Below is a transcript of a live online panel discussion on new restaurants in the Boston area and long-closed spots that are missed, which took place on Thursday, June 9, 2011. The panel included several panel members, with food writers, bloggers, and media people participating. The hour-long chat included talks with the panel on restaurants that have opened in the Boston area over the past several months, and long-closed restaurants that people still think about, with the chat including viewer participation as well. [Note: The original discussion can be replayed at the following link: http://www.hiddenboston.com/online-discussion-0611.html and please go to the restaurant discussions link to check out our other chats.]
Marc H. (hiddenboston): Hi all! Welcome to a new discussion focusing on restaurants in the Boston area. Today we'll be looking at new dining spots as well as long-closed restaurants that folks still miss after all these years.
Marc H.: This is our 12th discussion, and as always, we have a few panel members who you may have heard of. Why don't we start with some introductions? I'll begin--I'm Marc, the founder and owner of Boston's Hidden Restaurants and the news-based blog Boston Restaurant Talk (which can be found at http://www.bostonrestaurants.blogspot.com).
MC Slim JB: I review cheap restaurants for the Boston Phoenix, fine dining restaurants for Stuff Magazine, and bars for Serious Eats. My blog: http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/
Michelle C.: Thanks, Marc! I'm Michelle, and I blog over at The Economical Eater (www.theeconomicaleater.com).
Rich O: Hey bud. I'm a friend of Marc's and sidekick on many of his food trips. I just (literally) started a new blog on cooking http://noexcusescooking.blogspot.com/
Marc H.: Hi, MC, Michelle, and Rich!
Julie Dennehy: Hi folks! I'm Julie Dennehy - PR consultant, tween blogger, and rep for The Cottage restaurants (and others).
Julie Dennehy: ... and I'm a Hidden Boston fan!
Marc H.: Hi, Julie!
Julie Dennehy: Howdy. I really like this software, FYI.
Eric H.: Thanks, Marc! I am the editor and publisher of VisitingNewEngland.com (http://visitingnewengland.com/), The Thrifty New England Traveler (http://www.visitingnewengland.com/blog-cheap-travel/) and VisitingCooperstown.com (http://www.visitingcooperstown.com/).
Marc H.: Hey, Eric!
Adam C: Hi to All. My name is Adam and I'm a blogger on the local hospitality scene (Bostonhospitalityindustry.com)
Marc H.: Hello, Adam!
Eric H.: Greetings from the south -- south of Boston, that is. Look forward to this discussion and then having lunch after at an open restaurant!
Patrick Maguire: Just a guy trying to make a living by opening a clam shack in P-Town and blogging away @ http://www.servernotservant.com/
Marc H.: Hey, Patrick! What's the weather like on the Outer Cape today?
Adam C: Good luck with your clamshack Patrick!
MC Slim JB: What's the opening date, Patrick?
Julie Dennehy: Great blog name, Patrick.
Patrick Maguire: Sun just popped thru. I was in Boston delivering shellfish at the crack of dawn this morning.
Marc H.: We may have one or two more panel members joining us today, but I think we can start...
Marc H.: I'm thinking that today's discussion should be a lot of fun, especially once we get into talking about restaurants that are no longer around. Before we get into that topic, however, I'd like to look at some of the new dining spots that have come to the Boston area over the past several months. There have been a huge number of new places opening up of late, including Sake in Braintree, The Cottage in Chestnut Hill (as Julie had mentioned), 3 Country Bistro in Woburn, and Bella Drew's Cafe in downtown Boston.
Marc H.: Because this site tends to focus on lesser-known restaurants, I'd like to avoid talking about hugely popular spots that have recently opened, as well as new locations of national chains. So while I'm very intrigued about Legal Harborside's opening along the Waterfront, and I'm also interested in checking out the new Panera in the Back Bay, I'd rather not spend much time on those places here. As far as our second topic is concerned (long-closed restaurants), anything goes, really, since restaurants that were popular back in the day (such as Jack and Marion's in Brookline) may not be known to many people anymore.
Marc H.: One more note: The format of today's chat will be just a bit different from previous ones--it will probably be less Q&A and more in the way of conversations about new places (and old). And as always, all of you out there who are viewing this can join in on the discussion, though I'd like to talk with the panel first for each topic before we open the chat up to everyone.
