dry (which the fudgelike inter-layers and ribbon of raspberry filling helped to ameliorate). We agreeed that the best possibility here was to get a bit of both, with the dark chocolate flavor of the cake cutting the sweetness of the mango mousse.

      All in all, it was a good dinner, with most of us toting leftovers. The room was a bit empty, but I attribute that to the weather, at least in part.

      One note - the restuarant offers valet parking, but at $15. We decided to self-park and walk a few blocks, even in this weather. $15 is a bit steep and we decided that money would be better used for Sangria!

      1. Went to Miel for dinner last night. Bread basket was delicious - had an interesting whole-grain baguette that was divine with the olive oil. Wait staff seemed very annoyed that we got a bottle of San Pellegrino instead of wine and must have asked us 8 times if we wanted anything else to drink - no means no, thanks! Menu included 2 things that weren't on the RW website on their menu - you had to pay an $8 premium for each, crab cake and steak frites, if I'm not mistaken. I'm a vegetarian, so I went with the pan-fried gnocchi entree - it was absolutely fantastic, pillowy-soft and complimented perfectly with one of their house specialty olive oils. The tomato tart appetizer was lovely. The chocolate torte, however, was ice-cold and served with an unpleasantly bitter raspberry sauce. The olive oil ice cream it was served seemed closer to a sorbet, but that didn't make it any less delicious!
        It was nice overall, but definitely had a case of high highs and low lows, I don't think I'd return on a non-RW.

        Miel "Brasserie Provencal"
        510 Atlantic Ave, Boston, MA 02110

        1 Reply
        1. re: awhitehouse

          Went to Miel for lunch on Saturday. Food was pretty decent -- I tried the pistou soup (less exciting than I'd hoped), crab cake, and gnocchi (very flavorful). Both desserts were pretty good but nothing special. Portions were on the small side, but with the three courses, we all left full.

          Service, however, was very strange: after we arrived, I watched them remove the RW menus from the menus. I asked if they were having the RW lunch, and the host proceeded to put them back in and ask, "Do you like RW?" Then, our server told us (before ordering): "if you're ordering off the RW menu, it might take a while because the kitchen is just starting those." This was at 12:45pm. Then we didn't get a bread basket even though other tables did (maybe this is normal with RW though?). And finally, Opentable tells me today that I didn't honor the reservation, meaning the host didn't take care of that (though I definitely gave my name).

        2. Ate at Market at the W Hotel. Nice shrimp salad, parmesan-encrusted chicken, molten chocolate cake. Super-attentive service.

          6 Replies
          1. re: TheScribe

            I'm going to Market for RW this week- any recommendations? Will post my thoughts afterwards. Really looking forward to it, and hoping they don't mail it in because its RW (always a risk).

            1. re: cbw_chowfan

              I highly recommend the Parmesan Crusted Chicken. The Striped Bass is good too.

              Also I posted a longer review for Market on this site. See link below.


              1. re: cbw_chowfan

                I ate at Market last night, I don't think any of us even realized it was restaurant week until we saw the menus.

                I liked the tuna appetizer a lot, it had an interesting crust on it that went well with the creamy sauce. The truffle pizza was also quite nice with some good truffle flavor. I had the striped bass which I thought was delicious. It had a lot of black pepper in the crust (I love pepper) and the sauce made me wish I had something to soak it up with at the end. Everyone seemed to like the parmesan chicken as well.

                The molten chocolate cake had a delicious center but the dark chocolate sauce on the plate tasted oddly skunky, like maybe it got burnt or something. I was sad that the passionfruit souffle was not on the RW menu, as I loved it on my last visit.

                I don't think you can go wrong with any of the RW choices, as I had the third entree choice, the short ribs, on my last visit, and it was also excellent, very rich with interesting flavors from a sauce incorporating apple, and rosemary breadcrumbs.

                My two visits to Market have been on Christmas and now during RW, and both times they offered their regular menu and everything was prepared very nicely with friendly service. Consequently Market is one of my favorite newer restaurants in town.

              2. re: TheScribe

                Hit market for lunch Tuesday.
                2 had the crispy clams 2 had the squash soup, all plates were clean
                get a second piece of bread to sop up the last of the soup or calm foam

                Salmon, chicken and burger were all good
                Med rare burger cooked perfectly, though tomato slice and lettuce combine to
                make the burger a little slippery

                salted caramel ice cream was excellent, lava cake solid
                cookie plate looked good, lots of small treats

                lunch service was long be prepared for 1.5 hours, or don't hesitate to tell them
                you aren;t looking to lounge

                1. re: TheScribe

                  Was at Market for lunch Thursday. Concur with other posts that their RW lunch is excellent. Both DC and I had the shrimp salad, parmesan chciken and molten chocolate cake. DC particularly raved about the shrimp salad. Service excellent. We did not feel rushed but were done in about 1 hour.

                  1. re: TheScribe

                    I ate lunch @ Market today. Even though on RW official website it is listed as offering both LIGHT Lunch and regular lunch, when I asked my server, she told me they only offer the 3-course lunch but not 2-course version. http://www.bostonusa.com/visit/restau...

                    Anyway, I started with crispy clams. It was fine but not outstanding. Too much batter, in a way that I could barely taste the clams.

                    I picked the salmon entree, and WOW that was good. Salmon was cooked perfectly; sits on top a bed of creamy mashed potatoes (no doubt with lots of butter). The salmon was topped with shredded brussel sprouts. They were delicious - so good that I asked my server how it was cooked so that I can replicate this at home. I also love the truffle vinaigrette, which has a touch of lemon juice & Dijon mustard in it.

                    I had the signature molten chocolate cake w/vanilla ice cream. I was so stuffed that I couldn't even finish the chocolate cake (and this is coming from someone who loves chocolates loves desserts).

                    I ordered their passion fruit-chilli soda. It's passion fruit soda with a "kick" - pretty good too.

                    Service was PERFECT, I really cannot find fault with anyone, from the hostess to the manager to my server. I'm definitely going back there for their $55 prix-fixe some time.

                    Market by Jean-Georges
                    100 Stuart Street, Boston, MA 02116

                  2. Went to Gargoyles last night with a friend, not because it was RW, but because we do enjoy the bar there. I ordered strictly from the RW menu and my DC mixed it up a little bit ... it's nice they give you the flexibility to order off the bar menu and not confine you to the prix fixe.

                    Gargoyle's RW menu can be found here --> http://www.gargoylesrestaurant.com/ol...

                    I started with the pork shoulder appetizer which was delicious. Melting chunks of pork shoulder over grilled bread with tomatoes, basil, mushroom oil. The roasted tomatoes were particularly notable given how crummy tomatoes are right now. Roasting sweetened them up and the whole thing came together really nicely. For anyone else, that and a glass of wine would be a satisfactory light meal.

                    For my main course I chose the butter roasted chicken ... I usually don't order roast chickie in restaurants but this appealed to me because of the Gruyere bread pudding. To my surprise, the chicken was wonderful -- crispy skin, light buttery veloute, and lovely little baby carrots. The bread pudding was okay, could have used more gruyere flavor actually.

