Monday, August 31, 2015

Zaika Woburn

With all the new Indian Restaurants opening in Woburn and Burlington, I think that Zaika Indian Bistro in Woburn is one of the best. Ritu Ki Rasoi in Burlington is also very very good, but only vegetarian and everything apart from the bread and the dosa is self-service. For a dollar less, at Zaika you get a full-service buffet with linen napkins, impeccably dressed waiters, choice of garlic or plain naan. Not to forget, you also get an owner who actually cares and cheerful staff.

Lunch Buffet ($8.95) started with a delicious Vegetarian Samosa and a few pieces of Fish Pakora that were lightly coated and cooked perfectly. I lucked out today because they had Tandoori Chicken Wings on the buffet and there is nothing better. The garlic Naan was light and with enough garlic on it.

I forgot to take pictures of the labels, but here we have another Chicken Wing, a delicious Chicken Tikka Masala, Saag Paneer, Yellow Dal and Kidney Beans. I usually skip the Tikka Masala since most offerings are just meh but decided to make an exception today. Everything was cooked perfectly and seasoned really well and that's not too common on a buffet. For the price, this small but select buffet is a steal. They were also really busy at lunch today, but the staff kept the buffet spotless.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Szechuan's Dumpling Arlington

I decided to try Szechuan's Dumpling in Arlington for my Sunday lunch and order from the regular menu. Their lunch menu is still lacking interesting dishes. They were pretty busy at lunchtime with a lot of the customers being Chinese.

I picked Lamb in Spicy Sauce ($14.95) from the Chef's Specials menu. I also got a white rice ($1.25) and it was a small bowl of mushy rice. The lamb was really good and tasted of lamb and it was nice and really spicy. It was also a really big portion with a few peppers and some onions so no complaints here. On a side note, their Web site seems to have gone missing.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Cha Yen Watertown

Another perfect day for a top down ride so I decide to make the trip to Cha Yen Thai Cookery in Watertown to check a dish I had my eye on for a while. Their updated menu is now available on the website.

The dish is the Salmon Mango Salad ($9). Mangoes, red onions, cilantro, scallion, chili, lime juice and cashew nuts. I asked for the salmon to be rare, but she would have none of that, but it was nicely grilled and still moist when it arrived and very tasty. I'm not much of a salad guy, but this was absolutely delicious with a very nice dressing and everything was very fresh. It was also really good value for the money.

Friday, August 28, 2015

AKA Bistro Lincoln

I went back to AKA Bistro in Lincoln to try this week's Dine Out menu since I had such a pleasant first visit.

I started with Salmon paté and artichoke with blue cheese and caramelized onion fondue. Unfortunately, the fondue was so strong with the blue cheese that it overpowered the salmon pate. The artichokes were very tasty but had too much fibrous stuff left on so it was hard to eat them. The fondue on the bread was really tasty.

Mains was the House made Summer sausage with grilled corn and lime ash sour cream. This was really good with some cheese to put on top of the corn. The big slices are watermelon radishes. How do you eat corn on the cob without picking it up and go for it? I was sitting at the counter today so I couldn't see what other patrons did.

Dessert was Fruits tart with piment d’Espelette ice cream. This was also very good with a very light puff pastry at the bottom and a really tasty ice cream. Thanks to a fellow driver I didn't get a speeding ticket in a 30 mph zone. I'm looking forward to trying their daily Menu du Jour and the Executive Menu.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Blue Ginger Wellesley

So I went back to Blue Ginger in Wellesley for the second week of Boston Dine Out. What I didn't realize before was that the Dine Out dishes was on the regular menu as well. You do get a discount during the two weeks that Boston Dine out runs.

This time I started with the Chilled Corn and Ginger Soup with chorizo crumble, lime leaf creama and corn nuts. This was an excellent cold soup, really delicious.

Yes, I had the Spicy Paella with House Chorizo, herb jasmine rice and kimchi aioli again. It was as good as the last time and since it's on the regular lunch menu, I can go back for more.

The interior is very nice with the open kitchen and I got a really nice table in the back so I had a really good view. They get impressibly busy even at lunch. Again, the service was impeccable.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Davio'S Lynnfield

I love Davio'S in Lynnfield and not much have changed since I first visited about two years ago. The place is spotless, the service is exemplary and the food is still outstanding, so Boston Dine Out prompted me to get here for a lunch visit. They are also smart enough to not only have different offering each week, but the menu is different from previous years, unlike some other restaurant who will not get a visit from me.

They offer a three-course lunch for $25 and it's really good value for the money. I started with the Crispy Fried Calamari, Cherry Peppers and Lemon Aioli. I have had just this dish for lunch before since the portion is big enough and as usual, it was super tender calamari, including tentacles, that was cooked perfectly. Watch out for the cherry peppers, they are hot.

For my mains, I picked the Grilled All Natural Beef Spedini, Warm Potato Salad with Davio’s Steak Sauce. The tenderloin was cooked perfectly as ordered and the steak sauce was also very tasty. The warm potato salad wasn't but was delicious with eggs and onions. The humongous steak knife I was presented with I left as a decoration, the beef was soo tender it wasn't needed.

