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Boston Restaurant Blog -- January, 2007

Below are blog entries from January, 2007. Use the links in the left column to do a quick search of blog entries, or to see blog entries from other months. And feel free to use the "Comments" links under each blog entry to reply to us; your comments just might end up in our Boston restaurant blog! (Note: This page is part of our restaurant features section.)

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Tuesday, January 30, 2007
New York City Restaurant Recommendations

I have family in New York City, which really helps give me a perspective on the restaurant scene down there. The other day, some of my family was visiting from New York, and I was able to get some good restaurant recommendations from them. Among them were:

Eisenberg's Sandwich Shop, which is on Fifth Avenue (near 22nd Street), is an old-fashioned New York diner that has one of the best tuna salad sandwiches in the city.

Walkers Restaurant, on North Moore Street in Tribeca, is a humble, unpretentious old restaurant and bar that has excellent burgers and many different beers to choose from.

Fanelli's Cafe is an old bar on Prince Street in Soho, but unlike many places in that neighborhood, Fanelli's isn't a place to be seen; rather, it is a comfortable, well-worn place to get a good bowl of soup and enjoy a few beers.

Rice to Riches, which is on Spring Street (near Mott Street) just north of Little Italy, is an unusual place that sells nearly 20 types of rice pudding, and that's about it. But the pudding is excellent, and it is definitely worth a trip if you are a rice pudding fan.

Moishe's Kosher Bake Shop is a traditional Jewish bakery on Second Avenue near 6th Street that is one of the few remaining places of its kind left in Manhattan.

Bistro Ten 18 is a neighborhood bistro on the Upper West Side (Amsterdam at 110th Street) that features reasonably priced New American cuisine as well as comfort food. This cozy little place is also known for its outstanding wine list.

Al-Di-La Trattoria is across the river in Brooklyn (Park Slope, to be exact), and is a great place for lovers of Northern Italian cuisine. This 5th Avenue restaurant isn't all that well known outside of the neighborhood, but it is good enough to be crowded with locals night after night.

Well, that's about it for now. I would love to get to some of these restaurants over the next few months, but I have my own list of New York restaurants that I want to try, too, so I'm not sure how many of these I will get to try.

Related Blog Entries: Brooklyn restaurants, Manhattan restaurants, New York restaurants

Tuesday, January 23, 2007
Alfredo's Restaurant: Old-School Italian in Quincy

We drove over to Alfredo's in Quincy last weekend to get some good old-fashioned Italian food. It had been awhile since I was at a decent "red-sauce" restaurant, so I was definitely overdue for some pasta. And while Alfredo's is by no means the best Italian restaurant I have been to on the South Shore, it isn't all that bad, either.

photo of Alfredo's Restaurant, Quincy, MA Alfredo's is laid out in a simple manner, with the lounge on the right side of the restaurant and the dining room on the left side. We lucked out, getting one of the window seats in the dining room, and looked at the menu while noshing on some of their tasty bread. We ordered a couple of dishes--the broiled scallops and the veal braccalitine, along with some pasta fagioli. The soup was satisfying, though nothing extraordinary, while the meals were decent overall. The broiled scallops were fresh and firm (and probably the better of the two dishes), while the veal braccalitine was a bit too saucy for me; it was swimming in marsala sauce. The ziti was good, though, and the cuts of veal were of a decent quality.

I would probably go back to Alfredo's, though I do prefer Tullio's in North Quincy, since their menu is a bit more interesting and the food seems a bit more fresh and better prepared. But Alfredo's is kind of a fun place in an old-timey sort of way, and the prices are very reasonable. There are definitely worse options out there for Italian food, so while I'm not ga-ga over Alfredo's, I can't say I was disappointed either.

If you would like the address for Alfredo's, here it is: Alfredo's Restaurant, 75 Franklin Street, Quincy, MA, 02169. Phone: (617) 472-1115.

Related Blog Entries: Italian restaurants, Quincy restaurants

Friday, January 19, 2007
Romantic Boston and New England Restaurants

Well, here comes Valentine's Day once again! It is only a few weeks away, and with it, one of the busiest nights of the year for restaurants in Boston and elsewhere. If you haven't made reservations yet, you still have time, but you might want to start thinking about where to go with your valentine for a romantic dining experience.

Boston's Hidden Restaurants has a Romantic Boston Restaurants for Valentine's Day page that includes names, addresses, and brief descriptions of a number of restaurants that are perfect to go to for an intimate evening of dining. Some of the restaurants, of course, are "hidden," so they might be relatively easy to get into on Valentine's Day.

Contact us if you have any questions on any of these restaurants, and feel free to post comments on some of your favorite date spots for dining!

Related Blog Entries: romantic restaurants

Monday, January 15, 2007
Late-Night Dining at New Jumbo Seafood, Chinatown

I got together with several friends Friday night, including a friend of mine from Virginia who makes a point of going to Chinatown whenever he and his wife are in Boston. Well, he came up alone this time, but we all decided to do a late Chinatown run, anyway.

photo of the New Jumbo Seafood, Boston, MA After a few hours spent at the Red Hat, an old-school Boston bar at the northern edge of Beacon Hill, we headed over to Chinatown. It was pretty quiet for a Friday night, though we arrived around 11:30, which is probably an in-between time for the restaurants of the neighborhood. Our destination was the outstanding New Jumbo Seafood, which used to be called Jumbo Seafood, but I believe they are under new ownership, hence the "New" part of the name.

