The Usual Suspects [Greater Boston, MA]


#1

We need more activity on this Board I think we can all agree. I think many of us have a tendency to think that ground once covered (even if it was covered say on Chowhound and maybe long ago) does not need to be covered again. But who knows what new stuff may be solicited by bringing it up again? I always enjoy @Ferrari328’s “Restaurants I Go Back To” posts. So I am going to start a couple of threads that would fall (to my mind) under the category of “usual suspects” and I hope that you all will join in and more importantly start some similar threads of your own. I really look forward to learning from all of you what I have been missing. And any other ideas for generating more Board activity.


#2

I’m a big fan of this. I’d love to see people post more just about where they go out to eat , whether they feel like it’s trodden ground or not. I think there are at least a fair number of people reading this board, and I would happily read about where they’re going to regardless of whether it’s something new or it’s an old favorite.

I’m not much good at cajoling people into doing things, so personally I’ve been trying to just do my part by building content here by writing up where I go on the weekend when I’m in Boston. I’d love to hear about anywhere anyone else goes, in any capacity or on any level of food. I don’t ever expect this place to be the way that other site was years ago–media has changed, and we’ve lost a lot of people. But I’ve already gleaned a lot of good information from this board since it’s been active, and I think it can get better going forward. So don’t be shy!


#3

Agree with you, I am interested in hearing about wherever people go and what they ate there, even if it’s just their local “I don’t feel like cooking tonight” spot.


#4

My husband has been traveling a bit for work, which means my son and I do a lot more takeout. The other night, we decided to return to Mi Tierra on Moody St. in Waltham after not going there for a few years. It is a simple Guatemalan/Salvadoran restaurant, not big on atmosphere but with simple homestyle food and reasonable prices. I got bean and cheese pupusas with tart curtido, rice, beans and fried plantains, and a starter of pork garnachas, which are mini tostadas with a thick and crispy shell that stayed crispy on the ride home. My vegetarian son got huevos rancheros with rice, beans, fried plantains, and house-made fresh cheese, and a side of fried yucca with garlic sauce. The guacamole came with commercial chips. We also got sweet corn tamalitos, which were a bit sweet for my taste.

Everything was pretty much as we remembered it, well prepared and tasty. The ranchera salsa was flavorful and the house hot sauce had a nice zip to it. The tortillas are house-made and thicker than Mexican tortillas. This isn’t life-changing food, but it is comforting and affordable.


#5

We’ve been hitting Moody’s Back Room (Waltham) quite a bit in our Friday date night rotation and it is as good as ever, if not better. I am not a huge meatballs fan but theirs made with whatever meats they have on hand are delicious. We had the scallops special on Friday – the plate was beautiful and the scallops perfectly seared.

And we got the best news from the bartender – they are expending net door (formerly Santa Banta I believe) and adding an oyster bar. I am thrilled.


#6

That is great news. I hadn’t heard that. I heard a year ago that they were opening a BBQ place in Waltham but haven’t heard anything about that since. An oyster bar would be great.


#7

This place is awesome


#8

Indeed - seeing their charcuterie in more places around the northeast…


#9

I can’t offer much in the way of participation here, because it’s just a tad too cumbersome to pop over for a burger and fries, since I am coming from Switzerland. But I read the board religiously, always looking for interesting places to try during our annual visit.


#10

haha, well you just have to promise to write up your trips then!


#11

Last year we had really good meals at Five Spices House in Chinatown and at Moulton’s and Chili Garden, both in Medford. The Szechuan stuff at Chili Garden is excellent. The only trouble was that my wife can’t eat the hot stuff, and the other couple turned up their noses at anything they didn’t know. Which was most of what was interesting. Moulton’s is a fish restaurant. They don’t keep much lobster on hand, so before we go, I order a lobster or two, and they get them for me.

We had a good dinner at Loyal 9. After that we tried Alden & Harlow, which I found disappointing. It was much too noisy, they–of course–didn’t have any of their famous burgers left, and the other food was just ok. We had a very nice meal at Select Oyster Bar, but for the price, I expected a bit more. The oysters I had were ok, but not outstanding, and the lobster roll could have been tastier.

We also ate at Legal Seafoods in Chestnut Hill, because I had read somewhere that they had really good oysters. So so. And we had lunch one day at Nijiya Sushi in Medford, which I do not recommend.

