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Fun restaurant to go with Rt. 9/Newton "field trip"

w
winecafe95 Feb 3, 2011 06:37 PM

Since we don't "do" Valentine's Day (way too many amateurs dining out)...I am kidnapping my husband and bringing him on a nerdy field trip...to the New England Mobile Bookfair (who is having a killer 30% off sale on top of their normal discounts until 2/13, including cookbooks!).

He's never been, LOVES books, and I can envision him perusing every aisle for hours. After that, we'll need a great spot to cap the day off for a late lunch...and I'm completely unfamiliar with that area.

Any suggestions?? Around our neck of the woods, favorites include Gargoyles, Neptune, Harvest...and favorite sandwich: Chacerero!

Thanks in advance!

  1. barleywino Feb 11, 2011 12:41 AM

    Have you tried Daikanyama (inside Bloomingdales on rt 9) for lunch? Very serene/ comfortable ambience and impeccable food.

    5 Replies
    1. re: barleywino
      c
      cherrytomato Feb 11, 2011 06:50 AM

      I have also heard great things about Daikanyama. Have yet to try it but so far I hear good reviews.What is like?

      1. re: cherrytomato
        barleywino Feb 11, 2011 08:30 AM

        Like a little zen oasis inside bloomingdales... a bit slow (perhaps understaffed) on food prep but once the food arrived I had no complaints. For best fish selection, go Thurs/Fri/Sat. Get some otoro (request torched w/ garlic). Server I had was somewhat clueless but not a big deal. If there's an item you like that is not listed, ask anyway, they might have it e.g. botan ebi.

        1. re: barleywino
          c
          cherrytomato Feb 11, 2011 11:19 AM

          Thank you very much! Great tips. I drove by it the other night and it looked interesting.

          1. re: cherrytomato
            w
            winecafe95 Feb 13, 2011 10:25 AM

            SUCCESS!!! After a couple of hours up and down the aisles of the New England Mobile Book Fair (and purchasing lots of hard to locate art books and some fiction finds) we went over to Farm Grill. I can't thank everyone enough for that gem!

            My husband went *back* up to the counter to let the man know this was one of the best gyros he had ever had! (He even made a promise that if I had a craving...6 mo. pregnant...he would make the trek from Davis to Newton to pick up food for "me" :)

            The lamb and beef roast on a vertical spit and it was so juicy and plentiful...we ordered a side of hummus and tzatziki (unbelievably fresh and yogurt-y with just the right amount of chunky cucumber and hint of garlic)...and made sure to pick up dessert for home when we left! Right on with the rec for the galaktoboureko! I had never had it before....custardy, cream of wheat? (really? but oh so good!), honeyed phyllo goodness....like a greek dessert burrito from the gods.

            Cannot wait to go back for the other menu items...but it will be hard to walk away from the tender, juicy, huge gyro...

            Thanks again for all the help! Definitely recommend the trip to both places to anyone! (And keeping my fingers crossed that the book shop finds a buyer....it is such a gem and the sounds of delight coming from book lovers young and old as they ventured through the stacks...too much of a treasure to lose!)

            1. re: winecafe95
              g
              gabbyology Feb 13, 2011 01:05 PM

              wonderful that you enjoyed your trip to my little city!!!
              farm grille is spectacular, yeah? i wish i could say i order a different thing every time, but that gyro somehow always wins. the avgolemono is great too on a cold winter day, but i'm unsure if that's always on the menu or just sometimes. i just remember being obsessed with it.
              anyway, glad your trip was a success! sounds like a great valentines day :)

    2. c
      cherrytomato Feb 6, 2011 07:47 AM

      If it's a cold and dreary day you might try new england soup factory. They have interesting and different kinds of soup. They also have a cookbook and it is cheaper to buy at the book fair then in their stores. You can bring home large containers and it is my family's favorite especially the chicken vegetable with matzo balls. My husband loves their African chicken and peanut soup which we had yesterday. I also really like 51 lincoln and they have a great menu.

      1. p
        peelmeagrape Feb 6, 2011 06:32 AM

        I agree with the other posters that Farm Grill is the obvious (good) choice. I don't think anyone has mentioned Oishii yet, though, which is just off 9 in Chestnut Hill (if you're driving back that way anyway).

        1. h
          hyde Feb 4, 2011 05:31 PM

          green tea restaurant is about 400 meters up route 9 from where it crosses walnut street, three minutes from mobile book, in newton highlands, owners are great salt and peppers shrimp, yu shing eggplant and pretty good dumplings.
          inexpensive mai tais and pretty casual.

          2 Replies
          1. re: hyde
            Science Chick Feb 5, 2011 05:31 PM

            Second Green Tea, but it is on the corner of Rt. 9 and Eliot, not Walnut.

