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Chowhound "bum steers"

I saw this phrase in the Barking Crab thread and it made me chuckle.

Then it made me think.

Have I ever gotten a CH bum steer?

Have I ever given a CH bum steer?

In this spirit, my horror stories and my mea culpas. Feel free to play!

CH "bum steers" that I experienced:

Zalek's, Wakefield. All of the gushing in '07 led me to three medicore meals and two-and-a-half hours of my life wasted (waiting for the food or takeout.) At least I can say I went down swinging.

Grille Zone. Short-lived burger joint near BU West. Yuck.

Copia. Anthony Caturano's ill-conceived and even worse executed 'steakhouse.' Thanks, but I'll stick to the amazing Prezza.

Famous Dave's, Saugus. Still quite can't get the taste of that faux 'que out of my mouth. Bleeechh.

Gitlo's. Apparently, I missed the window of goodness and got nothing but meh.

My "bum steers"

Pressed Sandwiches. Depressing how fast that place went down hill. Makes me wonder, was it ever any good?

Hot Off The Press. Defunct place in Charlestown Navy Yard - Really, not worth the trip due to inconsistency and often cold interiors of pressed sammys.

(BTW, two bad pressed sandwich places = don't ever take ole Bob's advice on pressed sandwiches!)

Blue's Diner, Melrose. When you are wrong, you are wrong! boy was I wrong!! Another shuttered eatery, another bad rec by me, especially for dinner. Ashen burgers and weeping grilled cheese do not a diner make.

Grand Canal - $12 for a unappetizing BBQ chix & bacon wrap? I'm sorry that I ever mentioned the place.

-----
Zaleks
21 Princess St, Wakefield, MA 01880

The Barking Crab
88 Sleeper Street, Boston, MA 02210

Prezza
24 Fleet St., Boston, MA 02113

Grille Zone
1022 Commonwealth Ave, Newton Center, MA

Pressed Sandwiches
2 Oliver St, Boston, MA 02109

Grand Canal
57 Canal St, Boston, MA 02114

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  1. i was completely dumbfounded when encountering the attitude at neptune oyster in the north end. after the raves on this board, the entire house staff seemed to treat me as if i had come in with shit on my shoe and was there to make their life miserable. never mind that one can spend 200usd without really trying. let the tourists have it , im going over to courthouse...

    4 Replies
    1. re: hyde

      Me too. Will never dine there again. Horrible treatment by the owner himself.

      1. re: StriperGuy

        Is that the arrogant obnoxious bartender?

        1. re: Guinness02122

          Dark hair, average height average build, and yes, sometimes tends bar.

    2. I can't think of any bum steers recently, but I don't rely on consensus, rather a handful of posters whom I've come to trust.

      http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

      1. Grill Zone was the ish, bring that place back (preferably with the unsustainably low prices)

        1 Reply
        1. re: Luther

          Still a fan of Aquitaine SE, I suggested someone do a brunch at AquDedham. A few weeks later I had brunch there and it was horrible. Thankfully, the posters event wasn't scheduled yet.

        2. Great thread. Takes guts to say when you're wrong. :) I sometimes think my own enthusiasm for the newest find can be a bit overboard in due time, but I cant' think of any places where I would retract my approval or over-rated it completely. I'm also pretty loyal to the places I like as well, perhaps too much to be completely objective. But no one really is.

          I'm pretty good at sniffing out recs that will disappoint me, thankfully. I guess I know myself and my tastes. All in all, good intel here, which is why we put up with the moderator abuse, lol.

          1. ditto your experience w/ gitlo's. lucky for us all, the space, now a kabob place, puts out excellent food.

            1. To be fair, I recall the downhill alert on Gitlo's being posted pretty promptly after Deng Laing's departure.

              http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

              3 Replies
              1. re: MC Slim JB

                hmm, that's odd. i usually do a really thorough CH search before going to a new place; maybe i went there before the alert, or maybe i missed it.

                1. re: MC Slim JB

                  That's my recollection as well. While I made fun of the CH hype on Gitlo's I went early on and had some dishes that were excellent. Palates and opinions differ, Gitlo's aside I'm not sure I buy the bum steer characterization of the OP.

                  I think most everyone on Boston CH loves food and wants to share good info with the group. In so doing they may romanticize a restaurant (particularly a new or otherwise undiscovered spot) or describe it in such glowing terms that it's unlikely any meal could live up to the expectation created. Personally I can't leave those expectations at the door, they were the primary reason for my visit after all.

                  The need of certain posters to put a restaurant in either the "BEST EVAR" or "Avoid at all costs" ends of the spectrum is also responsible for driving the hype IMO.

                  1. re: PaulB

                    I have a tactic that I've found helps me avoid disappointment in any experience -- movies, theater, music, restaurants -- where critics both amateur and professional influence my decision to go. Once I've read enough to say "Yeah, I wanna try that", I stop reading others' opinions until I've gone and experienced it for myself. It's too easy to read a string of raves that individually wouldn't set my expectations too high, but collectively do.

                    http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

                2. Uncle Pete's bbq - didn't get to it until after they moved, and maybe I hit it on the wrong day, but a sampler of the bbq meats were all dry and dense with similar soy influenced sweet sauce on everything.

                  Kathmandu Spice buffet - I thought only a couple of the dishes were decently edible but nothing special - the rest could have come out of a freezer at a supermarket for all I know.

                  Batting avg. of using recs on CH have been pretty good when traveling to other areas over the years - at least better than making random choices myself.

                  One rec that I gave here that I regret was the Clam King in Manchester, NH based on a string of good fried clams and scallops - then I ran into a string of badly prepared food and service. Never even redeemed the gift certificate they gave me when I complained the last time I stopped in.

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: LStaff

                    2nd the bum steer on Kathmandu Spice buffet. Tepid food in taste and temp. Like leftovers that were in the fridge too long.

                    -----
                    Kathmandu Spice
                    166 Massachusetts Ave, Arlington, MA 02474

                    1. re: LStaff

                      The key was you did not go until after they moved. It was much better in East Boston than in Revere!

                    2. Qingdao garden

                      Fuloon

                      East by northeast

                      Wangs fast food

                      Gourmet dumpling house

                      East coast grill

                      Taiwan cafe

                      IL casale

                      Essex seafood

                      Tuscan grill

                      Toraya

                      Zoe's

                      Santarpios

                      Not claiming every dish at these places is bad, but they didn't live up to the raves for me

                      10 Replies
                      1. re: barleywino

                        I will agree with Barley on Essex Seafood and East Coast Grill. You wont find me returning to either of those places. Im surprised about Fuloon on the list, I thought Fuloon was excellent foodwise. One of the better chowhound steers i have had.

                        -----
                        East Coast Grill and Raw Bar
                        1271 Cambridge St, Cambridge, MA 02139

                        Essex Seafood
                        143 Eastern Ave, Essex, MA 01929

                        1. re: hargau

                          perhaps we ordered different dishes at Fuloon... our group was steering away from the spicier dishes so may have missed some of their stronger ones

                          1. re: barleywino

                            yea we ordered almost all spicy dishes but we did also order the Wok Baked Beef which wasnt spicy and excellent and i think a noodle dish too. We had 1 person in the large group that didnt eat spicy food..

                            1. re: barleywino

                              That's why it was a bum steer! Har har har.