                    Highlight for me was the dessert ... a salty caramel cheesecake that was preposterous. Big crystals of salt (Maldon Sea Salt?) cut the sweetness and the creaminess of the cheesecake and pulled the whole thing together for me. I never rave about dessert but this was outstanding. The pastry chef was enjoying a post-shift beverage and I raved at him like the complete nutter I am.

                    Paul mixed up his Sangria for me (not as summery as it sounds, plenty of cinnamon and cloves to make it more seasonal) and my friend had a nice glass of Sauvignon Blanc. She also had the asparagus soup with two-hour egg and the brisket sandwich from the bar menu. Brisket was served with fried pickles and a bowl of coleslaw. Both delicious. She had the cheese plate for dessert which hopefully she will comment on.

                    Of course, like all RW meals the bill came to more than expected but it was really delicious food in a cozy setting where we could catch up. I'd recommend this menu to anyone wanting to try Gargoyles and get a feel for what they do in the kitchen.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: yumyum

                      YY, if you are raving about a dessert, I, too, must try it asap (I am not a dessert gal, either). Our last meal there was a little disappointing (pulled pork sandwich for B, some Asian-y veggie entree for me that were both ho-hum; our friends, new to Gargoyles, LOVED their burgers, though). We have one more week as Somervillians...we've picked Gargoyles as the place for our "last supper." Drats that it's RW - we forgot.

                      1. re: yumyum

                        Friend here. The soup was AMAZING - early spring in a bowl. The crispy prosciutto was possibly a little unnecessary, but I loved it so I'm not really complaining.

                        The brisket sandwich was fantastic. Fork tender brisket, a hint of blue cheese and nicely grilled bread. There could have been a few more onion rings on top, but it's a minor issue. This was definitely a fork and knife sandwich and could have been served open face. Fried pickles were lovely as was the coleslaw.

                        My only real "complaint" on the night was the bread that came with the cheese plate. It was garlic bread - very garlicky garlic bread. Lovely for a pre-dinner snack but a bit too savory for after-dinner. I'd have preferred just simple crackers or the same bread without the garlic. The cheese,fruits and truffled honey were delightful though, so don't feel too bad for me.
                        This was definitely a meal that reminded me to go back to Gargoyle's more often - it's a great place, especially on a dreary Sunday night.

                      2. Went to Radius for lunch, not strictly for RW, but the $20.10 is such an amazing deal that we couldn't pass it up. Their appetizers alone can get close to $16…
                        Service was wonderful, friendly, and smooth. We each got the cauliflower soup, which had dried mushrooms and some other goodies in the center. DC got the salmon, I got the fried tofu with soba noodles and seaweed. The salmon was good, and a really large portion. The tofu was also good, if a little sparse (fine for me). It was 6 or 7 piece set atop small mounds of noodles and seaweed. Loved the flavors. Desert was a modest portion of carrot cake or butterscotch panna cotta. Both were great.

                        1. Had lunch at Market today. I was expecting it to be good, but was surprised at how good it was. We didn't care for the atmosphere, it was as nouveau and sterile as expected. That said, I had the shrimp salad with avocado and...it was really good. The flavor profile was balanced and the shrimp were cooked perfectly. My DC had the butternut squash soup and it was good although a little bit too creamy for my taste. For our mains, I had the burger, which was also good. The burger was thick, cooked perfectly to med-rare, but didn't have the ubiquitous brioche bun ( a trend that, other than Craigie, I am done with), but a good sesame bun, and a fantastic house? pickle. Fries were also very good. DC had the parmesan- crusted chicken with artichokes and hollandaisey sauce (aren't sure if that's exactly the sauce, but profile was egg and lemon) and he really liked it. For dessert, I had the salted-caramel ice cream. It came with caramel-coated popcorn, which it turned out was an integral part of the dish; otherwise, it was too subtle. DC had the signature fallen chocolate cake with vanilla ice cream - it was as you'd expect. For drinks, I had the whiskey passion fizz, which was good, not great. DC had the house ginger ale - same. Overall, as I said, I was expecting good, but it was better than that. Atmosphere was a little bit more slick than I prefer, but it's a decent option.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: bostonbroad

                            Went to Market at the W last night for RW – was a pretty mixed experience. I will say the entrée and dessert were incredible. Had the short rib and the cherry cheesecake and both were phenomenal; husband had the tuna to start, chicken next and finished with the chocolate cake and loved all of it. Not so phenomenal was my first course (black truffle & fontina pizza – so overpoweringly fungal; mushrooms are great but the flavor balance was WAY off) and the service. Oh, the service! It was inattentive, at best, and downright rude and neglectful, at worst. I could list the litany of sins but won’t bore you all – suffice it to say that ,start to finish, the server was totally off. It was bad enough that my husband and I overheard several other tables around us commenting on the terrible service as well over the course dinner. My husband tried to make the “but its Restaurant Week” excuse for the waitress, but I don’t buy that. I know it’s the classic RW problem, but if you’re as high-end of a restaurant at Market By JG, either bring your A game or don’t participate in RW at all. It was 9:30 on a Tuesday night, and the dining room was no longer full – which shouldn’t an excuse anyway, but the fact that it wasn’t even terribly crowded made it seem more unforgivable.

                            So, bottom-line: mostly terrific food, enough so that I would want to go back to try more the full menu another time -- except that I might not because I am not interested in paying that kind of money to be treated like I’m at a diner by the wait-staff. There are enough other restaurants in Boston at the same price-point with food that’s just as good but with reliably stellar service, Restaurant Week or not. Also, did not care for the atmosphere - typical W sterile, fancy-restaurant-from-a-kit vibe.

                          2. I made reservations at Erbaluce before the menu came out - highly unusual of me... now the menu's on their website. Any insight as to what I should order?


                            14 Replies
                            1. re: content

                              Do they have their RW menu anywhere? I have reservations tomorrow night.

                              1. re: kobuta

                                It's right in the top left corner of the web site.

                              2. re: content

                                I had dinner there tonight and it was FANTASTIC! Menu here: http://erbaluce-boston.com/restaurant...

                                First of all, they also offer the regular menu plus specials; in case you want to know.

                                Second, everyone there is extremely nice and welcoming; service is attentive but not over-bearin.

                                Third, I really like the space - not too casual but not overly elegant; just the right "vibe".

                                Okay, to the RW menu. Since I dined alone, I can only comment on what I ordered.

                                Delicious housemade focaccia served with white bean puree. I like the bread that it's not dripping with oil.

                                App - Celery root soup with roasted mushrooms and sage. Lovely flavor esp with the smokiness from the mushrooms.

                                *Bonus dish* - gift from the chef: pan-seared Mediterranean octopus with tomato relish. The chef presented the dish himself.

                                Entree - I wanted to get the fish stew, which is mostly swordfish & some salmon; but when I checked with my server, I found out there is shrimp & shrimp oil in it, which I'm allergic to. So I got the braised beef instead. It is a rather fatty piece of beef, hence very tender and melts in my mouth. It is accompanied by sauteed bok choy and roasted cauliflower, roasted potatoes, and pear "mostarda". Very nice dish and very filling.