Marc H.: So let's start--what new restaurants have you been to of late? If you want, we can talk about places that have been open as far back as last fall, but I'd rather not go back much more than that....
MC Slim JB: My favorite newish place lately is a food truck, Staff Meal. Two fine-dining chefs doing a lot of their own charcuterie, making great inexpensive sandwiches and snacks. They set the food-truck bar pretty high.
Marc H.: Where is the food truck set up, MC?
MC Slim JB: They skip around, mostly between the South End and JP. Best way to figure it out is their website: staffmealboston.com
Michelle C.: That sounds great, MC! I recently visited Nubar in Cambridge - right in the Sheraton outside of Harvard Square. A little pricey, but the food was innovative (as were the cocktails)
Marc H.: I'm hoping to get to Nubar soon. The space looks really nice from the photos I've seen of it.
Michelle C.: it is, Marc - very modern, yet comfortable - and you'd never know you were eating inside of a hotel
MC Slim JB: Nubar looks like a great spot for an illicit tryst: out of the way, little known.
Julie Dennehy: "Best spot for a tryst" - a good story idea, MC!
Rich O: I always thought best spot for a tryst was about 30 miles from where you live...
Adam C: I really like the Bon Me truck. They did a great chicken Pad Thai as a special a couple of weeks ago at City Hall Plaza
Marc H.: Adam, do they do a variety of Asian cuisines?
Julie Dennehy: I was just going to say that on, Adam. Their Pad Thai was fabulous, a quick fix. Vietnamese fare on the go, mostly.
Adam C: They mainly do the Bon Me, Rice Bowls, and noodle bowls, small but easy to understand menu
MC Slim JB: I'm a fan of Bon Me, too, recently reviewed it in The Phoenix. I think it's a great alternative for folks leery of visiting Chinatown (which does the same kind of Vietnamese food more traditionally and much cheaper).
Adam C: We need more food trucks around the Boston Common!
Marc H.: One place I'm hoping to get to (and almost went last night, actually) is Inna's Kitchen in Newton Centre. It's a Jewish deli with a great-looking menu, and it's on a side street off the main drag, so it looks like a potential hidden gem.
Michelle C.: I've also heard OK things about Meadhall, which just opened up in Kendall Square...I'm dying to go! Great beer options and atmosphere, but I guess the food is so-so
Marc H.: Meadhall does sound good. I believe they are looking to do beer tastings there?
Michelle C.: Marc, beer tastings would be awesome! I'll have to keep an eye out for those.
MC Slim JB: Meadhall has a ridiculous number of beers on tap, close to 100, I believe. Biggest knock I've heard on the food is that it is pricey for what it is.
Julie Dennehy: I was just in Austin, food truck capital... they have it down to a science and it is a great way to sample new cuisine on the cheap - and on the fly.
Marc H.: I want to go to Austin for the music scene, but wasn't aware of the food truck scene there. One more reason to go, I guess.
MC Slim JB: Another new place that really excites me is Tawakal Halal, a Somali place in Eastie. Fascinating cuisine, influences from all over: Ethiopia, Italy, India, Vietnam, their own local traditions. Nice people, too.
Marc H.: That place intrigues me as well, MC.
Patrick Maguire: Sorry for contributing a 'new' restaurant that will require a field trip for most, but Will Gilson (formerly Garden @ Cellar) and his gang are doing a great job collaborating at Adrian's in Truro if anyone gets to God's country on the National Seashore.
Marc H.: I can't wait to check out Adrian's. Hopefully sometime in July or August if I get the chance. It sounds like a really interesting concept, having a long-term pop-up restaurant like that.
MC Slim JB: Adrian's is definitely on my list, though I'm sorry to see Gilson leaving Garden at The Cellar.
Julie Dennehy: Good tip... I'll be there this summer.
Julie Dennehy: Is that an oxymoron: long term pop up restaurant? :)
Marc H.: Ha ha, I know, I was thinking that as well.
MC Slim JB: My favorite newish fine-dining experience is at Bondir. Tiny place, romantic, fabulous farm-to-table, sustainable menu.
Michelle C.: MC, I've been wanting to go to Bondir. I'm always a fan of a restaurant that utilizes local sources!
Marc H.: Bondir is in a bit of a tough location for a restaurant, but I'm hearing it is well worth checking out.
