Firstly, I would like to wish all of my regular readers and website visitors a Happy New Year! I am hoping 2016 brings this world much deserved peace and happiness for everyone.
My blog is about life, food and wine where I focus on the more simple pleasures of life rather than a rant of what’s wrong with it. While there are many things in life, which bring me happiness and joy, there is a particular pleasure which can be a transportive experience and that is food. I absolutely love dining out. I enjoy someone else cooking for me and presenting a dish I can remember long after I have tasted it. With this in mind, here are 10 of my favorite MA dining experiences from 2015 from the long standing, established restaurants to the bright newcomers.
It is hard to put into actual words what I like about Mistral but let me try. I like the fact that you can have an elegant dinner to celebrate an event in the dining room. I like that you can sit at the bar and share a pizza and a bottle of wine and I like that you can stop by for an Espresso Martini or cappuccino and just sit in the lounge and relax. A favorite dish, which I have enjoyed for more than 15 years at Mistral is the Tuna Tartare.
Located on Moody Street in Waltham, their menu is just one page with about five appetizers of dishes such as mussels, shrimp toast and short ribs. The entrées are split between fish, meat and pasta with just two to four choices each. The perfect length for a menu. This place is worth a visit for the mussels alone, which are steeped in a thick and creamy tomato broth with large chunks of salty bacon and just a touch of fennel.
Offering a menu of French and Cambodian creations, this long established Fenway restaurant brings something unique to the South End. While the atmosphere is not what draws you into the restaurant, the food is what will keep you going back again and again. You absolutely must try the shredded braised duck resting on a bed of rich and creamy polenta.
Loco transports you to a local Taqueria on the roadside in Mexico. You know those unpretentious places that serve the best tacos and freshly caught grilled fish. The space is all wood beams and exposed brick with low lighting and reminiscent of being on vacation. The menu brings a different flavor to South Boston with a offerings of tacos, oysters, ceviche and what seems to be overall fresh seafood and lighter fare. The guacamole is not whipped but rather big chunks of soft avocado with a hint of spice. It is excellent!
One should always reward themselves before or after shopping so what better place to enjoy these rewards than at Bar Boulud. You don’t even need to fully leave the Prudential Mall to enjoy this restaurant. I am a huge fan of their brunch and have indulged in the Croque Monsieur and Madame on multiple occasions while enjoying a deserved glass of wine.
With its playful atmosphere, Eastern Standard is always a winner. They have a consistently superb brunch and dinner menu and after this past weekend, I now know they have a tasty late night menu, which starts at 11pm. My opinion is that Eastern Standard has one of the best bar scenes in the city. You should definitely stop by the patio in the summer for brunch and one of their marvelous Bloody Marys.
A standout new favorite for me is Select Oyster Bar located in a brownstone on Gloucester Street. Their menu shines in its simplicity but is not without a bit of Mediterranean flair. Fruits du Mer of shrimp cocktail, scallop ceviche and crudo are offered. For the starters there are choices of mussels, smoked blue fish, aroz frito and blue prawns a la plancha to name a few. If it’s on the menu, you must try the swordfish which was complemented by a burst of color with the sweetest mixed tomato salad, I honestly could not have enjoyed anything more.
Another favorite newcomer to Boston is the Outlook Kitchen & Bar in The Envoy Hotel. The restaurant staff are outstandingly attentive, informative and courteous. The menu offers a selection of interesting salads, small plate items, flatbreads and an eclectic range of entrées brought to the customer by Chef David Verdo. If you are a dessert fan, this place is like a mecca for desserts. You absolutely must try the dessert called Movie Night.
The upcoming winter of chilly, snowy, miserable weather calls for comfort food. So, you will need to offset this by transporting yourself to coziness at Foundry on Elm, which offers comfort food at its best. The poutine is a ridiculous dish of ridiculously good French fries with melted cheese and gravy.
While I am still to write about Yvonne’s, I have now enjoyed this seriously cool and glamorous restaurant numerous times and have never been disappointed by the service or the food. The menu is an interesting offering of snacks, toasts, stone fired pitas, social plates and feasts meant to be shared by two or more. Four of us shared the Crispy Tuna Fregola and it was more than enough. I have particularly enjoyed their Baked Oysters “Savannah” every single time I have stopped by!
Have you tried these restaurants?