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Boston Restaurant Blog -- September and October, 2005

Below are blog entries from September and October, 2005. Use the links in the left column to do a quick search of blog entries, or to see blog entries from other months. And feel free to use the "Comments" links under each blog entry to reply to us; your comments just might end up in our Boston restaurant blog! (Note: This page is part of our restaurant features section.)

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Sunday, October 23, 2005
Two More Restaurants: Horse N' Carriage and Pho 2000

Went to the Horse N' Carriage Restaurant in Norfolk for lunch and Pho 2000 for dinner yesterday. The Horse N' Carriage is a decent family restaurant on Route 1A. It is cozy, with a fireplace in the dining room and some tables in the small lounge area. While you won't find fine dining at the Horse N' Carriage, it is very good for what it is, and a good place to take a family. My meal was tasty; a crock of french onion soup and chicken gorgonzola for my entree, which was excellent, though there was way too much pasta with it. While the waitstaff at the Horse N' Carriage was not what you would consider warm and cuddly, they are pretty efficient there. Would I go back to the Horse N' Carriage? Yes, although probably only with a large group or family members.

Pho 2000 in Dorchester is about as different as place from the Horse N' Carriage as you can find. Located in Fields Corner, Pho 2000 is a tiny Vietnamese restaurant that is almost too authentic in my book; while the food was generally excellent, sometimes I did not exactly know what I was eating. My vermicelli with chicken and vegetables was great, but it seems that there was a lot more of the chicken used than what I would have liked. The spring rolls were good, too, but I have had better. I prefer nearby Pho So 1 Boston and Pho Hoa, but Pho 2000 is just as good, but you really need to know what you are ordering.

The verdict? Both the Horse N' Carriage and Pho 2000 are very good restaurants, and I would probably go back to both. And while neither one is on my list of favorites, I would recommend both of them.

The address for the Horse N' Carriage is: Horse N' Carriage Restaurant, 210 Dedham Street (Route 1A), Norfolk, MA 02056; the phone number is (508) 384-2274. And the address for Pho 2000 is: Pho 2000, 198 Adams Street, Dorchester, MA 02122; the phone number is (617) 436-1908.

Related Blog Entries: Dorchester restaurants, Norfolk restaurants, Vietnamese restaurants

Friday, October 21, 2005
Dinner at Devlin's in Brighton

Had a great meal at Devlin's in Brighton Center the other day. I wasn't sure what Devlin's would be like, as Brighton Center has always seemed a bit rough-and-tumble to me. To have an upscale, trendy restaurant like Devlin's there...well, it seemed strange. But as it turned out Devlin's was definitely worth going to.

The interior of Devlin's is mellow and upscale, and when we went, there was techno music in the background, which worried me a bit, but the sheer warmth of the people at Devlin's more than made up for the faceless music. And the food more than made up for it. I had a cheddar cheese and ale soup, which was outstanding, and a hangar steak, which was tender, lean, and tasty. I had no room for dessert, but we had ordered the prix fixe special, which includes dessert, so I found a way to down a chocolate souffle.

I'm still full from the meal at Devlin's, but quite content. Devlin's was a bit expensive, especially for Brighton Center, but worth the extra money.

If you would like the address for Devlin's, here it is: Devlin's, 332 Washington Street, Brighton, MA 02135; the phone number is (617) 779-8822.

Related Blog Entries: Brighton restaurants

Sunday, October 16, 2005
Newcomb Farms: Decent Breakfast in Milton

photo of Newcomb Farms, Milton, MA We hit Newcomb Farms in Milton earlier today for a late breakfast before the football games, and, well, all in all, I was pleasantly surprised. I've been to Newcomb Farms several times, and it has ranged in quality from great to mediocre, but today's breakfast was very good. Decent home fries, good eggs, adequate corned beef hash, and so on (yes, I somehow ate other stuff there--the walk through the Blue Hills afterward helped burn some of it off, fortunately).

I still like Ashley's in nearby South Braintree more than Newcomb Farms for a good breakfast, but I would definitely go back to Newcomb Farms. My stomach was very content, at least until I watched the Patriots game later in the day, but that's another story for another blog, I guess.

If you would like the address for Newcomb Farms in Milton, here it is: Newcomb Farms, 1139 Randolph Avenue, Milton, MA 02186; the phone number is (617) 698-9547.

Related Blog Entries: breakfast places, Milton restaurants

Thursday, October 13, 2005
Review on Ashmont Grill

After a few tries, I finally got to the Ashmont Grill in Dorchester, and believe me, it was worth the wait. The Ashmont Grill, along with Bridgeman's in Hull, is one of my favorite new restaurants in the Boston area (though Bridgeman's is no longer all that new anymore).

photo of the Ashmont Grill, Dorchester, MA First, the atmosphere: a slightly upscale feel without being pretentious (which would NOT work in salt-of-the-Earth Dorchester, even in Ashmont Hill, which is a pretty wealthy neighborhood). Everyone there, from hostesses to waitstaff to bartenders to assistants, is very nice. There is a good mix of people coming to the Ashmont Grill; working class, urban professionals, middle class, and so on.

