East Side Bar & Grille – Italian Seafood

561 Cambridge St. Cambridge, MA 02141

www.eastsidebarandgrille.com (617) 661-3278

*On the corner of Cambridge St and 7th St.

Seth & Ren, +2 guests

  • –Drinks–
  • Harpoon IPA x2
  • Harpoon Hefeweizen x2
  • –Plates–
  • P.E.I. Mussels sautéed in a chipotle garlic cream sauce
  • Veal Marsala sautéed with fresh mushrooms and prosciutto
  • Shrimp Scampi sautéed in special sauce of wine
  • Shrimp & Scallop Florentine: Sautéed shrimp, scallops and spinach tossed in a pink vodka sauce served over Angel hair pasta
  • Home made Crab cakes: Fresh crab meat mixed with spices and herbs, on fresh sautéed spinach, topped with jumbo shrimp and scallop. With saffron dijon sauce
  • –Dessert–
  • Tiramisu
  • Chocolate Chip Cannoli
  • $117.45 w/ tax ($20.00 in Drinks)

Ave Price/Person: $15-25 w/ Drinks: $20-30

Seth: It’s been a bit since we’ve had Italian or seafood, or been to Cambridge so we put all these together for this weeks spot. A bit of an old school Rat Pack style Italian joint welcomed and we were sat right away. We started with a beer and a chipotle cream sauce Mussels that were a great start. The bread that came we devoured dipping it in the left over sauce. This probably had something to do with not being able to finish but half my entrée later. The service was enthusiastic and the music in homage to Sinatra. We all ordered entrées next. I wanted what’s known as their ‘famous’ steak tips but decided to opt for something I don’t make regularly myself and got the Shrimp and Scallop Florentine. The seafood was cooked well and the sauce was nice. I was a little under-whelmed but it was good. I had bites of Makeda’s crab caked that were meaty and done nicely. Ren’s veal was delicious with a fantastic accompanying sauce. John’s Shrimp scampi had a nice zesty wine butter sauce to it. None of us were able to finish and all had our leftovers bagged. As is tradition though, we can’t very well go with out dessert. We couldn’t quite settle on one so we ordered both the tiramisu and the cannoli. The latter tasted almost of cookie dough and not really in the good way. The tiramisu was really nice and light and far better than our last attempt at Q Restaurant. Ren and I had a second beer in there somewhere and when we were all quite full, we took our leave. My favorite thing: The mussels were a perfect starter

Ren: A little jaunt to the north brought us to East Side Grille where tales of four and half stars teased our appetites and thoughts of Italian proportions settled our decision. We commenced the evening with a few Harpoon drafts and an appetizer of mussels and cream sauce: which was rich and delicious and reminded us of a fondue. The atmosphere was Italian family style with a few paintings of happy couple taking promenades and wait staff with casual food knowledge and big personalities. It is a comfortable establishment with decent food. After appetizers we were given a round of side salads which is my favorite thing about family style restaurants. Then a wondrous veal marsala with a side of mashed potatoes was delivered to my seat. It was an above average, nice, broth style dish. Everyone else’s entrées were of similar ranking. We finished the meal with a slice of tiramisu and a chocolate chip cannoli. The cannoli was ok and the tiramisu was good and light. All in all its better than most average Italian but not quite high-class: worth a visit if you’re in the area. My favorite thing: the delicious mussels!

Food: Seth 7.5 Ren 7.5 Food Average:  7.5 Above average Italian food with a lot of seafood influence. Great sauces, fresh food.

Decor/Atmosphere: Seth 7.5 Ren 7 A bit of a Rat-Pack feel with the old-school decorations and vibe that permeates the place.

Service: Seth 7.5 Ren 7.5 Good average service. Plates were taken and the right
questions were asked. Not as knowledgeable as they could have been on their own menu

Total Average: 7.417 This had really good reviews and I think we only caught flashes of that for our trip. Maybe it needs another visit but it was hardly above average

One bad thing: Not much to put here. Perhaps our tables proximity to the servers station and the kitchen doors