                              1. re: barleywino

                                bw, i too had major raised eyebrows at fuloon (and e x ne). just curious- what DID you have? the wok baked beef usually is enough to win over anyone (but not, i suppose, if accompanied by enough other meh dishes).I will add that we are not really into the repetetive 'same hot treatment' (chili oil, chile flakes etc) on the many dishes there, we have tried alot of things that were not ordered again, so it is possible to be disappointed there.
                                and e x ne - we have had disappointing things, but love it overall. so sorry you had bad time there.

                            2. re: barleywino

                              Strong 2nd on Qindao garden. I find it totally average.

                              1. re: Gabatta

                                It's below-average, unless you include all of the crappy takeout places in Boston in your calculation.

                              2. re: barleywino

                                Wow, I don't know what to say. I haven't been to Il Casale, Essex Seafood, or the Tuscan Grill, and I don't like Gourmet Dumpling House, but every other one you mentioned I like a lot, and have repeatedly recommended on this board --- particularly Fuloon and Wang's. So sorry if you feel I steered you wrong, but those are still among my favorite restaurants. What Chinese restaurants do you like?

                                What I really like about Chowhound is that most posters write with enough context and description that even if their tastes are different than mine, I can tell from their descriptions what I'm likely to enjoy. I'm also happy to take a chance, and if I don't end up liking it then at least I've learned that for myself.

                                Also, I find it incredible that so many people seem to have not enjoyed Erbaluce. I count it as one of the handful of Boston's top restaurants (on par with Craigie on Main, Oleana, Troquet, etc.) that are just a notch below the ultra-luxes (Menton, O Ya, L'Espalier, and Clio) overall (and lower on price too!)

                                -----
                                L'Espalier
                                774 Boylston St, Boston, MA 02199

                                O Ya
                                9 East Street, Boston, MA 02111

                                Essex Seafood
                                143 Eastern Ave, Essex, MA 01929

                                Tuscan Grill
                                361 Moody Street, Waltham, MA 02453

                                Gourmet Dumpling House
                                52 Beach St, Boston, MA 02111

                                Troquet
                                140 Boylston Street, Boston, MA 02116

                                Oleana
                                134 Hampshire St., Cambridge, MA 02139

                                Craigie on Main
                                853 Main Street, Cambridge, MA 02139

                                Erbaluce
                                69 Church Street, Boston, MA 02116

                                1. re: lipoff

                                  There is no right or wrong, of course, just different tastes, or different experiences on different days. Some local Chinese restaurants i like are Mulan, Chung Xing Yuan (weekend brunch), Jo Jo Taipei, Shanghai Gate, New Shanghai (some dishes, mainly the spicier ones), Szechuan Gourmet, Peach Farm, Best Little Restaurant, Hong Kong eatery, New Golden Gate (some dishes), Winsor...Went to Fuloon a couple times, ordered the Wok baked beef (have had this dish in Shanghai where it blew me away, possibly the best beef I've ever had, but the execution at Fuloon that day fell short), duck, braised pork shoulder (ti pang), can't remember what else, some of the CH favorites except for the spicier ones). What was disappointing was to bring an extended family group there, telling them how much people on CH loved this place, and then leave somewhat embarrassed that it didn't quite live up to expectations. But going to the restaurant is the only way to find out these things, of course. I do agree that consistency is often the issue. I have for example recommended Quik Pik BBQ in the past, but sometimes when I go, the crispy pork is not very good, while other times it has been amazing. Still trying to figure out when the best time to go is.

                                  Sometimes I think reviewers like to "help restaurants out" whom they think are small, new, or struggling to gain a niche, and slant their reviews accordingly. I'm more of the school of "natural selection", that restaurants with good food just need honest reviews, not one sided reviews, which may help the restaurants out but at the expense of other hounds.

                              3. Panaficio and Cafe Vanille on Charles Street.

                                Panaficio for the service mostly (glacially slow) and unspectacular food.

                                Cafe Vanille for the Au Bon Pain quality pastries.

                                Those are two bum steers I can think of off the top of my head.

                                On the flip side, I have yet to be disappointed in The Paramount, decent value for good food. I really liked the pulled pork sandwich I had there.

                                32 Replies
                                1. re: Guinness02122

                                  Cafe Vanille is just plain pathetic. I've post thusly several times.

                                  1. re: StriperGuy

                                    I wonder why they got Best of Boston pastry shop

                                    1. re: Guinness02122

                                      I thought the Best of Boston awards this year were particularly lame.

                                      Some that jumped out at me were Foundry (Neighborhood eats / Davis) Mooo (steakhouse) Sunset (Beer selection ... yes they have a ton of beers but the new beer places like Hobo and Meadhall strike me as more worthy...)

                                      Not quite sure what happened here as I usually don't scoff quite as much at the winners.

                                      1. re: yumyum

                                        Beer seems to be treated better at places like Deep Ellum, Lord Hobo and the like. I haven't been a fan of Sunset in years, and I'm starting to sour on Yard House.

                                        -----
                                        Deep Ellum Bar
                                        477 Cambridge St, Allston, MA 02134

                                        Lord Hobo
                                        92 Hampshire St, Cambridge, MA 02141

                                        1. re: Guinness02122

                                          I would actually count Deep Ellum among my very few bum steers. Had terrible food there (salad that was way past prime and should never have left kitchen, among other complaints), haven't been back.

                                          -----
                                          Deep Ellum Bar
                                          477 Cambridge St, Allston, MA 02134

                                          1. re: Parsnipity

                                            Very true. Bad food, good beer. Sort of the same situation with The Publick House. I would expect low quality food at Deep Ellum, but there's the famous mac-n-cheese varieties at at The Publick House. Why it's famous, I don't know. The one with sausage I tried was nasty.

                                            -----
                                            Publick House
                                            1648 Beacon St, Brookline, MA

                                            Deep Ellum Bar
                                            477 Cambridge St, Allston, MA 02134

                                            1. re: Parsnipity

                                              Parsnipity - how recently? The food when they first opened was indeed bad - overambitious and overpriced at that - but I've been pretty happy with the things I've had in the past couple of years (admittedly sticking to bar bites like the deviled eggs and the pretzels.)

                                              1. re: Allstonian

                                                Yeah, we went when they first opened, and the food was nothing special. We went on a Groupon last year, and both the deviled eggs and charcuterie plate were quite good, and our snadwiches were also excellent.

                                                1. re: Allstonian

                                                  True, it was a while back- maybe 3 years. But as someone up-thread commented, expectations and distance to travel all have to be considered, and for me, I know I won't make the trip back over from Somerville. Too many good other options.

                                                  1. re: Parsnipity

                                                    Yeah, that makes sense. I can walk there, so it made sense for me to re-try it after my initial disappointment.

                                                    1. re: Parsnipity

                                                      LOL @ travel distance between Somerville and Allston effecting one's opinions of where to eat.

                                                      1. re: LStaff

                                                        LOL all you want - it's a fair point, especially for those of us who use public transportation. I can't think of any part of Somerville that doesn't require at least one change to get to from Allston (green line to red line, at best), and there are parts of Somerville like Union Square that are accessible only by bus. I'm far from bus-phobic, but if getting from point A to point B takes a full hour each way - not at all improbable - I can totally see that Parsnipity would be annoyed at going so far for a bad meal.

                                                        1. re: Allstonian

                                                          I'm sorry to admit that as much as I love Highland Kitchen, its relative remoteness via public transport means I go far less often than I might, particularly as there is often an unpredictable wait at the far end. It's not a very Chowish thing to cop to, I know.

