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Is truly different even out there anymore?

senji000 Jun 13, 2013 02:46 PM

Hi fellow Chowhounds,

I am disillusioned. I eat out every night and it always seems to be the same menu, no matter where I go. I have had Creative American, Italian, NE Seafood, high end sushi and several other Asian types, barbecue, Indian, etc, all in the past two weeks, and at this point I can only eat a bite without getting bored. Is anyone truly doing anything creative out there anymore??? I would love and appreciate suggestions of unusual ethnic food or other creative things going on that I may not have heard of yet. Otherwise I may have to start my own restaurant, and believe me, we don't want that to happen... Thanks Chowhounds!!!

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  1. C. Hamster RE: senji000 Jun 13, 2013 03:39 PM

    What's your definition of "creative" and "different". ???

    1. foodieX2 RE: senji000 Jun 13, 2013 03:55 PM

      Can you tell where you ate for the last two weeks? What is "creative and different" to one maybe boring to another. Why waste time with us possibly recommending the 14 places you went to recently?

      1. Allstonian RE: senji000 Jun 13, 2013 04:27 PM

        If all of the restaurants bore you, perhaps it's time to stop eating out every night. You don't need to start your own restaurant, but you might possibly be better pleased if you started cooking for yourself.

        1. opinionatedchef RE: senji000 Jun 13, 2013 10:15 PM

          When I think "really creative/different" mid-priced restnts, I think of 3 places:
          East by Northeast
          Strip T's

          All 3 have menus with dishes that you are(mostly) just not going to see elsewhere. Unique spices, sauces, condiments, components, combinations.

          OYa is also in that group but is dramatically more expensive.
          Clio, also $$$$, likes to flaunt the unusual components but their food has shattered our excitement every time we've gone.

          1. Bob Dobalina RE: senji000 Jun 14, 2013 04:07 AM

            I sense this is a serious existential crisis in the making. Because after you find the next, truly creative thing and indulge, then what? After you have had the next foam, water and air, then what?

            What is for lack of a better term your "comfort food" ? Are you able to return to it for solace after indulging in the heights of cuisine?

            Or you could avoid all of this hand-wringing and go to Strip T's every night. ;)

            2 Replies
            1. re: Bob Dobalina
              INDIANRIVERFL RE: Bob Dobalina Jun 14, 2013 06:19 AM

              To put things in a different perspective.

              Go to Walmart and buy a package of ramen noodles. Ten or twelve packages for about $1.25. Eat only these for the next week. You cannot add anything except water and the flavor packet. Drink only water.

              Go to a greasy spoon diner and order fried eggs, bacon, hash browns. Milk to drink.

              You will be amazed at the explosion of flavors.

              1. re: INDIANRIVERFL
                pinehurst RE: INDIANRIVERFL Jun 14, 2013 06:35 AM

                Well said. Also was gonna suggest try cooking at home. Best place to experiment is in the kitchen.

            2. Boston_Otter RE: senji000 Jun 14, 2013 07:02 AM

              I dunno about you, but when I'm on vacation and "forced" to eat out every meal for a week or two, it's terrific at first, but after a couple of weeks, I'm eager for a plain, simple, homecooked meal -- or just a packet of ramen or a PB&J!

              I personally think your best bet isn't looking for something "crazy" -- it's looking for ethnic food you haven't tried (Persian? Nepalese? Greek? Haitian? Polish? Chinatown?) or going somewhere that serves really solid basic food in interesting ways.

              5 Replies
              1. re: Boston_Otter
                justbeingpolite RE: Boston_Otter Jun 14, 2013 07:21 AM

                I'm with the otter. Have you tried Burmese at Yoma? That might be "different" for you.

                1. re: Boston_Otter
                  Boston_Otter RE: Boston_Otter Jun 14, 2013 07:52 AM

                  To expand on my post with specific examples:
                  Turkish: Pasha in Arlington
                  Nepalese/Tibetan: Martsa on Elm
                  Greek: Greek Corner, Cambridge
                  Hatian: Highland Cuisine, Somerville
                  Polish: Cafe Polonia
                  Spanish: Toro, Solea, Dali

                  Or try something unique to the area, like Yume Wo Katare -- they're the only place in Boston (or the east coast?) with Jiro Ramen. Or go to DooWee & Rice and get fried chicken hearts on french fries with garlic sauce... you won't find that sort of thing anywhere else.

                  1. re: Boston_Otter
                    itaunas RE: Boston_Otter Jun 14, 2013 10:34 AM

                    You can get a fried chicken heart appetizer from Oasis less than 1 mi from Do Wee something they have offered for about 15 years now -- I think its offered with fried yuca, but could be confusing that with their torresmo appetizer. And grilled chicken hearts per-lb from Oasis (gas) and Valentim (charcoal), both within roughly a mile. Eat it with vinagrette (tomato relish with garlic) and farofa, french fries or yuca if you want from their buffet. Lastly the bar at Midwest Grill offers a chicken heart and fried yuca appetizer again with vinagrette and farofa if you need.