                                Dessert - I got the poached pear with mascarpone. Probably the best poached pear dessert I've had.

                                When the bill came, it came with a small dish of housemade chocolate truffles.

                                Overall, a very satisfying and delicious meal. I was so full that I could barely get out of there!

                                [I saw the chef came out and presented dishes to a few other tables, but I don't think every table got an additional dish. One table got roasted cauliflower; 2 tables got something after dessert, so I assume it's another sweet dish. It's one dish per table, not per person. Since I dined alone, essentially I got a 4-course dinner


                                This is definitely a place I would return to during non-RW period.

                                1. re: y2000k

                                  thanks for th great review of Erbaluce, makes me want to give it a try. A little off topic but I am interested in your recs for other restuarants that make fish stew, cioppino etc. without shrimp or lobster which i am allegic to as well. the one place I had great luck with this was sel de la terre. any other thoughts? thanks.

                                  sel de la terre
                                  boston, MA, boston, MA

                                  69 Church Street, Boston, MA 02116

                                  1. re: Northender

                                    Northender, sorry but I haven't had much luck on Boston area's cioppino, as I always skip it as soon as I see the word "shrimp".

                                    1. re: y2000k

                                      Thanks, my experience as well. I can remember a time when shrimp was a diet staple and I still miss it.

                                  2. re: y2000k

                                    Thanks y2000k for the review! I was starting to worry that I'd have absolutely no idea of what to expect when I headed over there tonight (btw, kobuta, I'll be the one in a mod skirt, if you want to say 'hi').

                                    I have a question about the celery soup - I hate the taste of raw celery, so should I avoid this?

                                    1. re: content

                                      content, it is celery root soup (celeriac), so it tastes quite different from raw celery. I think you'd find it okay.

                                    2. re: y2000k

                                      Off-topic, but for those going to Erbaluce for dinner, I parked at the 10 St James Ave garage. It is $12 flat rate for evenings after 5pm. The rate is much lower than the Motor Mart Garage or the Radisson hotel garage; and perhaps just 1/2 a block farther away.

                                      If you don't mind walking another 1/2 block, the Back Bay Garage (87 St James Ave) rate is $10.

                                      69 Church Street, Boston, MA 02116

                                      1. re: y2000k

                                        It may have been off topic, but it is appreciated!

                                      2. re: y2000k

                                        I agree totally with y2000K. My husband and I went there last night. It was terrific and can't wait to go back again. I had the beef entree, which really does melt in the mouth, and my husband thad the fish stew, which really tasted like the sea, so fresh and light. For dessert, I had the pear; soooo good, and my husband had the budino, which is somewhere between a candy bar and a mousse, and very, very rich. The wait staff was very friendly and helpful, and it was nice to have the choice of the RW menu and the regular menu. We didn't get the bonus gift, but were blown away by the truffles.

                                        1. re: y2000k

                                          We also went to Erbaluce for RW, and unfortunately did not have so good an experience. The focaccia and dip were incredible, we enjoyed the appetizers (deliciously subtle celeriac soup accented by smoky but not overwhelming smoked mushrooms, pleasing cured salmon with nice big pieces of lemon zest and a hunk of fritatta with a marvelously smooth texture), and both desserts were truly incredible (as were the bonus truffles). I ordered the braised beef, which was buttery tender and tasty but not earth-shattering (vegetables were nice, also unspectacular, and the pear mostarda which to my taste was far too sweet in this context). My DC had the Tuscan fish stew (~baroddo), which definitely tasted like the ocean, as other have pointed out, but not in a good way. The whole dish was marred by an overwhelming odor of something a bit past its prime. We are folks who love seafood in most all varieties (fish of all kinds, uni, crawfish heads, the most pungent of fish sauces and sambals, etc), so this was quite a surprise. We ended up not eating about half of the dish (a rare occurrence), and put it down to some ingredient we were not familiar with. A mysterious roe? Fermented sea-sludge/delicacy of some kind? Did not get full-blown ill, but we definitely both had uncomfortable indigestion for the rest of the night.

                                          This was quite a disappointment, since we had heard wonderful things about Erbaluce, it was out first time there, and we were very much ready to be wowed - we do not go for such spendy dinners more than once every month or two. The setting is elegant and service was excellent (though for some reason the chef did not ask us about our meal afterwards - he seemed to give this treatment to every other table). And while the appetizers and desserts were great, and the beef entree was quite nice, the seafood stew was a disaster. I would like to attribute this to late-RW kitchen fatigue (either on the level of prep or quality control), but at the prices this place charges I doubt we will every return.

                                          69 Church Street, Boston, MA 02116

                                        2. re: content

                                          Celery root soup with smoked button mushrooms and sage - did not taste like celery at all, nice and creamy

                                          Veal terrine with thyme and pickled vegetables - a bit tough to eat as the terrine tended to fall apart as I cut it to place on the toast points, but it was tasty with the pickled vegetables.

                                          Tuscan-style fish stew with tomatoes and tarragon - not the most filling entree; bit of salmon with some shellfish; no shrimp here, tasty broth though and loved the toast slice dunked in the broth

                                          Red wine braised beef with a fruit mostarda - tender enough, tasty

                                          Spice poached pear with a lavender caramel sauce and mascarpone - loved this! You can totally eat this with a spoon.

                                          Chocolate budino with fernet marinated strawberries - basically a flourless cake, I think, but on the lighter end of things.


                                          1. re: content

                                            My DC and I had a great experience too. I opted for the cured salmon fritata, which was surprisingly good. I don't eat veal and wasn't in the mood for soup, so I defaulted to the salmon. After being assured by the waiter that it wasn't smoked salmon (a la lox...*gag*), I was pleasantly surprised by the dish. I had a bite of my DC's terrine, and I can't say I would've liked it, even without the veal.

                                            Otherwise the food was fantastic! I had the fish stew, and I found it delicious. Maybe because I had an earlier dinner, but I didn't find the portion to be too light. The broth was amazingly flavorful, with a nice variety of seafood. My DC had the beef which was melt in your mouth tender.

                                            We ended with one of each of the desserts. Not a chocolate fan, so I found DC's budino a bit rich, though I loved the strawberries. I had the poached pear that was terrific. It was in this caramel-y sauce that paired beautifully with the fruit, and wonderfully with bites of the budino.

                                            All in all, a great evening, with the terrine being the only blip in otherwise fabulous food. My DC and I were both definitely wanting to return.

                                        3. Beacon Hill Bistro. I must state at the outset that the vegetarian options were pretty bad. Butternut squash veloute, nothing special despite the attempt to spice it up with garam masala and came out undersalted, followed by what my husband has deemed "the $33 onion" - a red onion stuffed with a carrot cumin puree surrounded by kimchee and wild rice. He wasn't happy. Sad thing is, I called ahead of time to see if the chesnut and wild sage tagliatelle could be vegetarian and whoever answered the phone said yes, but turns out that the pasta is cooked in chicken broth, so vegetarian it cannot be.

                                          But the non-vegetarian options that I choose were good: cockles and mussels as a starter, followed by a great roasted skate wing with cauliflower, broccoli, and a bombardment of whole almonds. Great flavor and texture balance.