Dessert was Mini Warm Chocolate Cake with Vanilla Bean Gelato. It was described as a mini molten cake but was it?

You bet! It was seriously chocolatey and oozed all over the place. Perfect ending to an excellent meal.

I took advantage of the weather today and had my lunch on the delightful patio.

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Sunday, August 23, 2015

Sichuan Gourmet Billerica

I have worked my way through most of the menu now at Sichuan Gourmet in Billerica and they have some really outstanding dishes.

I found that most dishes are replicated under the different protein sections. This is the Chicken & Napa Cabbage with Spicy Chili Sauce Except with Pork ($12.50). The white heap on top? Raw minced garlic. The brown mound next to it? Ground Chilies and after you mix everything together it's HOT but oh, soo good. The pickled veggies don't last long at my table.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Strip T's Watertown

A lot has happened at Strip T's in Watertown since I first visited almost three years ago, Tim Maslow opened Ribelle to much acclaim and the dinner menu here keeps evolving. The lunch menu has stayed pretty much the same, but the Plate of Moxie Wings and Gravy Fries have now morphed into two separate dishes. What a deal that was as long as it lasted. The place is still very busy at lunch time and still has that good vibe and the staff is excellent.

I had to finally try their much heralded Strip T's Burger ($16) that comes with smoked miso, lemon aioli, pickled onion and fries. The burger was excellent with a coarse grind and was very loosely packed, so it stayed tender. It had a nice char but was served just lukewarm but was cooked as ordered. The pickled onions, hiding under the burger, was good but on the sweeter side. The home made fries were excellent and a real treat.

This is about the size of the dining room, but they have ample counter seating in the front room. The tables didn't stay empty for long since people were waiting in line for a table.

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Friday, August 21, 2015

Nobo Chelmsford

It wasn't really a day for having the top down, so I went flying up Rte 3 to Nobo in Chelmsford to check them out.

They are located in a newly renovated mall, just up the street from Fishbones. Obviously plenty of parking.

Interior is very elegant with good quality furniture. They had four sushi chefs working at lunch time today, There is also a substantial bar/lounge area on the other side.

You get miso soup with the lunch specials. Not being a fan of miso soup, it was OK. Of course, you get linen napkins.

I went with the Chirashi Lunch ($13.95). "Assorted 13 piece sashimi over a bed of seasoned rice". I find that this dish is a good test of a sushi restaurant and this was excellent. Look at the size and the color of the pieces of tuna and salmon. The fish was super fresh and the rice was good as well. The rolls up front are thinly sliced cucumbers and they show some serious knife skills. The pickled ginger was very nice, not overly spicy and a nice palate cleanser between bites. Overall this was a really delightful lunch in a very nice restaurant and the staff was super nice and professional.

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Thursday, August 20, 2015

Mr. Chan's Burlington

Mr. Chan's in Burlington is very dependable but doesn't really have any outstanding dishes, but anything from the Chinese Menu is usually good.

Hainanese Chicken On Rice ($9.95) at lunch is a very simple dish. Chicken on the bone slow poached until it's very tender and then served with a very simple sauce over rice. The chicken was served on the bone and was super tender and juicy. It arrived with a sweet chili sauce that could have come out of a jar but when I complained that it didn't really go with the chicken, the waitress brought out a ginger and scallion sauce that was absolutely delicious with the chicken. What a difference! Most of the other customers were eating stuff with fried rice and crab rangoons.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Blue Ginger Wellesley

I love Blue Ginger in Wellesley bit it's kind of a hike to get there and it isn't exactly cheap either, so Boston Dine Out is a good excuse for a visit. They do have free parking behind the restaurant.

I decide to sit in the bar area and then found out that I didn't like it. Not enough customers so it was a bit boring and you couldn't see the dining room or the kitchen. The service from the bartender was impeccable.

You have a choice of three courses for $25 or two for $20 and two courses are plenty for me. Never got used to having dessert at lunchtime. I started with the Beef Tataki and Shiitakes with dashi aioli and wasabi. What a nice dish this was, extremely tender seared rare beef and all the accompanying pieces was perfect.

The next dish was the Spicy Paella with House Chorizo, herb jasmine rice and kimchi aioli. This was one seriously tasty dish with everything from the mussels to the meats cooked perfectly and seasoned even better, I was only going here this week but I might have to come back next week just for this dish. One of the best and tastiest dishes I have had this year,

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Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Ritu Ki Rasoi Burlington

Back to Ritu Ki Rasoi in Burlington for some more Indian Vegetarian lunch buffet on a brutally hot day.

Pepper papads today was excellent and so was the freshly baked bread. The Sambar is always very tasty.

Unlimited Dosa's is part of the deal and look at the nice color on this one and it was cooked so well that you could lift it and eat it. The filling was raw onions and some kind of spice.

This was labeled simply Veg Pattice and it was a bit greasy but utterly delicious.

