Category Archives: Restaurant Review

Restaurant review: Sam’s at Louis Boston

Sams at Louis BostonLocated above Louis Boston, Sam’s might have one of the nicest waterfront views, making it a great place for a date night. However, the casual vibe and friendly staff also make it a good place to try for an after work drink or bite if you are in the neighborhood.

Sam’s at Louis Boston decor can best be described as minimalist and modern.  Large glass windows overlooking their equally large deck and Boston’s waterfront is framed by the steel panes and furnishings giving the restaurant an open and modern vibe.  Indoors only can seat about 40 (plus approximately 10 at the bar), but in the warmer weather their second floor patio more than doubles their capacity and is available on a first come first serve basis.

Roasted Beets $9

Roasted Beets $9

Sam’s dinner menu includes snacks and starters that range from $7-$17 and main plates from $16-$35.  I would describe the menu as modern American.  I started dinner with Sam’s roasted beets that had goat cheese (they call goat butter) and nuts. It came out piping hot in an individual skillet that hissed and crackled like a fajita, and was delicious from start to finish.  I chose a great Spanish red wine that really enhanced flavor of the warm beets and made me even more hungry for dinner.

Herb Roasted Chicken $27

Herb Roasted Chicken $27

Our handsome server timed our meals beautifully and a few minutes after he cleared our plates my herb roasted chicken arrived on a bed of baby brussels sprouts with apple-chestnut stuffing and Madeira jus. The chicken was tender and flavorful and I’m happy to say I managed to eat every last bite.

I can’t believe it took me so long to try Sam’s  but I will be back.  I’d recommend trying it on a weeknight when it is easier to get a table or encourage you to make a reservation to avoid a long wait.  Sam’s is located above Louis Boston at 60 Northern Avenue (behind the Vertex Pharmaceuticals building).
Sam's on Urbanspoon

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 review: Roost Bistro

Roost Bistro on Newbury StreetRoost Bistro is a cozy restaurant on Newbury Street between Fairfield and Gloucester Street that opened in the spring of 2014.

I stumbled upon Roost Bistro when I was perusing OpenTable.com for a list of available restaurants for brunch with my friend Tracey who happens to write the blog 40-Something Life.

First impressions of this new bistro were good.  I liked the tiny two tiered patio overlooking Newbury Street and inside had a cozy vibe with lots of natural sunlight and colorful walls contrasted by exposed brick.  The brunch menu is also really reasonable with most items ranging between $10-$12.

Roost Bistro on Newbury StreetFor this first visit I kept my order short and sweet, zeroing in on Spanish Omelette which was generously stuffed with chorizo and caramelized onions and had a side of potatoes.  I won’t rave about the food because it wasn’t that kind of meal, but it was definitely tasty and has intrigued me enough to want to go back and try the bistro for dinner. Add this to your list of new places to try and let me know your thoughts. My only caveat would be the restaurant was clearly understaffed, making it tough to get coffee or our check, but since it was a pleasant morning, we filled the time people watching and chatting with each other.

Roost Bistro is located at 259 Newbury Street and open for brunch on Saturday and Sunday starting at 10:30am.
Roost Bistro on Newbury on Urbanspoon

Restaurant review: Nizza Hell’s Kitchen

Nizza Hell's Kitchen NYCNizza is a cozy space located in NYC Hell’s Kitchen on Ninth Avenue.  The night I was there Nizza had a young crowd and nice energy that reminded me of some of my favorite brasseries – except Nizza’s menu is 100% Italian.  It probably didn’t hurt that bartender, Tom, was easy on the eyes, friendly and made excellent dinner suggestions.

Italian restaurant, Nizza NYCNizza’s menu is very approachable with pizzas, pastas and main dishes ranging from $13-$23.  I started dinner with Tom’s suggestion, eggplant involtini ($11.25). The dish comes with four thinly sliced roasted eggplant that are stuffed with ricotta and herbs.  It is shown above with focaccia bread and olive oil served with a generous dollop of ricotta. The eggplant was cooked perfectly and is something I would regularly order if I lived in the neighborhood.

Nizza Hell's Kitchen NYCI love spicy pizza so Tom suggested I try the “Piccante” ($14.75).  This pizza didn’t disappoint and the heat gave me an excuse to order a second glass of wine.  The pizza comes with tomato, spicy Italian sausage, roasted hot peppers, smoked mozzarella and fresh basil.   It was the roasted hot peppers that really added the heat so have them hold the peppers if you’d prefer something less spicy. A sure sign that I enjoyed the dinner was the self-induced food coma that followed from me over eating.