                                                          http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

                                                          -----
                                                          Highland Kitchen
                                                          150 Highland Ave, Somerville, MA 02143

                                                          1. re: MC Slim JB

                                                            Perhaps not "Chowish," but realistic.

                                                            This was the general point I was attempting to get at in our previous back-and-forth about the practicality of people with dinner reservations in Central Sq. going for cocktails pre-dinner in "Kendall." A short walk of over ten minutes is still occasionally not comfortable in terms of dining plans...there are issues with parking or public transit in addition to the potential walk that usually means most people (even Chow-leaning) will not consider cocktails at Hungry Mother is much of an option pre-Craigie (regardless of potential waits...and whoever thought that Green St. Grill was farther from Craigie than HM...check Google Maps...).

                                                            -----
                                                            Hungry Mother
                                                            Cambridge, MA, Cambridge, MA

                                                            1. re: Canadian Tuxedo

                                                              Um, by my Google mapping, Green Street is 0.3 mi on foot from Craigie, Hungry Mother is 0.6 mi. That does place Hungry Mother just beyond the ten-minute-walk radius I usually circumscribe when I'm making recommendations for a pre-dinner cocktail stop.

                                                              http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

                                                              -----
                                                              Hungry Mother
                                                              Cambridge, MA, Cambridge, MA

                                                              1. re: Canadian Tuxedo

                                                                craigie has the reputation of good cocktail; is there a need to go somewhere before craigie?

                                                                1. re: cambridgedoctpr

                                                                  The bar at Craigie is generally packed, having a drink there isn't always possible.

                                                                  1. re: LeoLioness

                                                                    is it no possible to have a cocktail at one's table? I have never tried as i rarely drink cocktails.

                                                                    1. re: cambridgedoctpr

                                                                      Craigie will certainly serve you cocktails anywhere in the restaurant. I believe LL's point is that the bar is so constantly jammed that dropping by just for a drink is rarely an easy option.

                                                                      http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

                                                                      1. re: MC Slim JB

                                                                        if you return to the post by Canadian Tuxedo, you will see that he was asking where to go for a drink pre-Craigie. That said, i agree with your point that Craigie's bar is busy.

                                                                        1. re: cambridgedoctpr

                                                                          I think it's definitely easier to stop by for a drink at Craigie if you're actually planning on dining there. And it's a great bar program, a much better option for a serious drink than most nearby places. It's just almost never a comfortable place to enjoy a cocktail for its own sake. Close to the end of service is when I've had the best luck on that score.

                                                                          http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

                                                              2. re: MC Slim JB

                                                                Totally realistic. HK is a walk for me, so going once a week (or more!) is completely reasonable for me. Conversley, it takes about an hour to get to Allston and frankly, the Green Line during rush hour (especially on Sox home game nights) sucks it, so it's a lot less realalistic to go there on a whim.

                                                                That said, smartphone apps for MBTA bus routes are a godsend. Still, even though Highland Kitchen is accessible by the 88 and 90 buses, it can also mean a 30 minute wait for those buses, which can be a drag.

                                                                1. re: LeoLioness

                                                                  Highland Kitchen is good, but in my book not quite a destination. There is no WAY I would spent an hour + on the T to dine there.

                                                                  -----
                                                                  Highland Kitchen
                                                                  150 Highland Ave, Somerville, MA 02143

                                                              3. re: Allstonian

                                                                Agrwwd. No different than people avoiding a place based on lack of parking...

                                                              4. re: LStaff

                                                                It can be quite a hike, and then throw in that there are similar options likely in between point A and point B. There are all sorts of places I don't go to because they're "too far" - granted someone out in the burbs wouldn't view it that way but there are a lot of places in the city where said person in teh burbs could actually get there faster than I as they're driving directly there.

                                                                1. re: jgg13

                                                                  I guess all about your frame of reference and enthusiasm for the food on the other end. I would drive an hour for food I like without blinking an eye - but I would probably pair it up with some other activity or food stop as well.

                                                                  1. re: LStaff

                                                                    The problem is that the bit where there are similar choices in between. There are all sorts of places around here that I like but not so much more than other choices that are between the two points. Deep Ellum is a good example for me, which is why I chimed in. It's a bit of a PITA for me to get to, and seating can also be a challenge. It blows coordinating a handful of people over there only to find out that it's jam packed. That's not to say that I never go to DE, but they certainly lose a lot of money from me that they otherwise would get because of their location.

                                                                    Mind you, I've traveled all over the country just to get a particular dish (haven't yet done that internationally) so it's not as if I won't travel for food/drink, but it has to be *worth it* and DE simply doesn't separate itself form the rest of the pack enough to be worth the hassle of travel + being shoulder to shoulder with hipsters.

                                                                    -----
                                                                    Deep Ellum Bar
                                                                    477 Cambridge St, Allston, MA 02134

                                                      2. re: yumyum

                                                        from the magazine? the "awards" are ad-driven, and have almost nothing to do with food or service quality. near to worthless if you're deciding to try a place.

                                                      3. re: Guinness02122

                                                        Cause Boston Magazine SUX. SRSLY Cafe Vanille's pastries taste like Crayons.

                                                        1. re: StriperGuy

                                                          when you are in form, you come up with the BEST analogies. :-}

                                                          1. re: opinionatedchef

                                                            striper is aways in form; he is just much more sensitive about service than i am. if the food is good; i am a happy camper.

                                                          2. re: StriperGuy

                                                            Stripey, sometimes your posts make me wish there was a "like" button here!

                                                    2. Bum steers I received:
                                                      Gitlo's
                                                      Antico Forno

                                                      Bum steers I gave:
                                                      Nancy Changs's in Worcester

                                                      -----
                                                      Antico Forno
                                                      93 Salem Street, Boston, MA 02113

                                                      Nancy Chang Restaurant
                                                      372 Chandler St, Worcester, MA 01602

                                                      11 Replies
                                                      1. re: Science Chick

                                                        oh yea i forgot about Antico Forno, definitely a bum steer..

                                                        -----
                                                        Antico Forno
                                                        93 Salem Street, Boston, MA 02113

                                                        1. re: hargau

                                                          Indeed. Went to Antico Forno with high expectations and was completely disappointed. Truly mediocre food, and terrible service.

                                                          -----
                                                          Antico Forno
                                                          93 Salem Street, Boston, MA 02113

                                                        2. re: Science Chick

                                                          2nd Antico, there may be a few brick oven dishes that are good but, overall the place is meh. Also, Santarpio's up on rt 1, aweful.

                                                          1. re: Science Chick

                                                            Okay, I'm one of the guilty ones giving a bum steer on Antico Forno, but I still love their chicken parm!

                                                            -----
                                                            Antico Forno
                                                            93 Salem Street, Boston, MA 02113

                                                            1. re: Pegmeister

                                                              Whenever I recommend Antico Forno, I'm always very careful to say, "Only go there for lunch and only get the lamb sandwich." There have certainly been times when folks here have given a place qualified recommendations but I've forgotten the qualifiers and accordingly ordered incorrectly.

                                                              But to this day, I still don't understand what the appeal of Scup's was supposed to be. My food was horrible (the much-vaunted millionaire's bacon was mediocre bacon overcooked and then covered in dry brown sugar and pepper) and I found the room actively repellent.

