Friday, April 24, 2009

Boston Area Restaurant Reviews: Early Spring

Here are my top three favorite restaurants last month and my quick thoughts about each one.

Yoki is probably our favorite sushi place in the area. The sushi is always fresh and reasonably priced.
Type of Outing: Date night with my husband
Ambiance: This fairly new restaurant has moderate lighting and a typical minimalist Japanese decor. The Japanese shoji screens, bamboo and exposed beams add a warmth and an element of fun to this place.
Service: The staff was friendly and attentive.
Food: They are not stingy with their sashimi here. They always give us nice thick slices of fresh raw fish. Their tender and delicate hamachi sashimi was excellent. I could eat a pound of this stuff. My husband likes their salmon sashimi. Unlike high end sushi places in Boston like the Uni Sashimi Bar in Clio, their designer maki rolls are limited. But the ones that they do have like "The Red Sox " are outstanding. The Red Sox is not printed on the menu so ask your server about it. I'm a sucker for their Panko crusted tempura shrimp so I always order it. I like to eat something greasy to compliment their potent scorpion bowl. :-)
Final Thoughts: I like a place that makes me feel good during and after dinner. The food is not too heavy but we were completely satisfied.
Yoki is located at 62 Station Landing, Medford, Massachusetts

Type of Outing: My husband and I went out with friends for sophisticated and creative drinks at a place appropriately named Drink in Boston and then dinner at Miel (sans the children).
Ambiance: Miel has lovely crystal chandeliers, lots of of elbow room, very high ceilings, a view of the harbor and a beautifully decorated room. The decor reminds me of a modern Louis the XV room.
Service: The waiters were exemplar in every way. The service was on point.
Food: I love new French food but I also love a traditional French menu especially when it is done right. At Miel, they do it right. The food reminds me of Hungry i, another great French restaurant on the other side of town. My husband and I thought the all lump meat crab cakes were superb. The steak part of my steak frites was pretty standard but it was tender and good. The frites/pomme frites or french fries were amazing. They were crispy and lightly tossed in white truffle oil and high quality sea salt. My husband's meal was the winner though. I tried some of his bouillabaisse and it was quite impressive. I have never been to Marseille but I was transported there upon tasting Miel's delicate and flavorful Provencal fish stew. The fennel and saffron in the soup were not too overpowering and the rouille on top of the French bread was colorful and tasty.
Final Thoughts: Miel is sweeter than honey.
Miel Restaurant is located at 510 Atlantic Ave, Boston, Massachusetts

The Dockside in Malden is our go-to family friendly restaurant in Malden, Massachusetts.
This is one of the restaurants in the area where we like to take our two year old son.
Type of Outing: Family night with our little guy.
Ambiance: It's a bit of a dive but don't let the Keno and the portable TVs and DVD players fool you(there is practically one in every booth). The booths are pretty comfortable though.
Service: Our waiter was friendly and attentive. We went here on a Saturday night and they had a magician making balloon animals for the kids and a cartoonist making caricatures for anybody who wants one. The balloon animals were a big hit to our tot as you can imagine.
Food: I order the same thing every time I come here: the steak tips with bourbon sauce. It's tender and that bourbon sauce was out of this world. For dessert, we had their peanut butter pie. It made my list for top 10 best pies of all time.
Final Thoughts: Our toddler happily sat in his high chair for this 2 hour dinner... so we will be back!
The Dockside is located at 229 Centre Street in Malden, Massachusetts

For a complete list of our favorite Boston area restaurants, please scroll down to the very end of this blog.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Jen Hearts Mayo

Shrimp with lychee mayonnaise and chili sauce was inspired by similar entrees I’ve eaten at Chinese and Japanese restaurants here in Massachusetts. When most people think of mayonnaise, they usually think of it as a condiment/spread/ edible glue in sandwiches but in many Asian cultures, mayonnaise is sometimes a sauce ingredient on top of anything battered and deep fried. One of my favorite mayonnaise sauces is a fruity mayonnaise and chili sauce on top of crispy deep fried shrimp or chicken. I have several versions of this mayonnaise, fruit juice and chili sauce combination. Today, I combined mayonnaise, lychee juice(reserved juice from a can of lychees) and Lingham's Hot Sauce. Lingham's hot sauce is an all natural hot sauce from Malaysia and it’s fantastic. It's a perfect blend of sweet and spicy and an unknown complexity that I couldn't quite put my finger on. It's quickly becoming my favorite. I have used Sriracha in the past and that works quite well too.

I deveined and peeled about a pound of large sized shrimp. Then, I made a batter with buttermilk and Vietnamese Fry Powder. The Fry powder is available at your local Asian Supermarket. I love Vietnamese Fry powder for deep frying because it’s a perfect blend of wheat flour, cornstarch, rice flour, baking powder, salt and pepper. The best part - no MSG. The buttermilk and fry powder makes a nice light crunchy batter. Finally, I drizzled the shrimp with the sweet, spicy and creamy sauce. Shrimp with lychee mayonnaise and chili sauce is great with white rice.