Patrick Maguire: Bondir is on my list also. I hope Jason & Co. are doing well after Devra's stellar review. I have to run. Thank you for allowing me to pop in, Marc. Here's to a great summer everyone!!!
Marc H.: Enjoy the summer as well, Patrick!
Guest: Have a great summer and good luck, Patrick!
Palo Alto: Atasca did very well at the Bondir location for many years. They closed it after they opened O Cantinho -- in a better spot, but didn't fare as well in the long run.
MC Slim JB: I really loved that original Atasca location, and miss O Cantinho, too.
MC Slim JB: Looking forward to El Centro, the new Mexican place in the South End across from Orinoco. Seems likelier to do real, traditional Mexican than the bevy of new upscale Mex joints that have opened lately.
Marc H.: Has anyone tried Local 149 in Southie yet? I want to try it, but still have to shake off the fact that they took over the Farragut House, which, while not having the greatest food, was a real classic neighborhood joint.
MC Slim JB: I've been to Local 149, which is booming. Very good: kind of gastro-pubby, with respectable craft cocktails and good beers. I liked the food, too. Sets a new price point for casual dining in Southie, which I guess means gentrification is proceeding apace.
Michelle C.: I haven't been there yet, Marc - but I agree - they do have a lot to live up to!
Marc H.: One place I checked out briefly a few weeks ago (though I didn't actually eat there) is Tres Gatos in Jamaica Plain. Very interesting place--I felt like I was at a college house party, with people milling about everywhere with drinks in hand, including in the areas where they sell records and books.
Guest: Just a plug and FYI about a few cool things about the new Cottage restaurant if you make it out to Chestnut Hill Shopping Ctr (Longwood T stop): locally owned by John and Laura Wolfe, tons of fresh/light options, use local food sources/purveyors, scratch kitchen for all sides/sauces/soups etc., make their own sparking water, gluten free options, family friendly AND sophisticated. Amazing brunch starting in mid-July - @thecottagechill if you'd like to follow for more news. PHEW. Thanks for indulging me.
MC Slim JB: That stretch of Route 9 could use some more good indie places.
Guest: you got that right, MC. I'm not a huge Rt. 9 fan, but I like hidden gems.
Marc H.: We'll be leaving this topic in a few minutes, but before we do, have any viewers out there been to any good new restaurants in the Boston area?
Adam C: Does anyone know anything about Dore Creperie opening a Pop-Up restaurant in the former Pressed spot in Govt. Center?
Marc H.: Adam, I think they are having some sort of zoning issue with the city right now. Hopefully they can get it worked out.
Guest: mmm, creperie...
Adam C: I hope they will be able to work with the city and get this done soon!
Adam C: I think the City should make it easier for new restaurants to open, not harder. why should liquor licenses be so expensive?
Guest: I agree fully with Adam about the liquor licences and would second that the inspection process is arduous for small business owners - inspections drag on and the resto can't open for months... losing money.
Guest: Whats your favorite dish of the moment guys?
Marc H.: The house-made ravioli with mushrooms and asparagus in a wine-butter sauce at Vecchia Roma in Newton. Best thing I've had in 2011 so far.
Guest: My favorite ingredient at the moment is super fresh avocado and homemade guacamole. Obessed, I am.
MC Slim JB: Best thing I ate lately was the Chinese sausage / yu choy / fried rice / ah-so sauce / moo-shu wrap from Staff Meal. So good I had to eat two of them.
Mike5966: Favorite dish of the moment... Peruvian charcoal rotisserie chicken. I'm obsessed. Places that serve them in East Boston aren't new, but definitely new to me, and they're great.
Michelle C.: Best thing I ate lately was the seared watermelon steak at 51 Lincoln in Newton. Out of this world.
MC Slim JB: Another fine-dining experience I'd recommend is Cognac Bistro near JFK Crossing in Brookline: French bistro and local seafood, modest setting in a former gas station. Chef/owner also owns Kouzina in Waban.
Marc H.: There are so many good restaurants along that stretch of road, MC. I love Dok Bua and Genki Ya in that area. Still need to try Cognac Bistro...
Marc H.: Before we go on to the next topic, I did want to mention one brand new spot that I got to about a week ago--The Scotty Dog in Beverly. Great Chicago-style hot dogs, and carhop service, though they do need to work some kinks out in the service department.
MC Slim JB: Another Chicago dog purveyor? Fantastic! Love those.
