Thursday, August 24, 2017

Las Delicias Colombianans 2 - @@@

I wanted to check out more Latin American food last night and remembered this place looked interesting when going to the Dominican restaurant. Evidently this is a new place and I thought was quite clean so that was a positive right off the bat.

Ordered the bandeja paisa per usual which to refresh is beans, rice, steak, chicharron, egg, maduros, arepa and I added an avocado. The avocado was really good, hadn't had one in a while and mixed well with the rice, egg, and beans. Arepa was again dry and the only item not eaten but that's not just this place. Chicharron was good and was quite tender compared to other places. Fried pork...how can it be bad?? Either I was extra hungry or the beans were better than usual but finished those too. Maduros were good, interesting that they were not sliced in advance. I could take it or leave it - they are always good. The most disappointing was the steak - it was thin and not tender at all. It was marinated I think but I was not thrilled with the cut. I did get another piece of chicharron cause I thought that was quite good and to my surprise it was even meatier and larger than the picture. So back in the good graces

I would definitely go back to this neighborhood restaurant. Can't get any colombian in Michigan let alone with it being freshly cooked/fried. Service was helpful too and spoke fluent English and Spanish. Decor was sparse but was new as well but just coming for the food was good. Would try the thicker cut steak or pot roast next time mixed with some fried pork.

1231 River St
Boston, MA 02136

Monday, August 14, 2017

Rincon Caribeño Restaurant - @@@

I was talking to a friend about mofongo this weekend and I heard "Despacito" when I left work so that pretty much solidified my decision to get some Latin food. Looked this place up on Yelp and noticed it was open to 1am. No problem there

This is a Dominican restaurant as confirmed by the bartender as the waitress literally spoke no English. I wasn't mad at that though and figured it adds authenticity. My remedial spanish was no match for a loud restaurant that seemed to double as a cocktail bar and rapidly speaking Spanish waitress. I did get the order in alright cause I know food and it was translated. Knew I wanted the mofongo and also ordered this "appetizer" plate that basically was a fried item sampler. In short, compared to my mainstay of Carolina in Providence, it wasn't as good. The mofongo was kind of dry and didn't taste the pernil (roast pork) very much. I did have to request a side of mojo (oil, garlic, citrus mixture which is just flavorful and tasty) which added good flavor but not quite as good as Carolina. The fried sampler included chicharron, fried chicken, sausage, fried yuca, fries, and tostones. By the way anyone that thinks tostones are better then maduros is crazy. The chicharron was good - freshly fried and meaty but not that meaty if you count the skin and fat. Fried chicken was alright - typical in that no batter Latin style rather than a Popeyes type skin. Sausage was ok - could go without it. Fries, yuca, tostones were what I would expect.

Overall not bad especially for an actual sit down restaurant with pulsing spanish music going. Definitely not the cafeteria style of other Caribbean places I have been to out east. To me this is in a somewhat wasteland between Dedham and Boston so if you are traveling around south of Boston it is worth a try if you want what seems to be authentic Dominican food. I will probably be back to get some more pork and rice next time.

18 Fairmont Ave
Hyde Park, MA 02136

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Gyro & Kabob House - @@@

A big sign right by my hotel had me intrigued every day going home so I made it a point to stop in tonight. This is a family run, authentic place that is just a casual place to get some good (though I have nothing to compare it to) Turkish food.

Now while I can't compare this to other Turkish food, I can roughly equate it to the middle eastern food back in Michigan. Not knowing what to get, I went with the mixed grill which had lots of recognizable items. It had lamb adana, lamb gyro, chicken kabob, lamb kabob, and kafte (Turkish meatballs). The only really new thing to me was the adana which is ground lamb (but not as ground as kafte aka kafta) that is mixed with red peppers and some light glaze. That was my second favorite. The best to me was the gyro meat which was well seasoned. The chicken kabob was good (also glazed-ish) and better than the lamb kabob which I thought was overcooked. Per usual the ground meat kafte was my least favorite but was still very edible. What really surprised me was the bed of bulgur wheat that it was served on. It was slightly red so maybe a hint of tomato but it picked up a bunch of flavor from the meat. Great alternative to rice for me just to throw something different on there. I thought it was really good. The side "shepherds salad" was finely chopped cucumbers, lettuce, tomatoes, onions, and parsley dressed with oil which was ok. The bread was hot and good, more like a naan then pita obviously. Went well with the meat and what I liken a taziki sauce (yogurt, cucumber, garlic). There was also a hot sauce which reminded me of a thinner sambal with the red pepper flakes.

All in all I thought a good meal and introduction to Turkish cuisine. Funny enough I hear Spanish coming from the kitchen; the front end speaks what I believe to be Turkish so authentic nonetheless. Perhaps of my bias, I still prefer the middle eastern in Michigan with the more juicy chicken shwarma, rice with pine nuts, and pure garlic spread. However I would not hesitate to stop by and pick up a gyro dinner over the next few weeks.

1275 Boston Providence Hwy Rt 1
Norwood, MA 02062

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Hutch Bar & Eatery - @@@@

Picked this place on a whim tonight because I was in the area. Actually I missed out on a Peruvian place since they were closed for cleaning. Disappointed I searched for another place to eat and am glad I found this.