                                                              Something I've fairly recently learned to take into account when recommending restaurants that are in my own neighborhood -- say, Packards Corner to Union Square Allston to Coolidge Corner -- is whether or not I would actually travel to this restaurant if it were in, say, Jamaica Plain or Inman Square. That gives me a better idea of how strong my recommendation actually is.

                                                              -----
                                                              Antico Forno
                                                              93 Salem Street, Boston, MA 02113

                                                              1. re: Jenny Ondioline

                                                                THAT is an excellent suggestion for all CHs.It should be added to the 'read this first' .

                                                                  1. re: Jenny Ondioline

                                                                    I've only been once, and it was for lunch. I only had the ribolita, and it was fantastic.

                                                                  2. re: Pegmeister

                                                                    I also recommend Antico Forno but ONLY for the mussels while waiting for Neptune. I think sometimes Bun Steers come from selective reading and differences in taste as well as declining quality at restaurants.

                                                                    Penny
                                                                    http://www.bostonzest.com/

                                                                    -----
                                                                    Antico Forno
                                                                    93 Salem Street, Boston, MA 02113

                                                                  3. re: Science Chick

                                                                    Antico Forno is the single worst meal the wife and I have ever had in the North End

                                                                    -----
                                                                    Antico Forno
                                                                    93 Salem Street, Boston, MA 02113

                                                                    1. re: Science Chick

                                                                      I have to say that I had lunch there recently, and had an AMAZING risotto. So, not always a bum steer - depending on what you order. My daughter's pizza was meh, but she's 5, and loves almost any cheese pizza.

                                                                    2. Bum steers rec'd: No. 9 park, Kathmandu Spice (mentioned above), whatever Pongal in Billerica was before.

                                                                      Bum steers given: Lobster Pool. Major red-face. Raved about it and the food was worse than chain restaurant mediocrity. When they are on, it's great. Not consistent, though.

                                                                      -----
                                                                      Lobster Pool
                                                                      329 Granite St, Rockport, MA 01966

                                                                      Kathmandu Spice
                                                                      166 Massachusetts Ave, Arlington, MA 02474

                                                                      6 Replies
                                                                      1. re: three of us

                                                                        You mean Masalaa? It was all southern Indian, vegetarian, which is not what most Westerners think of as Indian food. The Pongal features dishes from all regions of India, although the owners, and the sister restaurant in Bangalore, are southern.

                                                                        1. re: greygarious

                                                                          Yes, Masalaa! We went for Sunday lunch and I have never been so ignored and rudely treated! I would rather be asked to leave, that they don't want to serve us (whatever the reason). I was the one who lobbied to go there and felt very badly for my table. So, it wasn't the regional variance in Indian cooking -- they were just jerks.

                                                                          1. re: aregularjoe

                                                                            My steak was not cooked to order (med/rare) and it was brought back well done with all kinds of crud sticking to it, like it fell into the bin where the stuff they clean off the grill goes. I told the waiter that the steak was not acceptable and I would like another one cooked fresh. He told me it would take up to 30 minutes. Husband's steak was okay but not a great cut. Sides were unimpressive. This was a splurge dinner for us so that added to our disappointment.

                                                                            1. re: three of us

                                                                              WOW. I have never had anything but top quality ingredients, perfect preparation and bend over backwards service in 6 visits over the last 2 years. Once or twice the dishes were not exactly to my taste, but always top quality ingredients executed flawlessly.

                                                                              Would you tell me when you went? Was it recent? I have not been there in the last 6 months.

                                                                              1. re: aregularjoe

                                                                                It was a couple years ago, at least. We were so happy to go out for a special dinner and my steak was like getting doused in ice water -- I was that stunned.

                                                                        2. I would say that what I love about CH (as opposed to, say, Yelp), is that the odds of getting a bum steer are very, very small. Off the top of my head, I can only think of three real disappointments: Franklin Cafe, Erbaluce and Gran Gusto. My meals at each place were just OK, but after the reviews here I was expecting much more, and I haven't been back to any of them.

                                                                          -----
                                                                          Gran Gusto
                                                                          90 Sherman St, Cambridge, MA 02140

                                                                          Erbaluce
                                                                          69 Church Street, Boston, MA 02116

                                                                          17 Replies
                                                                          1. re: winedude

                                                                            Oh yeah, I should have included Gran Gusto on my "received" list. I thought the pizza was soggy and awful!

                                                                            -----
                                                                            Gran Gusto
                                                                            90 Sherman St, Cambridge, MA 02140

                                                                            1. re: Science Chick

                                                                              Our Margherita pizza was just fine.

                                                                            2. re: winedude

                                                                              +1 on Franklin Cafe. As much as I hate to be a person who says it, "I really wanted to like this place..." I still like going there for drinks.

                                                                              1. re: winedude

                                                                                I second the bum steer of Erbaluce. We had a dreadful dinner there last year. Pasta and meats not cooked properly, bizarre flavors that did not work at all, and awful service. I was really disappointed after reading such good reviews.

                                                                                -----
                                                                                Erbaluce
                                                                                69 Church Street, Boston, MA 02116

                                                                                1. re: Novasmurf

                                                                                  Ditto Erbaluce.

                                                                                  And Scups in the Harbor was ehhh to me too...dumpy place...food was just ok...

                                                                                  -----
                                                                                  Erbaluce
                                                                                  69 Church Street, Boston, MA 02116

                                                                                  1. re: Spike

                                                                                    "Bum" clearly is in the eye of the beholder. I had another astonishing meal at Erbaluce recently, have never had anything that I thought was less than terrific there. But I have friends whom I've steered there and did not love it. A couple of them listened to my urging to give it a second shot, and have turned around on it.

                                                                                    I think I've given plenty of recommendations here that don't have the benefit of a recent visit, and when I went back later, I went, "Uh-oh." For instance, I've long recommended Il Capriccio here, but found it had declined pretty steeply when I went back a couple of years ago. Same thing for Pigalle: I had long recommended it here, but my last couple of visits were very disappointing.

                                                                                    I'm trying harder not to recommend places I haven't been back to in the last six months or so. Even the great ones go downhill eventually.

                                                                                    http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

                                                                                    -----
                                                                                    Pigalle
                                                                                    75 Charles Street South, Boston, MA 02116

                                                                                    Il Capriccio
                                                                                    888 Main St., Waltham, MA 02453

                                                                                    Erbaluce
                                                                                    69 Church Street, Boston, MA 02116

                                                                                    1. re: MC Slim JB

                                                                                      As to Il Capriccio, it may merit another return visit if you haven't been in a couple of years - had a 30 person function there this past fall, and the food was great all the way around. Not sure how it compares to your past experiences, of course....

                                                                                      1. re: MC Slim JB

                                                                                        How is Pigalle still surviving? Is it loyal regulars; people coming in to town for a show and looking for nearby non-asian restaurants with decent Zagat scores; some combination of the two making it easy to fill such a small place; or something else? I just don't get it. The food and service are fine, but with the $14-23 apps and $29-44 entrees, the value is terrible.

                                                                                        Pigalle is one of those places (Radius is another) that makes me wonder whether it has really gone downhill or if its early-2000s style of food is just dated. I suspect it's both, but I won't be going back to really find out.

                                                                                        -----
                                                                                        Pigalle
                                                                                        75 Charles Street South, Boston, MA 02116

                                                                                        1. re: DoubleMan

                                                                                          Pigalle may not be surviving as much as you may think. They offered a $25-for-$50 groupon recently.

