Category Archives: Dining

South End restaurant Union Bar & Grille to close

Aquitaine Group, Boston, South EndBig changes are in store for one of Aquitaine Group’s signature south end restaurants. Effective January 1, 2015 Union Bar & Grille, which first opened eleven years ago in the autumn of 2003 will close.  Aquitaine Group, which owns Union will retain the space and reopen a new restaurant under a new name with a targeted opening for April 2015.  There is no information about the new concept, menu or who will help run the re-branded space.  However, the Aquitaine Group understands the competitive South End restaurant industry better than most and have an impressive track record.

Aquitaine Group, South End restaurant, SoWaA lot has changed since October 2013 when Union opened.  They were one of the first restaurants in the emerging SoWa district of the South End. Despite the fact that earlier that year Wilkes Passage and Rollins Square had opened, the restaurant scene in the South End didn’t cross over Tremont Street with but a few exceptions. Union’s presence with their gourmet, house ground burger and 10k Tuna changed all that and shortly after more restaurants followed.

I have a lot of fond memories of Union but the restaurant has lost its way and newer restaurants nearby like The Gallows and Boston Chops have proven to be tough competition for a restaurant that has not been updated in over a decade.  I look forward to the new space when it reopens in the spring of 2015 and wish them all the best.

After work cheap eats in the South End

South EndLast week Nikki Chase from the Boston Herald wrote an article about her favorite after-work cheap eats and it got me to thinking about some of my favorite places in the South End to grab something to eat after work; please share your favorites.

Darryl’s at 604 Columbus Avenue; All their starters are 1/2 price from 5 – 6:30 pm at the bar only.

Estragon at 700 Harrison Avenue;  offers something they call “Tapas Blitz where they offer items like fried pork belly with salsa pi­cante.  Their blitz menu items are available Monday-Thursday, 5-7 p.m. and range from $1-$5.

Masa Restaurant at 439 Tremont Street makes their tapas so affordable you can’t help but indulge with 50¢ tapas in the bar only. You can order items like grilled chorizo, pork spring roll and shredded chicken taquitos.  These super cheap eats are good Sunday – Thursday from 5-7p.m.

647 Tremont (and Sister Sorel too!) at 647 Tremont Street hosts their $2 taco Tuesdays where you can order a variety of house made tacos for $2 each.  My favorites include the fried fish and pork almond mole; Tuesdays only.

Stella at 1525 Washington Street; offers cheap eats menu with options that inclued arugula salad, parmesan arancini and (one of my favorites) grilled Italian sausage.  Every plate is only $5 until 6p.m. on weeknights only.

Dinner at ester in Dorchester

Writing this blog has perks and last week was a great example. I was invited to the Lower Mills neighborhood in Dorchester to meet one of the owners of ester, Eleanor Arpino, and check out this relatively new restaurant.

Antonia's Meatballs $6.50 and Meat Board $11

Antonia’s Meatballs $6.50                                  Meat Board $11

ester is a neighborhood restaurant trying to make a name for itself and be a part of the community it so proudly named itself after.  Their menu showcases the produce they collect each week from their 5,000 sq foot rooftop garden to let you know what ingredients are homegrown (literally).

Sirloin 1/2 Pound Burger w/ Bacon Jam $15.50

Sirloin 1/2 Pound Burger w/ Bacon Jam $15.50

Their menu is reasonably priced, including snacks and appetizers ranging in from $5-$11; soups and salads $7-$8 and main plates $14-$21.  The cocktail menu, wine list and beers are equally affordable; the beer list in particular is impressive with 32 options on draft and bottle.

Risotto with their rooftop cherry tomatoes $12

Risotto with their rooftop cherry tomatoes $12

I would like to thank Eleanor Arpino and chef Estabon Gallego for their gracious invitation and wish them much success.  Despite the fact that their massive back deck will close for the winter season, I’d encourage neighbors to check out the 17-seat bar or come down and try dinner in their spacious dining room.

Boneless Berkshire Roasted Pork Loin $21

Boneless Berkshire Roasted Pork Loin $21

ester is located at 2261 Dorchester Avenue in Dorchester Center.

Restaurant gossip

gossipMore restaurant gossip continues to be passed my way but unlike most whispers this is about two well known places outside of the South End.  My contacts and connections outside the South End aren’t as strong but the source has proven to be quite reliable in the past so I thought I would pass it along to all you foodies.

Rumors are circling that Via Matta & TICO may close.

One of Boston’s favorite chefs is Michael Schlow.  He may be best known for his former restaurant, Radius, which closed last year, but I’ve recently been told two of his restaurants in the Back Bay, Via Matta and TICO, may soon meet a similar fate. I don’t know Michael nor do I have any connections to verify these rumors. However, if true these establishments would be Michael’s second and third restaurant closings in 2014; following the closure of Barrio Cantina earlier this year in the Fenway.

 

Claude Riffault Sancerre La Noue

wine reviewI was feeling inspired by the Amisfield Pinot Gris 2012, New Zealand wine tasting and review I participated in with my friend and fellow blogger, Tracey so I opened a bottle of La Noue, a red wine Sancerre from the Claude Riffault winery.  I love wines from Sancerre, but I had never had a red wine Sancerre – until today.

wine reviewThe wine is made from the Pinot noir grape.  According to the winery, it is best served with seared or smoked plates of pork or beef.  I opted to skip the cooking and try it solo – just me and the bottle.

The wine’s color is beautiful but not so dark as you cannot see through it when held up to the light and its nose is heady, making me think it would be delicious with a soft goat or aged Parmesan cheese. The wine packs a punch with some strong fruity overtones but has a soft finish with a hint of the minerality (is that even a word?) I associate with the finish of Sancerre white wines.

While the price point is a bit higher than I typically spend (Brix Wine Shop South End sells it for $33), I think it is really delicious.  The wine would make for a great host gift for a dinner party or to share with another who appreciates and enjoys talking about wine.

New England loves their brunch

firstweeat.com Pretty much the entire northeast is obsessed with brunch.  At least that is what University of Arizona researchers have concluded.  First We Feast shares this and some other rather interesting information about food and Twitter on their website, firstwefeast.com.

Late night Food Truck Festival tonight

Boston late night eats

Saturday, October 4th 11:30 pm – 1:30 am

Come down and check out the Food Truck Festival tonight (Saturday night) on the Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway.  Participating food trucks include:  Roxy’s Grilled Cheese, Chicken & Rice Guys, Tenoch, The Dining Car and Cookie Monstah.  Look for the food trucks to be joined by a few fashion trucks as well so you can shop while you nosh.

Although the event web page doesn’t indicate it, I believe this will all take place in Dewey Square (near South Station) on the Greenway.