Oishii Boston, Boston

During our last visit to Boston our flight was canceled due to snow (in Raleigh, not Boston!) and we ended up having an extra night in town.  We took advantage of the opportunity to try Oishii Boston.  We have often eaten or gotten take out from Oishii in Chestnut Hill but this was our first time to the newer sister restaurant in the South End.  The Boston version is nothing like the small hole-in-the wall version in Chestnut Hill.  The Boston location has a sleek, modern interior with much more space and offers a full menu not only sushi.

We started with the Grilled Black Cod with Sweet Miso Sauce.  It was delicious as usual!  As I have mentioned, black cod is the perfect fish.  It is delicate, yet firm with just the right oiliness.  It was served in a miso sauce (which is how it always seems to be served).  After this we tried some sashimi and a few specialty maki rolls.  They were all very well prepared.  The rolls were tightly wrapped and perfectly balanced in flavor.  The presentation was elegant and simple.  One highlight was the Oishii Spicy Tuna Tempura Maki which is bluefin tuna sashimi, fleur De sel and chives, wrapped with seaweed.  It was delicious!  All of the fish used was high quality and very fresh.

Overall, it was a truly lovely sushi experience!  It is a much nicer space though the sushi is just as delicious as that of Oishii in Chestnut Hill.  The dishes are not as inventive as O Ya.  But, Oishii Boston it is definitely one of the finer sushi restaurants in Boston.

Oishii Boston
http://www.oishiiboston.com
1166 Washington Street
Boston, MA 02118-4113
617-482-8868

Teranga, South End

Our final NRT gathering was held at Teranga in the South End in July.  It was bittersweet to be ending such a fun tradition.  Teranga is a small Senegalese restaurant with a warm and simple décor with exposed brick and simple African artifacts.  I had called ahead and told them our group was coming even though they only take reservations for large parties.  The owner was quite generous on the phone and said if there was any problem she would call me back.  We arrived at our usual 7pm and the tables were set up for two large groups and our only seating option was the bar.  This was a bit frustrating but we decided to stay and sit at the bar.  After about 15 minutes they broke up the tables and asked us if we wanted to take one, apparently the large party was not coming on time.  This was much more comfortable as it was difficult to hear each other across the bar.

The menu is quite heavy with fish and meat.  We started with a couple of fish appetizers; the fayata (pastry filled with fish) and poisson croquettes.  Both were similar in flavor and served with the same sauce which was disappointing.  There was an extremely long lag as we waited for our main dishes.  The waitress apologized and gave us another appetizer.  The large party, which they had originally saved the table for finally arrived, and were ordering which created the delay.

We finally received our main dishes, which were a bit disappointing.  I ordered the national dish of fish and vegetables and barley wheat.  The fish itself was overcooked and quite chewy.  The barley wheat and the vegetables were tasty and quite satisfying with cassava, eggplant, and carrots among others.  The rest of the group had ordered a chicken dish, another fish dish, and a lamb dish.  While the others enjoyed their dishes more than me none of them were wowed by them.  The combination of flavors and ingredients were quite interesting demonstrating the French and Portuguese influences.

The two large groups that evening lead to an overall disappointing experience for us.  The restaurant was extremely loud, the kitchen and staff were not able to handle the food orders leading to long waits and tired diners.  I believe that the food could have been much better if not hurried.  I do believe this could be a much better experience on a less crowded evening.

Teranga
http://www.terangaboston.com
1746 Washington St.
Boston, MA 02118
617-266-0003

Hamersley’s Bistro, South End

Boston classic!  For my graduation celebration dinner my parents treated me to us to dinner at Hamersley’s Bistro.  I selected Hamersley’s since I had wanted to try it for quite some time.  We were seated immediately after we arrived in the simple, cozy room just in front of the open kitchen.

While we perused the menu we decided to start with a bottle of wine.  With the help of our waiter we selected the 2006 Sommers Reserve Pinot Noir from Cristom Winery in Willamette Valley.  It was delicious!  It was a nice fruit forward wine which was very well balanced and medium bodied.  It was a perfect crowd pleaser!

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Toro, South End

For my birthday, in April, we went to Toro in the South End.  The room is just what I envision a Spanish tapas bar to be.  It is a cozy and comfortable with long wooden communal tables.  As with most of the places in the South End it was packed on a Saturday night as early as 6pm.  We put our name on the list and took a walk around the area and came back and were seated just before 7pm.

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Beehive, South End

Our NRT gathering for November was at Beehive in the South End. So many of our recent outings were in Allston we decided that we had to try another neighborhood. I found the Beehive name to be appropriate as the space is separated into several areas like the cells of a beehive (might not be what the owners were thinking when they named it!). Upstairs is small with a long bar and some seating. However, downstairs is cavernous, divided into several spaces including another L-shaped bar. The focal point is a small stage area for a band. They have jazz bands there several nights a week. The space has a really nice energy with people chatting and the music buzzing!

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Meyers and Chang, South End

Our NRT gathering for July was last Tuesday at Meyers and Chang in the South End. We arrived a little after our 7pm reservations and were seated at a nice long communal table right by the bar. The room is fairly modern with sleek lines. It is a nice brand new building in the SoWa area of the South End which seems to be the latest hot spot for new restaurants. The website says that it is a “funky indie diner” that offers the chefs’ “very personal interpretation of Chinese, Thai, and Vietnamese specialties.”

A few of us started with their fresh homemade sodas. I chose the Aloe Yuzu Soda. It was lovely! The citrus of the yuzu had a nice tang with the mellow aloe flavor. Very light and refreshing!

The waitress explained that it was an all small plates type of concept without appetizers, entrees, etc and that all the food comes out as it is ready. I like the casual concept already! As it was communal dining we each ordered a couple of items which we wanted to try. To be honest I can’t remember everything we had but I will highlight the few that stood out in my mind.

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Gaslight, South End

On Sunday, G and I met some friends at Gaslight Brasserie du Coin for brunch. Gaslight is one of the newer additions to the South End and is part of the Aquitaine Group. The restaurant is in the newly developing ‘SoWa’ (South of Washington) area of the South End and in a renovated large brick building. It is a fairly large space but still had a nice cozy, brasserie feeling. The brunch menu was straightforward offering a few varieties of eggs, sandwiches, and salads. We started with the basket of assorted baked goodies. It included a Butter Croissant, Chocolate Croissant, Raspberry Croissant, and a Blueberry Muffin. The croissants were buttery, flaky and just delicious! It was a perfect start!

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