This year I’m looking forward to a good Chinese place in Malden.


#12

I’ve always liked Moulton’s, though I haven’t been since I’ve been back staying at Medford on the weekends. I’ve been more trying to scope out area places I have not yet been to, but I should go back there. I always found it a good, satisfying meal when I lived in Somerville.

I’ll probably keep on my Malden reporting, I get there pretty frequently. Need to do some followups on the places I’ve been and I still haven’t gotten to Wow Barbecue, which seems promising.


( Roy Rondoe) #13

Some of my recent favorites are Bayberry Cafe in Woburn for pan-Asian vegetarian food, Wafu in the Porter Sq. Exchange building for above average Japanese, Toraya on Mass Ave in Arlington for a very good izakaya (best Age Dashi Tofu in Boston IMHO), Terra on the second floor of Eatily in Boston for very good Italian and Island Creek Oyster Bar in Burlington.


#14

My husband and I just got back from a lovely meal at Real Gusto in Medford Center. We both really enjoy this place. It’s not in our regular date night rotation because we usually go out on Mondays and they are closed. This week, happily, date night was pushed to Tuesday. The setting is lovely, with a warm white as the main theme, and a view of the Mystic out the large windows. I hesitated to try this place because I had read a negative review of the space by a chowhound poster, but we both love it. Service is usually low-key and pleasant, and the lovely young Italian couple that own the restaurant are gracious and down-to-earth.

We split a bottle of Italian cabernet and started with delicious bread and excellent, fruity olive oil. “Mozzarella sticks” are creamy, crunchy and grease-free sticks of melty fresh cheese with a pleasant red sauce. For mains, I had a salty (in a good way) carbonara with house-made spaghetti, and my husband had an al dente risotto with gorgonzola and pear over a red wine reduction. Both dishes were delicious. We split some good cannoli for dessert.

The place was fairly busy for a Tuesday night. It’s very relaxed and kids are welcomed, but it still is suitable for a relaxed date evening out. They have just started to serve Saturday and Sunday brunch at 11. The owner said they are still working out the kinks. They offer both classic American brunch dishes and some Italian dishes as well. We’ll try them soon.


#15

I liked Real Gusto as well. I was struck by how clean the flavors seemed despite the typically heavy ingredients.


#16

hmmm, Real Gusto is one of the few Medford Sq places that I haven’t tried. But I’m going to have to rectify that on the strength of these two recs. I thought it looked a little standard from the menu, but that may have been too hasty a judgement on my part.


#17

Thanks for reminding me about Moulton’s. It is tiny and unpretentious and I have never had a bad meal there. Not sure why it fell off my radar, glad to get it back on the list.


#18

Great post, and it’s so interesting reading about other people’s neighborhood favorites! My husband works in East Somerville so once in a while we get takeout from Pikliz on Broadway. It’s Haitian/Caribbean fare with all the typical quirks of a Caribbean kitchen; no menu, no idea how they price things, and you’ll have better luck asking what they have today instead of ordering off the menu. The oxtail and fried goat (if it’s available) is top-notch with some coconut-y black mushroom rice (?) and savory oxtail gravy all over, a plate (meat, rice, and another side) is somewhere near $12 or $14 and enough for dinner and lunch the next day. Do ask for pikliz (spicy Haitian pickles/coleslaw) to go with the meal; it cuts through the richness and does a great job sending down the rice (as we Chinese would say).

We also love Cha Yen Thai in Watertown, which have been discussed in great details here. The recent expansion means now they have plenty of tables for sit-down service. Fordee’s Falafel down the street is also great when we are too lazy to brave the Allston traffic for Garlic n’ Lemons. The vegetarian platter and chicken shawarma are our go-to; haven’t tried the american fares and aren’t really tempted to. Not sure how they make their roasted eggplant and haven’t seen it in the Armenian grocery stores; I could have a plate of it with pita and be happy.

I used to work by South Station so Chinatown is a treasury pot of cheap lunch and old stand-ins. Lots of good places that I haven’t seen people commenting here but perhaps that deserves its own post?


#19

Oh yes, please, that would be so awesome. I feel underprepared to start exploring Chinatown.


#20

There’s a friend I had that I think would’ve adored your post. :cry:

Keep those posts coming!