As a chowhound who dines out a lot, I was pleasantly surprised to discover an interesting side effect: I've become a much better home cook as a result. Whatever restaurant I visit, be it a tiny ethnic hole in the wall or an exorbitantly priced food science temple to Western excess, I tend to leave with ideas to bring into my own kitchen.
My questions: what are your favorite "restaurant hacks" from around Boston? What menu items or taste combinations have you successfully reproduced at home? Have you made any changes to a restaurant dish to make it more to your liking at home?
A few I've changed a bit:
* Roasted beet and goat cheese sandwich from Cafe Kiraz - although I love the generous size of the one Cafe Kiraz makes, I make mine a little daintier, with less of each ingredient, and the beets more thinly sliced. I also drain the ingredients a touch more to reduce the sogginess, and tend to use a baguette instead of focaccia slices.
* Hot lobster roll from Neptune Oyster - a dinner party favorite. I really like Neptune's idea to use brioche (homemade is best when I have the time, but the brioche rolls from Iggy's are quite good), but I cut down on the overwhelming amounts of supplemental butter. Often, instead of putting any extra butter directly on the sandwich, I like to serve it with a small cup of clarified butter for dipping instead.
* Ahi tuna tacos from Ole - I swap out the tomatillo avocado sauce for plain old homemade pico de gallo.
A few I've happily left intact:
* Indian-spiced egg dishes from Punjabi Dhaba
* Homemade veggie burger from Christopher's
* The entire sandwich and salad menu from Hi Rise
* Most of the egg dishes from Sound Bites