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Jul 20, 2011 11:47 AM

East X Northeast

This is just a shout out to the supremely friendly, competent and accommodating server my family of four had Sunday night at East X Northeast. Thanks for everything! And if some hound happens to go and the crispy daikon is available, get it.

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  1. What did you get almansa? (besides the crispy daikon) I haven't been in such a long time and am wondering if the menu has stayed the same?

    2 Replies
    1. re: yumyum

      It was my first time. Let's see... green beans with smoked tofu; salad of shredded carrot and kohlrabi w/ typical light dressing; mixed pickle plate; scallion pancake; pork belly sliders; sweet potato croquettes w/ honey aioli; smoked bluefish salad; short noodles w/ oyster mushrooms, greens & sweet bean paste; short noodles w/ pork loin confit, shiitakes & onion broth; chicken, crab & corn dumpling in chicken consomme; and egg noodles w/ beef shank & beef broth. As it's a farm to table spot, a lot of the veggies were what's around now: garlic scapes, kohlrabi, local greens and such, so there were a number of overlaps. As I said, I really liked the daikon (w/ pork belly & XO sauce). The smoked bluefish salad was lovely and light - more New England than Asian. The sliders were, well, how can you go wrong? The scallion pancake was fine, and both the housemade sodas - lime-cilantro and ginger - were awesome. I would have mixed the two with a bit of Venezuelan solera rum and a touch of coconut milk for a killer cocktail, but I had the glass rose instead. The sodas were for my kids, and our server prepared one 3 different times to make it less spicy. (No, we certainly didn't ask for this, and were a bit embarrassed she did, but kudos to her!) The rest of the meal was okay - fine while we were there, but no reason to return. And the price tag was just under $150. 10 small plates, 4 glasses of rose and 2 sodas, plus an amuse bouche and nice brown butter sesame cookies as a mignardises. It sounds expensive and it seemed expensive, but now when I think about it... never mind, it was expensive. I'd go back and give it another go, though. There were more things on the menu I wanted to try; I think next time I'll ask my server for more recommendations.

      1. re: almansa

        Fantastic! Thank you. Sounds like there are some standards (I love those pork belly sammies on mantou bread) and some freshies! I better pop in again soon.

    2. Went there a couple of weeks ago after a long absence and had the $35 tasting menu they are advertising on their website. it was an excellent meal and an amazing value. we had almost totally different dishes than the ones almansa listed, though some of the same seasonal ingredients- there were a lot of garlic scapes involved, which I really like. highlights included a monkfish liver pasta which was insanely good, and something I would never have ordered on my own, some outstanding fish dumplings, the bluefish salad... there were no clunkers in an eight course meal. I still think that ExNE is an outstanding restaurant and something special to the Boston area. The combination of asian technique/concepts and seasonal new england ingredients is genius.

      3 Replies
      1. re: skordalia

        Are you able to give any guidance on that, e.g. "no fish"?

        1. re: jgg13

          I don't know. You have to reserve in advance for the tasting menu so you could probably ask then.

          1. re: skordalia

            Went threre for a tasting menu recently with a vegetarian friend. We called in advance and asked for a vegetarian tasting menu, and they said no problem. When we arrived they had us marked down for a gluten-free tasting menu instead. No problem, they made up a new vegetarian tasting menu on the spot. Like every other meal I've bad at ExNE it had some hits and some major misses, but is good enough that I am not adverse to returning. What I'm most impressed by is that the only dish I'd ever had before on this tasting menu was the (terrible) scallion pancake --- they obviously change the menu often.

      2. To revive an old thread: we stopped by last night for a 10 course tasting (Buywithme Deal) and it was outstanding. It was also way too much food for the two of us. We ended up taking both noodle dishes home.

        2 Replies
        1. re: gini

          I, too, had the 10-course BuyWithMe meal this past Saturday. My wife and I were really looking forward to it, as we'd had a delicious dinner at ExNE a few months prior. However, this time, we were majorly disappointed. It seemed and tasted as though they had just made giant batches of the food for the tasting menu way in advance and were just doling it out. As my wife remarked, "everything just tastes the same, and not in a good way." The pork belly sandwich, such a standout the last time we went, tasted nothing of pork - just a big hit of vinegar from the pickled onions. The green beans were overwhelmed by garlic and the vegetable ragout that we got nothing of the green bean taste.

          I can understand why this happened - no doubt lots of people bought the coupon and it's hard to serve up a bunch of 10-course dinners in one night. But it sure was disappointing to those of us who had been there before, and I could see it being off-putting to those trying it out for the first time.

          I certainly hope that this was a temporary blip in what is a quite good restaurant.

          1. re: sdwr98

            My experience with the same ten-course tasting menu wasn't like yours at all. We didn't go in the last week of the deal, so perhaps that had something to do with it, but we thought it was probably the best of the 8 or so meals we have had at ExNE. The corn soup at the beginning, with smoked tofu and pickled jalapenos, was incredibly silky and had a delicious concentrated corn flavor. The pork belly bun was plenty porky and otherwise pretty consistent with other times we've had it. Our green bean dish had crunchy rice in it, which made for a nice hard crunchy texture to go with the softer crunch of the green beans. I think that place is better and better.

        2. we had an excellent brunch here last week and are returning this wkend. i really enjoy chef tang's creativity.

          they are doing a neat $55 NYEve 8 course dinner:

          still some seats left.
          :-} see you there?

          3 Replies
          1. re: opinionatedchef

            some hits and some misses and a general sense that the kitchen is trying too hard to innovate. major complaint about the tasting menu: far too many riffs on root vegetables. we had celery root, brussel sprouts, kohlrabi, turnip in several forms, beet, and shitake appeared in too many dishes. The overabundance of roots made the menu heavy, even though the small portions helped with that somewhat. The hot and sour soup was unsubtle and primarily sour, the wontons way too heavy. The fish croquets were in a lovely sauce but were overfried as were the rice noodles in a dish with excellent beef in black beans ragout. On the plus side, the shao mai with carrot and cauliflower puree was lovely and light and I quite enjoyed celery root salad and applaud the interesting butternut squash mousse in the cream puffs. I credit the innovation but sometimes pushing the envelope feels too effortful here. Made me long for the simplicity of Shanghai Gate.

            1. re: teezeetoo

              yes that butternut squash mousse was surprisingly luscious for us too. Also agree w/ you on the repetition of certain (seasonal) ingredients, but then again, isn't that one of the side effects of farm to table cuisine in general? The only consistent complaint I have here is the handmade noodles; i don't understand why they are so underdone, and i've never had them not underdone here. Silky/toothsome/al dente are nowhere to be seen. Haven't had the tasting menu here, but we're going for NYEve tomorrow. Menu seems varied enough; will report back.

              1. re: opinionatedchef

                highlights of the NYEve 8 course prix fixe menu:
                - Fried Oyster on Lime Coconut Cream
                -Beet Terrine w/ Citrus Yoghurt
                - Asian Waldorf salad w/ Celery Root and Tea Smoked Devilled Egg
                -Sous Vide and (then)Roasted Duck with Cranberry and Chestnut Sticky Rice

                The sous vide duck was the Revelation. Never had such beautiful moist textured and full flavored duck, ever.
                I am always at a loss to adequately describe the food here; the words convey none of the complexity of full ,piquant and balanced flavors , the intriguing array of textures, and the artful simple plate presentations.

                Sold out room for both seatings; relaxed and quiet atmosphere, easy for conversation; service friendly and smooth.A delightful end to a great year of food.