                                          We both got the spiced chocolate cake, which was so delicious - chocolate mousse with chai spice, topped with chai-poached pears that were not overly sweet but very refreshing.

                                          Table next to us also got the lamb braised with fennel - I overheard the waiter talking about the 14-hr braise, and the enthusiastic "mmm!"ing once the dish came out, so it must be pretty good.

                                          1. Went to Clink last nite. Two of us started with a drink at Alibi which was fairly quiet at 6:30. I had the "rehab" with Stoli Orange, St. Germain and prosecco. She had a Hendricks gimlet I think but the juice tasted funky so he gladly switched it to gin & tonic. Kind of a cool place to spend your $12. The upstairs lounge outside of Clink was pretty busy, took a while for the restaurant to pick up. Two of us started with the wonderful poached duck egg w/ red lentils and brioche. Oh man, I could have eaten a loaf of that brioche, really good. Other DC had the beet salad w/ lots of tasty salty mozzarella. The duck egg eaters got the short rib dinner w/ polenta and "horseradish gremolata" but I didn't taste any horseradish in the dish. This was a very good sized portion of super tender beef, really flavorful with creamy polenta. Saved half of it. Friend's striped bass dish seemed a little meager in comparison but she enjoyed it. My dessert of apple rhubarb cobbler was excellent, can't believe I ate the whole thing. Two people got the frozen lemon souffle and that was a nice lighter ending to the meal. We split a bottle of some grüner that beings with L for $35 so it wasn't too pricey a meal. Service was really nice, the room is kind of cool altho that jail theme is maybe a little overdone. A good time.

                                            1. We went to Lucca Back Bay on Monday night, which was surprisingly packed at 9 pm. Solid, well-executed and tasty food, if not particularly innovative or adventurous.

                                              I had porcini risotto to start, which was nicely creamy with a generous shaving of aged provolone on top (and not on the regular menu). Wife had a salad (I forget exactly what was in it), but she enjoyed it very much.

                                              For the mains, I had salmon with a horseradish sauce and marinated roasted beets. Not the most creative preparation in the world, but again, well-executed and obviously prepared with high-quality ingredients. Wife convinced them to serve her an entree-sized portion of the risotto (being 7 months pregnant helps get your way in these situations).

                                              The desserts were probably the highlight of the evening, especially the pound cake with butterscotch sauce, passion fruit panna cotta, and toasted coconut. Really delicious. Chocolate mousse with orange marmalade and coffee creme anglaise was also tasty.

                                              All in all a very satisfying meal, despite a few service hiccups. Sasso / Lucca Back Bay seems kind of overshadowed in the Italian restaurant scene here, but I think they do a nice job and are a good option near the Prudential.

                                              1. Did Tryst last night.

                                                We both had the duck dumplings, which were lightly fried with a gingery-but-otherwise-unidentified sauce and some house made pickles (cucumbers, carrots, daikon). The duck inside was confit and in general pretty tasty though I had a bit of dryness at times. Dumpling skin was nice.

                                                For dinner, my DC had the cod with the crab strudel and loved it. I had the roast chicken, which was served with broccoli rabe (different from online posted menu of caramelized vegetables) and rice and a romesco. Mine was good, except for (again) some dryness in the meat. It was slightly sad because I love a good roast chicken!

                                                We each had one of the desserts. The chocolate with my DC's deconstructed banana split was great, and the caramel with my upside down cake was the highlight to me. Service was decent, with a slow pace that occasionally bordered on too slow, but was generally positive.

                                                689 Massachusetts Avenue, Arlington, MA 02720

                                                1. We went to Locke-Ober last night. It very enjoyable (although not stunningly fabulous).

                                                  Starters: baked flan of ricotta with grilled bacon and radicchio salad. Mostly salad, with radicchio and frisee (?). The flan was a tiny, savory, silver dollar-sized disc, almost hidden under the salad. I was definitely picturing a flan with salad, rather than a salad with flan, but it was tasty and delicate and went well with the salad and single slice of well-cooked bacon. I could only taste the oil in the dressing and would have preferred a little more acid.

                                                  DC had Waldorf salad with watercress, apple chips & pistachio oil. This salad was very tasty. Lots of watercress, 1 dried apple chip, matchsticks of fresh apples, and toasted nuts (possibly pistachios). Everything went very well together. This was my favorite of the two salads, but this is probably because I’m not a big fan of bitter (except for olives), and my salad was mostly bitter lettuces.

                                                  My main was brick chicken. This was a generous serving of tender, flavorful boneless chicken with a crispy skin. The sauce was lick-off-the-plateable (but I didn’t as it doesn’t seem like a Locke-Ober thing to do) and would have been completely sopped up by bread, but we didn’t have any. Not sure if that was because of the RW menu, but the table was set with bread plates and butter knives. Asparagus were fine. The garlic soufflé was very enjoyable, with a nice crust.

                                                  DC had the lamb steak with risotto & fava whip. This was tasty, but we both preferred my chicken.

                                                  Desserts were a chocolate bete noire, which was a small disc of fudgy chocolate cake, coffee foam, and whipped cream. Pretty ordinary. The best part of it was the coffee foam and whipped cream. The strawberry-free Pavlova (contrary to the online menu) was a deconstructed meringue shell with a nice texture combination of crispy and chewy, Philadelphia-style vanilla ice cream which was a little crystalline, but flavorful, and a side of berries (mostly blackberries and a blueberry and a raspberry).

                                                  A few other notes: we were able to make a reservation earlier that morning; there were some changes from the online RW menu, with additions and some variations; my coffee was good and came with a small pot so I could refill as needed; portions were just right; the service was fine. It was a nice intro to Locke-Ober, which we probably would never have gone to otherwise.

                                                  3 Winter Place, Boston, MA 02108

                                                  2 Replies
                                                  1. re: quirkydeb

                                                    We went tonight. Locke Ober has long been on my list of places to try in Boston, but I'd never been. We started out at the bar with cocktails and a plate of house smoked salmon - tobacco and rum were the main flavors, I think. Absolutely delicious and definitely one of the top two dishes of the night.

                                                    For dinner, we decided to do one RW menu and two apps.

                                                    JFK lobster stew - just as delicious as has been described: boozy, creamy, brothy, overflowing with lobster.
                                                    Carpaccio with chili noodles - the RW choice, and definitely delicious - melt in your mouth beef with the right amount of peppery cheese and arugula to cut it

                                                    Seared scallops with salt cod ravioli - the ravioli were a revelation: thick wrappers around meaty salt cod.
                                                    Lamb with white asparagus risotto and fava bean puree - the lamb was a little gummy, but the risotto was mouth watering.

                                                    The famous sundae - honestly, I could have done without the marshmallow and a double dose of caramel, but that's just me. It also could have been the sambuca talking - really, how can I concentrate on ice cream when a snifter of that is in front of me?

                                                    This is why I love RW - I try a place I probably wouldn't have otherwise, and we order slightly off menu to get a taste for the place. I loved the dining room and the bar was incredibly comfortable. When you're feeling old school, this is the place for you.