We had way too much food at the New Jumbo, especially for that time of night, but it was worth it, since the food was tremendous. The Singapore Rice Stick had tons of shrimp and delicious rice noodles in a moderately spicy curry sauce. The fried calamari was as good as any you will find in Chinatown. The chicken with cashews was piled high with both ingredients, and was mixed with a mild sauce. And even the more Americanized dishes--the chicken fingers and crab rangoon--were better than what you will find in most Chinese restaurants.

New Jumbo Seafood is definitely one of my favorite places in Chinatown, as its dishes are both excellent and reasonably priced, and they are open late. Plus, the dining room is a bit bigger and quieter than those of many other restaurants in Chinatown. I definitely want to get back soon, perhaps when my friend and his wife return to Boston in a few weeks (if I can wait that long!).

For those who want the address of New Jumbo Seafood, here it is: New Jumbo Seafood, 5 Hudson Street, Boston, MA 02111; the phone number is (617) 542-2823

Related Blog Entries: Boston restaurants, Chinatown restaurants, Chinese restaurants

Thursday, January 11, 2007
Our Sandwiches Section Now Includes Cafes

We made a minor change to our site, but one that we think is important; our section on sandwich places has been changed to include cafes. The reason we made this change is because sometimes the line blurs between good sandwich places and cafes. One such example is the Loaf and Ladle in Exeter, NH, a place that could be considered both a sandwich place and a cafe.

One other reason for the change is because the next restaurant that we feature on Boston's Hidden Restaurants further blurs the line between a cafe and a sandwich shop (it could also be considered a bakery, too!). What is this restaurant? Well, you will have to wait, but I can tell you that it is a wonderful spot south of Boston that is a true hidden gem. Stay tuned!

Jump to this link to go to our newly updated Sandwich Places and Cafes page.

Related Blog Entries: sandwich shops

Friday, January 5, 2007
Potbellies Kitchen: A Welcome Addition to South Boston

We recently tried a new restaurant in South Boston called Potbellies Kitchen. Located just north of the Broadway T station on the West Side of Southie, Potbellies Kitchen resides in a large house. The space that the restaurant is in is tiny but attractive in a funky sort of way. In addition to their regular menu, they also have daily specials written on the blackboards on the walls. The night we went, they also had some great music piping through the place, including a bit of traditional Chicago blues as well as some good jazz.

photo of the Potbellies Kitchen, South Boston, MA We ordered a few items for dinner when we went, including one of the best Caesar salads I have had in a long time. The ingredients were fresh, and the dressing was tangy. I also tried the delicious watercress soup, which was their soup of the day. And I asked them if they could put together a grilled corned beef sandwich with swiss cheese, which they gladly did even though it wasn't on the menu. One more item that we tried was the haddock dinner, which was also excellent. Potbellies Kitchen did not have a liquor license at the time we went (I'm sure they have one by now, though), so we had to order soft drinks.

The folks who own Potbellies Kitchen are very nice, and they definitely seem to really care about their place and the people who dine there. One of the owners used to be a chef at the terrific Silvertone in Downtown Crossing, so there is a reason why the food is so good here. I know that I will be back at Potbellies soon, as I want to try some of their other dishes (including the Cubano, which they were out of the night we went). If Potbellies impresses once again, it might just be added as a featured restaurant on our site. And based on the first meal we had there, the odds of that happening are pretty darn good.

For those who are looking for the address of Potbellies Kitchen, here it is: Potbellies Kitchen, 87 A Street, South Boston, MA 02127; the phone number is (617) 269-2233

Related Blog Entries: American restaurants, South Boston restaurants

Monday, January 1, 2007
New Year's Eve at Spazio FX, Braintree

We spent New Year's Eve at a fairly new restaurant in Braintree called Spazio FX. There are actually two Spazio restaurants, with one being in East Braintree, and the other (which we went to) closer to the west end of town near Randolph. The Spazio which we dined at is more upscale than the other, though from the outside, it is difficult to tell exactly what kind of restaurant it is, since it is inside one of those bland, square-ish, brick office buildings that you might find in an industrial park along Route 128 or 495. We were pleasantly surprised by the atmosphere, however, as once inside, it is a dark, elegant place with an attractive bar area and comfortable seating in the main dining area.

The food we had at Spazio FX was terrific from start to finish. We started with an excellent antipasto that had a variety of meats as well as zucchini, eggplant, tomatoes, and peppers. We also had a bottle of Rosemount shiraz wine which was very mellow and mild. For the main courses, we ordered a pork tenderloin with potatoes (the pork was tender, moist, and fresh) and a beef tenderloin with wild mushrooms, gorgonzola mashed potatoes, and swiss chard (and not an ounce of fat on the tenderloin). And to finish up, we split a sinful dessert of chocolate cake with raspberries and ice cream.

Overall, I was extremely happy with Spazio FX. I hope to try them for lunch sometime soon, and perhaps head back for dinner some night. The restaurant definitely proves that you can't judge a book (or a restaurant!) by its cover.

Related Blog Entries: Braintree restaurants, New Year's Eve restaurants

For those of you who would like the address for Spazio FX, here it is: Spazio FX, 703 Granite Street, Braintree, MA, 02184. Phone: (781) 848-4500.