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Recs for dorchester tonight????

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We are meeting some friends for dinner in Dorchester tonight...wondering if there are any new spots worth checking out. We don't end up eating there much just 'cause our own neighborhoods (south end and jp) often have such good restaurants.

I know Dbar is excellent and so this is my fall-back spot but was just thinking if there was somewhere I hadn't tried yet that might be worth a trip.

Possibilities:

Tavolo
Ledge
Ashmont Grill (I was there a few years ago when it first opened but haven't been back.)

If anyone has any recent experiences with any of these places (or has other recs) send 'em my way!! Need to make a decision soon. We'll be 5 adults.

Just looking for good food, casual environment, reasonably priced, fun place to go with friends. Great beers on tap or bottled always a plus, but really just a place where folks are passionate about food...

TIA!

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Ashmont Grill
555 Talbot Ave, Dorchester Center, MA 02124

Tavolo
1918 Dorchester Ave, Dorchester Center, MA 02124

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  1. The ribs at Ashmont Grille are delicious. The sticky toffee pudding is excellent. I also love their train wreck french fries.

    1. The Ledge would be my pick especially if it's warm enough to dine on the outdoor patio. They do have propane heaters. I generally go for the oysters and crabcakes, but their mac & cheese is quite good as well. Staff is pleasant and it's a good place to linger. Haven't tried Tavalo yet, but it's on my list.

      1. You really can't go wrong with any of the three and I'd personally pick all of them over D-bar. If you want Italian or really good pizza go with Tavolo. But considering what a beautiful day it is out, I'd concur with Peg and say hit up the patio at the Ledge.

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        Tavolo
        1918 Dorchester Ave, Dorchester Center, MA 02124

        1 Reply
        1. re: RVT

          Sadly, when I stopped in for a late lunch at the Ledge today, the patio wasn't open. Oysters were still good, crabcakes weren't cooked long enough so that was disappointing, but I really liked the short rib arrancini. Bartender did a good job, but I was a little put off by the manager's attitude. We had ordered appetizers to watch the game, and when the crabcakes came out first, I happen to comment to my dc that I thought it was odd that the oysters hadn't come out first, really no biggy, but the manager overheard my comment and got somewhat huffy. I'm assuming she overheard by next comment which I won't repeat here, but after that she was over compensating to the point that she was interfering with our meal. It won't keep me from going back as this was my first experience that was less than satisfying. Also, it was really odd that with a game on there was absolutely no one else at the bar or in the dining room at 3:00. Hopefully, this evening things will be back to normal or else I'll feel terrible for having recommended it.

        2. Ashmont is overpriced and suffers from serious attitude.

          Ledge is very inconsistant in both food and service.

          Tavolo is one of my new go-to places. The food has always been good and the service friendly and efficient. Sit at the bar and enjoy a great bartender named Brian.

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          Tavolo
          1918 Dorchester Ave, Dorchester Center, MA 02124

          5 Replies
          1. re: C. Hamster

            C. Ham - where have you run into attitude? Mostly at the bar? Just curious. I love it there but have had such oddly inhospitable service from some of the bartenders that we often opt for other destinations.

            1. re: Fenway_Frank

              Update: We went to Tavolo and it was excellent. We had a group of 5. A very nice server who was informative and pleasant and attentive. Everyone seemed to like their food. I got the carbonara, and the preparation was pretty authentic. However it came with ziti, which seems pretty odd. Classic carbonara is served w/spaghetti, or perhaps linguine, but I've never heard of it with ziti. That being said supposedly all their pasta is homemade and it was excellent, so it wasn't a big deal. We had the polenta starter w/mushrooms (apparently an old app at Icarus) and it was delicious. Polenta perfectly prepared. We also had a pumpkin soup which was tasty and flavorful. A few of the other dishes were hits as well --flank steak; (though I tasted this and though it was a bit chewy, I know this cut can be like this sometimes), seafood fra diavlo w/ squid ink pasta; and scallops.
              All in all a good meal with a great vibe. I'm glad we chose this spot.

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              Tavolo
              1918 Dorchester Ave, Dorchester Center, MA 02124

              1. re: Fenway_Frank

                The bartenders (man and woman) are pretty much self-important jerks, that's true. It makes it very unpleasant to eat at the bar unless it's empty and they cannot help but pay attention to you.

                The waitstaff has also copped attitude one too many times for me. That and being clueless. I actually knew a waiter there and clueless is a way of life for him.

                They got plenty of chances from me, too.

                Makes you wonder why Tavalo is so much more inviting ...

                1. re: C. Hamster

                  Finally went to Tavolo. I will not return, The service was awful! Slow... and it appeared that our presence was an annoyance. Food was ok, really nothing special. Very disappointed.

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                  Tavolo
                  1918 Dorchester Ave, Dorchester Center, MA 02124

                  1. re: C. Hamster

                    I live within walking distance of both Ashmont Grill and Tavolo. I've eaten at them both numerous times and I agree with C.Hamster. The service at Tavolo is SO much better. I always sit at the bar and get friendly, timely service. I have stopped going to Ashmont Grill because of the attitude from the bartenders. Nothing outright rude (usually), just a constant low level feeling that I'm not quite important enough to be taking up a bar stool. I also prefer the food at Tavolo. Almost every meal I've had there has been very good, with a good-but-not-very-good dish every now and then.

                    To answer the OP's question (far too late, I know), I find the food at The Ledge to be mediocre. I've tried it at least half a dozen times, maybe more, and I always walk away feeling like I've spent too much money for a sub par meal. Every now and then (about every eight months, when the memory from the last meal there has faded), I go back, looking for a change of scenery from Tavolo, Anh Hong, Pho Hoa, etc., hoping, wishing that they will have raised the caliber of their kitchen, and end up disappointed once again. I think the key to success there is to keep it basic, with something like their burger. I've enjoyed that when I've ordererd it there. And I find them a bit on the pricey side for what they offer, particularly their cocktails. I agree with Pegmeister, though, that they do have a great patio area. Sadly, they do not allow dogs on the patio, unlike dBar and Blarney Stone, so in the warmer weather those two spots move to the top of my list so that I can bring my pup.

                    Having said all this, it's great that we now have enough choices in this neighborhood to even be having this conversation!

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                    Ashmont Grill
                    555 Talbot Ave, Dorchester Center, MA 02124

                    Tavolo
                    1918 Dorchester Ave, Dorchester Center, MA 02124

                    Blarney Stone Bar
                    1509 Dorchester Ave, Dorchester, MA 02122

                    Anh Hong
                    291 Adams St, Dorchester, MA 02122