January openings and closings Boston MA

sorry to hijack that theme.

But I was at Cha Yen (Thai) in Watertown today. They will be closing in January - thankfully only for one week to EXPAND into the space next door! Which is awesome.

Their current space will be for takeout and next door will be all eat in space. Can’t wait - it was always such a pain to eat there with their 2 tables and 4 stools.

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East Coast Grill reopens tomorrow with Joe McGuirk running the bar. Extremely strong start to the new year.

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Thanks for starting the thread, Thimes. God knows when I would finally get to it!

According to the Globe, the Central Sq. version of Saloniki is open in C. Square. I tried a George at the one in Boston a couple weeks back, and thought it was pretty good for a quick lunch.

Hidden Boston is saying that some pizza place called &Pizza is coming to Harvard Square, after the place I’ll always think of as Nini’s Corner (1394 Massachusetts Ave) has lost its lease after 54 years. I guess they’re taking over the Tory Row space too, whatever Tory Row was.

Harvard Square needs more pizza like a hole in the head, and yay another chain!

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The Cambridge Elephant Walk is closed indefinitely. Supposedly it will reopen at some point with a “new concept”, whatever that means.

Big fan of Joe. Is he no longer affiliated with Highland Kitchen?

The Highland Kitchen folks are now the owners of the East Coast Grill, so I’m guessing he’ll be overseeing both bar programs. Should be fun to watch the East Coast develop.

I am looking forward to the new ECG as well. There is no menu on their website or Facebook yet. I’d love to see it.

Oh, I saw one on Boston Magazine’s site. Looks good, and I’m happy to see that they have HK’s fried chicken on the menu.

Joe McGuirk seems to have moved on from Highland to oversee the bar program at ECG full time. Perhaps he will serve some kind of executive bartender role at Highland but I have not seen him there in some time.

ECG gets a pass as this is their first week but our first meal there was more on the level of the post-Schlesinger ECG, than the original ECG I remember and love. As often, we couldn’t wait and went in to check it out this weekend.

I didn’t look around too much, but the space seems to be largely unchanged and the layout exactly the same. The the Lava Lounge as we knew it is gone in feel. The space is still there but it is now just an extension of the rest of the space and the erupting volcano gone and replaced at an attempted facsimile painted on the brick. I didn’t get to see if there were any changes to the bar as people were 3 deep around it.

Speaking of the bar, the cocktails were definitely the highlight. The menu contains a list of new cocktails, as well as a list of classic cocktails faithfully reproduced by McGuirk. This makes expertly made cocktails much more accessible than at other spots. They really nailed this and is a significant upgrade over the old ECG. I forget what I had exactly, but it was some kind of mezcal awesomeness that was perfectly balanced and almost too quaffable. I followed that up with a very nice IPA from Lamplighter which is located around the corner from ECG. The beer list is again well curated but accessible to all palates.

The food was a letdown. The hamachi crudo was a train wreck. The fish was cut far too large and incompetently roughly. It looked like it had been prepared by someone who had never handled a knife before. The fish itself was past it’s prime. I was one bite and done for this dish. The ribs were overdone and the beans served with them were a bit sweet for my taste but will likely appeal to the masses. We ordered a slab of the standard ribs but were brought a plate of the spare ribs instead. The grilled romaine salad was interesting if a bit over dressed. I was personally crestfallen that the legendary tuna tacos did not make the new menu and have been replaced by a fried fish taco instead.

Here’s hoping the food improves as this would be a good family destination in the area. I will be back again after the kitchen has had time to get up to speed. I’d like to say I will pop in for drinks soon and often but the bar was absolutely slammed. We’ll see what it’s like on a week night. I enjoy a lively bar scene but it’s a fine line with people continually reaching over me to order drinks. The unfortunately named 'The Port" neighborhood among Inman, East Cambridge and Kendall seems to be burgeoning before our eyes.

thanks for the report. I still haven’t gotten over the slow, steady decline after the original ECG was sold. Id rather wait for some good new memories, if that’s possible. Lava Lounge gone is not good news, for me.

We were there for a company holiday party a few weeks ago. I’m always surprised by how good the food is (I could eat bowl after bowl of that pork coconut milk stew appetizer), but the place on the whole seemed kind of stale. Here’s hoping they can refresh it somehow and bring back some crowds. The cocktails particularly were about 20 years out of date.

probably everyone has seen this because it’s up on Hidden Boston, but I’m going to mention this anyway because it’s maybe kind of exciting. also, it initially got posted in April, but there’s an update.

A Hunan style restaurant called Sumiao’s Hometown is coming to Kendall Sq.

more details at Boston Restaurant Talk:

http://bostonrestaurants.blogspot.com/2016/04/sumiaos-hometown-to-open-in-cambridges.html?m=0

The owner is a member of a huge Chinese “food talk” group chat I’m in. He posted some pictures of dishes they were testing, and they looked great. I suggested a dish I was hoping to see on the menu, hopefully he asked the chef about it as promised.

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Does anyone know anything about Brickhouse Pizza and Grille in Brighton near St Elizabeth’s? While it’s pretty good pizza, they were my go-to delivery place as the pies always arrived hot. Tried to call on Friday, no answer, and when I got off the 65 bus yesterday, I noticed that it was closed up. No sign on the door, no notice on the web site.

the usual suspects (Hidden Boston, Eater) have noted a new Portuguese/Cape Verdean place opening in Dorchester. Called Churrascaria Vulcão. Menu is here, if you haven’t seen it:

Fat Biscuit is open at the Lynnfield Marketstreet. Curious to see if anyone has tried it out (or the Roxy’s that opened there too)

I also noticed that Gaslight is open there, too. A quick search shows it’s been open for a while, though, so not technically a January opening.

Poke City has opened on Mass. Ave. in Cambridge (between Porter and Harvard Squares). This is the second poke place in Camberville.

“Food is a pretty good prism through which to view humanity.”

― Jonathan Gold