                                                    1. re: quirkydeb

                                                      Went for lunch yesterday - it was quite good, I had lobster bisque, which was quite rich and lobster-y, though no discernable chunks of lobster. Then had a roasted salmon, which was nicely cooked and moist, with crisp skin, on a sunchoke puree. I also tried a DC's handmade baked pasta leaves with robiola and spinach - really rich and tasty, like a mini-lasagna. For dessert I had the flourless chocolate cake with some kind of espresso whipped cream and cocoa nibs. The only bummer was that they didn't have beignets, which were listed as a "possible dessert" online.

                                                    2. Just wondering…has anyone done Upstairs on the Square yet? I’m going tonight.

                                                      1. Anyone going to Lineage for RW? (I hope, I hope) Thanks!

                                                        2 Replies
                                                        1. re: content

                                                          We were there last Sunday, and though I love Lineage, you can get a regular meal for about the same price. I had the salmon, my husband had the steak. The parsnip soup was excellent. The vanilla pots de creme was also excellent. All of the dishes are consistantly good. The chef knows his range and turns out a consistant product in a good way. It is an excellent neighborhood restaurant. Other dishes not on the RW menu to recommend include the tuna tacos, the vegetarian pasta dish, and the burger.

                                                          1. re: veggielover

                                                            Thanks veggielover!

                                                            Lineage left us a really good impression through our RW visit. The shrimp appetizer was tasty and plentiful. Both steak and salmon were well prepared. Both desserts yummy and not too sweet. Oh and great bread!

                                                        2. Went to Mooo for lunch and loved it! Loud space but very nice ambiance, less men's club atmosphere like you get at some other steakhouses. Salted rolls were amazing to start. Had the seafood soup which was very nice and DC had the salad - raved about the dressing. I had the steak - huge for lunch and for just $20.10 and DC had the grilled salmon which she loved and cooked perfectly to her spec's. Brownie sundae for dessert and pineapple upside-down cake - basic desserts but very tasty. We each had two reasonably priced glasses of wine as well. Overall, great meal, great service! Was informed they are continuing the lunchtime RW week menu indefinitely.

                                                          15 Beacon St., Boston, MA 02108

                                                          1. Had a pretty disappointing meal at Pazzo on Newbury St. last nite. DC got there before me not realizing I'd made an Open Table reservation and asked if we could get a table by the window. By the time I got there and said we had a res already, she'd gotten us a table where we requested and that was about the last thing that went right. (He was sitting at the bar and normally I would have stuck with that seat but I just didn't like their bar area.) At the bottom of the RW menu they listed house red and white for $9. I asked what the house white was and she said "it's House wine" and I said "well what kind is it", it was like Abbott and Costello. She ended up bringing out a bottle with big letters saying 'HOUSE' and poured me a taste. I think she said it was a mix of chard and riseling. I don't know, I didn't taste either of those in it but it was dry and refreshing enough so I went with it (a good pour in a good glass). DC got a Dogfish IPA. I was excited for this place cuz I hadn't been and they had many choices for entrees and 4 for apps. We got arancini and caesar salads to start, she said their wild boar bolognese was great so I ordered that and DC got the seafood risotto which was tempting too (along with short ribs but I'd just gotten those, braciola, a few others). So we waited for something to come to the table, a basket of bread maybe? After a while the hostess came by again and I asked her about bread and she said they were baking a new batch so it would be 5 or so more min. Fine. Some other person brings a basket of obviously not fresh out of the oven bread, it was almost stale. We're hungry so we eat it with the pretty good spread then the hostess comes back with the supposed fresh bread, which did see a little warm but certainly didn't seem fresh baked. I wanted to ask where the apps were cuz at this point, it had been 30 min and a salad and two arancini don't take that long (the place was about 2/3 full). Finally they come with no word of the delay, no offer of pepper for the salad which is usually standard. They were both decent, salad a bit overdressed and boring croutons, but the parmesan crisps were good and the salad in general. Arancini had good crispness, not super flavorful. It wasn't nearly as long a wait for the entrees but the bolognese seemed very dry. I don't expect (or want) a super saucy dish but this was the other end of things and there was an unadvertised spice in it (allspice?) that I personally didn't go for. On the other hand, the risotto was way more saucy than you usually see with some tomatoey liquid around the side which wasn't necessarily a bad thing. It was chock full of seafood tho and pretty tasty. 3 mid sized scallops, 3 big shrimp, good amount of lobster. Desserts were either a plate of 3 small cannoli with a couple sauces or banana chocolate bread pudding. This was actually banana/vanilla pudding with chocolate chips, no breadiness at all, with some vanilla ice cream. It wasn't bad but not how I'd picture that dish at all. The waitress hardly came back to our table, it was pretty lame overall but at least it was RW price and thank god for Groupon, or Living Social, or Buy With Me cuz it wasn't as $$ as it could have been.

                                                            1. Had RW lunch Friday at Bistro du Midi. Overall, a very good experience.

                                                              I had not been there since they opened a few months ago and was pleasantly surprised by the renovations to the space. Really pleasant and nice views. Service was excellent and all staff very professional and welcoming.

                                                              On to the food. Overall very good but lacked something. Appetizers were great. DC had the frisee slada with beets and goat cheese - prronounced it excellent. I had the pork terrine whcih was excellent as well. Both of us had the salmon which was good but seemed to lack something. It came with a citrus based sauce which was great but not placed on in adequate quantity. If there had been more sauce, the flavor of the salmon whould have been greatly enhanced Leeks on the side were good. For desert, a "tarte" that might be described as a baba au rhum. Delicious.

                                                              Overall, very good. Would return. I liked Market yesterday better, however.

                                                              Bistro du Midi
                                                              272 Boylston Street, Boston, MA 02116

                                                              1 Reply
                                                              1. re: BBHound

                                                                Thanks for BDM comments, going there tomorrow.

                                                              2. Went to Sibling Rivalry last night with 3 friends. We were seated right away and service was fine. Nothing to write home about, but can't complain either. Chef Bob and Chef David also to pains to stop by every table and ask how they enjoyed the meal, so that was a very nice touch.

                                                                Now, onto the food
                                                                Appetizers: The were all nice portioned and excellent, probabl collectively the best of the 3 courses
                                                                Shrimp scampi style over cream polenta. This was simply amazing. 5 large shrimp over creamy, cheesy polenta. Probably my favorite part of the meal. I ordered this and was glad of it!
                                                                Lamb bric- tender lamb incrusted in pastry shell and with some type of delicious sauce. This was pretty hefty and everyone who tried it enjoyed it.
                                                                Steak tar tar- I thought it was good but my friend who is a connoisseur in tar tars thought it was really excellent.
                                                                Garlic Flan- Very interesting tasting but pretty good. It is a smaller portion, but this is actually a good thing because it is very rich.

