Tell me where to eat in Dorchester
I am fairly new to Dot and would like to know where the best restauraunts are in the area. I am guessing many will be vietnamese?
Ba Le Bakery, Lee's Store & Bakery, and La Baguette for banh mi, Pho Le and Sunrise for a broader Vietnamese menu, dbar and Ashmont Grill for creative American in a nice neighborhood bar setting, Griyo Lakay for Haitian, Cafe Polonia for Polish (though technically that is still considered Southie), Lorenz Island Cuisine for Jamaican (hope it's still open, heard it had some difficulties), Dot2Dot Cafe for quality diner fare, Pit Stop for BBQ, Restaurant Laura for Cape Verdean (though hours are kind of iffy), Merengue for Dominican (though that technically might be Roxbury), Mrs. Jones for takeout soul food, Ali's and Singh's for Trinidadian roti, Blarney Stone for decent American and Irish pub fare.
re: MC Slim JB
Griyo Lakay on Blue Hill Av is gone. I like Bon Appetit in the same area.
Also, what can you recommend at Sunrise? I've never been but a lot of Yelp reviews seem to be unfavorable except for one that says the canh chua ca is worth going for. Pho 2000 has a pretty damn broad Vietnamese menu, not sure what items you can't order there that can be found at the other neighborhood places.
Bummer about Griyo Lakay. That place was fun, a bit mysterious for a first-timer. There's another Haitian near Egleston Square called Pin Bonchinche that has been on my list for a while, and there must be another half-dozen places along Blue Hill Ave, like Top Griyo.
Last few times I've been to Sunrise, I've had caramelized catfish, ban hoi chau tom, pho (they have all the usual beef variants), and claypot rice. Decent fruit smoothies, too. I also hear the sour fish soup is good (from a non-Yelp source, a Vietnamese ex-pat who lives nearby): that's next on my list.
Pho So 1 used to be a pho recommendation of mine, but I have not been back since a recent ownership change. Anyone been this year?
Sunrise, go figure, also has a breakfast worth seeking out - there's eggs with French bread, steamed rice crepes (banh uot cha lua), but their congee (chao) is quite excellent - assuming you can get crazy about such things (it's like conveying excitement over a particularly worthy bowl of sul lung tang - most people find it tastes like dishwater). They have a few different chaos: pork tripe, seafood, fish, beef, pork, and chicken. Recently, I ordered the beef and supplemented with beef balls and it's a hearty bowl, additions of any form of salinity totally unnecessary (but still fun).
Also really enjoy their ca kho to (caramelized catfish), good crispy cross-sectional 'steaks' of catfish in a supremely silky sauce sharpened with black pepper and hitting all the notes without being too salty or too sweet.
I'm not saying this *replaces* Pho 2000. And I'm not sure exactly what role it plays in the Dottie Vietnamese ecosystem, but it has a distinctly homey, family, Sunday-gravy kinda vibe to it. I've seen lots of dishes from the "Vietnamese Traditional Dishes" section of the menu on the family tables - hot & sour soup (canh chua), bitter melon soup (canh kho qua tom), clay pot rice (com tay cam), and string beans w/ eggs (dua que xao) to name a few.
Pho 2000, Sunrise and other restaurants have vast and sometimes very similar-looking menus - it'll take a helluvalot of work to figure out who's niche is what. I'll probably never figure it out, but I'm enjoying the ride.
Skip Ashmont Grill and go across the street to Tavolo instead. Better foor and way less attitude.
dBar is very good. Its on Dot Ave near the crazy intersection.
The Ledge has been inconsistent but much better as of late. It's by Mrs. Jones in Lower Mills.
Savin Bar and Grill is a newish place right near the bridge across from the T station.
Lots of Vietnamese and Irish pubs.
I just moved out of Dot after a year and a half, and there's a lot I miss:
I can't remember the name of it, but one of the Vietnamese places does beef seven ways. Someone here will know it, I'm sure - it's the one by the old bowling alley (or possibly roller-skating rink?), and it's wonderful. Go hungry, with friends.
Brothers' Crawfish is divey as hell but beyond delicious.
I second the recommendation for Tavalo - I've never had a bad meal there - but I disagree with the ding on Ashmont Grill. It's true that service can be slow when it's busy (especially at brunch), but I never found it attitude-y. The food's good, the drinks are good, and the outdoor space at the back is great. I far prefer Ashmont to Ledge. dbar is fun too, but I never felt like it was somewhere I could kick up for a relaxing meal or drink - always too busy/rushed/something - like I could at Ashmont.
dot2dot is a lovely, cozy space, and the food is delicious. When it's busy (e.g., Sunday brunch rush hour) it's slow because they do everything from scratch, but it's worth the wait. The eggs with potato rosti and hollandaise... [sigh].
I would also highly recommend Pat's Pizza (best pizza in the area, but they don't deliver), the Ice Creamsmith, Greenhills Bakery, and the butcher that's right by Greenhills. Also, Down Home Delivery is now based in Dot, and while I don't think you can eat-in, they are a great choice for when you can't be bothered going out: the food is delicious, well-priced, and made with a lot of love, and their wait times aren't too bad at all.
You've got a lot of good investigating in front of you. Enjoy!