                                                                                          -----
                                                                                          Pigalle
                                                                                          75 Charles Street South, Boston, MA 02116

                                                                                          1. re: DoubleMan

                                                                                            My disappointments at Pigalle and Radius have been less failures of conception than execution. But I agree: both are now terrible values.

                                                                                            http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

                                                                                            -----
                                                                                            Pigalle
                                                                                            75 Charles Street South, Boston, MA 02116

                                                                                          2. re: MC Slim JB

                                                                                            hmmm, i just remembered- Falafel Corner in Harv Sq. Not again. no nooo.

                                                                                            1. re: MC Slim JB

                                                                                              I think the issue with Erbaluce is that the flavor palette is very unconventional, sometimes bordering on a bit weird. I love it - it works for me - it's so not same old same old. But I could understand that it wouldn't work for everyone.

                                                                                              -----
                                                                                              Erbaluce
                                                                                              69 Church Street, Boston, MA 02116

                                                                                              1. re: FoonFan

                                                                                                I don't mind unusual flavor palate. I've been 4 times. Had superb food twice and just plain poor execution twice. That batting average is not good enough for me.

                                                                                          3. re: Novasmurf

                                                                                            I've had very good meals at Erbaluce and very lame ones (once solo with my SO who is Italian). I won't go any more unless I am with friends of the house.

                                                                                            -----
                                                                                            Erbaluce
                                                                                            69 Church Street, Boston, MA 02116

                                                                                          4. re: winedude

                                                                                            Erbaluce was the one that came to mind for me also. Admittedly we only went once, but except for my husband's clam app, (can't remember specifics), each of the dishes seemed unbalanced in some way. And the service was sub-par. We don't get the pleasure of eating out a lot, so I doubt we'll gamble on it again any time soon.

                                                                                            -----
                                                                                            Erbaluce
                                                                                            69 Church Street, Boston, MA 02116

                                                                                            1. re: winedude

                                                                                              I'd also put Gran Gusto on my received list, except that the rest of my party loved their meals and still talk about them. I like I just ordered wrong.

                                                                                              -----
                                                                                              Gran Gusto
                                                                                              90 Sherman St, Cambridge, MA 02140

                                                                                            2. I have eaten at many places discussed and know I disagree with a number of other posters so I'm careful about my expectations. That said, I've never liked El Pelon's fish anything much; it's tasteless, has no meaningful consistency and comes covered in too much gunk that obscures whatever taste might exist.

                                                                                              I find my disagreements come in a few repeated flavors. Putting aside consistency:

                                                                                              1. People like fried food and I think it's mostly just fried flour stuck on something. Fried scallops are almost always a waste of shellfish and most fried clams are hunks of breading that sometimes have a clammish flavor. Very rarely do places fry lightly and I think the trend has been toward harder not lighter frying. I used to be able to get reasonable soft fried calamari but now the standard seems to be hard fried. Even tempura around here is getting a harder crust. Tastes are moving away from mine. And away from healthy. I think fried food should be served in a small enough portion that it remains hot.

                                                                                              2. Sweetness. Lots of people like sweetened food, particularly sweetened Asian foods. That's not my taste. It seems restaurants know they can attract the American palate by loading up with sugar. Though much of my family is from NC, I can't really abide the sickening sweet BBQ soaked in sauce that is often done around here. It's not North v. South: upstate NY has BBQ that's light years better.

                                                                                              3. What I call the "authentic ethnic snob." Some people insist it just can't be good because it isn't made exactly like it is in x country. We're not in that country. They complain about details that matter only to them; they're the food equivalent of the language police insisting you pronounced that word wrong.

                                                                                              This all said, the biggest problem with food in Boston is consistency and that I blame on the general lack of a food culture in the US and certainly in this area. Restaurants here have improved a lot, but they haven't yet - if they ever will - learned how consistency is the essence of making food. It's kind of disheartening to realize that given the vast numbers of culinary school ads on tv. So much of the food experience in the US is oriented toward processing, by which I mean they perform cooking processes and plating processes like in a factory shop and don't understand the true depth of what food means.

                                                                                              -----
                                                                                              El Pelon
                                                                                              2197 Commonwealth Ave., Brighton, MA 02135

                                                                                              3 Replies
                                                                                              1. re: lergnom

                                                                                                Absolutely love point #3. What's is "authentic" anyway? - as if their is some written code that should not be violated. Even in the countries that people claim are the source of authenticity, things are done differently depending on region/city/place/cook. Like when people make claims of "traditional", one only needs to look at a different time period to see different traditions.

                                                                                                1. re: LStaff

                                                                                                  I really like the word "traditional", which doesn't carry the loaded cultural bias of "ethnic" and doesn't ascribe authority to the user the way "authentic" does.

                                                                                                  I try to use it the way J. Gold does, meaning "food as it is cooked in the native country, or by ex-pats cooking here for other ex-pats", as opposed to versions of the food that have been adapted for non-native ingredients and tastes.

                                                                                                  To me, that doesn't mean there's only one true version: obviously, every cuisine has many variants based on regions, dietary and sub-cultural preferences, home cooking vs. restaurant cooking vs. street-food cooking, etc.

                                                                                                  I have to confess, I am one of those "snobs" when it comes to many traditional cuisines. But I am being honest when I say I like S&I better than at suburban curry-from-a-can Thai joints, or Taqueria Jalisco better than Temazcal, or New Shanghai better than Golden Temple. But I don't think I'm an absolutist, either: there's room in my heart for both Mary Chung and Sichuan Gourmet.

                                                                                                  http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

                                                                                              2. gitlo's
                                                                                                angela's
                                                                                                santarpio's
                                                                                                mehak
                                                                                                brookline family restaurant
                                                                                                guru the caterer
                                                                                                baraka cafe

                                                                                                4 Replies
                                                                                                1. re: galangatron

                                                                                                  I like this thread.

                                                                                                  BS taken: agree on Guru the Caterer and I've tried both locations
                                                                                                  Cognac Bistro but i think this is my issue of fair to middlin' food that I can make better at home.
                                                                                                  BS given: I recall a rec on a Thai place in Oak Square (Sweet Pepper?) that was a bomb. I was so pleased to finally have a flavor beyond pepperoni in my old neighborhood that I got carried away.

                                                                                                  1. re: galangatron

                                                                                                    I totally agree that Santarpios is a bum steer. Mediocre pizza and lamb kebabs. To say that it is as good as or better than Pizzeria Regina on Thatcher Street is simply not true.

                                                                                                    1. re: Delhiwala

                                                                                                      To me Regina is a bum steer in itself. Recommending "Regina's on Thatcher Only" to tourists is like breathing air on this board. Best Roman style pizza Boston may have? Maybe. But in the greater picture of pizza in America, let alone New England, Regina's stands on it's history more than it stands on quality. Wouldn't even crack the top 20 in the U.S.

                                                                                                      1. re: T.Clark

                                                                                                        Agree about Regina's not making a top 20 in the US. However, within the confines of the BOS CH board it is one of the better za places, especially if you know what to order.

                                                                                                  2. I've often gotten good leads, but it does depend on whether your taste matches the posters. I note above that several people list erbaluce and gran gusto as "duds" and I love the first and like the second. Cognac Bistro is my neighborhood go to bistro, neither grand nor expensive, but always warm and reliable, and Family restaurant is one of my favorite "cheap eats." So, what some call a bum steer may remain the delight of others. on the other hand, cafe vanille is just plain lousy.

