LONG Trip Report - Aug 13-25, 2012
Hello again folks, we are just back from our wonderful vacation and I thought I'd share with you what we ate while in town. The whole trip is a bit of a blur but I'll do my best to remember everything! Sorry in advance for the length.
When we arrived on Monday we thought that would be a good night to try Toro, since Mondays are usually off-nights for restaurants. When we arrived at around 7:30 we were told the wait would be 45 minutes to an hour. No big deal as we weren't that hungry anyway. We enjoyed iced coffees outside Flour down the street while waiting. We ate outside and had the patatas bravas, mini burgers, the famous corn dish and a pork belly with clams dish. For dessert we had churros with a chocolate dip. Everything was great and we couldn't believe when we got the bill and it was only $64! Service was not spectacular, our waiter was friendly and helpful but he did not check back. This may be why our bill was so cheap - if he had checked on us we would have had more drinks.
Tuesday we decided to hit another place where we expected a wait - Regina Pizzeria in the North End. We must have been early because we walked in and were seated right away. Service was friendlier than I was expecting and I LOVED my four cheese white pizza. My boyfriend enjoyed his as well. If I recall correctly he had the Classico (tomato sauce, pepperoni, artichoke hearts, fresh mushrooms, mozzarella and parmesan). It was so good we saved our leftovers and reheated them in our hotel's toaster oven for dinner the next day. After dinner we had cannoli at Modern Pastry. We'd never tried cannoli before and are still dreaming of how delicious it was.
One day when we were out shopping, all of a sudden my boyfriend was hungry and we tried to find somewhere that looked good along Boylston St. but nothing looked good. Finally he said we had to go in the first place we saw because he was starving. We ended up at Atlantic Fish because he saw someone eating a lobster roll and decided that's what he wanted. For some reason I expected it to be terrible but we actually had a really nice lunch there. He really enjoyed his lobster roll (mayo style) and fries, and I had a nice fish sandwich. The sandwich was impossible to pick up and eat because the fish kept falling apart, but with a fork and knife it was no problem. Just goes to show that sometimes you can just walk in somewhere without meticulously researching it and have a good meal!
For dinner Thursday we went to Myers and Chang. This may have been our favorite meal of the whole trip. My boyfriend is allergic to fish and nuts, and since Asian cuisine frequently contains those ingredients it's not something he gets to enjoy very often. Also, where we are coming from, most of what we have are Americanized Chinese restaurants. I enjoyed some of the sake sangria, and we had the wok-charred udon noodles with bok choy, octopus with grilled corn, pork dumplings, scallion pancake, and pork belly buns. We absolutely loved everything except the octopus dish - this is not the fault of the dish as neither of us had ever tried octopus before. It tasted fine, just not what we had expected. I think I could eat this food (especially the udon noodles!) every day of my life.
On Friday we decided to try to get into Neptune Oyster for lunch. I think it was around 2 when we arrived and we were told it would be about a 20 minute wait. We had iced coffee a few doors down while we waited and were finally seated at the bar. This was another place I was expecting a cool reception but host and our server were both very friendly. We had some oysters to start (recommendations from our server were great), and both had the hot buttered lobster roll. This has to be one of the most delicious things I've ever had in my life. I still can't believe I ate the whole thing! Fries were nice too.
Friday night we had dinner at Craigie on Main. We weren't sure how we were going to eat again after those lobster rolls but we managed to have a lovely meal. We were offered seats at the chef's table, basically a bar area overlooking the kitchen. We decided to sit there since it's not an experience we can get at home. It was fun watching our food being made and admiring all the other dishes coming out of the kitchen. We ordered the pig's head for two but were told they use fish sauce in the brine so we decided not to take the risk - a big disappointment as I'd been looking forward to it for a while. In hindsight I should have called ahead and checked on it - guess we'll have to come back again. In the end I ordered the fried clams and a swordfish main. First we were served an amuse bouche - I had pickled herring which I'd never tried and was surprised that I liked it. I can't remember what they brought my boyfriend but it's always nice to see restaurants accommodate allergies even in the free dishes they send out. The clams were wonderfully crunchy, salty and delicious. This was my first time trying swordfish and it was nice. The accompanying onion confit, bacon and clams didn't hurt its cause either :). My boyfriend had oysters for his appetizer and the steak, which were both very good. After dinner we were served a melon sorbet as a palate cleanser which tasted just like biting into a fresh cantaloupe - delicious and refreshing. For dessert I had the malted milk parfait and he had a coconut sorbet. Both were great. We were also served a chevre ice cream with apricot compote which was very interesting. All in all this meal didn't blow us away, but in a week filled with amazing food it had a lot to live up to. The service really set this place apart from the rest. Very professional and attentive without being overbearing, and they handled the allergies very well. We were also witness to their attempts to satisfy the couple sitting next to us when one of their entrees came out cold. We thought they handled that situation very well. I could see us eating here regularly if we lived nearby.
