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the wisdom of crowds

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i was reading the reader's choice awards from the Phoenix and wondered about the tastes of the readers - or at least the submitters.

Best Italian: Carlos's Cuccina
Best inidian, Punjab Dhara
Best Mexican Ole
Best French: Gaslight
Best Middle Eastern: Middle East.

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Middle East Restaurant
472 Massachusetts Ave, Cambridge, MA 02139

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  1. oh my. i first scanned the list and then went straight for the date, because i thought it must be an old thread. The only response I can make is "must be young 20 somethings as the respondents." Horrifying really, but then again.........................

    1 Reply
    1. re: opinionatedchef

      i expect more from crowds. while there is a lot of skepticism on Chowhound about Yelp; if you look at their favorite fine dining restaurants; they are not shabby; Craggie, Menton, Scullers (?), Number 9 Park, Salts.

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      Menton
      354 Congress St, Boston, MA 02210

    2. What is the average age of a Phoenix reader, probably grad student level with an austere budget? Their culinary discoveries and thrills are years away. The acumen is there and will evolve into wisdom and refined taste in due time.

      1. I have good things to say about all of those choices except perhaps The Middle East (as a restaurant, not a live-music venue), though none of them would get my overall-best vote in their respective categories. In some cases, it's not just the Phoenix readership, but the ability of the restaurants' PR organizations to get out the vote via social media: see also the Globe's Munch Madness.

        http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

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        Middle East Restaurant
        472 Massachusetts Ave, Cambridge, MA 02139

        1. Dali: most romantic. This also depends on your demographic.

          6 Replies
          1. re: Madrid

            yeah, my idea of a romantic night out is hearing "happy birthday" sung to at least 12 other tables while i dine in a ferociously cramped space where much of the food is mircowaved.

            1. re: hotoynoodle

              I didn't want to do it, but this definitely needed to be said. But then again, i like CuchiCuchi, which is co-owned by one of the Dali owners, and many CHs don't respect it either.

              1. re: opinionatedchef

                Actually, I believe Cuchi Cuchi's owner is the daughter of Dali's owners; I don't think she has any affiliation with Dali. Also, don't refer to her cuisine as "tapas", unless you want to witness some frosty hilarity.

                http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

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                Cuchi Cuchi
                795 Main St, Cambridge, MA 02139

                1. re: MC Slim JB

                  that's weird. About two yrs ago, I had a long conversation with the CuchiCuchi Portuguese co-owner (she loves fado as do I) and she told me her partner was the owner/co-owner? of Dali.

                  She looked to be in her 50's. Maybe i misunderstood. But if I did, it would make sense to me that she has no Dali affiliation, and then I could get some sleep after all these years.

                  1. re: opinionatedchef

                    Two possible explanations there: one is that Dali has an interest in Cuchi Cuchi, but not the reverse; two is that she's referring to her partner in a different sense of the word. (I'm a fado fan, too, caught a great Cristina Branco show at Berkelee not too long ago.)

                    http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

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                    Cuchi Cuchi
                    795 Main St, Cambridge, MA 02139

                    1. re: MC Slim JB

                      From a Globe review in 2003 posted on the restaurant website:

                      "We want you to feel as if you've been to another country when you come here,' says co-owner Barbara Dollar. The other owners are Fernanda da Silva, who is of Portuguese descent, and Tamara Bourso, who is of Russian ancestry and also a co-owner of Dali Restaurant in Somerville."

                      The review is terribly old, which could mean inaccuracy.

          2. I put down the paper when I saw that the best bbq is Redbones. Not in my book.

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            Redbones
            55 Chester St, Somerville, MA 02144

            7 Replies
            1. re: CookieLee

              Me, too. But I'm from NC. Guess it works for some.,,,?

              1. re: Madrid

                I guess so. I'm from here, and if I can't get to BT's in Sturbridge, Blue Ribbon is my go to place. When Soulfire first opened they were v. good, but they unfortunately went downhill. Got to get to NC one of these days!

                1. re: CookieLee

                  It's not like Blue Ribbon is head and shoulders above Redbones. In fact the Arlington location is just about at the same level, some hits and some misses. Both are above average IMO (but not by much). I prefer M&M to both. Still want to check out Blackstrap.

                  1. re: Gabatta

                    I respectfully disagree. I've only been to the W. Newton location, and have never been disappointed. Which I cannot say about Redbones.

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                    Redbones
                    55 Chester St, Somerville, MA 02144

                    1. re: CookieLee

                      The West Newton Blue Ribbon location is usually a cut above the Arlington location.

                      1. re: VintageMolly

                        The food is prepared at the same place for both locations - at the BR commisary in Newton. I believe the Arlington location used to have its own smoker (meats used to have more smoke flavor at Arlington, imo), but were pulled out a couple of years ago.

                        I believe the bbq at Blue Ribbon is consistently better than at Redbones. Doesn't mean you can't stumble onto something transcendent at Redbones or something subpar at Blue Ribbon. All depends on the day, the hour, or even the plate served. Judging them over multiple visits is the only way to get a general feel for a bbq joint in this area.

                        1. re: LStaff

                          articulate and helpful info, thanks.

            2. People who tend to read the free, radical left newspaper also tend to populate Inman, Allston and Davis. I think geography counts for these ratings more than anything.

              Of course, there are a few outliers - I first learned about Vinny's At Night from reading the old restaurant listings when I first moved to Boston ten years ago..."Den of underworld cool" + Italian = I need to find out where this East Somerville is....

              4 Replies
              1. re: Bob Dobalina

                I hadn't seen the restaurant reviews in Workers World, I'll have to read more closely!

                1. re: Bob Dobalina

                  "Are you now, or have you ever, lived [shuffle papers] in Inman Square? That is the $64 question..."

                  1. re: hiddenboston

                    "Sir, I may live in Inman Square, but I have only eaten at national chains, and never at Chipotle."

                    1. re: hiddenboston

                      Lived there? Hell, I was born & raised there!