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            Green Tea Restaurant
            24 Elliot St, Newton Highlands, MA 02461

            1. re: Science Chick
              h
              hargau Feb 5, 2011 06:30 PM

              And if its a weekend they have an excellent dimsum menu

          2. v
            veggielover Feb 4, 2011 10:41 AM

            51 Lincoln and Lumiere don't serve lunch, but Kouzina serves a very nice lunch.

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            Lumiere Restaurant
            1293 Washington St., West Newton, MA 02465

            51 Lincoln
            51 Lincoln Street, Newton, MA 02461

            Kouzina
            1649 Beacon St, Waban, MA 02468

            1 Reply
            1. re: veggielover
              chefematician Feb 4, 2011 10:45 AM

              Ah I somehow missed the lunch part of the OP.

            2. chefematician Feb 4, 2011 10:37 AM

              What about Lumiere? It's all the way in West Newton, but I've had nice meals there.

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              Lumiere Restaurant
              1293 Washington St., West Newton, MA 02465

              1. e
                emilief Feb 4, 2011 08:48 AM

                If you like Italian, try Spiga which is on Needham Street. From the Book Fair, continue on Needham Street toward Needham. It is behind some buildings so you need to look closely. Have not been for lunch but dinner is usually quite good. A little more upscale than other suggestions (except 51 Lincoln which is also upscale).

                1 Reply
                1. re: emilief
                  t
                  teezeetoo Feb 4, 2011 10:11 AM

                  do check opening times for these recommendations. 51 Lincoln does not open until 5 PM. Metropolitan Club serves until 2:00 and then reopens at 5. so your late lunch might not work at either.

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                  Metropolitan Club
                  1210 Boylston Street, Chestnut Hill, MA 02467

                  51 Lincoln
                  51 Lincoln Street, Newton, MA 02461

                2. m
                  Madrid Feb 4, 2011 08:39 AM

                  thanks so much for this thread.

                  Since adopting a special needs child from foster care, Dh and I can't get out much by ourselves. So I'm going to do this NEMB trip myself on the the T and especially hit the cookbooks. OP, you are a great wife! And I really want to have a nice lunch after so I'll check out how many of these are within walking distance. and thanks to those who posted about Baza...I was trying to remember the name . You two are going to have A V day to remember!

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: Madrid
                    w
                    winecafe95 Feb 5, 2011 05:13 PM

                    Madrid...as a teacher of special needs kids, thanks so much for adopting one!! Great parenting and family go further than anything that I could ever offer as an educator and make the world of difference in a child's progress!

                    1. re: winecafe95
                      m
                      Madrid Feb 5, 2011 06:18 PM

                      He is adorable...we will be celebrating the 4th adoption anniversary in early April...he's 11 now (and we are 55). Now I need to make this about food. I mean local food (he is the pickiest eater in the universe, but he came by it the hard way...lots of food trauma in his past). So please let us know what you decide on for the near NEMBF...I want to make this trip, too....and how the chow was.

                  2. SeaSide Tomato Feb 4, 2011 07:34 AM

                    While yu ar on this field rp-stop at Baza--down the sreet from Book fiar heading towrds 128-on the right, behind Filines Basement.

                    It is a foodie Mecca for Eastern European and Russian treats. Last time I was there I got great frozen dumplings (froxzen in bulk), A giant bucket of brined anchovies that I am still working on, lunch at the terrific hot food bar (this COULD be your meal, but you might not want take out for VD--but if you try it, get the) chicken livers; duck legs with apples; stuffed cabbage; and much more).

                    Just go! Eat wherever you like for VD, but do hit Baza on your field trip. You will love it.

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                    Baza
                    30 Tower Road, Newton, MA 02464

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: SeaSide Tomato
                      t
                      teezeetoo Feb 4, 2011 07:53 AM

                      second extending the field trip to include Baza (don't miss the breads and the jams as well as the smoked fish, frozen dumplings and blintzes, fabulous salamis, etc.). China Fair next door is worth a stop to load up on well-priced paper plates and kitchen chatchkis. Farm Grille is fine if you want to stay close for lunch. Kouzina is a bit of a drive (Beacon Street) but I like it very much. The Met on Route 9 is also fine for a stop.

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                      Baza
                      30 Tower Road, Newton, MA 02464

                      Kouzina
                      1649 Beacon St, Waban, MA 02468

                    2. Prav Feb 4, 2011 06:10 AM

                      Farm Grill! Listen to nsenada - he will enseñar te the way.

                      Things to get:
                      -Moussaka with a bechamel custard high-top fade

                      -Octopus salad (some of the best octo I've had. A tad pricy - although, the idea of "cheap octopus" sounds kinda gross)

                      -Gigantor white beans in a light tomato sauce. Find this in their cold salad case.

                      -Their rotisserie meats are great. I think their chickens are brined, as they are ultra moist.

                      -Galaktoboureko for dessert. It's a honey-soaked flaky pastry full of custardy goodness.

                      Also, I'm lamenting the closing of N.E. Mobile Book Fair. I hope your husband enjoys.

                      4 Replies
                      1. re: Prav
                        nsenada Feb 4, 2011 10:23 AM

                        Must try the octo one of these days. Curse those galaktoboureko(s?)(i?) I can't resist them.