                                                                Entrees: Once again, all decently sized
                                                                Jumbo sea scallops w/black beans and stuffed pepppers- I liked this a lot. The scallops were cooked perfectly and the pepper sauce they were in was very tasty. It is pretty spicey though.
                                                                Pork- I don't remember too much details about it, but my friend enjoyed it and it came with mashed potatoes, which were fine, but nothing special
                                                                Salmon with/ warm potato salad, hard boiled egg, greens- This one was presented beautifully and according to the diner that had it very good as well.
                                                                Sirloin- Nothing particularly special, but a very generous cut of meat and pretty good.

                                                                Dessert: This is where the kitchen stumbled the most
                                                                Profiterole- It had a light chocolate mousse and was drizzeled in butterscotch. The mouse was delicious, but I was not impressed by the pastry shell.
                                                                Lemon pound cake with blueberry compote- This looked awesome, but was disappointingly bland. Did not taste like lemon
                                                                Carrot cake- The sweet cream cheese on top was awesome but the rest unmemorable
                                                                Berry cobbler with vanilla ice cream- This was definitely the best, by far. The ice cream was refreshing while the cobbler was sweet and delicious. Definitely go with the cobler.

                                                                Overall it was a very good meal. Loved all the appetizers and they were substantially sized as well. Dinner was pretty good as well and dessert was really the only let down. Overall though, I recommend Sibling Rivalry, fun atmosphere and pretty strong menu. Plus the bread basket is delicious. Corn bread and Irish Soda Bread? What more can a girl ask for?

                                                                Sibling Rivalry
                                                                525 Tremont St., Boston, MA 02116

                                                                1. we have a lunch reservation at Oiishi tomorrow, and Erbaluce and Gargoyle for dinner this week. Looking forward to it!

                                                                  69 Church Street, Boston, MA 02116

                                                                  1. We ate at Blue Room last night and left pleased. I had strategically invited 2 dinning companions in the hopes of covering the whole menu, my efforts thwarted by the pork slider appetizer. This was a comforting dish. Mildly seasoned pork brisket on an iggy's mini brioche roll with a pickle chip center. The cabbage was just crunchy window dressing and the bottom half of the brioche melted away. I added some salt myself and was content. To follow was the beef brisket with pickled cabbage and mashed potatoes. This was a large dish, and nicely cooked. I also sampled the haddock which was nestled in a lovely, rich tomato sauce, also comforting. The desserts were all great. We pondered how the crunchy top was achieved on the bread pudding, it seemed oily, but not in a bad way. The rhubarb sauce was tart and the cake beneath it was moist and simple. The chocolate cake with chili chocolate sauce was perfectly cooked, dense and had the slightest hint of heat. Overall, a pleasant experience. Note; I had not eaten at the Blue Room prior to last night.

                                                                    The Blue Room
                                                                    Hampshire and Portland streets, Cambridge, MA 02139

                                                                    1. Hit Oceanaire for RW for lunch today.
                                                                      At the table, we had the clam chowder and fried calamari for appetizers. The calamari was cooked ok but the crust was usually soggy rather than crunchy. Clam chowder was ok.
                                                                      For entrees, we tried the crab stuff shrimp and the trout. Unfortunately, we thought both dishes were too buttery, especially the shrimp which also had linguine. The trout was pan fried in butter and also had a mustard sauce to dip it in.
                                                                      For desserts, we tried the cookies and cheesecake. They were both ok (the cookies were a chocolate chip oatmeal cookie) but not too memorable.

                                                                      40 Court Street, Boston, MA 02108

                                                                      1. Hit North 26 for RW dinner Wednesday and had a surprisingly good experience.
                                                                        The appetizers were mussels w/ a lemon/shallow sauce and calamari over polenta. The mussels were almost clam sized inside and the calamari was cooked so it was still tender (the polenta and tomatoes/capers were an interesting touch).
                                                                        The entrees were shellfish stew ($4 upcharge) and osso bucco. The shellfish was in a red cream sauce but the lobster was slightly overcooked, but had mussels, clams, shrimp, and scallops, and chorizo oddly. The osso bucco was a relatively large portion (enough for leftovers) and tasted great.
                                                                        Dessert was homemade chocolate and honey/lavender ice cream and a german chocolate/peanut butter torte in a cocoa moat. The lavender ice cream was easily the most interesting tasting. The cocoa moat unfortunately had too much alcohol so it was a bit too bitter but the rest of the cake was great.

                                                                        There were a surprising number of choices in the menu but it was good enough to return to try again if we're in the fanueil hall area again.

                                                                        North 26 Restaurant & Bar
                                                                        26 North Street, Boston, MA 02109

                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                        1. re: Spike

                                                                          Went to Stella tonight, spur of the moment. I realize that Stella is often overlooked on this board, but our meal was excellent. Our server informed us of the "unofficial" restaurant week there --order any app, entree and dessert for the $33.03 restaurant week price. I LOVE when restaurants do this and don't restrict you to particular items. We were pleasantly surprised and as a result, ended up ordering more than we would have.

                                                                          Both started with a ceasar salad; I've always really enjoyed the caesar here...lemony, garlicky, not too heavily dressed. That being said, the caesar was good, but not as spectacular as I remembered. It's been a while since I've been there though, so clearly they've tinkered a bit with the recipe.

                                                                          Two entrees: gnocchi w/tomato sauce and parmesan cheese; and salmon in puttanesca sauce. Both very good. They gnocchi looked like it had perhaps been quickly pan fried which seemed a bit odd to me, but it tasted perfectly fine. I'm not a salmon fan but I tasted the puttanesca and it was appropriately briny and tomato-y. DC cleaned her plate so clearly she enjoyed it.

                                                                          For dessert: a light, tasty chocolate mousse (could have been a tad more flavorful, i.e. chocolately, but certainly good enough --the bowl was licked clean); and a chocolate torte (really more like a warm chocolate cake) served w/chocolate ice cream. Delicious.

                                                                          We also had a few of their cocktails; a funky watermelon martini and another w/guava juice. Both good.

                                                                          Definitely good value and a nice surprise....

                                                                        2. We went to Sensing last night and ate off their RW menu.

                                                                          Sensing has gotten mixed reviews on Chowhound, and I'm afraid my optimism got the better of me. Our experience at Sensing fell smack in the center of the great muddy middle. In the end, what we sensed most at Sensing was disappointment in being $100 poorer for no good reason.

                                                                          To be fair, I think the kitchen was having a hard night. Our poor waiter had the look of a man who'd been yelled at all evening, and started comp'ing us wine before we even noticed anything was wrong. I point this out because much of our disappointment came in the execution of the food, so maybe on another night things would have been different.

                                                                          I love being intrigued by what I eat, but I'm happy to settle for properly done food that's really tasty, especially at New American-ish restaurants. If our "teaser" empanadas had been crispy, and the "teaser" mushroom creme brulee had indeed been brulee'd, I would have been tickled, if not teased. If any part of my entree (pork chop with brussels sprouts and apples) had been seared, it would have been pretty darned good. These dishes aren't inspired culinary experiences (something Sensing's pretension suggests you'll get there), but if they'd been given some love in the kitchen, they would have been satisfying. And we did have one really outstanding entree. Here's the breakdown of the meal:

                                                                          Cocktails: My husband was impressed, which is high praise, because he enjoys being unimpressed by cocktails.