                    1. re: itaunas
                      Boston_Otter RE: itaunas Jun 14, 2013 12:45 PM

                      Yeah, but do any of them put 'em on french fries, like chicken heart poutine? :)

                      I love the chicken hearts at Midwest Grill, indeed.

                      1. re: Boston_Otter
                        itaunas RE: Boston_Otter Jun 14, 2013 02:18 PM

                        When you order a "porção" of chicken hearts, its usually served with fried yuca to the side and toothpicks. I usually make a puddle of pepper sauce and a pile of farofa. I pick up one heart and one yuca cube, then drag them in the farofa and then the pepper sauce. If I am eating it with rice, then I use the vinagrete. In Brazil you can usually get a squirt or shake bottle of garlic sauce (sometimes house made, more often store bought) and "shoyu" is a common marinade (particularly in fried and pre-marinated hearts) although at churrasco places coarse salt is very common.

                        Not poutine because no gravy or cheese curds, but it is rib-sticking bar food. I think the Midwest appetizer is the best of the bunch, although on basic churrasco you can do quite well at Valentim. I do want to get to DooWee & Rice and assume that weekdays lunches are probably better now that Tufts is only on Summer school, but was afraid of the weekend crowds.

                        Another thing I would suggest is not only trying different ethnic foods, but different types of food within one ethnic cuisine. In other words instead of having "feijoada," try other Brazilian caldos (mocoto, bobo de camarao). Like wise with Salvadoran try a caldo de gallina india instead of pupusas, sancocho in columbian instead of arepas (sorry its summer and soup came to mind because I am making a broth myself). Shanghai Gate with the specific suggestions (and possibly JoJo Taipai nearby) is a great idea for this.

                2. a
                  addiez RE: senji000 Jun 14, 2013 07:13 AM

                  Unusual or creative food I think of right away: Oleana/Sofra, Myers + Chang, East Coast Grill, T.R. Street Food... Some might add Strip T's, but I haven't been so I don't have an opinion.

                  If you're looking for new genres to seek out, I'd add French (Les Zyg, Petit Robert...) and Spanish (Toro, Estragon, etc.) to your list. Also Greek/Mediterranean and African (Many Ethiopian options, Baraka, Tangierino).

                  1. Allstonian RE: senji000 Jun 14, 2013 07:56 AM

                    Here are a fair number of restaurants that we should assume senji0000 is already familiar (and therefore bored) with:

                    1. u
                      UnclePH RE: senji000 Jun 14, 2013 08:08 AM

                      You don't mention African cuisine on your rotation list. I know others mentioned Ethiopian which is a great choice. Curious to know if you've been to Teranga, the Senagalese restaurant in the south end. Truly some interesting items on the menu, including their stuffed fish dish or the yucca cous cous.

                      Another suggestion for a little "walk on the wild side" would be Shanghai Gate which serves authentic Shanghai cuisine which is vastly different than the typical Chinese restaurant here in Boston. Try dishes like West Lake Chicken, which is pickled and steamed or the fish soup which comes with a whole fish and pickled cabbage. Salty Duck with sticky rice and ham is a good choice. They have a number of other exotic choices like ducks tongue, frog, pigs bladder etc...

                      I think offal is the real new frontier of the culinary world.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: UnclePH
                        Allstonian RE: UnclePH Jun 14, 2013 09:16 AM

                        Apparently Teranga, Ethiopian food, and offal are among the things that have become boring - see senji0000's other post from yesterday, linked above.

                        1. re: Allstonian
                          UnclePH RE: Allstonian Jun 14, 2013 09:25 AM

                          HAHA! Maybe senji0000 should just stay home once in a while.

                      2. t
                        total13 RE: senji000 Jun 14, 2013 08:29 AM

                        I think this must be Dave Andelman who infamously eats out every single meal.

                        1. e
                          Edokko RE: senji000 Jun 15, 2013 06:23 AM

                          Biriyani Park in Malden serves Sri Lankan cuisine that is markedly different from anything else I've had in this area. There's also Gene's Chinese Flatbread in Chelmsford, which serves hand-pulled noodles from Xi'an. Maybe less unusual, though still very good, is YoMa (Burmese) in Allston.

                          1. mange2te RE: senji000 Jun 25, 2013 07:23 PM

                            With echoes of addiez's comment, I think Myers + Chang's mixing of Asian with some southern is different and creative without being pretentious. I just had the "cheap date night" there and was really pleased---the greens (gai lan) were super fresh and the crispy whole fish was done perfectly. Not too salty, although perhaps a wee bit spicy (and I like spice!). Service was very good and the Chinese/diner decor meets my definition of creative.

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