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Grotto – Intimate Italian

37 Bowdoin Street Boston MA 02114

www.grottorestaurant.com (617) 227-3434

*On Beacon Hill, closer to Govt. Center, off of Cambridge St

~Restaurant Week~

Seth & Ren, +3 guests

  • –Drinks–
  • Bottle of Ca’ Furlan Prosecco Cuvée Beatrice
  • Bottle of Campanile Pinot Grigio
  • Moretti Dark beer
  • –Plates–
  • FondutaFontina cheese fondue, Beef tenderloin tips, Aged balsamic, Truffle oil, Portobello mushrooms x2
  • Zuppa: Garlic soup, Black truffle, Parmesan, Toasted bread crumbs
  • Piccata: Mussels, Garlic, Lemon, Capers, White wine sauce
  • Zafferano: Crab ravioli, Asparagus, Roasted tomatoes, Almonds, Saffron
  • Pettini: Pan roasted diver scallops, “ravioli”, Leeks, Wild mushrooms, Arugula, truffle
  • GnocchiShort ribs, Mushrooms, Gorgonzola x2
  • Fra Diavolo: Butter poached lobster, Linguine, Spicy tomato sauce
  • Antra: Apple stuffed duck breast, Crispy leg, Prosciutto, Dried cherries, Potato gratin, Black truffle aioli, Madeira
  • –Desserts–
  • Cioccolato: Melting chocolate cake & vanilla ice cream
  • Tre: Ice cream: Vanilla, Chocolate, Caramel
  • Budino: Banana bread pudding, Caramel ice cream, Spiced walnuts
  • $289.97 w/tax ($71.00 in Drinks) With the restaurant week actual cost was $253.16

Ave Price/Person: Restaurant Week deal is $33.12 w/ Drinks: $50

Seth: Hooray Restaurant week! An excuse to get to a little nicer of a restaurant and not break the bank. About 200 restaurants participating all with a prix fixe menu prices at $33.12 per person. A better deal at some places than others but just needs a little research. This weeks list (with a lot of help from Makeda, thank you!) was narrowed down to the Grotto. An excellent little Italian place on Beacon Hill. This week Ren and I were joined with 3 others and made our way to a late reservation. We arrived a little early but were sat pretty close to our time. We ordered a bottle of Prosecco to start things while we hashed out what we were all going to order. We try to not repeat too many things as we always try some of each others orders. I started with the crab ravioli that came with a nice little sauce and some nicely grilled tomatoes. Bites of the fondue and mussels were quite tasty. For my entrée I jumped on the apple stuffed duck breast that was decadently wrapped in prosciutto with a cherry and truffle sauce. The duck was cooked perfectly and the whole dish was absolutely delicious. I really liked Makeda’s diver scallops that were also cooked just right and I enjoyed both my bites of Gnocchi and Lobster Diablo. Somewhere part way through the entrée round we decided on another bottle of wine. A crisp Pinot Grigio was welcomed and we moved on to the dessert round. I’m always a big fan of bread pudding and didn’t hesitate to order it here. It was pretty good though not exceptional. A pretty good meal all round. It’s a great place for a date. Nice and intimate. The server may not have been the best but I suppose you’d have to give him a little credit as it was late into the second week of Restaurant week. My favorite thing: The perfectly executed duck.

Ren: Due to the bi-annual occurrence of a Boston event known as restaurant week, though it goes for two weeks, we ended up in a small cozy restaurant by the name of Grotto. My cohort selected this restaurant for its unusually large restaurant week menu selection and they still had reservations for the night we wanted to go. We showed up a bit early in hopes that we could be seated before our reservation as the hour was late, but alas to no avail. While we waited we gazed upon their wine menu in search of our first selection. Upon seating we ordered a bottle of Prosecco  for the table and commenced with the course choosing. I settled with the cheese fondue appetizer, gnocchi and short rib entrée, and banana pudding dessert. The fondue was fairly tasty,  the only draw backs were some of the steak was slightly over-cooked and I personally thought the cheese could have a little bit of a stronger kick. My gnocchi dish that followed was a tad disappointing. The gnocchi and meat were perfectly cooked but I just felt like the flavor wasn’t where I wanted it to be and left the palate longing for something with a bit more variant in flavor. The bite of my cohort’s duck was very tender and delicious as was his scallop potatoes and one of our dining guest’s lobster dish.  During our entrées we decided on a bottle of smooth and balanced pinot gringo. I wish dessert redeemed my slightly disappointing meal but alas while the flavor was good, I’d been hoping for an actually pudding instead of the cake I received. Our server for the evening was eager but forgetful as he neglected to clear various dirty dishes of our table. All in all it was a pleasant evening with only a few minor disappointments. My favorite thing: The portabella mushrooms dipped in the fondue cheese!

Food: Seth 8 Ren 7 Food Ave: 7.5 Good food overall. Some dishes were particularly delicious

Decor/Atmosphere: Seth 9 Ren 8.5 Very cute intimate place. Seats maybe 25-30 people. Lovely place for a date

Service: Seth 7.5 Ren 6.5 Some good intentions from our waiter. Polite and came ans checked on us often enough. Seemed a bit flustered presumably from it being restaurant week. Didn’t really take dirty plates often or quick enough.