I ordered the fried chicken dinner which came with either a spicy or sweet option. I opted for the spicy and it had a chili oil, mashed potatoes, and brussels. In short all of it was really good - potatoes creamy, brussels fried and not bitter, and the oil giving it a bit of spice. The chicken was really good - traditionalists may scoff at the boneless chicken breast but I liked it.

In fact I liked it so much I ordered the fried chicken sliders app after the main! What was good about the sliders were that they were a twist on the sweet version of the fried chicken dinner in that they had the maple butter spread atop the biscuit sliders. Again a non-traditional take on the food which I really liked. The little biscuits also had a spicy mayo on the bottom giving it a nice contrast. Chicken was super hot and tasty as well.

This seemed like a hidden gem to me as it was in a part of town that I am not too familiar with. I would not have found it without Yelp so props to them for that. Good service too with a full carafe of water which was great. If you can find it, I suggest you try it out (the sandwich selection looked strong too - I wish I was closer for lunch!)

1308 Gaskins Rd
Henrico, VA 23238

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Can Can Brasserie - @@@

Great day outside today so I went walking down Cary St in the somewhat famous Carytown area of Richmond. It is an eclectic street with plenty of vintage stuff, glass shops and restaurants.

I was happily surprised when I saw a French bistro restaurant on the street and knew I would walk back for dinner there. It was average for my tastes - not great or horrible. First off, the bread and butter which is a French staple was not as good as at other restaurants. I do think the butter was rich however the bread was flavored somewhat like the which masked the flavor of the butter. For the meal, I started with the French onion soup of course and it was pretty sweet. In fact almost too sweet. I have had it similar to that before, it's like they put some apple cider in it as well. Cheese was good, somewhat light compared to the Yelp pictures. For my main, I again had the steak frites and they give you a choice of 4 sauces to select. Maitre d' butter, red wine shallot, red wine blue cheese, and brandy peppercorn were the choices. I probably should've just got it plain but went with the butter. I promptly moved most of the butter off of the steak. The steak itself was cooked good, medium rare was actually red in the middle. The NY strip was tender and the butter did make it more flavorful. The fries were good, on par with other French places I have gone to.

Overall cool decor, service, and atmosphere for this restaurant in Carytown. I don't think I have had French in Richmond and would say it is worth trying. I do like the place in Providence better in terms of steak and soup but this is good for the city. Definitely a locals place; not too many corporate types here. Worthwhile to check out.

3120 W Cary St
Richmond, VA 23221

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Millie's Diner - @@@

By all accounts this was a good meal. I tried some new items such as pork cheeks and chess pie. The main I had was a grilled sirloin which was cooked great. The cheesy potatoes were also really good. The pork cheeks tasted like very tender pork chops - just a chunk of meat that was super tender. The pie was pretty sweet, probably too sweet for my taste.

However this was a textbook case of why I don't love restaurant weeks as much as others. They said they only had half of the regular menu and then the 3 course fixed price menu which I guess was ok since it is a small spot, but still somewhat leaving you wondering what else they had. Then I thought the portion was smaller than normal, although I have no comparison. But they have to make money somehow right? Then I got the desert but I would clearly prefer more main. Let alone it's amazing sweetness which I could've done without. Clearly i like savory food more but may just be an outlier.

Anyways the place was pretty good. Small local vibe was cool. Exposed kitchen area and everybody seemed pretty cool. Someplace to check out - perhaps next time with the whole menu.

2603 E Main St
Richmond, VA 23223

Thursday, April 20, 2017

La Estancia - @@@

Very close to a 4. Very good, just a touch below Tango in Boston that I really liked. This is a local Argentine restaurant that I really enjoyed. Quite a bit of food too for under $30 so the value is good for the metro DC region.

I ordered the short ribs or asado tira medium rare. They are not melt in your mouth, but rather a bit of chew to them. If you are expecting filet like tenderness, I would not get these. Instead I like them because they taste like beef, are flavorful, and juicy. Served on a scalding hot iron plate, I actually removed one because they were still cooking quickly on the plate. Ate all of them and love the contrast with the large boneless pieces and then the bones individually. Much better than the boneless short ribs I head earlier this week where they were braised. I just like the bone-in grilled flavor better. Sadly forgot to ask for chimichurri but they were good enough that I didn't think of needing it. Would've been interesting to compare though. Also comes with 2 sides which I upgraded to 3 cause I have a problem. "Salad bar" had iceberg lettuce, tomato slices, cucumbers, and onions but also had brocolli (helpful) and a great potato salad which no one could explain what it was called (ensalada Russa aka Russian salad is the best I got from the employees). Cubed potatoes, cubed carrots, and peas in a sweet creamy sauce. Really good. Better than my mashed potatoes which were ordinary. Also fried plantains but not super fried and much more similar to the caramelized plantains that I like. Soft and sweet rather than thin and crispy. I think they call them maduros. Really good and still eating them as my dessert.

All in all really good. Very helpful staff with constant water with lime refills. Soccer reruns playing on tv with El Clasico in 3 days. Try it out if you are in the NoVa area. It's in a strip mall, you will not be sorry.

7810 Lee Hwy, Suite F
Falls Church, VA 22042