On Saturday we met up with another couple from home who also happened to be in Boston. We went to Brasserie Jo as I had been meaning to try it and it was extremely close to both of our hotels. Boyfriend and I both had onion soup as our appetizer (it's been a fixation of ours lately and this lived up to our expectations) and everyone at the table had steak frites for their main. The frites were not spectacular but the steak was very nice. I'm always impressed when I get a really thin steak that's not overcooked. For dessert I ordered a lemon tart which was a little sad. The crust was a bit gummy and it seemed like it had been sitting around for a while. Our dining companions both got the chocolate mousse, which was plated tableside and looked amazing. Service here was quite good and I would go back.
Sunday we went to Provincetown until Wednesday, which I'll post about on the appropriate board.
Wednesday when we returned from P-town we had dinner at Grill 23. I made the reservation because it was restaurant week and I thought it would be nice to save some money. We were a little sick of eating by this point and considered canceling the reservation but in the end decided to go, and I'm glad we did. I loved the atmosphere of Grill 23. Based on some things I've read about RW I think we got lucky here as the food and service were very good. Our waiter actually had a peanut allergy himself so he handled that issue very gracefully. Interesting note: he told us he would let the kitchen know about the peanut allergy, but that peanuts almost never show up in anything on their menu so it's not really an issue. I ordered the wedge salad and Denver steak from the RW menu, and my boyfriend had the ragu bolognese and steak. Wedge salad was good but they gave me two HUGE wedges - half a head of lettuce - and I felt bad leaving so much on my plate. He seemed to enjoy his pasta dish, which was a much more reasonable portion size. The Denver steaks were quite nice, nice salty crust on the outside and perfectly med-rare on the inside. By looking at the steak I'd have thought they'd be tough based on the graininess of the meat but it was actually pretty tender. The steak came with a twice baked potato, creamed corn and a steak sauce which I also enjoyed. For dessert I had a butterscotch sundae - delicious of course, and he had a chocolate marquis dessert which he seemed to enjoy, but it came with a "cocoa nib tuille" which tasted completely burnt and inedible.
On Thursday I had made lunch reservations at Sel de la Terre thinking we'd do the RW thing again but their RW menu was pretty sad and unappealing, so I had a reuben sandwich and he had a panko fried chicken dish. I didn't like my sandwich. I'm not sure exactly what the problem was but it didn't work for me. The panko fried chicken however was good, and it was served with squash which made it nice and summery. We ordered a blueberry clafoutis for dessert to share. Clafoutis isn't really my thing but it was pretty good. Service here was good with many different people checking in on us (but not to the point that we were annoyed) and our table by the window made for a nice view. I'd give this place another chance, probably for dinner.
Friday was our last day in the city. We had Sox tickets that night and had dinner at Island Creek Oyster Bar beforehand. I loved the look of this place. We started with oysters, of course, and got recommendations from our server who made some good picks, I think. We also tried the oyster sliders which I really liked (what's not to love about deep fried seafood?). I had fried clams for my main and my boyfriend had the famous lobster roe noodles. My clams were delicious but the $28 price tag was a little hard to accept. Come on, it's a basket of fried clams! The fries were buried underneath the clams so by the time I uncovered them I was pretty full, but they were good fries (not as good as Neptune). He seemed to really love the lobster roe noodles. I had a couple bites and agreed.
All in all we had a VERY successful trip, food wise, and the excellent dishes far outnumbered the disappointments. Only thing is I'm afraid to look at my credit card statement.
Thanks again to everyone who posted in my itinerary thread, and all you hounds who contributed to threads I read when researching my trip. Couldn't have done it without you!