Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Classic India in Quincy Still Rules!

photo of Classic India, Quincy, MAWe headed to Classic India in Quincy over the weekend. This is about my 10th time there, and while the last time was slightly less than impressive, our meals on Saturday night were outstanding once again.

We had a number of items, all of which were delicious. We started with mulligatawny soup, moved on to a basket of naan, then enjoyed some chicken tikka masala and chicken saagwala.

Boston's Hidden Restaurants is currently trying to organize a list of best restaurants of 2006. While Classic India won best Indian food in 2005, it has come up against some strong competition in the Himalayan Bistro in West Roxbury and Kebab Factory in Somerville, among other dining spots. But Classic India may just continue its reign this year; viewers will soon find out, as the list should be out shortly.


Monday, October 30, 2006

Our Latest Review: Jake's Seafood Restaurant in Hull, MA

photo of Jake's Seafood Restaurant, Hull, MAOur latest featured restaurant on the Boston's Hidden Restaurants site is Jake's Seafood Restaurant, a seafood place in Hull, MA. Jake's is a homey dining spot located on the water with great views and great food. It has been around for more than 50 years, and is well-known among locals, but little-known outside of Hull.


Sunday, October 29, 2006

Good Food, Terrible Service at Dolphin Seafood, Natick

A large group of us went to Dolphin Seafood in Natick Center today. I had been there a few times before, and while I have never been bowled over by their food, I have never had a really bad experience there, either.

Well, today, we arrived at 12:30, ordered soon after, and did not receive our food until 2:00. Yes, we sat for about an hour and a half before getting our meals (including mistakes such as getting salad orders wrong and forgetting to bring drinks). My meal was very good, and others at the table had mostly decent meals (though the steamed mussels were at room temperature and tasted rather tired), but it is inexcusable to have to wait 90 minutes for food, especially when the restaurant is mostly empty. I don't see myself going back to Dolphin Seafood, especially since there are other good options for similar food in the Boston area.


Friday, October 27, 2006

Pizzeria Regina Is..

..Now open in Medford. I hope to get there soon. Will let you know how it is as soon as I get there. Sorry about the short message--sending this from my cell phone (yes, I am a geek!).


Fire at Montilio's Bakery, Quincy

A two-alarm fire early this morning caused extensive damage at Montilio's Bakery, a famous bakery on Adams Street in Quincy.

Montilio's has been around for more than 50 years, making baked goods for everyone from Ronald Reagan to Queen Elizabeth. Let's hope they are able to re-open as soon as possible.


Thursday, October 26, 2006

Another Great Meal at Sala Thai, Arlington

We stopped by Sala Thai in Arlington Heights last night for dinner. I have been there several times, and have never been disappointed there. And once again, I was very satisfied with the food.

Sala Thai is a smallish, almost romantic place on Mass. Ave. in the heights. The family who owns it is extremely nice, and they definitely know their Thai food. We had a drunken noodle entree as well as a hot basil, chicken and rice dish. Both were excellent, as were the miso and Tom Yum Goong soups. And both the syrah and pinot grigio wines were outstanding.

Arlington has some good Thai restaurants, including Thai Moon and Sweet Chili, but I find myself going to Sala Thai more than the others. Perhaps it's the nicer atmosphere or the fact that the people there are so friendly. It is definitely worth trying out if you haven't been there yet.

Sala Thai on Urbanspoon


Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Boston Has Run Out of Liquor Licenses for Its Restaurants

Believe it or not, Boston has hit a self-imposed cap on liquor licenses and for the time being, cannot issue them to new restaurants.

This is absolutely crazy; why would anyone even bother opening a restaurant in Boston right now, since so much of the money to be made, is made either directly or indirectly through the serving of alcohol.

Boston had better get its act together soon; otherwise, restaurants that have just opened are in danger of closing right back down, and anyone who is looking to open a restaurant might go elsewhere.


Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Wanted: A Good Deli in Boston

Ever since I returned from New York City, I have had a craving for some good deli food, including corned beef, potato pancakes, kasha, noodle pudding, chicken soup, and knishes. But aside from a handful of average-to-good delis, I don't really know where to go. I do like Maxie's in Stoughton and Joan and Ed's in Natick, but they are a bit too far away to go to on a regular basis. And Rubin's is just too expensive.

I hope that one of these days, a great new deli opens up in Boston. But I'm not holding my breath; Manhattan certainly has it all over Boston when it comes to good delicatessens, that's for sure.