                                                                                                    -----
                                                                                                    Cognac Bistro
                                                                                                    455 Harvard St, Brookline, MA 02446

                                                                                                    1. I don't think my family will ever let me live down Vinny's at Night. Mean to us when they weren't ignoring us (one of two tables seated), oily burnt garlic pasta, overpriced. The kids were like "why are we eating bad food in a basement?" I concede it may be *possible* to have a positive experience there, because it seems so popular on this board, but I would never go again.

                                                                                                      I'm sorry for all those I've sent to Cantina la Mexicana in Union Sq. When it first opened as a bigger place, they had a great bartending team, the food was pretty good, etc. The last time I went, the food was barely passable, the server was bad enough we almost wondered if it was performance art.

                                                                                                      1. It certainly could have been a case of bad ordering, but I recall a meal at Changsho (near Porter Square) so awful that every time I see it subsequently recommended I want to sit on my fingers lest I type NO.

                                                                                                        -----
                                                                                                        Changsho
                                                                                                        1712 Massachusetts Ave, Cambridge, MA 02138

                                                                                                        14 Replies
                                                                                                        1. re: LeoLioness

                                                                                                          Fair enough, but I don't think I've ever seen much love for Changsho on this board, except in threads looking for old-school Americanized Chinese food or a dressy room.

                                                                                                          1. re: Allstonian

                                                                                                            And free parking: don't forget the free parking. It's like gold on that stretch between Harvard and Porter.

                                                                                                            http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

                                                                                                            1. re: MC Slim JB

                                                                                                              Oh, yeah. Don't drive, so that part never crosses my mind.

                                                                                                              1. re: Allstonian

                                                                                                                I rarely drive when I'm dining out, either, but I have to believe that free parking is the only reason the Red Fez remains in business. Either that, or it's really a restaurant in name only.

                                                                                                                http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

                                                                                                                -----
                                                                                                                Red Fez
                                                                                                                49 Peck St, Providence, RI 02903

                                                                                                                1. re: MC Slim JB

                                                                                                                  my husbands family still mourns the original Red Fez

                                                                                                                  1. re: Bellachefa

                                                                                                                    I don't remember the original Fez, though I too know people who do, and fondly. What I remember is the revived Fez being pretty good and reliable for several years, and now it's just insultingly bad in every way imaginable. Always empty, still open every night.

                                                                                                                    http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

                                                                                                                    1. re: MC Slim JB

                                                                                                                      Erbaluce. Not the worst place I've been, but a waste of a birthday meal. :) CH totally overhyped and overrated the food. Plus, no one mentioned the room was also hideously ugly. Still looks like the bar that it used to be.

                                                                                                                      Bergamot was 1,000 times better in every way and even Prezza did just about everything right.

                                                                                                                      -----
                                                                                                                      Prezza
                                                                                                                      24 Fleet St., Boston, MA 02113

                                                                                                                      Erbaluce
                                                                                                                      69 Church Street, Boston, MA 02116

                                                                                                                      1. re: misscucina

                                                                                                                        Didn't like Erbaluce either. The constant theme, here and elsewhere, is that it's distinctive for its chef's commitment to light preparation, not heavy on butter and oil. I had a risotto that was swimming in oil. Saffron-infused oil, I grant you, but greasy nonetheless. Most other aspects of the experience disappointed me as well, including the room and the vibe, and the terrible music they were playing. The whole experience was just so bland and stiff.

                                                                                                                        -----
                                                                                                                        Erbaluce
                                                                                                                        69 Church Street, Boston, MA 02116

                                                                                                                        1. re: chickendhansak

                                                                                                                          I agree with this one. I have previously posted about sub par experiences at Erbulace. Bad room, uneven service and timing from the kitchen and bar, blistering halitosis from our waiter on one visit. The food isn't consistently good enough to make up for all of this. We had one good meal there, then two terrible experiences. It is off the list.

                                                                                                                          1. re: Gabatta

                                                                                                                            I feel I was a victim of bum steer syndrome when I went to Erbaluce for my birthday last year after reading the rave reviews here. The room felt so uncomfortable and I can't even remember the food we had. Will not go back.

                                                                                                                            -----
                                                                                                                            Erbaluce
                                                                                                                            69 Church Street, Boston, MA 02116

                                                                                                                            1. re: Gabatta

                                                                                                                              Maybe the halitosis was part of some funky flavor palette?

                                                                                                                2. re: MC Slim JB

                                                                                                                  MC, You know I love free parking. Don't underestimate the power of free parking. Automatically makes the meal taste better. Ha! Ha! Did I say I love free parking?
                                                                                                                  Available almost nowhere in the City.
                                                                                                                  CocoDan

                                                                                                                3. re: Allstonian

                                                                                                                  Changsho was good between 1977 and 1987, but not later. So it has been a while.

                                                                                                                  -----
                                                                                                                  Changsho
                                                                                                                  1712 Massachusetts Ave, Cambridge, MA 02138

                                                                                                                4. re: LeoLioness

                                                                                                                  I've had a couple of mediocre things there (pretty much anything on their buffet), but I've also had easily the best Americanized Chinese food in Boston there.

                                                                                                                5. Wow, looks like all the posts referring to a much-missed voice on the board have vanished ... a pity ... I'm glad this thread is generating some lively discussion, but I'm curious why more people are not copping to giving out bum steers. Nobody can bat .1000, correct?

                                                                                                                  Inre the Villa Mexico, I'd forgot that I was not impressed with that rec.

                                                                                                                  Inre Cantina La Mex, formerly Taqueria La Mex, I guess that could be considered another BS by me. That said, I've long qualified my rec/love for that joint by saying the only safe dishes are the pork tacos, the chili rellenos and the tamals. Everything else is 'meh' or worse IMHO. That said, those three dishes continued to deliver. Just last week, I did a take out pork tacos which was to die for, perfect handmade double-stack corn wrap filled with greasy carnitas (they throw the roast pork on the grill before they make the taco) covered with fresh pico di gallo and some habenero sauce. Nothing fancy, just yummy.

                                                                                                                  -----
                                                                                                                  Villa Mexico
                                                                                                                  296 Cambridge St, Boston, MA 02114

                                                                                                                  4 Replies
                                                                                                                  1. re: Bob MacAdoo

                                                                                                                    Really good - we had them after the farmers market a few weeks ago. Gonna' say it was not only the best pork taco I've ever had, but probably the best taco.

                                                                                                                    1. re: Bob MacAdoo

                                                                                                                      Here's a bum steer I gave: for ages, whenever requests for afternoon tea came around, I would recommend the Park Plaza almost reflexively, in particular mentioning the welcoming service. The last time we were there -- and it will indeed be the last -- the service went past indifferent and verged on actively hostile. So I did feel bad about all the times I had previously recommended them.

                                                                                                                      1. re: Jenny Ondioline

                                                                                                                        I've only been to the Park Plaza for tea tasting with Cynthia Gold, the tea sommelier. And she provides lovely service, and is incredibly knowledgable. I don't know about their ordinary teas, but the tastings are no more expensive than their regular tea service, but you have to call in advance and they're not always available. I would certainly recommend it!

