November 2018, Boston and surrounding areas. Openings and closings...

New month! Old stuff going away. New stuff comin’ in. The wheel of time spins, and we report on it.

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Genki Ya in Davis Square (former Diva location) appeared open this week.


Waltham’s restaurant scene is growing again. A new steakhouse is going into the Flank Stakehouse space by the Market Basket. Sounds like they are doing the same steaks as flank just adding some pasta dishes to the menu … with Ruth’s Chris and Osteria Posto up the road I wonder what niche they are looking to fill.

I’m not a steakhouse person so never made it to Flank and probably won’t make it here unless someone tells me it’s awesome.


good question

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Back Bay Beats closed last week:

Too bad; we thought it was a nice option in that area.

not sure exactly when this happened, but Royal Bengal on Medford St. in Somerville has apparently closed. I know it was open last month…

I just moved nearby, and I’m a little sad about this one. I thought I had a good walkable Indian joint nearby.

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I wondered if their buying out the space next to them to increase their seating did them in. They probably did the same amount of takeout but with double the rent.

I was also concerned about Tipping Cow Ice Cream up the block which closed its doors and ripped everything up – but it turned out just to be a re-model.

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That’s too bad. They had unusual dishes, and were pretty reliable.

Country Mile just opened over the Thanksgiving weekend in Watertown on Belmont street (on the Watertown/Belmont border - across the street from Shangri-La).

The restaurant was opened by the couple who first opened Brewer’s Tap and Table in Waltham and several of the items on the opening weekend menu reflect the style of the opening menu at BT&T - fresh, seasonal ingredients in some interesting pairings. A few of the opening staff are also recognizable from the opening of BT&T. They were fully packed Saturday night, even without much press for their soft opening.

We had the (as best as I remember - I wasn’t taking notes or pictures)

  • parsnips and carrot fritters with a spicy mayo dipping sauce - loved them, light and tasty
  • beet and apple salad with blue cheese - I’m not sure why but I really enjoy this salad, they had something very similar at their last restaurant
  • striper sauted over rice with a korean BBQ sauce - we weren’t sure how this was going to go but it was excellent
  • a chili braised chicken over a blue corn cake - it was spicer than I was expecting, but liked that - and the corn cake was crumbly but moist
  • burnt wheat spaetzle - I really liked this dish but the portion was surprisingly small

We had a nice blanc-de-noir from New Zealand (I think) with all courses, I really enjoyed the wine too.

All in all, so happy they finally opened and we will definitely be back. The bar that night was full of locals who had noticed they opened - met some nice people at the bar, had some great food, all and all a win-win.


I just read on Eater that Joyful Garden just opened in Watertown as well (In the Arsenal Mall - from pics looks like down the hall from the BMV). Initial reviews on Yelp make it look like service has been rough since opening (not surprised). Anyone been (either to this location or their previous location in Brighton)? If you go, post any good dishes - it’s on my list of places to at least give a try.

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I have not been to the new one but a former colleague of Hong Kong Chinese origin was a regular at the old one, loved it, and had them cater lunch for us at the office one day and it was very good.

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I, too, had heard favorable accounts from people I trust of the original JG. I was told to expect, when I went (which I never did), simple-sounding dishes, but well-executed.

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We were regulars when living down the street from the original JG, and it was our go-to on a snow day when everything else was closed. They had really interesting dishes on the Chinese-only menu and no English translation; glad to see that has changed. It did amuse us to no ends to see the special board advertising American-style breakfast for the hotel guests; don’t suppose that’s getting carried over?

It did solid Cantonese fare, so I would encourage you to stick with those, at least for the first visit. Maybe get a simply sauteed greens, beef chow fun, and/or something seafood-y to see if those are serviceable? We used to love getting the salt and pepper white fish; so crunchy and addictive, but don’t expect haddock! They mean those tiny little minnow-like fish that Chinese called “silver fish”.


We made it to Flank once and I cannot say it will be missed. There was a disconnect between the spotty service and the aggressive prices, not to mention a concept that seemed something some frat boys dreamed up. I didn’t see a single diner eating meat with their hands, despite their paean to this apparently long-lost tradition. Adults were not in charge.


So we went to JG this weekend - about 12:30 on Saturday . . . it was insanely packed and busy, which I guess is a good sign and we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves, leaving completely full.

I wish I had more expertise in dim sum to be able to adequately describe what we ate and what items were available - but I don’t, so I can’t.

Here is what I can tell you - it is a giant open room packed with tables, steam carts rolling around and people chasing after the carts with their punch cards to get specific items. At 12:30 the waiting crowd we lining the interior of the mall and the foyer of the restaurant was pack with people trying to figure out where they were in the wait list, others trying to get on the waitlist, and others trying to pay. If you measure the “quality and authenticity” of a place by the customers . . .I think we were 2 of maybe 10 non-Asians in the entire place and very little English was spoken.

It was so crowded we actually ended up eating at the bar rather than waiting for a table (or spots at a table to share the table), which turned out fine. The bartender was great, helped run after carts to make sure they came to us, very attentive. He said they have been very busy since they opened and figures most of the people just don’t want the hassle of driving into Chinatown and having to pay for parking. That is probably true and is a big reason why we don’t do dim sum downtown (our bill was something like $45, which is virtually what parking alone would have cost downtown).

So what can I tell you that we had . . . . some type of pork egg roll, 2 types of shrimp dumplings, fish balls, bbq pork bao, a spicy beef dish, a rice with pork and peanut dish, another type of shrimp egg roll type thing, a dumpling with a filling we couldn’t identify, and a couple other things I can’t remember. If we could have eaten more (which was impossible, I’m still full from the meal 24 hours later) there was some type of chicken over rice noodles, friend and stewed chicken feet, congee, what I’m assuming was sticky rice in banana leaves, a stewed beef (?) dish, some type of meatballs, a few tripe dishes . . . .and more if we would have asked more as the carts went by.

There are live fish tanks on the back wall - which I have to say, if you’re going to have live fish, they need to be alive. Seeing a crab or fish on the bottom of the tank belly up is never good. But 95% were alive and swimming.

All in all, a great time, we will be back - and so nice to have around without having to drive downtown. Definitely go with a group if you’re in the mood for sampling (there were a few tables with 20+ people around them) and they have a full menu you can order from as well.


Disappointing to read that they are doing the old-fashioned cart service instead of the dim sum menu which gives much better quality dishes (and is becoming more of the standard in a lot of places)

Although I agree that the quality can be better if you order off a menu, there’s a joy and festivity to carts. There’s a place or everything.

I also have some questions about how “freshly prepared” the dim sum is at menu-driven places. Surely, they already have, say, bundles of sticky rice in lotus leaves already steaming in the back, waiting to be served. Ditto shrimp dumplings: I don’t think they make fresh filling, stuff and crimp the wrappers, then steam them fresh for every order of six. There must be some pre-prep involved – the question is how much?


Crema Cafe in Harvard Square is closing the week before Christmas:

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That’s terrible! It’s always packed and their English muffins can’t be beat. I wonder why?

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