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Indirect Heat Feb 20, 2012 11:09 AM

Taking my wife out for cocktails tonight at Drink, then we'd like to go somewhere to eat well. We're fairly adventurous eaters, and would like to find somewhere nearby with a decent charcuterie plate, and an interesting menu. I tried to search for "Drink" on the Boston board to find other threads, sadly it's a relatively common verb on Chowhound, and I couldn't find any related threads.

Recommendations?

  1. a
    Area Man Feb 21, 2012 11:09 AM

    I've only been once but had a great meal at 606 Congress. They do have charcuterie, though I didn't order any. I wouldn't necessarily describe their menu as "interesting" but everything was well-executed and flavorful.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Area Man
      l
      libertywharf Feb 22, 2012 02:01 PM

      606 is the quiet gem in the seaport area. Glad you enjoyed it.

    2. a
      AaronInBoston Feb 21, 2012 10:47 AM

      This has become a bashing thread. Going back to the maint point of the thread, Sportello is really good (and also right above Drink). Mention to the host at Sportello you are looking to go to Drink after and they will help get you in (Drink often has a line). Very good homemade pasta. Loved their Gnocchi with wild mushrooms. They have a good mussels appetizer. While I really enjoyed the wild boar ragu the polenta it came on was just OK. The seating is a little strange but perfect for 2 people that know each other well and don't mind looking at each other throughout the meal. I've only been once but really loved legal harborside floor 1 as well. Reasonably priced and really good seafood.

      4 Replies
      1. re: AaronInBoston
        MC Slim JB Feb 21, 2012 10:51 AM

        What's wrong with a little bashing? I think restaurant recommendations are like sales leads: not chasing down blind alleys is at least as valuable as (maybe more valuable than) being steered to promising prospects. I think this is doubly true in a neighborhood where the media and PR hype exceeds the reality by a fair margin.

        http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

        1. re: AaronInBoston
          m
          mkfisher Feb 21, 2012 11:07 AM

          Are there lines at Drink other than Friday or Saturday? I admittedly only get there early or during off hours, but I can't recall seeing a big crowd let alone a line on a weeknight.

          1. re: mkfisher
            MC Slim JB Feb 21, 2012 12:39 PM

            I've seen waits but not big lines on a few recent weeknights, to my surprise. 15-20 minutes isn't unusual. Time of night doesn't seem to matter a whole lot. It ebbs and flows.

            http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

            1. re: mkfisher
              yarm Feb 21, 2012 03:08 PM

              While there may not be a line, you may not get a seat right away at the bar most nights. Some nights, you can luck out and find a seat from the get-go. If you're not sitting at the bar, your conversations about what drink you want will not be with the person making it which detracts from the allure of the no-menu concept. We've had this happen on what were generally off nights there like Sunday through Wednesday.

              http://cocktailvirgin.blogspot.com/

          2. l
            libertywharf Feb 20, 2012 12:06 PM

            Also check out Strega Waterfront. It is fast becoming a hot spot in the city.

            12 Replies
            1. re: libertywharf
              MC Slim JB Feb 20, 2012 12:25 PM

              What exactly does being a hot spot, if Strega is in fact such a thing, have anything to do with its food being any good? That room has to be one of the most relentlessly, aggressively tacky in the city, though Del Frisco's down the block is in contention.

              http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

              1. re: MC Slim JB
                l
                libertywharf Feb 20, 2012 12:35 PM

                Have you had dinner there or just walked in to look at the room? I know there are some Strega haters, but the place is always busy.

                Del Frisco isn't bad either. A liitle too expensive but their cuts of meat and room are just fine, and another place not lacking customers.

                1. re: libertywharf
                  yarm Feb 20, 2012 01:17 PM

                  I'm guessing that since Slim has reviewed both Strega locations, he's done more than just look at the room.

                  1. re: libertywharf
                    MC Slim JB Feb 21, 2012 05:15 AM

                    Yarm is correct: I've dined at Strega Waterfront three times (research for a Stuff Magazine review, which thanks to my editors was exceptionally kind) and been back for a drink a couple more times (never my idea). I've dined at Del Frisco's once (enough to conclude I don't want to review it), and been back in for cocktails twice.

                    I've dined at pretty much every other Seaport place, several of them multiple times for professional reviews. (Exceptions: Tamo, and Legal Harborside's 2nd level, the one with the $50+ entrees.) I've even had dinner at MJ O'Connor's "Waterfront", despite knowing its Park Plaza sibling well: you can bet I wasn't consulted on that one. My host picked the venue and picked up the check; it was a working dinner.

                    I end up eating a lot of crappy meals like that in the course of my day job. I expect to be putting in a lot more time in the trenches of the Seaport with hosts who haven't asked me for advice on where to dine.

                    My point is that my assessment of the Seaport as mostly dull and chainy isn't some flippant hip-shot. The crowds don't surprise me, but you won't get far on Chowhound with the argument, "Lots of people like it!", not while The Cheesecake Factory has lines out the door.

                    I'm glad they're succeeding and keeping people employed. They're certainly a convenience for folks attending events at the BCEC, World Trade Center, and TD Pavilion. But I think their draw for locals is more a reflection of what Bostonians will put up with to get a decent water view than a testament to their awesome overall value.

                    http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

                  2. re: MC Slim JB
                    hotoynoodle Feb 20, 2012 02:08 PM

                    i have never eaten anything at strega that has been worth eating -- the marinara gave me instant agida. the space is just horrible. the bartending is abysmal and dumb, not to mention the video of the owner on a giant screen. you can't escape the enormous head.

                    busyness has nothing to do with quality. mcdonald's serves 58 million people everyday.

                    to the op: you can walk to les zygomates in about 15 minutes from drink for decent charcuterie.