As far as the food at the Ashmont Grill: The portobello burger was almost too good to be true. The pressed cuban sandwich was outstanding, with fresh pork loin, ham, cheese, and pickles on tasty bread. The macaroni and cheese and french fries were excellent side dishes, with the mac and cheese being light and fresh, and the fries being hand cut with the right amount of salt. The mashed squash with bourbon, which was a special at the Ashmont last night, was another great side dish. As far as drinks, the beer selection was excellent, and there were a lot of interesting-looking mixed drinks floating around the place.

All in all, a terrific experience at the Ashmont Grill. Kudos to those who brought this new restaurant to Ashmont Hill.

For those who need the address and phone number for the restaurant, here they are once again: Ashmont Grill, 555 Talbot Avenue, Dorchester, MA 02124; the phone number is (617) 825-4300.

Related Blog Entries: Dorchester restaurants

Monday, October 10, 2005
Mother Anna's in the North End: Delicious!

A small group of us went to Mother Anna's in the North End of Boston over the weekend. I had never been to Mother Anna's, which is too bad, because I had no idea it was such a great restaurant.

Mother Anna's is an Italian restaurant at the edge of the North End (where Hanover Street fans out into the Big Dig area). The views from the restaurant are amazing now that the Central Artery is gone. You can see nearly every skyscraper in Boston from the windows of this cozy restaurant.

photo of Mother Anna's, Boston, MA The food at Mother Anna's was fantastic. I had the fresh, homemade gnocchi dish, which came with some of the best red sauce I've had. The others at my table had tortellini stuffed with mushrooms (delicious); chicken creation, which is chicken with eggplant, prosciutto, cheese, and other tasty items; and chicken parm. All the dishes were top quality. And Mother Anna's could almost be classified as cheap eats, as all the meals were under $20. Too bad it's so well-known (it has been around for many decades); otherwise, I'd have Mother Anna's featured on this site. I can't wait to go back!

For those who want the address for Mother Anna's, here it is: Mother Anna's, 211 Hanover Street, Boston, MA 02113; the phone number is (617) 523-8496.

Related Blog Entries: Boston restaurants, Italian restaurants, North End restaurants

Sunday, October 2, 2005
A Fall Foliage Trip, Including A Few New Hampshire Restaurants

Went up to New Hampshire and western Maine over the weekend to check out the fall foliage, or lack thereof. Everything was green up in Northern New England, though we did go far enough north to find some color.

On the way up to Sunday River near Bethel, Maine on Saturday, we stopped for an early lunch (or in my case, a late breakfast) at the Glen Junction Family Restaurant in Glen, NH. I've been there before, and love the place; good, cheap food in a friendly atmosphere, and the famous electric train that goes around and around along the walls as you eat.

We continued on to Sunday River after lunch. Bethel was quiet, with many places closed for the ski season, so we left the condo complex and finally found some foliage in the beautiful Grafton Notch State Park, then we went down through the even more scenic Thirteen Mile Woods between Errol and Berlin, ending up just west of Bethel in the little town of Gorham. We stopped for dinner in Gorham at J's Corner, an old-fashioned family restaurant with steak, chicken, and seafood. J's Corner is one of those places that only seem to exist in mountain towns like Gorham, and while my steak would not fare well against the $50 steaks in Boston, it was good enough, and a great deal at $14.95.

On Sunday, after a white-knuckle drive along Route 113 through Evans Notch, we ended up having a great breakfast at Bea's Cafe in Glen, a tiny restaurant near the Glen Junction Family Restaurant. After breakfast, we headed back down Route 16 to Portsmouth, where we had lunch at Tequila Jacks, a decent Mexican restaurant near the center of Portsmouth. Tequila Jacks is a good restaurant in a town full of great restaurants, so I'm not sure I'll go back. From there, it was back to Boston and the end of a fun foliage trip, green leaves notwithstanding!

Related Blog Entries: fall foliage, New Hampshire restaurants


Thursday, September 29, 2005
East Arlington Restaurants

The East Arlington restaurant scene keeps getting better and better. We went to the Bangalore Cafe, a fairly new restaurant on Mass Ave. last night for some decent Indian cuisine, and I couldn't help but notice all the other restaurants up and down Mass. Ave. and Broadway in East Arlington.

Some East Arlington restaurants I haven't been to yet include Prose, Ristorante Olivio, and Flora Restaurant, all of which are on Mass. Ave. Some of the better restaurants I've already been to in East Arlington, including Olive Branch and Zocalo Cucina Mexicana (formerly Cafe Ole), both on Broadway, and the Arlington Restaurant and Diner on Mass. Ave., are generally very good dining spots. And how about Za, the new upscale pizza place on Mass. Avenue? Well, Za is pretty good, but not the best pizza place I've been to.

East Arlington has recently been in the news for being an interesting, funky little neighborhood, and it is indeed that. I love going down there to see a movie, play tennis, or bike on the Minuteman Bike Trail. And with all these great restaurants, I'm spending a bit of time dining in East Arlington, too, these days.