From the top, we have Choley (Chickpeas), Yellow Lentils, Aloo Ki Subzi (potatoes) and then Paneer Masala. The chickpeas was a bit too acidic for me, but the lentils were excellent as was the potatoes, even if I have my suspicions about them. Despite not being a fan of paneer, this was a really tasty dish. Everything is cooked really well and spiced really nicely.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Seasons 52 Burlington

I tried Seasons 52 in Burlington shortly after they opened, about a year and half ago and I was not impressed, but I saw that they are participating in the Boston Dine Out, aka Restaurant Week, so I decided to give them another try.

Interior is very nice and I got a booth in the lounge, but the dining room also looked impressively.

Their offering for Boston Dining Out was a three-course lunch for $20. The only choice I had for an app were a choice between three kinds of soup, the rest was flatbreads for two. I picked the Summer Corn ($5.30) with crispy bacon, sliced chives. It was nice enough with some fresh corn thrown in. There was also a tasty mini loaf included.

For my main, I selected the Honey & Herb All-Natural Roasted Half Chicken ($17.80). It was served with a Panzanella salad of summer tomatoes, basil oil. The chicken had a nicely seasoned crispy skin, but it was on the dry side. The salad was a mix of roasted and fresh tomatoes.

You also get one side and I picked Roasted Idaho Potato Wedges ($2.80) that come with truffle sauce, tamarind BBQ. The sour cream truffle sauce was excellent and I'm not a fan of sour cream and the potatoes were also nice. They needed salt but how do you put salt on something that's vertical?

For dessert, they bring out a tray with about ten Mini Indulgence Desserts and I picked the Mocha Macchiato. For someone who isn't big on desserts, this mini treat was perfect for me and it was very tasty. Not a bad meal in a very nice restaurant.

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Sunday, August 16, 2015

Sichuan Gourmet Billerica

It takes me about fifteen minutes door to door to get to Sichuan Gourmet in Billerica, so this is one of my quickest lunch drives. It was not that busy today.

Today pick for lunch was Chili and Cumin Flavored Dry Lamb ($15.95). Tender and fragrant lamb but despite all the chilies it didn't reach the two chili level that it was marked as. It was still a really tasty dish.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Yard House Lynnfield

Now when I have figured out the backroads to get the Market Street in Lynnfield, it's a breeze to get to the Yard House for some Al Fresco Lunch. Yes, Rte 128 was a parking lot again today.

I picked CHICKEN TINGA ($10.75) from the Street Tacos section, Chipotle sauce, cabbage, cilantro, feta, cumin crema, for my lunch today. The beans were cold, on the second try, they were cold again but finally, on the third try, I got hot beans. The chicken tacos were very tasty with plenty of chicken, but again, the chicken was cold but I ate it anyway, Even with the nice outside seating, I'm getting fed up with the cold food.

Friday, August 14, 2015

AKA Bistro Lincoln

Beautiful day for a top-down drive, so I took the backroads down to Lincoln for a visit to AKA Bistro in beautiful downtown Lincoln. I must admit not to have ever visited Lincoln, not even when working in nearby Maynard. Thanks go to The Passionate Foodie, who made me aware of this gem of a restaurant.

They are located on the first floor of this building and can be hard to find unless you know where they are. Their enclosed outside patio can be seen to the left here.

They do Japanese and French but not as fusion, each cuisine is true to its roots. Sushi chef to the left and serious amount of counter seating, where you can watch the chefs working.

The very nice dining room with good quality furniture.

A good incentive for me to go here was that they started the Boston Dine Out a week early and they will also go a week longer at the end. The BDO menu is $20.15 for a three-course lunch menu and I started with the Asian spicy salmon tartar with crispy rice cracker. A nice surprise was that it had Tobiko (flying fish roe) mixed in with the salmon. It tasted great but was completely devoid of heat and I would have liked the salmon to be a bit chunkier, it was supposed to be a tartar, not a puree on crackers. Regardless of my nit-picking, I really enjoyed the dish but saw to need to use the supplied chop-sticks. You also get a crusty mini baguette with some nice butter.

Next was the Fish Tempura with french fries and tartar sauce. You also get some garlic aioli for the fries and they didn't hold back on the garlic and it was delicious. The fish was super fresh and really well cooked with a tasty batter and the fries were fine, especially with the garlic aioli. Not sure who started serving fish and chips in a bowl but whoever it was should be strangled. It's impossible to cut the fish and bits fall into the fries and are then hard to get to. The home-made tartar sauce was really nice.

I finished with Chocolat mousse parfait, that was pretty intense as far as flavors go. This was a really nice meal in a very nice restaurant, with excellent service and I certainly will be back. It's really a steal at this price.

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Thursday, August 13, 2015

Taipei Gourmet Lexington

I wanted some good fish today and the fish at Taipei Gourmet in Lexington is really good and super fresh and at lunch you get a really decent portion.

Flounder Fish Fillet with Szechuan Sauce ($7.99) ordered extra spicy. It arrived somewhat spicy but the fish was cooked nicely and the sauce was delicious today. Hot & Sour soup was, as usual, very tasty. You also get 10% off if you pay with cash.