                                                                                                                        1. re: Jenny Ondioline

                                                                                                                          You don't mean the Park Plaza, you mean the Bristol Lounge at the Four Seasons.

                                                                                                                      2. The only two I can think of are Chez Henri and Guru. Neither was actually bad, just disappointing given the massive hype; the Indian at Guru was fine, but about on par with frozen Indian from Trader Joes, frankly. And the much-hyped Cubano at Chez Henri was indeed a decent sandwich, but paled next to the ones at Dave's Fresh Pasta, which were cheaper, tastier, and had a thousand times less attitude attached.

                                                                                                                        I have to admit over-hyping the sandwiches at the late Good Food Cafe. I declared their veggie sandwich the "best sandwich in Boston", and at that exact moment in time, it might've seemed that way to me. But they went downhill very quickly, stopped using their fresh-baked bread (which was 90% of the reason their sandwiches were so good), and I gave up on the place after several terrible meals.

                                                                                                                        8 Replies
                                                                                                                        1. re: Boston_Otter

                                                                                                                          I've often wondered how good the famous cubano at Chez Henri really is but can't deal with the hassle of getting the elusive seats at the bar.. Our go to cubano is from the Montrose Spa, which is almost next door to CH..

                                                                                                                          -----
                                                                                                                          Chez Henri
                                                                                                                          1 Shepard Street, Cambridge, MA 02138

                                                                                                                          Montrose Spa
                                                                                                                          1646 Massachusetts Ave, Cambridge, MA

                                                                                                                          1. re: Berheenia

                                                                                                                            That's kind of what I'm talking about, yeah. When I went, they offered to seat me in the dining room. I said I'd prefer to sit at the bar and get the bar menu. They then suggested I sit in the dining room and order from the bar menu, which I thought was a fine idea. But when I ordered the cubano, my server sighed. "Is that all you want? You could have sat at the bar." He rolled his eyes.

                                                                                                                            1. re: Berheenia

                                                                                                                              I've eaten Cuban sandwiches in NYC, Miami, Ft. Lauderdale, Puerto Rico...

                                                                                                                              Though a little on the gourmet side, the Chez Henri version really is awesome.

                                                                                                                              -----
                                                                                                                              Chez Henri
                                                                                                                              1 Shepard Street, Cambridge, MA 02138

                                                                                                                              1. re: StriperGuy

                                                                                                                                Cubanos are also one of the few good reasons to visit Tampa. They add salami to theirs: freaky but good. They also claim to have invented them.

                                                                                                                                http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

                                                                                                                              2. re: Berheenia

                                                                                                                                I recently discovered the Montrose Spa Cuban and agree it is good, though I think Dave's Fresh Pasta's is better. The CH one seems richer and greasier than both the Montrose and Dave's.

                                                                                                                                So that little stretch of Mass Ave had been a Bermuda/Cuba Triangle in recent times, given the short-lived Cuban on Cambridge Common's menu. I thought that was funny enough but didn't realise there was another competing and long-established Cuban in the very same spot.

                                                                                                                                -----
                                                                                                                                Cambridge Common
                                                                                                                                1667 Massachusetts Ave, Cambridge, MA 02138

                                                                                                                                Dave's Fresh Pasta
                                                                                                                                81 Holland St, Somerville, MA 02144

                                                                                                                                Montrose Spa
                                                                                                                                1646 Massachusetts Ave, Cambridge, MA

                                                                                                                                1. re: chickendhansak

                                                                                                                                  i completely agree with you. I seriously don't think you can get a better cubano than the one at dave's . surprisingly tremendous.

                                                                                                                                  -----
                                                                                                                                  Dave's Fresh Pasta
                                                                                                                                  81 Holland St, Somerville, MA 02144

                                                                                                                                  1. re: opinionatedchef

                                                                                                                                    I do have to say, though, that while their cubano is excellent in the store, it's worth heading to Davis Square's ArtBeat festival to get one grilled over coal. That takes it to another level. No wonder that they sell out before lunchtime.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: opinionatedchef

                                                                                                                                      Actually I'm not saying I don't like the one at CH. But it's a different beast to the others I've had, of which Dave's is the best. I haven't been to the place in JP (El Oriental de Cuba?) to compare, either. (I don't profess expertise on this subject by any means.)

                                                                                                                              3. Jasmine Bistro. This place used to get a lot of praise, but I haven't seen it mentioned in a while. Food was ok the one time i went, but the overall experience was just surreal. Not in a good way.

                                                                                                                                Taranta. I've been twice, want to like it, but it seems like much of the north end: overrated and a bit pricey for what you get. I love the idea of peruvian/sicilian, but instead of a fusion that could be really creative, it seems like you have to pick one or the other, and you can find better versions elsewhere. For the people who love it, what is it that brings you back?

                                                                                                                                Both places involved very long waits. I can understand if some dishes require some extra prep/cook time, but if it's over 20 minutes, i think diners should be warned.

                                                                                                                                -----
                                                                                                                                Jasmine Bistro
                                                                                                                                412 Market St, Brighton, MA 02135

                                                                                                                                1. It's like reading the Opinion section in the Sunday Globe. It's an opinion! Advise is worth exactly what you pay for it.
                                                                                                                                  Enjoy,
                                                                                                                                  CocoDan

                                                                                                                                  1. I was just reminded of this place by another thread on it -that has recent activity. Tacos Mexico in Framingham. Best tacos in MA? yiiiikes. these fans need to get into boston more. La Verdad, El Centro,Howling Wolf in Salem- all of them have it all over Tacos Mexico. I completely understand making do when you're in the foodie hinterlands, but calling this the best tacos in MA. is just a mistake.

                                                                                                                                    -----
                                                                                                                                    La Verdad
                                                                                                                                    1 Lansdowne St, Boston, MA 02215

                                                                                                                                    Tacos Mexico
                                                                                                                                    144 Waverly St, Framingham, MA 01702

                                                                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                                                                    1. re: opinionatedchef

                                                                                                                                      I'm confused. Have you been there more than the one time you described on the other thread? Your comments there were mixed, it's true (although you seem to have stopped in on a miserable evening, and you said that you thought the young man running the place single-handed was not the usual chef/owner.) Still, you said "the pastor and discada fillings were both very full flavored and delicious," said "Nice find framhound; thanks for all the info," and made this comment to Area Man: "[Y]ou're lucky to be nearby w/ that discada."
                                                                                                                                      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7696...

                                                                                                                                      Were you disappointed by later visits?

                                                                                                                                    2. I don't think that I have given out any on the Boston Board (I haven't been as active as I was in Baltimore). Maybe Maria's? Usually my favorite bakery in the North End, but I've been a couple times when the cookies have been stale and the store doesn't appear as not as clean and pretty as Modern.

                                                                                                                                      Received I would have to say the Blue Room's Brunch. When we went a couple summers ago the hot food was cold and dry. The dessert/pastry table looked messy (but that could have been because of the woman standing there touching and picking through everything). And the service was lacking. All which would have been understanding if it was towards the end of service, but we went to their first seating @ 11.

                                                                                                                                      And I guess we have lucked out with our experience at ECG. Because of reading posts on Chowhound we have mainly eaten brunch there and have really enjoyed our meals. Price wise, amount of food, and flavors. And we get there @ opening to avoid the line. If I judged it by the one dinner that we ate at the bar I would probably feel different.

