Punjab Palace – Excellent Indian

109 Brighton Ave. Allston, MA 02134

www.punjabpalace.com (617) 254-1500

*In Allston, a block east from the Intersection of Harvard St and Brighton Ave

Seth & Ren

  • –Drinks–
  • Chimay Blue
  • Old Monk 10,000
  • –Plates–
  • Vegetable Samosa
  • Lamb Marsala
  • Goat Marsala
  • Garlic Naan x2
  • –Desserts–
  • Kheer (Rice dessert)
  • $58.90 w/ tax ($12.45 in Drinks)

Ave. Price/Person: $15-25 w/ Drinks: $20-35

Seth: I’m always a fan of finding new places to try Indian food. This is the cuisine we wanted this week and I’ve had this place on my list for some time. On a gorgeous early spring day, Ren and I took my motorcycle out to Allston to check it out. The space is nice when you walk in. Not too big, it had a warm, clean feel to it. Not overly polished but nice at the same time. I was impressed my the beer list right off and liked what I saw in terms of pricing. Ren and I both started with a nice beer and ordered the vegetable samosas to start. I probably would have ordered meat ones if they had them but these were delicious. They brought out that traditional crispy bread with the three dipping sauces before them, but one of the sauces accompanied the flaky crust of the samosa nicely. For entrées with both got Marsala, which is a creamy tomato curry sauce. Ren with the goat and myself with the lamb. I really enjoy lamb and I’ve too often had it over cooked or dried out. Not here! It was delicious and tender and perfectly cooked. I asked before hand what level of spicy they cooked with. Most Indian places tame down the level of spice for the uninitiated american palate but, once again, not here. I ordered medium spicy and it was perfect. A full-bodied level of spicy that didn’t take over the flavor but had me sweating just a little by the time I was finishing my meal. We ordered two servings of garlic naan as we are both big fans. We didn’t quite finish it all but it was so good I’m glad we ordered the extra. Big pieces of crushed garlic baked into the bread. So good! The service was great throughout and we kept one eye on the TV showing some hilarious Bollywood music videos. We closed out the meal with the rice dessert kheer and were on our way with some leftovers and very satisfied. My favorite thing: The exquisitely cooked lamb marsala.

Ren: Strange weather patterns bring early warmth and an excursion to Punjab Palace on the recently storage freed motorcycle. A quiet little eatery welcomed us with smells of curry, the sounds of non stop Bollywood productions, and decent display of alcoholic proportions.  From the display I chose a quite reasonably priced Chimay blue and we started out with a plate of samosa’s: a dish we tend to favor as a precursor to our meal whenever it is on a menu. Being a little wary on the state of juiciness of the lamb, due to previously dry experiences, I ordered the goat masala paired with an order of garlic naan. The flavors and creaminess of this dish literally blew me away. It is one of the better masala dishes I have ever ordered. The naan stuffed with whole cloves of garlic was a perfect way to scoop the delicious masala. My dinning companion ordered the lamb masala and I’ll have to say the lamb was cooked perfectly and literally melted in my mouth. The waiter seemed to be surprised by my interest in both the chimay and goat: an interesting reaction. His attentiveness and desire to please was a treat compared to our last Indian experience. We ended the meal with one of my favorite desserts ever: the delicious kheer. My favorite thing: everything! But I guess I have to pick one so I’ll go with the creamy masala.

Food: Seth 8.5 Ren 8.5 Food Average: 8.5 *Certified Dericious* This was really good Indian food. Everything we had, was well cooked and solid

Decor/Atmosphere: Seth 8 Ren 8 Nice, clean little place. Seats maybe 25-30. Nothing too fancy but all nicely done. Cool touch with the TV playing non-stop Bollywood.

Service: Seth 8 Ren 8.5 Good service. There when we needed him, took the plates when they were dirty. Was accommodating with our requests on how to pay and how to pack the leftovers.

Total Average: 8.250 Good place to go if your craving some above average Indian food, with a decent beer selection and good service.

One bad thing: Neither of could really think of something. No visible missteps

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Fish Market – Favorite Sushi