                                                                          App's: I had the beet risotto. It was fine, if kind of flat. My husband liked it. I thought it needed salt and pepper. Cheese wouldn't have hurt either. My husband had the butternut squash soup with dollops of various things. The soup was very squashy, which is good in my book, but the dollops (banana, avocado) were confusing. Mix it all together and you get a fall-flavored soup with nuggets of tropical mush that is a marvelously unappealing color and texture.

                                                                          Entrees. My husband's beef "cottage pie" (quotes theirs) was outstanding and beautiful, delicious and interesting. It made beef pie into something delicate and ethereal. Lovely. My entree was the pork chop that I mentioned earlier. Props for a nice juicy chop and a smooth and savory apple sauce. Too bad about all the mushiness, though.

                                                                          Dessert. I love dessert so much I will generally make myself sick eating too much of it. But we abandoned our poor mango tarte tatin. Again, the caramelized top did not deign to make an appearance. This made us feel misled. The caramelized top is the signature of a tarte tatin, after all, AND THE BEST PART. Also, it turns out that cooking mangoes does them no favors--- it destroys the brightness of their flavor and color. We also had a deconstructed chocolate-orange-ginger thing. The ginger sorbet was dynamite, the rest was OK but not as delicious as a rich chocolate thing should be. We couldn't find any orange. Undo the deconstruction by mixing it all together and it's better, but still a let down.

                                                                          Sensing At The Fairmont Battery Wharf
                                                                          Three Battery Wharf, Boston, MA 02109

                                                                          1. Tremont 647. They had some dishes only available Sun/Mon/Tues that looked really good, so we went out Sunday night to take advantage. Just a caution - we made reservations via OpenTable, and the restaurant is charging a $15 cancellation fee during Restaurant Week for cancellations made within 48hrs of the reservation. We'd never been to the restaurant before, so didn't know about the noisy bar scene. They didn't have any tables for two in the back, so it got pretty loud. Bread basket came quickly, but it was cold, and I found the accompanying hummus strangely flavored.

                                                                            Apps were a lobster chowder (a bit bland, and the potato pieces were big enough to merit 2 bites each, but lots of lobster) and a lobster mac and cheese - small elbows bathed in a creamy delicate white sauce, with crunch coming from crumbled Ritz crackers rather than a baked top.

                                                                            For mains, the DC got the grilled pan seared sea bass, which had a tropical twist from the coconut rice and pineapple chutney. He liked the flavors a lot, but we both found the sea bass a tad overcooked, and I found the rice too mushy (but good coconut flavor). My entree rocked - shrimp and black truffle risotto. There was just two tiny black truffle shavings on top of the dish and a little bits in the risotto itself, but there were a lot of black mushrooms, fresh shrimp and parm shavings to make up for it.

                                                                            Desserts were the chocolate marquise (standard chocolate mousse cake) and a really yummy sticky toffee pudding with vanilla ice cream, although the "crispy citrus lace" that came with it turned out to be just ordinary orange zest. Service was solid.

                                                                            As I said, we've never been here before, but given the setting I can't imagine the restaurant week menu being that much more expensive than the regular menu, so although the food was pretty good, going for Restaurant Week probably isn't as good a deal as going to some other places.

                                                                            Tremont 647
                                                                            647 Tremont Street, Boston, MA 02118

                                                                            1. Tried Meritage for dinner on Monday (when it was still raining hard!). Overall, I was disappointed, especially since it had gotten such good reviews, especially for RW! The food and the service were both so-so, but I'd expected better.

                                                                              For apps, we had the Meritage salad (not bad, but boring) and the mushroom soup (quite tasty). DC had the risotto -- which was very bland, basically rice and onions, with a few tiny pieces of asparagus and one piece of sundried tomato as decoration, essentially. I had the scallops, which were cold (!) and pretty flavorless. And there were only two. While I expected small portions, I thought there'd be at least three or four scallops! The risotto was equally tiny.

                                                                              Desserts were the best part, by far, and I'm usually not much for sweets. We had the chocolate and the red fruit tasting plates -- the pomegranate panna cotta and the dark chocolate caramel mousse were amazing. I guess the variety in the tasting plates (three little desserts in each) helped a lot.

                                                                              The wine pairing was quite appropriate and did add a lot to the meals. I was impressed at how the wines would go with whatever choices you made.

                                                                              Service was a bit flaky; I thought at some points they'd forgotten about us. Also, for both the appetizers and the entrees, they gave the wrong person the extra utensils and they switched the plates when they brought out the food. Not a big deal, of course.

                                                                              Meritage Restaurant
                                                                              70 Rowes Wharf, Boston, MA 02110

                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                              1. re: owl49

                                                                                Also had a disappointing RW meal at Meritage considering the great reviews on this board.

                                                                                The meal started of great, we were greeted by the host and maître d’ who were extremely friendly and asked us if we would like to wait a few minutes for a window seat. Our waiter was also very attentive during the meal, but there was some confusion regarding utensils and what dish each person was having

                                                                                The appetizers were very good, I enjoyed the smoked salmon appetizer with avacado and creme fraiche, it was bit sized but the smoked salmon complimented the creamy flavor of the other ingredients. My DC had the wild mushroom soup which excellent, it had the right balance of cream and a deep mushroom flavor.

                                                                                This is where the meal went down hill quickly. Both of our entrees were lukewarm, my fiilet was a perfectly cooked and a nice treat for RW, but very average due to underseasoned veggies and bland potatoes. My DC's sacallops were a disaster, the dish had only 2 medium sized scallops which were a little rubbery. This dish gave both of us the feeling that there was no value in RW at Meritage, they were clearly cutting corners on the dishes.

                                                                                The desserts were average, the tasting plates were nice, but nothing to write home about.

                                                                                With so many other great options, I will not be going back to Meritage.

                                                                                Meritage Restaurant
                                                                                70 Rowes Wharf, Boston, MA 02110

                                                                              2. Also did Elephant Walk (Cambridge) last week for lunch. Fantastic!! DC and I did one two-course and one four-course meal. The service was also very attentive, but that was probably helped by the fact that the restaurant was nearly empty. I thought the RW menu was a great deal, so it's too bad they don't get more traffic.

                                                                                Started with the rouleaux (Cambodian spring rolls), which were really fresh and made me want more. DC had the asparagus soup and thought it was creamy and very asparagus-y (in a good way). I had the Cambodian salad, in which the crunchy cabbage contrasted nicely with the chicken, though I didn't like the fish sauce undertones very much. For entrees, we had the crevettes kep-sur-mer and the caramelized cod (not grouper, as on the website). The former had tons of veggies and was very flavorful. The cod was quite good, and I liked the crispiness; the garnish of flash-fried cilantro didn't taste like cilantro very much, but the texture was interesting. I would have liked some more vegetables or sides with the cod (it was just fish with two sauces), but I suppose the other courses can satisfy that... Finally, the passion fruit mousse tasted like, well, passion fruit, and paired well with the crispy almond lace cup. A relatively light dessert, paired with lots of pineapple slices, but the right sort of ending to a lunch. And we were both really full by then.