Total Average: 7.750 Good overall place. Not blown away by the food but it was all good with no real missteps. Cute place and decent service. Was a nice place to check out for Restaurant week and a place Ren was looking to get to as it’s the sister restaurant to an old employment place for her.

One bad thing: The service missteps with the plates.

Petit Robert Bistro – French Lite

1414 Commonwealth Ave. Brighton, MA 02134

www.petitrobertbistro.com (617) 274-8687

*On the eastbound side of Commonwealth Ave near the intersection of Kelton Street

Seth & Ren, +2 guests

  • –Drinks–
  • Franziskaner (German beer)
  • Imperial Red IPA
  • Magners Apple cider
  • Cremant champagne
  • Bottle of Sipp Mack Pinot Blanc, Alsace 2007 
  • –Plates–
  • Sliced red beet and goat cheese salad
  • Creamy lobster bisque
  • Soupe à l’Onion Gratinée
  • Trio of Homemade Patés with assorted Condiments
  • Cape Cod Oysters on the Half Shell with Mignonette Sauce
  • Six Escargots Bourguignon
  • Fried Mashed Potato Croquettes
  • Sautéed Scallops over Mushroom Risotto
  • Boston Bouillabaisse with Hake, Baby Clams, Mussels, Bay Scallop and Shrimp
  • Beef Short Rib Bourguignon and Roasted Potato
  • Baked wild trout with a butter sauce
  • –Desserts–
  • Mousse au Chocolat with Langue de chat x2
  • Vanilla Crème Brûlée with Palmier Cookie
  • One Giant Profiterole with Vanilla Ice Cream and Fudge Sauce
  • $207.59 w/ tax ($62.52 in drinks) Had a 4 person Groupon that made it $100.72

Ave Price/Person: $45-55 w/ Drinks: $55-75

Seth: Came across a Groupon for four people that included an appetizer, entrée and dessert apiece. Having been to the Kenmore Sq location previously and enjoying it quite a bit, I thought this would be a great place this week. While none of the food was bad, almost none of it was what we expected. Especially given their higher price. As you can see in some of the photos the extra few seconds of attention were not given the plates just to make the presentation a little nicer. Each of us picked out an appetizer each and added a couple more. I picked the beet salad. The cheese was nice along with the drizzling of balsamic. The beets didn’t seem as fresh or firm as they should have been. Ren and I had two oysters each. They were tasty enough. Perakis had the bisque which I tried and really liked its richness. Makeda’s patés were incredibly rich and quite. Sharing them among the four of us we still were not quite able to completely finish them. Ren’s onion soup was rich and nice and the escargots, while inexplicably green, were pretty good. There were a side of fried mashed potato croquetts were really good with a crunchy exterior. My entrée was the sautéed scallops over a mushroom risotto. The scallops were cooked perfectly and had great flavor to them. The risotto was ok. I think the last batch Makeda and I made was better.  Perakis’ trout was cooked well, Ren’s Bourguignon nicely flavored. Makeda liked her Bouillabaisse well enough, but thought most the seafood items were a little over cooked. We closed out with a dessert apiece. I really liked my Crème Brûlée. It had that perfect thin sugar crust to it and ended up sharing a bunch of bites to the others. Makeda and Ren really liked their Mousse and Perakis’ Profiterole was really big with a really nice chocolate sauce on it. I doubt I’ll be back to this particular location but I think I’d like to compare the Downtown location some day. My favorite thing: The perfectly cooked scallops.

Ren: One delightful discount via groupon tempted us over to Brookline for some french cuisine this week. Though I’ll have to note that the cuisine itself was less than delightful. One of our dining guests remarked that it was more like french lite. A suiting title for french food that was just a smidge over average and lacking in buttery rich flavors that we have come to expect from Parisian dishes.  My french onion soup appetizer managed to be weak in flavor and strong in onion presence. The escargot lacked enough butter and garlic but the oysters were delightful and my friends trio of pates finally gave my taste buds the richness they desired. My beef short rib bourguignon entrée was the biggest disappointment mostly due to presentation with broccoli cut far to large and average tasting beef. Surprise, surprise the wine pared with our meal also seems to lite on flavor. My chocolate mousse finish was good but just a little too sweet for me.  All in all the food wasn’t bad just a little under rich and a little over priced. My favorite thing: The fresh tasty oysters.