                        1. re: Prav
                          w
                          winecafe95 Feb 5, 2011 05:16 PM

                          @ Prav/nsenada...gracias a todos....AND, I have heard rumors of a sale of the NEMBF...hoping the tale has merit! :)

                          1. re: winecafe95
                            L2k Feb 6, 2011 06:26 AM

                            It is for sale, they expect (hope?) the new owner will maintain the style. And staff.

                          2. re: Prav
                            g
                            gabbyology Feb 10, 2011 09:20 PM

                            I love those white beans...

                          3. nsenada Feb 4, 2011 06:09 AM

                            The Biltmore's also nearby, but I haven't been in a while. I think I heard it has improved. C. Tsar's (f/k/a Ariadne) is fairly near, as well.

                            -----
                            The Biltmore
                            1205 Chestnut St, Newton Upper Falls, MA 02464

                            3 Replies
                            1. re: nsenada
                              Angel Food Feb 4, 2011 01:18 PM

                              The Biltmore has been decent the last couple times I've been , but the plates are now the most ridiculous things ever for the setting. Has anyone else seen this? They have replaced normal plates with these HUGE things. I was with a group of 8 around the holidays and the table was so overcrowded because of them, it was annoying.

                              -----
                              The Biltmore
                              1205 Chestnut St, Newton Upper Falls, MA 02464

                              1. re: Angel Food
                                s
                                stomachofsteel Feb 4, 2011 02:10 PM

                                Agreed. Enormous and awkwardly shaped. But the food I had was pretty good.

                                1. re: Angel Food
                                  s
                                  smurphman Feb 25, 2011 11:06 AM

                                  Those plates are a pain in the arse! They take up so much of the table, and they make the portions look small.

                              2. h
                                hargau Feb 4, 2011 06:07 AM

                                I will disagree with the others on Farm Grill. I have never been a fan of the place. the food is just ok to me. i think its overpriced especially considering its a cafeteria style place with no atmosphere and often rude employees.

                                I would suggest O'Haras around the corner or Green Tea Chinese which is about a 5 min drive.

                                6 Replies
                                1. re: hargau
                                  g
                                  Gordough Feb 4, 2011 10:02 AM

                                  Agreed on the rude employees but not the gyro. Would it kill those guys to ever smile or say thank you? But when it is on, the gyro is the best in the state and perhaps in New England. I will say, however, that I had a gyro there a few days ago that was just ok. Not sure what it was but it wasn't up to par.

                                  1. re: Gordough
                                    Prav Feb 4, 2011 10:28 AM

                                    Yeah, they're mean as shit, but damn do I like their food :)

                                    1. re: Prav
                                      nsenada Feb 4, 2011 10:34 AM

                                      I actually think they're not that bad - especially compared with Cowlicks in Needham, which is downright nasty. Good food, though.

                                      1. re: nsenada
                                        galleygirl Feb 4, 2011 12:40 PM

                                        Ya know, they're not that bad. I once ordered a glass of wine, while waiting for take-out, becasue I really needed it (!). The guy insisted on giving me a few grape leaves so it wouldn't go to my head. ;)

                                      2. re: Prav
                                        hiddenboston Feb 4, 2011 10:42 AM

                                        They're not that bad at Farm Grill, though one time I do recall myself saying, "Excuse me, do you have stuffed grape leaves today or should I just go f--k myself?"

                                        1. re: hiddenboston
                                          w
                                          winecafe95 Feb 5, 2011 05:11 PM

                                          Ok....I was close to Farm Grill....until HB's post. My husband would COMPLETELY say something like that to the waitstaff and then lose focus on the food. Hmm...maybe gyros for takeout another time!

                                  2. b
                                    Blumie Feb 4, 2011 06:06 AM

                                    I love the Farm Grill's lamb gyro almost as much as chacarero! As to The Local and O'Hara's, I find that while they're fine for what they are, they are not chow-worthy.

                                    1. hiddenboston Feb 4, 2011 05:12 AM

                                      We usually hit the Bookfair on the way to (or back from) The Local in West Newton (comfort food, good beers), or the aforementioned Farm Grill. It seems like the Farm Grill would be perfect, because it's right there, and the food is very good. Don't expect a whole lotta atmosphere, though!

                                      1. Angel Food Feb 4, 2011 03:32 AM

                                        Check the hours on 51 Lincoln - you might have to go for an early dinner, but it is right around the corner.

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                                        51 Lincoln
                                        51 Lincoln Street, Newton, MA 02461

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: Angel Food
                                          d
                                          Duster17 Feb 4, 2011 06:14 AM

                                          +1 on 51 Lincoln.

                                          -----
                                          51 Lincoln
                                          51 Lincoln Street, Newton, MA 02461

                                        2. nsenada Feb 3, 2011 07:28 PM

                                          Farm Grill is right there, for amazing gyros and galaktoboureko. There's also O'Hara's on Walnut Street nearby, for great burgers and pub food.

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