Monday, October 23, 2006

Another New Review: Blackie's, Cheshire, CT

photo of Blackie's, Cheshire, CTAnother new review is on the Boston's Hidden Restaurants site. The restaurant is Blackie's, a hot dog stand and hamburger joint in Cheshire, CT. Blackie's is a good old-fashioned roadside stand where you can get a burger AND a hot dog for under $5.00 (or two burgers and two hot dogs for under $10.00)! They also use the same type of hot dogs as Al's Hot Dog Stand in nearby Naugatuck uses. This is a good thing, as Al's is one of the best hot dog stands in New England.


Sunday, October 22, 2006

Two More Good Restaurants Tried Over the Weekend

I finally got over to Grumpy White's in Quincy on Saturday. What a great place for comfort food! The burger was excellent, the hot dog was better, the garlic bread and backed potato were delicious, and the turkey tips were....well, they weren't bad, though I've had better. All in all, though, Grumpy's is definitely a place I'll want to go back to.

On Sunday, we went over to the Traveler Restaurant in Union, CT. For anyone who drives from Boston to New York City (and vice versa) on a regular basis, I am sure you have seen the sign that says "RESTAURANTS AND BOOKS" near the border with Massachusetts. The food at the Traveler Restaurant was terrific, with a perfect turkey dinner, an excellent eggplant sandwich, and a really good chicken soup. Oh, and the sweet potato fries were tasty, too.

Both of these restaurants will probably be featured sooner or later on Boston's Hidden Restaurants, so keep checking back over the next few weeks!


Friday, October 20, 2006

Rumor Mill: Bear Rock Cafe May Be Coming to Woburn

I heard the other day that the Bear Rock Cafe, which presently only has two other locations in Massachusetts, might be coming to the shopping center in Woburn on Route 3 that has the new Whole Foods. Not 100% sure about this, but that is the word going around. If anyone can confirm this for me, I'd love to hear from you!

For those of you who don't know about the Bear Rock Cafe, it is a chain of restaurants that concentrates on healthy fare, much like Panera, but with a more interesting selection of soups and sandwiches, in my opinion. One of the two Bear Rock Cafes in Massachusetts is located in Reading near Jordan's Furniture; I went to that one awhile ago, and thought it was very good.


Thursday, October 19, 2006

Doing the Right Thing at Finian's, Quincy

photo of Finian's, Quincy, MAWe went to Finian's in Quincy last night for dinner. I've been to Finian's several times, enjoying their comfort food and mixed drinks (Finian's is a bit like what Amrhein's in South Boston used to be before they changed last year). This time, however, my macaroni and cheese entree (a special for yesterday) was overcooked, mushy, and not very satisfying.

While we were getting ready to pay the bill, a person who must have been the owner came over and asked how our meal was. We told him about the mac and cheese, and without hesitation, he graciously said he would take it off the bill.

Even if they hadn't done that, I would still continue to go back to Finian's, since last night was an aberration, in my opinion. But the swift action he took cemented that fact, and should be a lesson to all restaurants: If a diner has a bad meal, do whatever it takes to make that person happy. In my previous experiences, this has not always been the case, but it should be, I believe.

Finians Restaurant & Pub on Urbanspoon


Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Jana's Cupboard in Jeffersonville, VT, Has Closed

I heard the other day from someone (thanks for the notice, BTW) that Jana's Cupboard, a longtime truckstop and restaurant in Jeffersonville, VT, is no longer in business.

Jana's, which was located where Routes 108 and 15 met just north of Smuggler's Notch, was a bit of an institution; skiiers, truckers, locals, and tourists could be found on any given day here, enjoying the hearty breakfasts as well as the decent lunches and dinners. I have many memories of the place, as I spend time at Smuggler's Notch usually at least once a year.

I will definitely miss the place...


Tuesday, October 17, 2006

New Review: La Summa, Boston, MA

photo of La Summa, Boston, MAWe have a new review on the Boston's Hidden Restaurants site. It is La Summa, an Italian restaurant in the North End of Boston. La Summa is a true hidden jewel, as it sits on a narrow side street, away from the hustle and bustle of Hanover Street. And the food is outstanding--incredible homemade pasta, great veal, excellent arancini. Definitely worth checking out!


Monday, October 16, 2006

Joe's Pizza, Manhattan: Good, But Not the Best

I was in New York City the past few days and tried a number of restaurants I had never been to, including the famous Joe's Pizza on Carmine Street in Greenwich Village. We ordered some slices and grabbed a couple of seats inside the place, waiting in anticipation for the pizza. After a few minutes, we got our order and started downing the huge slices that they make there.