170 Brighton Ave. Allston, MA 02134

www.fishmarketsushibar.com (617) 783-1268

*In Allston, a block from the intersection of Brighton Ave and Harvard St

Seth & Ren, +2 guests

  • –Drinks–
  • One pot of Genmai Green tea w/ 3 cups
  • –Plates–
  • Miso soup x2
  • Seaweed salad
  • Sashimi Salad
  • Salmon sashimi
  • Flying Fish roe maki piece
  • Toro tempura flakes sashimi
  • Toro tempura flakes sushi w/ one quail egg(yum!)
  • Alligator maki – shrimp tempura topped with eel, flying fish roe, avocado, scallion, eel sauce
  • Seared tuna maki – flying fish roe, tempura flakes, cucumber, spicy mayo topped with seared tuna, eel sauce, tabasco, spicy radish, chives
  • Eel maki – eel, cucumber, avocado, eel sauce
  • Dragon Eye maki – salmon, wasabi flying fish roe, japanese basil wrapped with cucumber & squid dressed in ponzu sauce
  • Yellowtail Truffle maki – shrimp tempura, cucumber, spicy mayo topped with yellowtail, truffle salt, truffle peelings, chives
  • Yaki Udon noodle w/ beef
  • Takoyaki – Fried diced octopus and tempura croquettes w/ spicy mayo and bonito flakes
  • –Dessert–
  • Deep-fried vanilla ice cream
  • $124.22 w/ tax ($3.00 in drinks)

Ave Price/Person: $15-40 w/ Drinks: Only a few dollars more as there is just soda and tea for now. (They’re working on a liquor license)

Seth: I really love sushi. I think given the time and money I would eat it once a week. And for your money, this is the best I’ve had in Boston. I’ve actually eaten here close to 20 times, literally. Ever since someone introduced me to this place almost two years ago I’ve made a point to take everyone I know here. It’s a great date location too!! Though we didn’t get it this trip here, I do have to mention the avocado ball appetizer. On a first trip here, this is a must. Thin slices of avocado wrapped around a mix of chopped chunks of tuna and aioli; so tender and tasty! On to our actual food we ordered. For this dinner, we actually ordered separately as two couples. There was some trying across the table but I’ll mainly be writing about what my guest and I ordered. First off, the sashimi salad and the miso soup. This salad is another must try. A large bowl, full of greens and probably about a 1/2 lb. of cut up various sushi. (Pictured left) From tuna to salmon to squid. All topped of with a zesty lemon aioli. The miso soup here is delicious. As sushi eaters can attest, for such a common simple soup, the quality can vary greatly from place to place. Three rolls and our sashimi followed timely. We got the Dragon Eye maki, which was bright and crunchy with good flavors accompanying the salmon in it. The Yellowtail truffle maki is a favorite of mine. The truffle has such an earthy bold flavor the closes out the smoothness of the firm, mild fish. The last roll was a more simple eel, avocado, cucumber roll but is no less tasty. After salmon, eel may be my favorite sushi meat choice. My guest at the flying fish roe maki and I had the toro tempura crumb sashimi. I always love some toro (tuna) and this was no exception. Mixed with tempura crumbs and finely chopped, this is incredibly rich, smooth and unbelievably scrumptious. As is my tradition, I close out my sushi meal with a piece of salmon sashimi. Always smooth, always buttery, this firm fish is a welcome finish to an awesome meal. My favorite thing: The toro sashimi piece. (Pictured above, middle of the plate)

Ren: This week we returned to Fish Market, an old favorite restaurant destination of ours, figuring it was definitely time to critique another sushi spot. Fish Market, a classy hole in the wall,  is a bit of a hike up into Allston that currently is acquiring a liquor license. Despite the draw backs it is worth the journey for their fresh delectable seafood and friendly sushi chefs. I would have liked to begin my meal with a hot glass of Saki but I appeased my taste buds with miso soup and seaweed salad; a favorite of mine.  I just love the crispness and healthy nature of this delightful salad. I followed with a Toro sashimi  topped with a quail egg and mixed with tempura crumbs. I think I prefer Toro by itself  as the tempura seems to take away from the rich heavenly flavor. I was also a little perturbed when, thinking sashimi came in two portions, asked the server to put a quail egg on only one and he failed to mention there was only one portion. Up next was a tummy warming steamed beef  and udon (a thick Japanese wheat-flour noodle). It was very flavorful while remaining not too rich and giving you a feeling as though you are putting something nourishing and nutritious into your system; a feat not easily mastered as I have had very plain tasting udon in the past. Next up was the Alligator and seared tuna maki rolls both extremely scrumptious; yet the Alligator roll won out as most as most flavorful as it contained my favorite sushi ingredient: eel. Just when we were finishing up I discovered they were serving Takoyaki croquettes as a special appetizer and I knew we had to order it. I had this once before and it was an incredible treat (It is also topped with fresh bonito flakes: shaved fish scales that appear alive when combined with liquid). I was a little disappointed with the Takoyaki here as it wasn’t as crisp or flavorful and it was too soft in the center (I hear good Takoyaki is extremely hard to find). My taste buds were saved by finishing up this meal with some fried vanilla ice cream. Conclusion: If you love sushi Fish Market is a must add to your list of restaurants to check out. My favorite thing: The Alligator roll and the seaweed salad.

Food: Seth 9 Ren 8.5 Food Ave: 8.75 *Certified Dericious* I think this may be the best sushi I’ve ever had!