Rich O: I can attest those Vienna Beef dogs rocked
Marc H.: Soooo.....now the fun really begins...
Marc H.: On to our next topic. Let's talk about long-closed restaurants that are still missed after all these years. This is a topic that always seems to be a popular one among folks who go out to eat a lot. Who wants to start?
Marc H.: I'll mention one right off the bat. Does anyone remember Angelo's in East Arlington? Fresh, thin-crust, foldable, drippy pizza that was fantastic. I believe it was located near where Edible Arrangements is now on Mass. Ave. they probably closed in the 1970s when I was a little kid.
Michelle C.: Marc, I didn't know Angelo's, but you did remind me about Prose....loved her passion for local sources, and was sad to see her go.
Rich O: I remember Angelos Marc. It was a trip on the 77 but the only non-Greek pizza in the East end
MC Slim JB: I had a blast compiling my "beloved and bygone" list: over 120 entries! Some probably weren't that great, purely nostalgia value (my first date with that girl, etc.). I think I'll try to do just the ones whose food would still hold up today.
Guest: Are you publishing that list, MC?
Rich O: I'm going to say an entire neighborhood that was my favorite places ever has more or less turned over; Harvard Square. Long gone are the Wursthaus, Bow and Arrow, Cafe Avventura, Ruggles, The Tasty, Nicks Beef and Beer (tween Harvard and Porter)...all my favorite spots. I rarely head in there anymore
Marc H.: Just for the record, Rich and I used to go to Nick's Beef and Beer with a number of other folks each week to get the double burger specials and the $3.00 pitchers. Ah, memories...
Michelle C.: $3 pitchers?! Can't beat that! ;)
Eric H.: How about the Pacific Hut Chinese restaurant at the Burlington Mall in Burlington? The menu was longer than a Melville novel and it was so dark in there that it was best to come prepared with a coal miner's helmet hard hat with light.
Guest: Eric: reminds me of the old Chinese place on Rt. 9 in Wellesley - Hong Kong Palace? Facade like a pagoda. Hilarious.
Marc H.: Nice. I forget--when did the Pacific Hut close?
Guest: Long closed restaurants: now that I'm jonesing for a crepe, anyone remember going to Magic Pan for crepes on Newbury (or was it Boylston Street)? So 1970s.
Tracey: Todd English's bonfire! Loved that place
Adam C: I miss Bailey's in Belmont Center and other locations around Boston. Very good ice cream spot!
MC Slim JB: One place Mrs. MC and I really miss is "eat" in Union Square, Somerville. A great little New American place and bar. Also loved its neighbor Rauxa, a Basque concept, especially for brunch.
Mike5966: Pretty recent closing but I sure miss Ken's Noodle House (Ken Ramen) at Super 88. It was the best ramen in the city. Kita no Kuni forever...
Eric H.: Always loved Ma Glockner's in Bellingham, Mass., for its berched chicken. What is berched chicken, you might ask? Berched chicken is a special process of steaming a seasoned chicken breast for several hours and then searing it on a grill for seven minutes. Ma Glocker's closed its doors a few years ago after being in business since 1936, but, fortunately, The River Falls Restaurant and Lounge in Woonsocket, R.I., recently brought back the legendary berched chicken dinner, served on Sundays only.
Julie Dennehy: Oh, Eric: Ma's cinnamon rolls!!!! I can taste them now.
MM: Linda Mae's on Morrissey Blvd. That place was an icon growing up! Just staring at the 6" high cakes and pies swirling around in those cases...
Marc H.: Linda Mae's...I never got there, unfortunately. Heard great things about it.
Eric H.: Always loved the King's Grant restaurant at the King Grant hotel in Danvers, Mass. I mean, where else could you dine in a 14th Century Tudor Dynasty atmosphere with plush carpets, bi-level dining and a staff with thick Boston accents? The buffet was actually quite good with every familiar breakfast and lunch food you could imagine. I got really annoyed the last time we were there, however, when they featured a "theme brunch" with actors and actresses portraying 14 Century types. Historians know that Henry VI eventually went insane; we weren't far behind after suffering through this crummy performance.
Marc H.: Whenever I drive by the King Grant I always get weepy, since I had so many memorable experiences there.