At first, I really liked the pizza, but after a few bites, I realized that it was not quite up to the level of Grimaldi's in nearby Brooklyn or Pepe's in New Haven. Granted, it is a bit different from those places, as it is classic New York pizza--the type of thin crusted pizza that you fold up to eat--but the flavors did not wow me like those at some of the best pizza places I have been to.

Overall, I'd rate it slightly below Grimaldi's and Da Nico in Little Italy, but I would put it above some of the other pizza places I have been to in Manhattan, including Mimi's on the Upper East Side and Vinnie's (recently closed) on the Upper West Side.

I definitely want to keep looking for that perfect pizza in Manhattan. After reading randominnyc: Pizza Quest: Manhattan Below 14th St., I think I have a few places I will need to try on my next trip to New York later in the year.


Friday, October 13, 2006

Ground Round, Cambridge -- Same As It Ever Was

We went to the new (old?) Ground Round at the Fresh Pond Rotary in Cambridge the other night. I wasn't expecting much, and boy, did I get it! The food was pretty poor, though the service was decent and the beers were cold. Now I remember why I stuck to beers and appetizers at the Ground Round when they were around a few years ago at this same location. The burgers are decent and the burritos aren't bad, but much of the other food is lousy.

I still say it's a little better than TGI Friday's and Applebee's, though!


Thursday, October 12, 2006

Good Football Food at Tennessee's in Braintree

A few of us grabbed some food at Tennessee's in Braintree for watching the Patriots game last Sunday. The last time I went to Tennessee's, I made the mistake of getting a sandwich; it was not very good at all. So I wasn't expecting much on Sunday when we placed our order, but the food we got at Tennessee's turned out to be really good this time (probably because we avoided the sandwiches!). We got some delicious ribs, which were lean and cooked through pretty well (if you like fatty ribs that are cooked a little less, you might not like the ones here). We also got chicken, which was good, too. Finally, I ordered a BBQ steak burrito, which was terrific--tasty beef and good sauces made it very nice.

I don't think Tennessee's will ever approach the level of, say, Blue Ribbon BBQ in Arlington and West Newton, but depending on what you order there, it can be a pretty satisfying experience.


Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Latest News on the Boston Restaurant Forum

I have recently upgraded the restaurant forum that is within the Boston's Hidden Restaurants site, adding two new sections (one for announcements/notices, and one for restaurants outside of New England and New York City). The forum is perhaps the fastest-growing part of the site, popularity-wise, with many individual topics exceeding 1,000 views by our readers.

The forum can be viewed by anyone, but if you would like to post new topics (or reply to existing ones), you have to register. Registration is free and only takes a few minutes, and can be accessed from the Restaurant Forum Home Page if you would like to sign up.

Below are some topics from the forum: [ED NOTE: We have taken out the links to our forum, as it is now closed.]

There are about 150 more topics at this point in time on the restaurant forum, so plan to spend some time looking through it!


Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Latest Review on Boston's Hidden Restaurants: Toraya, Arlington, MA

photo of Toraya Restaurant, Arlington, MAThe latest review on Boston's Hidden Restaurants was posted last night. Toraya Restaurant is a tiny Japanese dining spot just west of Arlington Center that has some of the best sushi this side of Oishii. Their non-sushi entrees are excellent, too, so there is something for everyone at this terrific spot.


Monday, October 09, 2006

Great Meal at Sweet Chili, Arlington

I did takeout at Sweet Chili, a Thai restaurant in Arlington, over the weekend. I had forgotten just how good Sweet Chili is, as I hadn't been there in perhaps two years. But it certainly was good; the country style pad Thai was simply amazing, with some pretty hot spices mixing nicely with the rest of the ingredients.

Sweet Chili might just get featured on Boston's Hidden Restaurants one of these days, which would give Arlington 3 Thai restaurant that are featured on the site. Not bad for a town that used to be known for pizza places and sub shops!

Sweet Chili on Urbanspoon


Saturday, October 07, 2006

Jake's, Hull, MA

Just a quick note, as I'm heading out to see some (hopefully) spectacular fall foliage in the Harrisville and Peterborough section of New Hampshire this afternoon, but I wanted to mention the restaurant we went to last night.

