The Usual Suspects [Greater Boston, MA]


#61

@GretchenS. I haven’t eaten at Kirkland & Trotter. It has been on the list, but when it comes down to it, the price point is too high for a casual night out [for me] and is really close to my special night out budget. And the space is not a special night out kind of place. They have positioned themselves as “It is Tuesday and I don’t want to cook” kind of place. But they don’t fulfill that for people like me.

I am disappointed to hear your experience. I thought this was supposed to be some pretty stellar cookery. But, I hadn’t heard any reviews in a while. I wonder if someone else will chime in?


#62

I’ve been once for brunch and once for dinner and haven’t bothered to return. The food was good enough but I can’t say we were blown away. For brunch, the hash had one sous vide egg that pretty much disintegrated into the dish. For dinner, our burgers arrived several minutes before our glasses of wine appeared. No apology, and no offer of refills. And, the wine pours were pretty small. It’s not a super high price point, but high enough that I won’t
rush to return.


#63

@bear that sounds similar enough to our experience to confirm I likely won’t be back although I might try the $25 takeout chicken dinner. @smtucker, yes, with Tony Maws in charge I found it surprising. And it is definitely not a special night out place, nor trying to be, you are right there. Oh well, lots of other places to try…


#64

My daughter is on several “Mom” lists for Somerville-Arlington and the Moms are all about that chicken! They all feel it is a good deal, is enough food for a larger family, or two meals for a smaller one.


#65

Oh, I keep forgetting to try the takeout chicken. I’ll have to do that soon!


#66

we only when once to T&T. Within the first 6 or so months of opening. Even soon after opening, unbearably loud. The day before I had just received one of Tony’s email newsletters touting free appetizers before a certain time…I can’t remember what time, but we were well before the cut off time. The bar waitress said, oh,we don’t do that anymore. I said, but I just got the newsletter yesterday. She shrugged and walked off. We order a few appetizers and found out when the check came she’d comped one. The menu doesn’t much appeal to me and the prices are high. So haven’t been back, but may try that take out chicken.


#67

I too, have had that Bar Steak, quite a while ago, and, like you was surprised about how good it was. The char was really nice.


#68

We’ve also been to KT&T only once and were not excited by it enough to return (even though we have a gift card that would more than cover the cost of a meal there). This was a while ago, so I don’t remember details; what I remember is that everything was fine, but nothing was particularly amazing. If we’re in roughly that area of Cambridge, we’d much rather go to Oleana.


#69

I’ve always enjoyed Kirkland and it somewhere we patronize semi regularly. The price point is certainly on the high side for a neighborhood place. For us that is somewhat mitigated by the kids eat free policy Sun-Thu before a certain time (our kids eat and go to bed early).

We always request to sit on the lounge side. We find the service to be much more attentive, the atmosphere better and much more action for the kids to watch. I assume the open fire in the kitchen could make the lounge side more comfortable, while triggering the heat off and making the dining side colder. We haven’t experienced the service issues others have, but like everywhere KTT does have reasonably high staff turnover so not totally surprising. I do know that Tony tries to install a service culture in all his places.

Prices aside, we generally enjoy the food. They do a great job with veg dishes, and their hummus is always fantastic. The kids enjoy their burger and we appreciate they can get a burger made with natural beef that isn’t cooked to death. The fish kebab is usually a good call as well.

Again, it’s a family place for us, not somewhere we go for a special occasion meal, and we’d likely go elsewhere before sitting in the dining room. Cocktails are always well made and I really enjoy the atmosphere on the lounge side. It’s another conversation that this is what qualifies for a family meal, but the restaurant demographics in the area have changed for the worse. I completely understand how some question the value.