                                                                                Elephant Walk
                                                                                2067 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, MA 02140

                                                                                1. Spontaneous stop by East Coast Grill - have not been there in many months, have heard some middling reports on here -
                                                                                  I found everything great last night - did not realize it was RW, and ordered one RW meal set with a couple of apps in addition.

                                                                                  From the RW menu: App of thai-flavored pulled pork with some vermicelli noodles, green onions and hot sauce - generous portion of pork, very juicy and full of flavor -

                                                                                  Entree was mussels and chorico with crispy cod in a tomato broth with fava beans, piece of garlic toast on the side. Scraped off the wad of butter on the garlic bread - a little too much since it was going into that broth - great flavors, decent number of mussels (good enough to share) - the sausage was mostly diced but produced a pleasant warming flavor...the cod held together nicely and also worked great for dipping in the broth - the favas were a nice touch - hearty, yummy - could be a little flavor/salt heavy for some, but worked on a cold drizzly night -

                                                                                  Dessert was a mango raspberry compote with a crumble in there too, with a large dollop of fresh whipped cream - sort of a standard RW dessert - it was really sweet - fine.

                                                                                  The other apps were a wet bone and the cod tacos, which along with the RW app, were a winning trio. On non-RW days, I think I might consider just sticking with a whole pile of apps and skipping the entrees altogether.

                                                                                  Also would note that they had Abita amber in bottles - I was recently checking out the southern food pool on www.oxfordamerican.com - the "southern magazine of good writing" - and quite a number of the "experts" that answered the poll mentioned Abita as their favorite microbrew - It was a very mellow amber - very smooth and easily drinkable - enjoyed that a lot. and check out the website - I found it to be an interesting read.

                                                                                  One other note - the next Hell Night is April 12-15 - it's the 100th Hell Night /25th anniversary and the cards on the tables promised to bring back some of the old favorites...

                                                                                  East Coast Grill and Raw Bar
                                                                                  1271 Cambridge St, Cambridge, MA 02139

                                                                                  1. I had lunch at L'Espalier this week, and I have to say I found it to be very disappointing. I've never been there before, so I can't compare it to their regular menu, but it was definitely not something I would go back for. I had the salad with feta/olives for an appetizer, which was fairly good, but I could easily make this dish at home. The main course, a tamarind glazed salmon with couscous, was particularly disappointing. The quality of the fish was not very good, and it had a very strong fishy taste/smell. I eat a lot of salmon, and it was definitely not great. Also, the couscous was nothing special - again, I could have made this dish at home - and I strongly suspect they wouldn't dare serve this on their regular menu. The dessert was a chocolate and caramel cake, and it was ok in it's own right (one of the best parts of the meal), but the plate it was served on smelled strongly of fish. Awful!!!! I didn't say anything, but it really ruined the experience. Anyway, needless to say, I will not be going back to L'Espalier anytime soon, and I'll definitely be crossing it off my list for special occasions.

                                                                                    774 Boylston St, Boston, MA 02199

                                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                                    1. re: youngfoodie

                                                                                      all my RW meals have been decent to good to great...with the exception of l'espalier, where the lunch i had in the spring was really dowdy and not very well conceived. as you say, very disappointing.

                                                                                      1. re: youngfoodie

                                                                                        For what it is worth, I had eaten and loved several previous meals at L'Espalier before a RW lunch there last week.
                                                                                        Their RW menu changes each day, I remember a disappointing endive salad and my DC had what he said were boring shrimp. Don't even remember what our mains were. My dessert was very good - a kind of caramel cake.
                                                                                        My point being, I know L'Espalier is capable of much better. Might be worth giving them another try. You know they have a $24 "power lunch" each day? I imagine you could call over there, and see what is on offer that day.

                                                                                        774 Boylston St, Boston, MA 02199

                                                                                      2. No. 9 Park. For as long as I can remember, I have wanted to go to this restaurant. Could NOT get hubs interested. A little too precious for him. So, I recruited a gal pal and we went for RW Monday night. What a disappointment. Food was good but did not knock my socks off. The portion sizes were miniscule. Rediculous, actually. I had to eat a big bowl of cereal when I got home. Even if thats just an RW thing, I would never go back there. So saddened by that. :(

                                                                                        1. Went to Toro for dinner last night and it literally knocked my socks off.

                                                                                          My DC and I enjoyed the eggplant w/pepper dish, mussels w/ chorizo, empanadas, corn (all the hype is true, it is better than you can ever imagine) and the ham. The churros at the end were a nice finish.

                                                                                          The only disappointment was my tune tartare app. The Tuna was fine but it had an annoying amount of coconut, citrus foam which overpowered the dish. Fortunately, though, dinner made more than up for it! I highly recommend.

                                                                                          1704 Washington St, Boston, MA 02118

                                                                                          1. Heading to Mare tonight, any suggestions? We chose it partially because we have wanted to go there for a while and partially because it's a good menu for a Lenten Friday haha.

                                                                                            1. Had lunch at Harvest today - definitely a mixed bag, which was disappointing because dinner last year at Harvest during RW was quite good.

                                                                                              To start, I had a fennel/apple soup with pickled shallots and a cream base. This was a definite success, with the acidity from the pickled shallots nicely balancing the creaminess of the soup and complementing the subtle fennel flavors.

                                                                                              The main, bouillabaisse, was decidedly less successful. Made with mussels and cod; the cod was nicely cooked and tasty, if a bit of a small portion. The mussels, however, were overcooked and a bit rubbery, and the broth was not very flavorful. Okay, but not very exciting.

                                                                                              Dessert, cappuccino crème caramel was good, but not exceptional.

                                                                                              1. Pulled these pics off my camera so I figured I'd write this up anyways.

                                                                                                Started w/ nice warm soft buttery rolls that Skipjacks has brought back (they switched to regular rolls for a while and we stopped going).
                                                                                                Appetizers we had were the wasabi crab salad and a crab cake on top of wasabi slaw...both were nice and tasty.
                                                                                                For entrees, we had the wasabi crusted salmon (tasty and well cooked as usual...used to be my favorite) and the seafood fra diavolo (seafood cooked well, but the pasta was stuck together, though it seemed to be the fresh kind instead of dry pasta from the texture).
                                                                                                Dessert was mango sorbet (boring) and chocolate pudding topped w/ vanilla ice cream (not bad...sort of like a melted brownie).
                                                                                                In all, not too bad w/ the gloppy pasta being the biggest mistake...

                                                                                                1. Appetizers were shrimp on polenta (tasty and interesting) and calamari (the calamari had some fancy description, but it was basically calamari w/ a fish sauce based dipping sauce and some green mango strips). For entrees we had the special swordfish (mistake because the chunk of swordfish was tiny...maybe 1"x1.5"x4" though cooked well) and the lamb ribs. Dessert was a meyer lemon cake on raspberry sauce and a chocolate profiterole stuffed w/ chocolate mousse...both were just ok.
                                                                                                  Disappointed the first time at Sibling Rivalry's RW...not as creative as previous years and portions are doing the shrinkeroo :-P

                                                                                                  Sibling Rivalry
                                                                                                  525 Tremont St., Boston, MA 02116