MC Slim JB: Original locations of places still going: the old L'Espalier, so much more romantic than the current hotel space. The original Olives in Charlestown, back from the days when Todd English was a brilliant chef cooking every night in his own restaurant rather than just being a marketing figurehead for a giant empire. Legal Sea Food as a tiny fish market / casual Inman Square fish joint.
Marc H.: I remember Legal back then. It was really great.
MM: @ Rich - I loved Ruggles in Downtown Xing area. First time I ever had Cheddar Cheese pizza
Rich O: @MM-Didn't know there was more then one!!
MM: Rich - yes, we used to head down there from Suffolk back in the day. Loved that place
Marc H.: British pizza. Such an odd concept, but it seemed to work.
Rich O: Anyone remember the Bel Canto chain? I lived for their tortes
Marc H.: Yes, I was actually one my way to Bel Canto one night only to find out that it was erupting into flames. We watched it burn from a bench on Mass. Ave.
Julie Dennehy: Speaking of places built in castles, how about York Steak House in the Natick Mall? Pudding in goblets?
Marc H.: York Steak House rings a bell. I also miss Joan and Ed's around there, though that's more of a recent closure.
Julie Dennehy: I was waiting for someone to mention Joan & Ed's. They were selling old mugs and stuff on a website a few weeks ago. Glad they can finally kick back and relax... hardworking family.
Rich O: Marc and Eric...Augstines!! Dear lord
Marc H.: I still hear the piano/organ playing of the woman at Augustines in my head. And I can picture the huge piles of ziti on my plate from the buffet table.
Eric H.: Loved Augustine's, Rich! Miss the charming elderly lady playing modern pop songs on an organ. We loved that memory -- so real and heartwarming as her presence warmed up the restaurant. Augustine's had some excellent Italian food and, in the latter years, started featuring a buffet table about five times the size of Rhode Island. Augustine's surprisingly closed on us when we had begun to enjoy the restaurant more and more.
Eric H.: Willow Pond in Concord, Mass. I miss dearly the stench of cow manure across the street, the surly service, the turgid pizza, stuffed moose on the wall, and catfish and frog legs on the menu. I miss it a lot in a weird kind of way. This place was in Concord???
Marc H.: I REALLY miss Willow Pond. One of the greatest locations for a restaurant in the Boston area.
MC Slim JB: Willow Pond was indeed in Concord, a great rural dive. Stuffed animals everywhere!
MC Slim JB: I mean, taxidermied animals, not plush toys.
MM: Eastern Pier II on Northern Ave in Boston. The food was great, and the view from their deck overlooking the harbor was one of the best in the city
MC Slim JB: I know Marc will echo that Eastern Pier rec!
Marc H.: :-)
Adam C: I miss Bonfire too. Pairings is just not the same
Julie Dennehy: When I worked in Brighton, Legal SF had an "outlet" near the bridge going over the Pike... chowder to go!
Eric H.: When thinking of charming Boston restaurants, the Sizzleboard comes to mind. Frantic, fast-food kind of restaurant near Fenway Park where a hippie waitress once yelled at my dad because we took 15 whole seconds to order. Bummer, man, she must not have been able to find that Vanilla Fudge album at the local record shop, and took it out on us!
MC Slim JB: I love the current Green Street, one of Boston's best craft cocktail bars, with good food, too. But I'll always have a soft spot for its divier incarnation of a few years ago, with live music, Caribbean food, a pinball machine and jukebox. A really fine old dump.
Marc H.: I couldn't agree more, MC.
Marc H.: On the same note, I used to go to Harvard Gardens on Beacon Hill when it was a total dive. I like the current version, but the old spot had a real charm to it. Well, maybe charm isn't the correct word...
Julie Dennehy: Funny how everyone loves pizza universally, but so few pizza joints make it for more than a year or two due to various business factors.
Michelle C.: Agreed, Julie - it's hard to be a long-standing pizza joint in this town.
Marc H.: One of my favorite pizza spots was Giovanni's at Nagog Pond in Acton. Excellent pizza, and the views of the pond across the street were very memorable.
MC Slim JB: Its successors in the South End -- Sage, and now The Gallows -- are really good, but I do miss Caffe Umbra. Laura Brennan's porchetta sandwiches, Ron Roy's salt caramel ice cream, Joe Carbonaro's cocktails. Memmmm-oh-reeeees!
Julie Dennehy: I really miss Sage too... very fresh, fun people.