                                                                                                                                      But I have to say without Chowhound I wouldn't know not to be intimidated by the lines @ Paramount, not to waste my time in the lines @ Mikes, that Green Street does Taco Nights, and the next time we are craving lobster rolls Alive and Kicking is legit and to give them a try.

                                                                                                                                      -----
                                                                                                                                      The Blue Room
                                                                                                                                      Hampshire and Portland streets, Cambridge, MA 02139

                                                                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                                                                      1. re: viperlush

                                                                                                                                        I was similarly underwhelmed by the brunch at the blue room

                                                                                                                                      2. SARAY Turkish restnt. in Allston. I bought a coupon based on CH recs and we used it tonight. I don't think I've ever complained on CH about pricing except for Oishii II some years ago, and until tonight I have never felt gypped in an ethnic restnt. But Saray was overpriced/entree portions were v. chintzy, and the food not well prepared(salmon grossly overcooked; items unseasoned or drowning in yoghurt sauce. ) Go to Istanbul'lu or Oleana instead.

                                                                                                                                        -----
                                                                                                                                        Oleana
                                                                                                                                        134 Hampshire St., Cambridge, MA 02139

                                                                                                                                        7 Replies
                                                                                                                                        1. re: opinionatedchef

                                                                                                                                          Would this be complaining about price?

                                                                                                                                          "is this a misprint- TEN dollars for a side of potatoes??? as in P o t a t o e s ??"
                                                                                                                                          http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/792715

                                                                                                                                          Hamersley's sides are the same price as Maxwell's 148 in Natick which you recently wrote about again, but didn't mention any side dishes. Maybe you didn't order any because they were to expensive.

                                                                                                                                          -----
                                                                                                                                          Maxwells 148
                                                                                                                                          148 East Central Street, Natick, MA 01760

                                                                                                                                          1. re: Infomaniac

                                                                                                                                            you know, one of the cool things about maxwells 148 is that he gives you starch or veggies on your plate, in a sufficient amount, that you don't need sides.He charges TEN DOLLARS for a side of potatoes? no wayyyy. it was interesting; we had eaten at 80 Lincoln the night before and had also ordered foie torchon and scallops; while we really enjoyed 80 lincoln, the portions were far more generous (by about 1/3-1/2) at Maxwells and the Maxwell's torchon blew the 80 Lincoln one out of the water in quality, prep and flavor>> deep rosey pink marsala-poached richness w/ excellent fig compote.i wanted to have a tub of it all to myself.

                                                                                                                                            (i meant that i don't complain about price in reviews of places I have been. oishii II and saray are now the exceptions.won't return to either.)

                                                                                                                                            1. re: opinionatedchef

                                                                                                                                              I'm confused -- do you mean 51 Lincoln or 80 Thoreau?

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

                                                                                                                                            2. re: Infomaniac

                                                                                                                                              OMG maniac!! you are RIIIIGHTTTTT!! TENDOLLARS for mashed potatoes at maxwells!! mea culpa. please forgive me.

                                                                                                                                              On the other hand, what IS the world coming to? sixteen dollars for a foie torchon v.s. ten dollars for mashed potatoes. somebody HAS to put these chefs in line. i'm sure that one could easily retort (maybe maxwell himself) that he can only offer foie at 16 because he offers mashed pota. at 10. to which i would reply. "find another way; this way is just too degeuelasse/offputting".

                                                                                                                                            3. re: opinionatedchef

                                                                                                                                              Yep - I'll 'fess up as having provided bum steers on Saray.

                                                                                                                                              In my own defense, I will say that the couple of meals we had in late 2007 and early 2008, when they had first opened, were indeed quite good.

                                                                                                                                              We had another dinner there some time later that wasn't so great, and I failed to post about it and have continued to recommend Saray among the many great restaurants in Allston. I shouldn't have done so. Like OC, I bought a coupon earlier this year and had an absolutely terrible dinner there in May - stale bread, only passable food, and while my portion was fine my DC's was, frankly, mingy. We won't be back, and I won't recommend them again.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: Allstonian

                                                                                                                                                Bummer about Saray. I really liked them when they opened, too. Haven't been back in a while.

                                                                                                                                                http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

                                                                                                                                            4. Erbaluce was my one and only CH bum steer

                                                                                                                                              -----
                                                                                                                                              Erbaluce
                                                                                                                                              69 Church Street, Boston, MA 02116

                                                                                                                                              1. As mentioned in another post, CK' Shanghai. Total bummer for me. Surprisingly it got reviewed in the Phoenix by Nadeau, he gave it a thumbs up basically.

                                                                                                                                                I went for lunch so my opinion should be discounted, but I think the current CK is far outstripping his reputation at this point. Not that any one cares or even remembers.

                                                                                                                                                2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                1. re: tatsu

                                                                                                                                                  This was a bum steer for me as well. My mom lives in metro-west and I dragged her here once and then went with a couple of friends another time and I kept thinking, "Really? And then asking why Chow, why?"

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: tatsu

                                                                                                                                                    CK used to have a great rice wine fish filet but it is no longer any good there. their small selection of weekend dimsum (mostly Northern style, such as fried cruller w/ salty soy milk) is not bad if you're in the neighborhood. but their soup dumplings have no soup to speak of.

                                                                                                                                                  2. Yesterday, I finally got to the Fat Cat in Quincy for their highly recommended Mac and Cheese. It was horrible. It was so dry without any sauce. The only sign of cheese was a few sprinkles of parmesan cheese on a few slices of tomato that was a garnish on it. My friend's crab Mac and cheese was the same dry pile of macaroni. The table next to us also got Mac and cheese and it looked nice and gooey. We mentioned it to the waitress and the manager came over to us. He apologized and said that sometimes they leave it in the oven tfriends'. Evidently, this has happened before. He gave us containers of "sauce" to take home to put in our leftovers(almost all of both orders were left to take home). When I got home, I put the sauce on it and heated it up. It was like lots of bits of garlic with a little sauce. I think we were given a very garlicky Alfredo type sauce. It still didn't look like what they got at the table next to us. He did offer us 2 comped desserts but it was very disappointing. We went there for the mac and cheese not for the dessert.

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                                                                                                                                                    Fat Cat
                                                                                                                                                    24 Chestnut St, Quincy, MA 02169

                                                                                                                                                    3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                    1. re: catsmeow

                                                                                                                                                      Guess I was one of those that gave you the bum steer on the Fat Cat. I've always loved their lobster mac & cheese. That said, it's been awhile since I've been and I've seen a few other posts in which people weren't happy. I know Neil reads this site, so I'm sure he's listening and will address the problem. Don't rule them out yet.

                                                                                                                                                      -----
                                                                                                                                                      Fat Cat
                                                                                                                                                      24 Chestnut St, Quincy, MA 02169

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Pegmeister

                                                                                                                                                        Pegmeister, is the sauce usually cheesey or very garlicky? Thanks

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: catsmeow

                                                                                                                                                          Sauce is not generally garlicky. He uses a blend of cheeses including bleu so it's very rich. I've had times when it's been too thin, but still a nice cheese flavor. The owner is most often on the premises, so it does surprise me to hear complaints about his signature dish. I do know that he reads chowhound so I'm sure he'll take the criticism to heart and make adjustments.

                                                                                                                                                    2. Miracle of science was a bum steer for us last wk. Guac had nothing in it, no spark; just avocado does not a great guac make. Burger was o.k. noth special. Such a limited boring menu. but lord knows it has a big CH fanbase.