Service: Seth 7.5 Ren 6 Good average service

Decor/Atmosphere: Seth 8 Ren 7 Cute, little sushi bar. A bar that sits eight and 4 tables. Bar is great for watching the sushi chefs at work

Total Average: 7.667 This place is serious enough about the quality of their sushi that they’re closed on Mondays. With people unfamiliar with the food industry, fish deliveries are not made on Mondays and they’re waiting for the fresh delivery on Tuesday. Best sushi in Boston. Come check it out!

One bad thing: No alcohol

Deep Ellum – Drink Den

477 Cambridge St. Allston, MA 02134

www.deepellum-boston.com (617) 787-2337

*In Union Sq. in Allston, near the intersection of Cambridge St and Brighton Ave.

Seth & Ren, +3 guests

  • –Drinks–
  • Orval (Abbey Pale Ale)
  • Hot Old Fashioned
  • Jack D’or
  • Beer of the Gods
  • Black Market (Gin cocktail)
  • Barrel Aged Cocktail
  • Flagraiser (IPA)
  • Blood and Sand
  • Irish coffee w/ Baileys
  • –Plates–
  • Truffeled Gorgonzola Fries
  • Root Beer Braised Pork Belly w/ parsnip puree and apple-fennel slaw
  • Fried Calamari
  • Coffee Braised Lamb Shank w/ aged cheddar polenta, mustard greens, and toasted pistachios x3
  • Chicken Schnitzel w/ braised red cabbage and apples, and fingerling potatoes
  • French Onion Soup
  • –Dessert–
  • Caramel Eggnog Cream Tart x2
  • $217.86 w/ tax ($80 in Drinks)

Seth: As you all know, I love beer. And in a place a bit like the Publick House, this one has a great selection. There’s also quite a few classic and newer cocktails and a great little menu. The three appetizers were all delicious. From the truffle oil Gorgonzola fries (which is just one of the 4 varieties they have) to the delicious(!) root beer braised pork belly and the crispy, well cooked Calamari. Also, that apple-fennel slaw that came with the pork belly was bright and delicious. For the entrees, three of us we too excited about the lamb to not order a few other things. It ended up, we probably should have. The lamb was cooked well, but the sauce used was either not executed properly or it needs some change. I wanted it to be better but it just wasn’t quite there. On top of that the mustard greens were not good. I did get a bite of the french onion soup, which was really good. Also, I snuck a piece of the chicken schnitzel, which was really nicely done with great flavor. We closed out the dinner with a caramel egg nog cream dish that was a good finish. I like this place. I think the drink selection alone is enough to come back for. A great place for a drink and a snack. Especially once that back deck opens back up this spring. My favorite thing: Of course the  pork belly!

Ren: This weeks dining escapades brought us back to Deep Ellum; a restaurant that was high on our must return to list because of an extraordinary dish we had there ( a confit pork belly on a bed of corn grits). To our dismay it was no longer on the menu; however we enjoyed our previous experience enough to add it to our blogging adventures. I’ll have to say right off the bat I will only return when the patio is open again. While being a cozy atmosphere I think I much preferred to sit on there patio where it is a little less cramped. My first drink, The Hornets Nest, I wasn’t particularly pleased with as it mostly tasted like watered wiskey with a touch of bitters. I don’t like to return drinks ever as I feel once you have ordered it, it’s your; however I really wanted to enjoy this dining experience and I was fortunate that the manager was more attentive than our server and allowed me to order a new drink, The Black Market, which was a much better executed drink. I would have liked to see the server ask me if I like the new drink, but the question was never asked. The appetizers that followed were probably my favorite part of the meal: fried calamari, root beer braised pork belly on a parsnip and fennel salad, and gorgonzola truffle fries. The pork belly is prepared excellently; juicy and tender with a crispy top makes for a dish that is simply to die for and my reason for ever returning to Deep Ellum (as well as there truffle fries). I split the french onion soup and coffee braised lamb shank for dinner. Both were delicious but could have been better. The soup needed more cheese and the lamb dish just wasn’t quite tender enough and didn’t taste enough like coffee; not to mention the mustard greens on the plate were too salty and over cooked. It was a decent enough experience but I as I said I probably won’t come back until there patio is open again. My favorite thing: The pork belly!

Ave Price/Person: $15-30 w/ Drinks: $25-45

Food: Seth 7.5 Ren 7 Food Ave: 7.25 Very good appetizers, a little disappointed with the Lamb Shank and the mustard greens.

Service: Seth 7.5 Ren 7 Good service. Made a few recommendations

Decor/Atmosphere: Seth 8 Ren 7.5 Nice little bar. A lot of dark wood. The lighting was fairly dim. Though not open now for the winter, there is an awesome little know back deck that is perfect on a summer day.

Total: 7.416 Great beer list, good cocktails and some good food options.

One bad thing: The mustard greens were just bad. Overcooked and not properly cleaned