Adam C: I miss Sage as well
Rich O: One I really miss is Chadwicks in Lexington. Belly Buster!!!!!!
Marc H.: The only thing about Chadwicks that I didn't like was that it was SO LOUD.
Eric H.: Good one, Rich, on Chadwick's! Yes, the Belly Buster sundaes and the ear splitting "Happy Birthday" song performed by what seemed like the entire staff. Amy Poehler and Rachel Dratch from Saturday Night Live fame, worked there before they became famous!
Eric H.: The Kaffestuga was a Swedish restaurant in Sudbury where the Lotus Blossom Chinese restaurant is now located. All I can remember is my folks and their friends, Helen and Hans, going out with us there. I loaded up on Swedish meatballs. It was the best Swedish restaurant in the Boston area, mainly because it was the...
Marc H.: Ha ha! I don't remember that place, Eric.
Julie Dennehy: "Kaffestuga: the best Swedish restaurant in the Metrowest" would have been a great marketing tagline.
MC Slim JB: Rocco's in the Transportation Building. A cool-looking, romantic, slightly-creative Italian place. I used it to test the food-nerdiness of my dates, as it was relatively adventurous for its day.
Palo Alto: Buddy's Sirloin Pit, The Wursthaus, was an EAT fan too and spent much time at Nick's, PA restaurant in Union Square, there used to be a Puerto Rican restauant/club off Pearl in Central Square that I vaguely remember
Marc H.: It was such a bad idea having a second floor at the Wursthaus. Those stairs were tough to navigate after several obscure German beers.
Eric H.: How about Yoken's "Thar She Blows" restaurants in Danvers, Mass., and Portsmouth, N.H.? It was a seafood restaurant famous for everything fried under the sun, a gift shop with nothing good, and the huge, amazing smiling blue neon whale sign.
Rich O: Anyone here over 40 remember Babos in Cambridge? It was pretty much wiped out of existence when they did Alewife Brook PKWY over but I remember going there as a kid
MC Slim JB: South End Galleria, with Marisa Iocco in the kitchen and Rita D'Angelo out front. Wonderful modern Italian back when the South End wasn't such a fine-dining hot spot.
Palo Alto: I also really miss Caffe Roma, the basement level French on JFK near Harvard, Iruna was inconsistent but another Basque option back in the day. I liked Salamander when it was in Cambridge and Ambrosia.
Rich O: PA's is still a lounge but the family opened a restaurant somewhere else
Palo Alto: The son of the owners of PA's opened Con Sol which closed and is now Bondir. Don't know of any other restaurants they have opened since. There also was a Spanish/Tapas restaurant in Winchester Center which was quite good for a while.
Rich O: Didn't know Con Sol closed
MC Slim JB:Jasper's, Jasper White's first restaurant of his own, high-end New England seafood at the edge of the North End. I like his casual operations now, but his cooking was never better than there.
MC Slim JB: Cao Palace, the first Vietnamese place I remember in Boston, also a good fish market. We hit it every Saturday for chicken pho, our preferred morning-after-Friday-night restorative.
Eric H.: Loved the Hot Shoppes cafeteria at the Burlington Mall. Great place to enjoy tv dinner-like food and some Jello. Remember the Roadrunner cartoons when the coyote runs out of running room and goes off the cliff? I did that once with my tray of food at the end of the food line. It was good to be a kid.
Julie Dennehy: Hey all... gotta dash, but there's an open invite for review meals at The Cottage if you want to check it out. Follow @thecottagechill and DM me... or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Have a fantastic lunch!
Marc H.: Thanks for joining us, Julie!
Rich O: Bye Julie!
MC Slim JB: Restaurant Zinc, an early exponent of the local French bistro revival. Superb hand-cut steak tartare, still the best I've had in Boston.
Marc H.: I don't remember that place, MC. Where was it located?
MC Slim JB: Zinc was on Stanhope Street, about where Zocalo is now.
Marc H.: Does anyone remember Harold's at the Chestnut Hill Mall? It was a classic NY-style deli that had some of the best potato pancakes I've had anywhere (it was across from where Bernard's is now).
Eric H.: Harold's had a great run, Marc. Underrated place, indeed!
MC Slim JB: Tim's Tavern, doing a great burger before every place in Boston added one to their menu, in a great neighborhood-dive setting.
Eric H.: Had a real affinity for the lovely atmosphere at the Royal Hawaiian in Burlington. (where ex-JV hockey players from Billerica got in fights, it always seemed).