Jake's in Hull is a classic seafood shack right on the water on the outskirts of Hull. This place has amazing views (during the day, that is--we went at night), great seafood, and a terrific waitstaff. I will soon be writing more about this restaurant on the Boston's Hidden Restaurants site, so stay tuned...but in the meantime, if you find yourself in the Hull area, you might want to check out this terrific dining spot.


Friday, October 06, 2006

New York City Pizza

If you could pick one pizza place in Manhattan, which one would it be? I am in NYC next week and will be looking for that one special pizza that is head and shoulders above anything I have had in Boston!


Thursday, October 05, 2006

All Star Sandwich Bar Review

photo of All Star Sandwich Bar, Cambridge, MAWe finally got to the All Star Sandwich Bar in Cambridge last night, and it lived up to its expectations for the most part. To read more about our experience there, go to our Review of the All Star Sandwich Bar, Cambridge on the Boston's Hidden Restaurants site. There is also an interesting review of the All Star Sandwich Bar on the leather district gourmet blog.


Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Ground Round Returns to Cambridge

It looks like the Ground Round is making a bit of a comeback these days. The Tin Alley Grill, which had replaced the Ground Round at the Concord Avenue rotary awhile back, has been replaced by none other than the Ground Round. Strange but true!

Word is that another Ground Round will be opening in South Boston later in 2006, and a new Ground Round has opened on Mass. Avenue in Boston.

What a long, strange trip it has been for the Ground Round chain. Let's hope that this time around, they have a bit more success than the last time, as it is indeed a good place to go for a burger and a beer while watching a Sox or Pats game on TV.


Tuesday, October 03, 2006

El Oriental de Cuba to Re-Open This Week

El Oriental de Cuba, a popular restaurant in Jamaica Plain that was destroyed by a firebomb in the summer of 2005, is about to re-open.

Surely, many Boston-area diners will be celebrating this week, as one of the most beloved restaurants in Boston will be back in business. Best of luck to El Oriental de Cuba, and congratulations on your re-opening!


Our Latest Review: Las Palmas de Cuba in Hanover

photo of Las Palmas de Cuba, Hanover, MAOur latest featured restaurant on the Boston's Hidden Restaurants site is Las Palmas de Cuba, a Mexican and Cuban restaurant on Route 53 in Hanover. Las Palmas de Cuba is a new restaurant that dedicates half of its menu to Cuban entrees and the other half to Mexican entrees. One of the people who started this restaurant used to manage El Sarape, which is one of the best Mexican restaurants in the Boston area. It is not out of the question that Las Palmas de Cuba could end up being our top choice for Mexican and Latin restaurants in 2006--it is indeed that good.


Monday, October 02, 2006

All Star Sandwich Bar, Cambridge -- What's the Consensus?

In the past few weeks, I have heard wildly conflicting opinions on the new All Star Sandwich Bar in Inman Square, Cambridge. The All Star Sandwich Bar is another Chris Schlesinger restaurant (he also owns the East Coast Grill, which is considered one of the best restaurants in the Boston area), so you would expect great things from the place, but I have read and heard some negative comments, as well as many positive ones (and a number of people who say the place is pretty average).

One positive review on the place is at Good Eatin With Lynne: All Star Sandwich Bar: The Best Thing Since Sliced Bread. After reading this, I'm thinking that it may just be worth checking out.

I hope to get there in the next few weeks to try it myself. In the meantime, if anyone has been to the All Star Sandwich Bar, let me know what you think of the place.


Sunday, October 01, 2006

La Summa: A Pleasant Surprise in the North End

photo of La Summa, Boston, MAA group of us went to La Summa in the North End of Boston last night. I had heard about La Summa from many people over the past few years, but it's one of those places that is off the beaten path, and it's a rather humble, unpretentious spot that is easy to overlook. But I finally got there, and what a tremendous experience it was. From the wonderful atmosphere to the efficient waitstaff to the fabulous food, La Summa pleased in many ways.

The standout dish there had to be the Pappardelle E Melanzane. This amazing entree had homemade noodles with eggplant, basil, and garlic in a delicious red sauce. But the arancini (rice balls) were also outstanding, as was the veal with prosciutto and mushrooms in a sweet wine sauce. The calamari was a bit on the bland side, but not too bad an entree. And the wine we had--a terrific Italian merlot--was one of the best red wines I've had this year.

I'm glad I was finally able to make it to La Summa. It definitely won't be the last time I go there.

La Summa Cantina Italiana on Urbanspoon