Masa- South End

A blog from my talented and beautful fiance:

The first time I went to Masa it was amazing.  The  bloody marys at brunch were spicy and fantastic.   Our food literally came out in five minutes, and was delicious.  We had the Huevos Rancheros and the Santa Fe Style Eggs Benedict.  Both were full of flavor and were really really good.  I would order them again in an instant.  After that experience we couldn’t wait to get back to Masa for dinner, and last night we got our wish.

We arrived at 7 for our reservation, and the place was still pretty open.  We were seated at a table for two so close to the tables next to it that I almost pulled the table cloth and settings from the next table as I tried to get into the banquette.  Our server arrived and slowly vomited out the specials. I’m still not sure what they were, she barely seemed to know herself.  We then ordered drinks: I ordered a whiskey ginger, which she asked if I wanted straight up or on the rocks, and then she returned with what tasted like whiskey soda.  My fiance ordered a mojito, then asked about the beer selections.  Upon asking if they had Dos Equis Amber, he was told that no, just regular, which he ordered.  She returned a while later with Dos Equis Amber.  

We ordered two appetizers, the Spicy Tuna “Cabo Rolls” and the Smoked Garlic and Maine Mussels Soup.  The tuna in the rolls was great, but there was flavorless and useless rice in there as well that ruined the whole app.  The soup did not have whole mussels in it, it was a pureed soup and the smokiness was overwhelming.  WAY overwhelming.  

Our Fire Roasted and Sweet Potato Flautas were mediocre, at best.  No depth of flavor, not worth finishing.  About half of the Pan Seared Tres Chiles Tenderloin of Beef remained on the plate at the end of dinner.  I don’t like to complain at restaurants, but if a guest doesn’t eat most of their meal, you have to assume something is wrong.  

So the service was awful, the food disappointing, and I won’t need to go back ever again.

East Coast Grill- Cambridge

Didn’t move that far away from Somerville yet, but I’m working on it.  East Coast Grill is a legendary restaurant- for good reason. 

When you walk into ECG, you find yourself asking “Did I just fly down to Florida and land in a beach-style fish house?”  The answer to that questions is yes…and no.  How many places do you know that specialize in grilling fish and smoking BBQ meats?  It is a rare find.

Many of you have probably heard of Hell Night at ECG.  If not- check it out:

The restaurant has a laid back style, but the food is super intense.  Homemade sauces and rubs excite the tastebuds (and might make your eyes water just a wee bit) to no end.  I recommend taking 2 trips to ECG- one for BBQ and one for fish.  The open kitchen is awesome too.  The staff is very knowledgeable and can help you craft the perfect combo of apps and entrees to meet your needs. 

Another cool time to go to ECG is for Brunch.  I highly suggest a “make your own Bloody” with a choice of dozens of add-ons.  I also highly suggest the Cuban Rueben sandwich.  One of the best sandwiches you will find anywhere.

If you are looking for some light reading, check out their cookbooks too.  Innovative and informative. 

Just beware- if you decide to be macho and order everything as hot as possible, you will feel it the next day.  A nice cocktail of 2% milk and a handful of Rolaids usually does the trick.

Anyone have any suggestions on the next blog?  Where should I go this weekend?

Highland Kitchen

Okay, so I knew I couldn’t make it more than 1 post on this blog without talking about Highland Kitchen in Somerville.  Oh, and for all of you who pointed out my spelling mistakes or mistypes, please don’t ever talk to me again.  That is you, Tim.

Highland Kitchen is the ultimate neighborhood restaurant that not many of you have ever heard of.  There are no reservations, you see the same people there everytime you go, and the menu changes constantly.  The inside has a cool atmoshpere, with a nice bar area where you can down some delicious, exotic mixed drinks as you wait for 30 minutes for your table.  The bartenders are extremely knowledgeable, and they do things right- muddle your mint, garnish properly, and put a good amount of booze to get you a little tipsy before you sit down.

Once you sit down, I highly suggest thinking long and hard about the specials.  They do rotate some of the same ones know and again (the scallop app- awesome) and they use very fresh ingedients.  If you read my first post, I judge restaurants based on their chicken.  And no one, I mean no one, does it better than HK.  Crispy skin is the kicker, but the whole dish is awesome, including the sweet potato hash.  I have considered drinking the gravy that comes with it.  Anyone want to bet me $20 next time we go?

Overall, HK is a great experience.  I have never had a bad meal, a bad dish or a bad drink there.  The only downside is that it is a little on the small side.  Be prepared for a loud crowd, but once you go once, I guarentee you will be back.

I’m not sure why I picked two Somerville restaurants in a row, but I will find a new spot for my next post.

EVOO- Somerville

The first post.  Not a bad one to start with.

If you can find EVOO in their current location, it is worth going in.  A very small setting, with an open kitchen (one of my favorite features of any restaurant) EVOO is certainly inviting.  This is of course after you get past the drapes that seperate to get into the restaurant.  You feel like you are about to go on stage.  Looking around, this is an obvious “Harvard professor” crowd, which does not match the inventive and fresh menu.   The menu is a mix of a bunch of different types of food- southwestern, french, New Hampshire (rabbits, roadkill, and whatever else those people eat).   Once you get past the light menu reading, the food is seasoned properly, cooked to perfection and portioned nicely.

My standard test for any restaurants is chicken.  Call me boring, but chicken can either be great or awful.  Perfect test fo a non-critic.  So, I ordered the chicken.  It was a BBQ glazed chicken, and it came with home-made coleslaw, fried pickle slices and something else that I am blanking on right now.  Good start here, can’t even remember the dish that I am reviewing.  Maybe this blog is not a great idea.  Anyway, the chicken was awesome.  The bone was left on, which is how it should be, and the breat was cooked perfectly.  The slaw was awesome too- way more kick than you would every expect. 

Service was great too- he talked us through the process they go through to create their daily-changing menus.  Basically, farms all over will call up and say “hey, I have this cow, do you want any of it?”  Instead of ordering what they need, they order what is freshest.  A great concept. 

They are moving to Kendall Square in February, so I anticipate that the new locaiton will be much more accessible.  The prices were high, but reasonable for the amount and quality of the food you get.  Wine selection is good too- varied selection and some new wines I haven’t heard of.  In other words, it wasnt Two Buck Chuck or Lindemans. 

If you’ve eaten there before, let me know what you think.  Since the menu changes everyday, I’d like to here an overall opinion about the place.

That’s all for now.

Reviews without critics

Hello Bostonians.  This blog is dedicated to exploring, reviewing and sharing our restaurant experiences in a free-flowing manner.  If you are interested in great food in Boston, join in!  We welcome your comments, suggestions, hate-mail and wise-ass remarks.