A summary of some recent dining experiences.
1. The Independent
I can't get enough of this place right now. The new sous chef Adrie Kornasiewicz has an impressive resume (Oleana, Casablanca, and El Pelon) and it shows. Had St. Patrick's Day brunch there. Everything was just stellar. Perfect oysters. Yaquina Bays, which may be my favorites. One of the best omelets in recent memory. Corned beef and cabbage that actually tasted good -- which must be quite difficult given other versions I've tasted. Wonderful, friendly service. And, of course, they pour a great Guinness.
Some great looking items on the new menu. I'm looking forward to trying the grilled squid . . .
2. Redbones Sausage
The Redbones sausage of the day is almost invariably good. There are few better restaurant moments than sitting at the bar with an appetizer plate of their sausage, a little mustard, and a nice pint of Rogue Brutal Bitter with it. Sausage and a beer!
3. Plough and Stars
They only do lunch, but they do it well. TOTAL dive, but good, honest food. I had the Cuban sandwich, which is the only item which is always on the menu. The rest of the menu is determined each morning. The Cuban isn't the height of authenticity (go to Oriental de Cuba or Miami Restaurant for that) but it's remarkably tasty. Good mushroom soup the day I was there.
On my third visit there, I have decided for certain that this is not what I understand to be NY-style pizza. Frankly, I have no interest in the silly debate about what counts as NY style and what doesn't, BUT, for what it's worth, this is not the stuff I'm used to in New York or New Haven. (Haymarket and Regina, which I tried yesterday are closer to the mark). Rather, it's a style unique to itself (which is nothing to be ashamed of), which is pretty tasty in it's own right. Not special. But good. Gotta love those lamb skewers, though!
5. Ba Le
As good as ever Bahn Mi. I need to branch out and try the meatball and other treats. It's tough to stray from the original, and the barbecue beef, and the pork. Any thoughts?
6. Via Via
Even as I first read it, something didn't sound right about Robert Nadeau's glowing review of this place. He seemed to be trying too hard to like the place. I usually am in agreement with Mr. Nadeau, so I tried Via Via on the strength of his recommendation last night. But after what he described as an "addictive" salad turned out to be mediocre, and when the chicken "so good you could build a restaurant around" was merely so-so, I have to wonder even more what food he was eating.
7. Anadolu Cafe
Tasty Turkish kebab sandwiches and salads. I had the meatball, which was delicious. Great Turkish/middle eastern seasoning, and a tasty cucumber salad. All on (truly) addictive bread. The best part about the place is that you get the feeling that it is completely non-commercialized stuff. You get the feeling that this is just how it would taste on the streets of Istanbul.
8. Tim's Tavern
A party of twelve is not the way to test the grilling expertise of Tim's kitchen. On previous visits, when we were just a party of two, the burgers were cooked as ordered, and were delicious. With a party of twelve, however, the food plunged from excellent to just-above-average. Can't beat that dive, no-nonsense atmosphere, though.