                    1. re: hotoynoodle
                      BlueMagic Feb 21, 2012 06:41 AM

                      Oh great. Someone gave me a gift card to Strega..lol. Are you saying I should pass it on to someone else..?

                      1. re: BlueMagic
                        MC Slim JB Feb 21, 2012 06:52 AM

                        Some people say it's da bes' Italian food in da city. Unfortunately, that people is Nick Varano.

                        It's not a complete disaster: there are a few dishes that are decent. But most of the pasta is wretched: overcooked and grossly oversauced. And the tackiness of the experience is merciless, like the young waiters who lay on thick fake mamma-mia-datsa-spicy-meata-balla accents and then revert to Revere Beach honks when they think they're out of earshot.

                        The rooms (at both locations) are hideous, a nightmare of competing design esthetics, and they constantly run Hollywood mobster movies on TVs everywhere, so you're likely to see a gory assassination scene at some point during dinner. The Waterfront bar looks like a third-tier Vegas casino sports book. On top of it all, it's pretty pricey.

                        Maybe you could enjoy it for the kitsch factor -- I've called it "Artie Bucco's Cheers Bar". But I don't think Varano intends it at all ironically. He actually paid for what was easily last year's most hilarious vanity project, a few episodes of NESN's Dirty Water TV (a Boston nightlife program that is already super-cheesy to begin with) called "The Strega Life". It gives you a flavor of what he's going for: http://www.dirtywatertv.com/2011/04/19/blogpost/the-strega-life-debut-april-2011/

                        If this doesn't make you cringe or howl or both, I'd say use the gift card.

                        http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

                        1. re: MC Slim JB
                          CocoDan Feb 21, 2012 07:07 AM

                          Two words for Strega, stay away!
                          Didn't Enjoy,
                          CocoDan

                          1. re: MC Slim JB
                            hotoynoodle Feb 21, 2012 11:45 AM

                            he paid shaq to appear at a new year's eve party last year at the waterfront location and was charging $250 per person to get in.

                            1. re: MC Slim JB
                              hotoynoodle Feb 21, 2012 11:50 AM

                              local business people, like lawyers and guys with fidelity and hancock, obviously crowd these new spots at happy hour, mon-thurs. fri and sat, because of the easy 93 access, it's a whole different ballgame of big hair, botox and axe body spray. i don't know how many proper bostonians have given any of these new places a second try.

                              1. re: MC Slim JB
                                l
                                libertywharf Feb 22, 2012 01:59 PM

                                Yet they still survive on what is probably one of the more expensive pieces of property in Boston. At their prices, being busy has a lot to do with their success. McDonalds sells hamburgers for $1.00. This is why they are busy. Sorry you don't like Strega, I doubt they are sweating your bad review.

                                1. re: libertywharf
                                  MC Slim JB Feb 22, 2012 02:13 PM

                                  I doubt that anyone sweats my bad reviews, though it's very rare for me to write an unqualified slam. In fact, I was pretty kind to Strega Waterfront, though my editors trimmed some barbs I thought would be better left in. My main goal is to highlight what a place does well. A review that only dwells on the negatives, even when the negatives of a restaurant clearly overwhelm the positives, isn't very useful to the folks who are obligated to dine somewhere because somebody else chose it.

                                  But again, busyness in itself isn't an indicator of quality to most Chowhounds. Bad yet successful places are legion. The usual attitude is, "Imagine what it would be like if something really good were there", or "Great: more room for me at the places I like."

                                  http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

                      2. l
                        libertywharf Feb 20, 2012 11:26 AM

                        Check to see if trade is open tonight. If so, go there.

                        1. MC Slim JB Feb 20, 2012 11:21 AM

                          Despite the recent proliferation of restaurants in the Seaport, I don't think there's a lot of amazing food down that way. You're likelier to find dull, upscale-chain (steak, seafood, Italian, faux-Mex) fare, ordinary pub grub, or middling hotel-restaurant food, though some of them have admittedly nice Harbor views.

                          Without specifically being able to find you charcuterie, I'd steer you toward Trade, Sam's at Louis Boston, or Sportello as nearby and worthwhile. O Ya, Meritage, and Menton are also fine if you have very deep pockets. Sel de la Terre does pretty good Country French, Pasta Beach some very nice house-made pastas at mid-high prices.

                          Drink itself has a short menu of snacks and small plates that are pricey but rather good, and usually include something meaty / offal-y, like pig's tails, steak tartare, and chicken liver mousse.

                          I usually hit Chinatown on my way to or from Drink.

                          http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

                          3 Replies
                          1. re: MC Slim JB
                            Indirect Heat Feb 23, 2012 05:41 AM

                            We tried to get into Trade, it was closed. Sadly, by that point my wife was too cold to walk around anymore, so we ate in one of those hotel-ish steaky places. Food was fine, but certainly nothing special.

                            Thanks for all the replies, everyone. We loved Drink, and will try some of these other recommendations the next time we're there.

                            1. re: Indirect Heat
                              MC Slim JB Feb 23, 2012 05:56 AM

                              Was that the newish Smith & Wollensky, kind of next door to Trade?

                              http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

                              1. re: MC Slim JB
                                Indirect Heat Feb 23, 2012 07:32 AM

                                Yep. My wife was very cold and needed to warm up.

                                The bread served pre-dinner was pretty dry, my wife's salad was acceptable, her scallops were slightly overcooked, but my NY strip was cooked properly (rare). We tried to stay away from exciting things on the menu, because we were pretty sure they wouldn't execute.

                                It's a pretty restaurant, but I wouldn't return.

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