Boston

City landing 2Boston's City Landing is across from Marriott Long Wharf and down the block from ferries that will zip you to P-Town. Outside, miss not a minute of tourist central with concierges, ferry blasts, street vendors, the Rose Kennedy Greenway, Aquarium sharks and views of other people's boats. Inside, according to Worth.com last year, the aptly named City Landing is a power lunch stop. It's Sunday, there don't seem to be any deals in the making but if you want to show me the money, I'm in.

We understand you're sightseeing at Faneuil Hall but eschew fast food and come over for real lunch. This is summer in the city fine dining even in sneakers. We're at the window with an eye on street drama of which there is plenty and though we cannot hear, we can read lips. We're having lunch: Roseanna's crab salad is topped with avocado, egg, fennel, bacon and tomato. It's easy being green here. She's clever, ordering a side of sweet potato fries. It turns out fries are the best and there are almost enough of them.

When I don't know what to have, which actually happens a lot, you can always get my attention with soft shell crabs. We had them as kids and then it was a short season, just August. Now they're served all the time and since I'm never going to make them at home again ever, what I want is a crab sandwich from someone else's kitchen. I remember them as being lunch but they're a snack. Yes, the crab is fine and yet I'm still hungry.

Read more ...

Evoo 3Is everyone at Kendall Square's Evoo and its sister, Za, right next door? It's Evoo for more formal meals like scallops with risotto or fig compote with lamb rillettes. You could chill out with pizza and salad at Za and slide over for dinner all without moving the car. I'll concede that we haven't but we might.

Right off, Evoo changes the menu often; each day but if not, for sure by the week which means they ax a favorite without warning. I just checked: what we had, the Pig Pile, you can't so wait for it. No matter, what you will not be is bored.

While many kitchens call their cuisine eclectic, Evoo has a gift for New American eclectic. And if you're going to write about novel dishes, take notes and get the menu on your way out because by the time you get around to it, they've thrown a curve and moved on.

First, Julie and I come for lunch. She's picked peppery fried eggplant with cucumber salad in minty yogurt and curried tomato sauce. It's all here in a tower of mashed potatoes, pea shoots, corn, grape tomatoes and onion. Eggplant should always be this good. I checked: chefs call eggplant vegetables and to botanists, eggplant's a fruit. She chooses for us the Atalaya garnacha tintorera monastrell that goes down in a swirl of cherry and chocolate. No one's going back to work.

Read more ...

monkfish 1As I walk to where I'm meeting a friend in Cambridge at Thelonious Monkfish, I pass three places with sidewalk seating. I must sit outside today. I have café envy. Sadly, no one is sitting outside at the Monkfish tables. No one takes our order until I insist. This is so not what I expected.

It's a big menu. I understand wanting to have something for everyone. That said, we order one sushi deluxe and one sushi regular. Why is the regular $17 and the deluxe $20 aside from one shrimp? The fish is fresh and fine.

Monkfish Here's what we didn't have: mad monk noodles ("bring one to the edge of madness and creative genius"), soup, curry, stir-fry, duck, beef, pork, seafood, chicken, fried rice, vegetarian rolls, demi salads, donburi, party boats, fairy tale sushi ("what if your prince is actually a frog and not the other way around") or zensai, thankfully comment-free.

Read more ...

224 3Last year Boston Magazine named owner Kevin Tyo's 224 Boston Street: "Best Dorchester restaurant, neighborhood casual." Sadly, their website doesn't say when they opened. It's got to be 20 years and right from the start, the talk was good. It's your very own block party in the middle of the city three blocks off Mass Avenue and if it weren't so steamy, we'd be at one of those tables among the flowers on the patio.

You enter the red room with the bar to get to the green room with the chefs. It's an open kitchen that's noisy and friendly. The menu points traditional American: meatloaf, sirloin, mac 'n cheese, risotto, duck, pork chop, lamb along with salmon, cod cakes and scallops with sangría cold enough to induce brain freeze.

The big eater nearly always chooses pork chops on our food adventures. In her opinion, this one's tops and she easily meets her prediction: "I will eat it all." It's a hearty grilled double in a sweet apple glaze with asparagus. She opts for mashed potatoes that were cheerfully swapped for fried yucca. The chop's pink, moist and inspiringly, she finishes it with no trouble. I think she may have been dreaming of it all day or maybe it's the sangría.

Read more ...

Barcelona 1What used to be a quiet street is now where it's at. Where there was nothing, there are heady times. It's a place your very own New Jersey food-wise cousins pick from online reviews. It's fun. It's affordable. It's a big deal with something for everyone. Finally.

We're talking three deep at the bar Friday and Saturday and reservations all week. A din to make Gunga deaf. Our first visit comes after an interminable Urban Nutcracker. What nails it for us: they have tastes of wine.

Barcelona's taste is half a glass and this is after the sips they bring first so you can pick a taste. We choose a Viognier from Argentina and white Rioja from Spain. The Viognier is fruity and the Rioja is um, boring, but not as boring as the Nutcracker. There is beer and there are cocktails and there is wine by the glass.

Julie is having carrot salad with arugula and avocado. It's light and filling and if they make this in Spain, authentic. It's not on the menu now but there are others: kale with anchovies; greens with goat cheese and raisins; raddichio with raisins; shaved mushrooms with celery and mustard; plus ensalada with onion and no raisins.

Read more ...