Food: Seth 7.5 Ren 6.5 Food Ave: 7 Some good food, some decent food. Not really worth the price.

Decor/Atmosphere: Seth 7 Ren 6.5 The waiters/manager spoke a little French. The decor didn’t really live up to what they were charging. Not a bad little place though

Service: Seth 8 Ren 7.5 The waiter was good.  A little new perhaps. Plates were taken and waters refilled often. They worked with us when we needed to rush the last little bit and get out of there.

Total Average: 7.167 I’ve heard better things about their Downtown location and I’ve been to their Kenmore Sq location so this spot was a little bit of a disappointment. For a French place it had too much Americanization to it. For the quality it was too expensive. As a group we felt we had spent too much even with the Groupon cost.

One bad thing: The price to quality point

Delfino – Authentic Italian

754 South St. Roslindale, MA 02131

http://www.delfinorestaurant.com/ (617) 327-8359

*Right off of Roslindale Square

Seth & Ren, +2 guests

  • Moretti (Italian beer) x2
  • Amstel Light
  • Glass of Cabernet
  • Bottle of Pinot Gris 2010
  • Pan seared Scallops w/ truffle vinaigrette
  • Grilled Sourdough Bruschetta w/ goat cheese
  •  Linguine Frutti di Mare w/ mussels, scallops, shrimp and calamari
  • Open Faced Lobster Ravioli
  • Veal Saltimbocca stuffed w/ prosciutto and mozzarella
  • Braised Pork Chop stuffed w/ breadcrumbs
  • Chocolate Bread pudding
  • Coffee x2
  • $184.04 w/ tax ($55.00 in drinks)

Seth: It was only a few small bites but those scallops, perfectly cooked and drizzled in an amazing truffle vinaigrette, were a perfect start to a really good meal. The Bruschetta to follow was toasted just right with delicious cherry tomatoes, goat cheese, basil and balsamic vinegar. Next came the entrees with the bottle of Pinot Gris. The stuffed veal I had was nicely done and complemented well with its stuffing. Ren’s Braised Pork Chop was cooked perfectly and the bread crumb stuffing left me craving more than the bite I had. The Lobster Ravioli was a nice presentation andreally tasty. For the Linguine, it was an enormous helping with a bounty of seafood surrounding and covering it. All, cooked so nicely and well put together. We closed out the meal with an ok Chocolate Bread pudding and a couple of coffees. The entire dinner was a great experience and I would love to get back here again to see more of their specials. My Favorite thing: The scallops. I will get these again.

Ren: After a slight hic-up with our previously planned restaurant choice, we ended up at Delfino Restaurant this Thursday. We had originally planed to go to Fill Bellys BBQ but upon arrival we realized it was a take-out joint and wouldn’t work for our needs. I have to say, I was very pleased with our second choice as I am always a fan of a nice Italian restaurant; especially if they’re small and appear as though you’re walking into your Grandmother’s dining room. I was, however, slightly disappointed when the host showed us to our table with out menus! I got over the slight deterrence when we tasted our first appetizer: succulent scallops in a truffle vinaigrette sauce and creamy mashed potatoes.  That is one of the few dishes I can say I wouldn’t change one thing and it completely satisfied my taste buds. I would return to Delfino just for this dish alone. I was also very pleased with our wine selection: a delightfully crisp and dry Pinot Gris with a hint of bubble. I followed  the appetizers with their bread crumb stuffed braised pork loin! This dish was paired with an apple and squash chutney, mashed potatoes, and grilled asparagus. I am usually wary about ordering pork at a restaurant as it seems to turn out too dry more often than not, but I was not disappointed this time. The Dessert that followed was less than superb, a little dry, and only worthy when downed with a mug of hot coffee. Despite its few short comings, I would still suggest food lovers to give this place a try. My Favorite thing: The ridiculously flavorful scallop appetizer!

Ave Price/Person: $25-35 w/ Drinks: $30-45

Food: Seth 8.5 Ren 8.5 *Certified DericiousFood Ave:  8.5 Well done authentic Italian food.

Service: Seth 7.5 Ren 6 A little bit of a slow start with the service with a misstep by the host for not giving us menus, but a good follow though by our waiter.

Decor/Atmosphere: Seth 9 Ren 7.5 Cute little place that had very nice Christmas decoration put up for the season.

Total: 7.833 Small slip but delicious food at a quaint spot.

One bad thing: The hosts’ mistake and perhaps that with the small plates on the original setting, two of them were a little dirty.