Marc H.: I used to work in that shopping center, Eric, so I am quite familiar with the Royal Hawaiian. Kind of like a sad version of the Aku-Aku.
Rich O: I think I got into a fight with those guys Eric...
Adam C: I miss Aku-Aku - some of the best Chinese food!
Eric H.: What about the Capeway Manor in Brockton, Mass.? It was a great traditional restaurant with architectural charm, excellent food and the average age of the customer at about 120.
Rich O: Remember Pomme Frite in Harvard Sq? Belgium fare before it was trendy
Palo Alto: The Porterhouse cafe was also a great place to go for a beer and chicken fried steak or ribs.
Rich O: PorterHouse=Spirit Bar...know it all too well
Eric H.: The Diamond Head Restaurant in Lynnfield was famous for its huge triangle entrance. The structure was supposed to recreate some sort of Asian architecture, but ended up looking more like a bloated teepee. Inside the staff served food to go along with the MSG. The Diamond Head had a reputation as a breeding ground for future alcoholics, although one could argue that the mountains of MSG had a far more deleterious effect.
MC Slim JB: On the Park, a quirky little South End place, really reflected its chef/owner's personality.
MC Slim JB: The Hoodoo BBQ, back when it was located on the first floor of The Rat.
Marc H.: One of my favorite places for Indian food was Classic India, which was in that really nasty building in Quincy Center that housed a movie theater. Amazing food, great views from the second floor, and nice people.
MC Slim JB: The F&T Deli in Kendall Square, which looked like something out of Edward Hopper: solid workingman's joit, where everyone seemed to have a Bud longneck with their lunch.
Marc H.: Ok, here's a really obscure one. Remember Taco Del Mar in Arlington Center? You'd move down the counter area and watch sullen high school kids make fish tacos from scratch. I used to go there all the time.
Rich O: OK, back to the grind. Been awesome pals and gals. Go Bruins!!
Marc H.: Rich, thanks as always. I'll see you tonight at Nick's Beef and Beer House....oh wait...
Rich O: :(
Eric H.: Take care, Rich! Maybe we can meet up at the Averof sometime?
Rich O: Sure and hit Joeys Ice Cream for dessert
MC Slim JB: Cornucopia, its original location on West Street, a really romantic little place, ruined by ambition in a move to a giant Waterfront space.
Michelle C.: Sorry, guys - work distracted me for the tail end of this, and now I have to jet. Great talk, and great walk down memory lane! Thanks, Marc!
Marc H.: Thanks for being on the panel today, Michelle!
Palo Alto: Rich O when Con Sol closed they had been in the planning stages to restore the bar charcoal grill which Atasca had (sort of like Santarpio's in East Bos). I don't think we are going to get charcoal grilled sardines in Cambridge again... :-( (some midrange restaurants do nice things with sardines and mackrel, but generally sauced). I have mentioned Pomme Frite too, but does anyone remember the Iowa Hawkeye in Arlington Hts. They had a garlic steak back in the day...
Rich O: Wow, Hawkeye is now Penzeys Spices and right next door to my work
MC Slim JB: Buteco, a great little Brazilian place in the Fenway. That blow is softened somewhat by the fact that its replacement is one of my favorite restaurants in Boston, period: Trattoria Toscana.
Marc H.: I still have to get there, MC. Maybe sometime this month.
MC Slim JB: Another one like that: Rachel's Kitchen, a postage-stamp-sized place in Bay Village. Its successor, Mike & Patty's is also awesome, and the Rachel's folks went on to open Hungry Mother, so it's all good.
MC Slim JB: Trattoria Toscana is easier to visit; you can park in the building down the street that houses The Citizen Pub (which is also a good pre- and post-Sox game spot; game day crowd doesn't seem to have discovered it.)
Marc H.: Remember Dedo in Bay Village?
MC Slim JB: I was a big Dedo fan, especially in the Jason Santos era. Its replacement is also one of my favorites, Erbaluce, so that eases the burn.
Eric H.: Got to run, thanks so much to Marc for leading this forum and all the participants. I really enjoyed reading your feedback!
Marc H.: Thanks, Eric! Yup, it's time to go. It was a blast, all! Thanks so much for participating!
MC Slim JB: Great fun and a nostalgia trip, Marc: thanks!