If out in Hell’s Kitchen and looking for a nice place to grab a bite that has good energy and is reasonably priced, I’d definitely suggest trying Nizza at 630 Ninth Avenue.
Nizza on Urbanspoon

San Francisco restaurant declares war on Yelp

Botto Bistro San FranciscoBotto Bistro, an Italian restaurant in the San Francisco area, claims that Yelp is basically the equivalent of the online mafia. Co-owner Davide Cerretini claims that after he stopped advertising on Yelp their reviews turned negative and a positive review even vanished.

Fed up with Yelp, Cerretini decided to do the unthinkable and aspire to be the worst reviewed restaurant on the site; going so far as to offer 25% off to customers who left a one-star review. Suffice it to say that Yelp is not pleased and has resulted in the online site to send a threatening email.  However that has not stopped them.  Check out their website it is hilarious, bottobistro.com.

Cerretini said to the SF Gate “I don’t have anything against Yelp. The idea is fantastic, but the blackmailing thing is ferocious,” says Cerretini. “I think I should be the one deciding if I’m on the site or not. At least I can be there on my terms. The only power they have is they make you reliable to them. So, I’m going to be one of the most unreliable restaurants.”

“I want to be the worst restaurant there is in the Bay Area,” he says. “I think this is the best business move I have made in years.”

Some of these Yelp reviews are pretty entertaining.

Botto Bistro San Francisco
Thanks for the tip  Todd.  You can read more here.

 

Restaurant review: Prospect in San Francisco

Prospect Restaurant San FranciscoProspect is a casual dining restaurant that first opened in the summer of 2010.  It is located on the corner of Folsom and Spear Street approximately one block from the waterfront.  I opted to try this sleek looking neighborhood restaurant because it won San Francisco Magazine’s 2013 Best Destination Burger.

The bar menu is comprised mostly of easy bites like cheese plate, hot wings and fried shishito peppers.  The full menu includes salads, seafood and meats ranging in price from $14-$45 with most items ranging from $21-$32.

Prospect Restaurant San Francisco I started my meal with the bar menu’s, spicy ceviche ($10).  Prospect’s ceviche includes chunks fresh fish, avocado and tomato as well as a bit of heat from peppers that nicely mingle with the citrus and fresh corn tortilla chips.  I devoured this with my beer while people watching from the bar.

Prospect Restaurant San FranciscoFollowing the ceviche, I had high hopes for the burger and was not disappointed. The Prospect Burger ($16.50 with fries) comes on a delicious buttered and lightly toasted bun with a thick green tomato and lettuce.  The burger is accompanied by thick cut and salted french fries that were crisp on the outside and fluffy on the inside.

Service at the bar, despite a busy crowd, was flawless. The entire staff referred to me by my name despite only introducing myself once to the bartender who took my beer order and they made me feel welcome without pestering me.

Prospect on Urbanspoon

Restaurant review: Bel Ari

Bel Ari Modern ItalianLast week I was invited as part of an exclusive group to meet and try food at Bel Ari in the Leather District, prior to their opening to the public today (September 10th).

Formerly known as Sorriso, the restaurant was overhauled by its new owners who purchased it along with Les Zygomates earlier this year.  Bel Ari has a sophisticated look with its white painted brick, dark tables and beautiful artwork.  However, the redesign and branding extends beyond the physical with a new menu by Chef Robert Fathman described as modern Italian culinary inspirations “from all over the boot.”

Bel Ari bartender Karen and her mystery cocktails

Bel Ari mixologist, Karen, and her delicious cocktails

The bar staff is knowledgeable and friendly as you’ll find out when you meet Karen who concocts mystery cocktails based on your palate.  I was immediately taken with this British bartender who formerly worked up the street at Trade. I’d suggest checking out the bar and treating yourself to one of her unique cocktails and Bel Ari’s artichoke pizza, which I found absolutely addicting. Bel Ari pizzaI typically review restaurants after they open when I can get a better feel for the total dining experience; the ambiance, service and food.  Based on this experience, I’m intrigued enough to venture back after they open to the public and would suggest you place this new restaurant on your list of “worth checking out.”

Some of my favorite plates included their warmed, whipped ricotta cheese which was sweet and creamy; the mussels served in a crock pot with the tomatoes, onions and sausage; the artichoke pizza (shown above); and their glazed chops served with broccolini and couscous.