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Is there anywhere Houndish in the Stoneham-Wakefield-Melrose area?

Mr. Swank and I are visiting a friend in Melrose on Sunday evening. Any recommendations? We've been to the Mexican spot and were pretty unimpressed, also went to a bistro that I keep wanting to call Bear & Sterns -- it was OK but not wonderful, either. Fun holes in the wall/townie places are a-OK with us!! Any ideas?

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  1. Not a hole in the wall, and the music can be a bit much, but Sushi Island in Wakefield has excellent food. Then head over to Meletharbs for ice cream.

    5 Replies
    1. re: beetlebug

      ditto, sushi island. there is ok za-za pizza in melrose on Main Street: I like the seafood at Turner's in Melrose fresh and simply prepared.

      1. re: cambridgedoctpr

        If you are referring to Caruso's za-za pizza on Main St, it has been closed for a few years unfortunately. The owner, Don Caruso, died and apparently his family is unable to agree on what to do with the restaurant.

        1. re: wandergirl

          Morena's in Wakefield does a very nice version of that pizza. (Sicilian style. Not sure that's necessarily the correct crust, but it's really good.)

          1. re: wandergirl

            Btw, it seems that something is happening at the Caruso's location: the signage is down and there seems to be some work going on. Perhaps the heirs sold the place?

            1. re: Karl S

              Very interesting! I happened to drive by tonight and saw the same thing. It would be great to have that space put to use again...either as Caruso's (but more consistent that it used to be) or something new.

      2. I'm not super familiar with that area but it looks like Malden is close to Melrose. Is that a reasonable option?

        Seems like Malden has a good dining scene?? I know Fuloon but I recall reading about other interesting sounding spots..Biryani Park for Sri Lankan?

        1. I have lived in Melrose for almost a decade now, and in my opinion the restaurant scene has only made one significant change over that time, and that is one of cost. Cheaper restaurants have closed, pricier ones moved in, but the quality has largely remained the same. Which is to say, meh.

          Turner's has been a perfectly fine place to have a meal for as long as I have lived here. While a seafood restaurant of consistent quality is certainly a nice thing for a town to have, there is nothing particularly remarkable about this one in particular. That opinion may be due to the fact that they have the kind of overlong, overcomplicated menu that often puts me on guard and looking for safe bets. Stearns & Hill suffers from this menu dilemma too, although I have found their food to be neither as well-executed nor as consistent as Turner's.

          I really enjoy Billy's Roast Beef on the Melrose/Wakefield line. They don't have the best fries, rings, or seafood of any Kelly's-style joint, but their sandwiches are pretty much the platonic ideal of a Roast Beef Sandwich. Pillows of medium rare super thinly sliced beef on a perfect onion roll. I like mine with sauce, cheese, and horseradish, and I usually just get a super beef with no fries/rings. Plenty of food on its own. Beware of the "plate" (or use it to your advantage): it comes with enough fries/rings for 3-4 people to share.

          The Mexican restaurant (Mexico Lindo) is neither authentic nor particularly good. That said, it is entirely possible to have an enjoyable meal there with some decently priced Mexican beer. Anything with the pork in salsa verde is ok, and the big "knife-and-fork" sized burritos are a better option than the plates that come with lukewarm chewy Spanish rice and pasty refried beans. The chile relleno is not bad, and the arroz con pollo is decent. Stay away from the mole sauce, which seems to be flavored predominantly with peanut butter.

          Sushi Corner in the center of town has its fans, but I (somewhat literally) can't get past the fact that they are located behind the Turner's dumpster. Also, I have had a couple of questionable sushi experiences there.

          Malden is in fact quite close (as mentioned by 9lives), and has many terrific options. Fuloon for Szechuan (and other regional) Chinese, Habesha for Ethiopian, and Biryani Park for Sri Lankan are all excellent. Bossa Nova does decent rodizio/buffet Brazilian, but you have to go when it is crowded. I have read about the Moroccan Hospitality Restaurant on this board and elsewhere, and it sounds worth a trip.

          Spice-N-Hot is pretty good for Indian, although I usually get takeout. Always best to stick with the daily specials. Not sure how the new location is for dining in, but it can't be worse than the old one, which was a couple of rickety booths from a 70s sub shop and an actual hole in the wall to the kitchen where one could order/receive food.

          3 Replies
          1. re: hcraddock

            Oh, Spice N Hot moved? I thought they'd closed and was sad -- saw their old place all empty when we went to Habesha recently but didn't dig further. Good to know.

            1. re: hcraddock

              There's also a good no-frills Moroccan spot on Salem St in Malden.

              1. re: nasilemak

                the slings and arrows will commence now,but i say yech to that place. double yech actually, but then again, it is 2 women with their own tragic history and as that, i do sincerely wish them the best.

            2. The chowworthy spots ime are Sushi Island (many CHs feel it is best or among the best sushi in boston), fuloon in malden (many detailed threads and there was a chowgathering there a few yrs ago) and biryani park in malden (you want a funky funky hole in the wall place > this is your spot.) Many recent threads w/ specific recs.

              3 Replies
              1. re: opinionatedchef

                The OP wasn't asking about Malden. I do like Sushi Island and like sitting at the bar and sliding some oysters and clams at Turner but, I find the area in general to be severly lacking.

                1. re: treb

                  treb, i think that if you think about it, you might see that swank was asking about nearby towns as well as her friend's Melrose hometown, and prob forgot that malden was the south/SE version of the N/NE abutting towns of Wakefield and Stoneham. Ironic that of all those towns,Malden has probly the best of the lower cost non Italian ethnic choices. imo.

                  1. re: opinionatedchef

                    heheh..the real irony is that they ended up @ Massimo's - Italian in Malden ! :-)

              2. Did you try Three Amigos in Stoneham? I went there several years ago, and it was definitely Houndish. Seemed to be family run, charming in a totally hole in the wall way, and good food as well. It's a bit tucked away in a strip mall.

                And by all means, save room for Meletharb's ice cream, maybe you'll have another fiendish craving for a hot fudge sundae

                3 Replies
                1. re: gracenote

                  unless 3 amigos has completely changed in the last 15 yrs., i would def not recommend it.

                  1. re: opinionatedchef

                    op,

                    I still go every couple of weeks, although I don't find it extrodiary in any way. I do love their salsa and home made chips, and mexican rice is good too. I would say they are standard Mexican fare in a Town where we have nothing else to choose from.

                    I heard there is a new Mexican in your Town, how is it?

                    Thanks.

                    www.saffron215.blogspot.com

                    1. re: mcel215

                      i looked at the web menu when they opened; it looked typically 'Mexican Gross' to me so i've never been. 10 minutes south of there is Tenoche in Medford Sq. -which has some worthwhile dishes that are better than most suburban Mexican places (but only if and when they get a real kitchen will we see what they are really capable of ,imo).