Boston's Hidden Restaurants
Search by CuisineSearch by RegionSearch by CostFeaturesPhotosBlogAboutHome
Facebook Twitter Google+ Boston Restaurant Talk

Boston Restaurant Blog -- April, 2012

Below are blog entries from April, 2012. 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.)

2013-2014 Entries

2011 Archived Pages

2010 Archived Pages

2009 Archived Pages

2008 Archived Pages

2007 Archived Pages

2006 Archived Pages

2005 Archived Pages

Blog Index

Blog Tags

Blog Home Page

April, 2012

Monday, April 30, 2012
Steak Tips and More at Conrad's in Norwood

It seems as though I am always trying to find a place that has steak tips equal to (or better than) the Newbridge Cafe in Chelsea, which seems to be the standard-bearer for this particular bar food item. So far, I haven't found a place that reaches the heights of the Newbridge, though a few have come close (including the Salem Wood Cafe in Malden and Sadie's in Waltham). Well, it appears that another restaurant is almost at the level of the Newbridge Cafe as well, and even if it isn't quite as good, Conrad's in Norwood may just be the best place for tips south of Boston.

photo of Conrad's, Norwood, MA Conrad's is a rather spacious spot at the southern edge of Norwood Center that almost looks more like a function room or private club from the outside, thanks to an entrance that has a theater-style look to it. The interior is separated into several areas, including a wide corridor in the front that has several tables, a bustling bar at the end of the corridor, a dining area to the right of the bar, a narrow (and quieter) dining section partitioned off to the left, and an outdoor patio further to the left. The waiting area in the front has a decent amount of seating, which is a good thing considering that the place is known for having very long waits on the weekends, as it did on our recent trip there.

So how long was our wait at Conrad's? Well, it was approximately 45 minutes even though we arrived late in the evening. We didn't wait in the front area, however, instead grabbing a couple of seats near the bar and watching some sports on the several TVs nearby. Once we were called to be seated, we were brought over to a table in the corridor that turned out to be in a particularly noisy area. Our server took our drink order, then almost immediately came back with our drinks and asked to take our food order. We ordered boneless buffalo tenders as an appetizer along with steak tips, turkey tips, and chicken teriyaki for our main dishes, but our meals came to us before the appetizer. It turns out that our server forgot to put in the order for the tenders and was very apologetic, offering to take some items off our bill because of her mistake, then immediately bringing out the tenders. The buffalo tenders were delicious, with a nice bite to the sauce and meaty hunks of chicken that had no gristle or fat on them at all. As good as they were, though, the steak tips were the star here, featuring the type of marinade that I wish I could copy in my cooking--indeed, the marinade had that smoky, robust taste that the Newbridge is famous for, and the tips themselves were juicy and tender with no waste at all. The turkey tips were nearly as good, though parts of the tips were just a tad dry, while the chicken teriyaki included a large piece of chicken smothered in a zingy sauce that was perhaps just a bit too gloppy but tasty enough. Unfortunately, we had no room for dessert, even though I had my eye on their brownie sundae.

I am still dreaming of the steak tips that we tried at Conrad's and could easily see myself going there on a weekly basis just for that dish. For those who live near this Norwood eating and drinking spot, it is certainly a terrific alternative to the Newbridge in Chelsea, though much like the Newbridge, expect a potentially long wait if you go on a weekend night.

If you want the address for the Conrad's, here it is: Conrad's, 728 Washington Street, Norwood, MA 02062. The phone number is (781) 769-3883.

Related Blog Entries: steak tips

Tuesday, April 24, 2012
Eight Good Burgers in the Boston Area

photo of cheeseburger from Louis, Quincy, MAOur slideshow series continues, this time moving on to another popular food item, namely burgers. The Boston area has some great places for them, including little-known spots as well as more popular places, and naturally we're focusing mainly on the slightly more under-the-radar places here. And among the eight burgers are some truly delicious ones, including the Grumpy White's quad burger, the Flat Patties double burger, and The Madrona Tree poblano burger. All eight are worth trying, however, and while it would have been nice to have included a few others (such as the terrific burgers from Cappy's in Readville and Audubon Circle in the Fenway), perhaps a second burger slideshow will be coming sometime in the future.

Below is a link to the burger slideshow:

Slideshow for Eight Good Burgers in the Boston Area

Related Blog Entries: slideshows

Friday, April 20, 2012
Ten Dining Options in Towns Not Really Known for Their Restaurants

photo of the Agawam Diner, Rowley, MA Ok, so many of you who spend a lot of time driving in the outer suburbs of Boston and elsewhere in Eastern Massachusetts may have had this problem--you're in an area that you don't know a whole lot about, you're hungry, and the towns that you are driving through do not seem to have many restaurants. So what do you do? Well, for those of you who have smartphones, one option would be to pull over to the side of the road and do a location-based search on Google, Yelp, etc. The problem is, the results may be saturated with your standard sub shops, pizza places, and Chinese food takeout spots.