I also greatly appreciate that Tony truly does what he can to support the area, while keeping his staff paid ant the restaurant solvent. His is one of the few e-mail lists I stay subscribed to. Local business could take a cue from their use of e-mail. Rather than the no value add constnt contact bombardment, each e-mail is something I might find of value. Take out chicken dinner, yes please and a great value. KTT will often send out an e-mail during a storm or holiday to walk over and kids eat free all night, along with 1/2 price apps and drink specials. Their holiday e-mail last year listed their schedule and gave honest suggestions about gifts from area merchants food lovers might enjoy. At the end they said we’d be remiss if we didn;t mention KTT gift cards were available until X time/date; only sent once no hard sell. They get it in a way most businesses just don’t nowadays. I appreciate that to the extent that I am more willing than normal to overlook the value of their overall prices, given that I do enjoy the food.


#70

Well, I think you just convinced me to sign up for the newsletter! Maybe it’s time to give it another try for dinner. We certainly aren’t looking for a fine dining experience on our Monday date nights. That open fire is pretty appealing.


#71

Also, from their social feeds today “You’ve served us, now let us SERVE YOU! Today (Friday) veterans and active duty military members with valid ID can enjoy a meal on us.”


#72

very nice touch


#73

Hahah! I’m likely on the same “moms” group. The takeout chicken is a big hit. I’ve had it twice and do think it’s a good value and liked the sides. I would get this again if I’m having friends over and don’t have time to cook. I agree with a lot that is said on this thread. The price point at KTT is too high for our family. However, the “kids eat free” at certain times is a nice touch and the few times we’ve brought our toddler has been nice. My husband isn’t convinced - doesn’t think the food is good enough for the price (and also doesn’t think it’s that fun to go out to dinner w/ the toddler yet - especially at those prices. He’s got a decent point). I also really like the newsletter and do like that they are trying to be a neighborhood place - was very impressed w/ the storm deals, etc. over the last few winters. So, I kinda go back and forth on this place. I feel like I’d still rather go to Highland Kitchen though.


#74

So, for scientific purposes, we decided to head to Brelundi for pizza on our Monday night out so we could compare their pizzas to Charcoal Guido’s while Guido’s was still fresh in our minds. We ordered two pizzas, a vegetarian and a prosciutto with arugula, as well as a spinach and cheese arancini and a beet, ricotta and fried kale salad. Both of the apps were quite good. The vegetables on the vegetarian were pretty bland and in need of salt. The pizza crust was thin and appropriately charred and stayed a bit crispier than Guido’s. Overall, though, we preferred the variety of toppings at Guido’s and feel they have the edge.


#75

So, has anyone been to Lester’s in Burlington lately? I got takeout a couple of weeks ago for the first time in a while, and forgot to post. I thawed out the rest of the pulled pork tonight and figured I’d check in here.

When we went, they didn’t have collards, which seemed odd. The baked beans were as tasty as always, but the pork itself, while nicely smokey, seemed tougher than usual and quite a bit fattier as well. Things just seemed different so I thought I’d see if anyone else has been and what they experienced, or whether this had been a one-off. Service was friendly and otherwise things were okay, but I’m not in a rush to return. I’ll hit up Blue Ribbon for a quick fix unless I hear that things have improved. Makes me sad.


#76

FWIW my experience with Lester’s over the years (I live nearby) has been that the good experiences are the exceptions, sorry to say. I know the place has its fans and but after giving them several chances I’ve just been disappointed too many times in a similar “this is just not good enough” way.


(Peter Sward) #77

Just looked back in the blog and on my last visit, I had the brisket sandwich. I asked for and got slices from the fatty end, but the brisket was dry with just a hint of smoke ring on the bottom.


#78

That’s too bad. They used to have our favorite brisket in the area. Bummer. I wonder if it has changed hands.


#79

Mulan’s Waltham location is firing on all cylinders right now. It was packed at 6:00 Sunday nigh. We had: hot & sour soup, crispy chicken in chili sauce, Mulan fish (small filets in spicy sauce), eggplant basil, sauteed pea greens, Taiwan-style pan fried noodles w/ pork. The noodles were ordinary-good, everything else was outstanding.


#80

I’ve walked by and peered into Joco’s on Moody St. in Waltham a million times but never eaten there. It sounds like a reasonably priced comfy local place with decent food. Marc Hurwitz (hiddenboston) recently updated his review. Has anyone else been?