Four days, three excellent meals north of Boston (and one South).
Sometimes, it seems weeks go by without eating anything truly exceptional. Then, without any planning, we seemed to stumble into some truly delicious experiences, so I thought I'd share.
Thursday - Arlington. We drove down Mass Ave unsure of what exactly we were looking for, and stumbled across a new Italian place, Buona Vita, in Arlington Center (across from Chilly Cow.) It's the kind of place we love - small, cozy, and family run. The menu is not huge but has some really nice items - a braised octopus appetizer, meatballs with red sauce on the app menu (where they belong), fairly simple pastas on the primi menu, a variety of grilled and braised secondi. Nice Italian-centric wine list, with a few options by the glass. I had a pinot special for $8. We had calamari, which was not my favorite - no tentacles, though the breading was tasty and the rings not overcooked. But I really like tentacles... The three of us all had pasta because it was just that kind of night. Husband's gnocchi was very light and pillow-y. Daughter's spaghetti carbonara was totally classic and perfectly al dente Just spaghetti, egg, pancetta, cheese. My parpardelli con funghi was homemade and very rich. (Our waiter had to check with the kitchen to make sure they'd made the parpardelle.) Nice mix of mushrooms (morels, crimini..) cream sauce and truffle oil. We all had leftovers. Looking forward to going back. They chased us out of the restaurant to make sure we had a takeout menu and that we knew they were participating in restaurant week. Hope they make it - it could turn out to be one of our regular spots.
Friday night - Daikanyama in Lexington. The sushi is always very fresh and well-done (I know..not Toraya...but we really like it). But what was exceptional this week were two new items. First, was a vegetarian sashimi app special. Really unusual - it's a sort of jelly made from vegetarian sources, sliced sashimi style, and served with yuzu sauce. Very refreshing and nice. Not a ton of flavor except for the yuzu, but fun as a textural experience. They told us that they get it from Japan and that they're the only place in Massachusetts that has it. Next was a new special app - the Daikanyama platter. It had uni deep fried in shiso leaves, takko salad, and uni deep fried in seaweed. It was all delicious, but I'd never had uni fried in shiso, and it was just crispy, melty, creamy, and yummy.
Saturday, we happened to be in the Billerica area, so made our way to Sichuan Gourmet for the first time. Thanks 'Hounds for the repeated recommendations! We had Ma Po Tofu (best I've ever had), shredded beef with chilis (good, but not quite as good as Sichuan Garden II), and what must have been a seasonal special, sauteed pea shoot leaves. For those, we basically pointed to someone else's table and said, "What are those greens? We'll have those." And they didn't disappoint. Had my leftovers again tonight. So, so good.
Sunday - lunch at Stoughton Town Spa. Linquica pizza. Delicous greasiness, though not as crispy as I remembered. Still, the linguica was salty, greasy goodness.
Thanks for letting me share!
502 Boston Rd, Billerica, MA 01821
La Buona Vita
450 Massachusetts Ave, Arlington, MA 02474
Daikanyama Japanese Cuisine
43 Waltham St, Lexington, MA 02421
Town Spa Pizza
1119 Washington St, Stoughton, MA 02072