In part because of what is mentioned above, we have created a list of ten restaurants that reside in towns that, well, aren't really known for having a lot of dining options. Some of the communities that are mentioned (such as Clinton) do have a number of dining and drinking establishments but many of them are takeout joints and dive bars, while others (such as Lakeville) have next to nothing in the way of restaurants. A few others certainly could have been added to this list, but it seems like these ten stand out just a little bit more than other spots that we have featured on the site.

Here is the list, going from north to south through the Boston area and Eastern MA:

1) Agawam Diner, Rowley
This friendly little diner is located on Route 1, which is indeed a very busy road, but this part of Route 1 is nothing like the section in Saugus, which has countless restaurants. The Agawam is one of the only games in town, and it is a good one with classic diner fare and outstanding pies.

2) Mango II, Tewksbury
Tewksbury has a few restaurants (including chains on the northern end of town by Route 495), but it isn't known as a dining destination. The town does have one spot called Mango II, however, that rivals some of the best Thai places in Boston, and as a bonus, it is an excellent option for those who are on gluten-free diets.

3) Sandy's Lunch Box, Pepperell
Mostly rural in nature with extensive areas of woods and farmland, Pepperell is a very quiet place, and one that has little in the way of dining options. But it does have a seasonal snack shack called Sandy's Lunch Box that features deep-fried hot dogs (including dogs that are wrapped in bacon). Roadside food stands aren't all that common within an hour of Boston, which makes this a pretty unique place.

4) Old Timer Restaurant, Clinton
As mentioned earlier, Clinton has lots of restaurants and bars, but the restaurants are often of the takeout variety and the bars can be sketchy. This is why the Old Timer is such a breath of fresh air, as it is a classic Irish pub located in a beautiful old space that looks almost like a church.

5) Barry's Village Deli, Waban
Ok, so Waban is a village--not a town--that is within Newton (which has many restaurants), and it also happens to be home to an excellent dining spot (Kouzina), but the neighborhood is in a very quiet section of the city and not really within walking distance of the other villages of Newton. Having said that, Barry's is an excellent old-school delicatessen that often gets overlooked because of its location on a side street in this beautiful neighborhood.

6) Coffee Sensations, Medfield
Medfield is an attractive and wealthy community that has a restaurants here and there, but like several of the towns along Route 109, the choices are few and far between. And one spot--Coffee Sensations--is completely hidden from view, as it resides in the back of a department store. The eatery is a good spot if you like cheap comfort food such as burgers and hot dogs.

7) Medway Restaurant, Medway
Much like Medfield, Medway is a pleasant town along Route 109 that has little in the way of dining options. One spot is a nearly completely unknown Greek eatery called the Medway Restaurant that offers classic Greek fare and American comfort food items at decent prices. Its location in a generic shopping center won't bowl you over, but the food is quite good here.

8) Spencer's Pizza, Abington
Route 18 in Abington has a few restaurants (including the Abington Ale House and Great Chow), but there really aren't a whole lot of options, especially in/near the center of town. But this is "bar pizza" country, and if you look hard enough, you can find some good ones, including a little spot called Spencer's, which resides in a rickety old building and has some of the best bar pies south of Boston.

9) Venus Cafe, Whitman
Speaking of bar pizza, the small town of Whitman (which is next door to Abington) has a few good spots for it--and almost nothing else in the way of restaurants. Perhaps the best is the Venus Cafe in the center of town, which is a neighborhood joint whose pizza rivals the Lynwood Cafe in Randolph--and that is certainly saying a lot.

10) Somethin's Brewin' Book Cafe, Lakeville
Once you get past Brockton heading southward, the landscape starts to get much more rural, with some towns having very few people and almost no restaurants. Lakeville is such a place, with no real downtown to speak of, and few eateries other than the charming Somethin's Brewin' Book Cafe, which resides in an old library. And yes, the place does sell books in addition to sandwiches.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012
A Bit More Info About Our Pinterest Pages

A couple of months ago, I wrote about Boston's Hidden Restaurants' use of Pinterest. Since then, many more of our pictures have gone up onto that social media photo sharing site, and we have also been sharing other people's photos, most of which center around food. So how is our Pinterest collection organized? Well, it is made up of several boards, including a food board and a restaurant board, each of which includes pictures from the Boston's Hidden Restaurants site:

Food Photos from Boston's Hidden Restaurants

Restaurant Photos from Boston's Hidden Restaurants

Also, food photos from our friends and followers on Pinterest can be found at this link:

Photos from Our Friends and Followers

And finally, other food photos are at this link:

Misc. Photos

There are other boards within our Pinterest collection, but the above boards are the ones to focus on if you're looking for anything related to food and restaurants. By the way, if you would like to use RSS feeds to have an easy way to see our photos from newest post to oldest, please go to the links below:

RSS Feed for Food Photos

RSS Feed for Restaurant Photos

If you would like us to share any of your food or restaurant photos on Pinterest, contact us with any links to pictures you have (or use the "Comments" section here) and we'll try to get them up onto the Pinterest site as soon as possible, thanks!