Related Blog Entries: Arlington restaurants

Tuesday, September 20, 2005
Fall Foliage and Fall Dining in New Hampshire

I'm hoping to get up to the Kancamagus Highway in New Hampshire once again in the next few weeks for another fall foliage excursion through the White Mountains. The Kancamagus, as well as Routes 3 and 302, which cut through Franconia Notch and Crawford Notch, respectively, is a leaf peeper's paradise this time of year. And, of course, I'll be looking for new restaurants to try in the areas around the Kancamagus Highway.

I already have my favorites in the White Mountains, including the Red Parka Pub in Glen, NH, the restaurant in the Bernerhof Inn, also in Glen, and the Yankee Smokehouse in West Ossipee. But I still don't know much about the restaurant scene in towns such as Jackson, North Conway, North Woodstock, and Lincoln. If anyone has any favorite places in those towns, send me an email. I appreciate it!

Related Blog Entries: fall foliage, New Hampshire restaurants

Thursday, September 15, 2005
New Bridge Cafe, Chelsea -- Great Steak Tips and Turkey Tips

Went to the New Bridge Cafe in Chelsea last night. It was as good as always, with the turkey tips being particularly good. I've been going to the New Bridge Cafe for years now, and have yet to have a bad meal. Of course, all I ever get there are steak tips and turkey tips, since that is what this Chelsea restaurant is famous for.

photo of New Bridge Cafe, Chelsea, MA I love the fact that the New Bridge hasn't changed over the years. While other restaurants seem to be going upscale, the New Bridge Cafe sticks to what they do best: They serve great steak tips in an environment that can only be described as Elks Lodge-like. The fake wooden walls and the too-bright lights give the New Bridge an old-school feel to it, and why not? This is a classic neighborhood joint that you rarely find in the Boston area anymore. Once again, two big thumbs-up to the New Bridge Cafe in Chelsea. I hope they never change this place.

If you want the address for the New Bridge Cafe, here it is: New Bridge Cafe, 650 Washington Avenue, Chelsea, MA 02150; the phone number is (781) 884-0134.

Related Blog Entries: Chelsea restaurants, steak tips

Friday, September 9, 2005
Ashmont Grill in Dorchester Is Now OPEN

The Ashmont Grill in Dorchester, after much anticipation, is open (I believe they opened on September 6). I will report back on this new Dorchester restaurant once I go there, hopefully in the next week or two.

Again, here is information on the restaurant: Ashmont Grill, 555 Talbot Avenue, Dorchester, MA 02124; the phone number is (617) 825-4300.

Related Blog Entries: Dorchester restaurants

Thursday, September 8, 2005
Martsa on Elm: Another Good Somerville Restaurant

So we did end up going to yet another restaurant in Somerville last night after another evening of tennis during this great stretch of late summer weather that we tend to get often this time of year in New England. We ended up at Martsa on Elm, a Tibetan restaurant in Davis Square.

Martsa on Elm is a tiny place, but with a nice, peaceful atmosphere. The crowd was a mix of college students from Tufts and young couples. Our food was very good, though I think I like House of Tibet in nearby Teele Square a little better. Still, the momos (steamed vegetable dumplings) were delicious, the sauteed vegetables with feta cheese were tasty, and the chicken with sauteed homemade noodles was good, too.

Martsa on Elm is not the best restaurant in Somerville, but it is very good, and very reasonable. I believe that this fairly new restaurant will be a big hit among the Tufts crowd, as well as those of us in the working world who love good cheap eats.

The address for Martsa on Elm is as follows: Martsa on Elm, 233 Elm Street, Suite A, Somerville, MA 02144; the phone number is (617) 666-0660.

Related Blog Entries: Somerville restaurants, Tibetan restaurants

Wednesday, September 7, 2005
Two Excellent Somerville Restaurants

I have been hanging out in Somerville a lot of late, playing tennis, visiting friends, and going to restaurants and pubs. Aside from my frequent trips to O'Sullivan's over on Beacon Street, I have been trying some other Somerville restaurants, too. One is The Paddock on Pearl Street near City Hall. The Paddock has been around for years, and is one of the last of the great old-time Somerville restaurants. They have everything on the menu here, from steak tips to pasta to seafood to pizza. And it's the pizza that I love so much at The Paddock. The last two times I've been there, I've ordered these incredible pies. They are traditional style, with a fairly thin crust and just the right amount of cheese and sauce. The steak and turkey tips are also excellent here, but I can't get past the pizza.

The other place we went to recently is Sound Bites BBQ and Grille, a tiny Ball Square dining spot that is a branch of the original Sound Bites across the street. The Middle Eastern food at Sound Bites BBQ and Grille is very good, perhaps as good as Cafe Jaffa in the Back Bay and Shawarma King in Brookline. The place is in what is basically a sub shop storefront, so don't go looking for atmosphere. But the people at Sound Bites BBQ and Grille are friendly and the price is right.

I may be in Somerville again tonight. Not sure what restaurant I'll be going to, but this city has so many good dining spots these days that I doubt I'll have a problem finding a place to go.

Related Blog Entries: Somerville restaurants