I'm behind on my eat-reporting. Couple of notes:
I was a little worried after seeing that it's a Japanese/Korean restaurant, but based on recent experiences, Samurai in Back Bay is pretty good. Sake selection isn't great, but we managed to find a bottle with the help of our server. The grated mountain yam with pickled plum paste, bonito, and nori was excellent, but beware that mountain yam is extremely slimy if you've never tried it. The cuts of fish on the chirashi were beautiful, as was the selection. Was a little put off by something incredibly sweet and pink that was flaked all over the top of the rice, which could have been seasoned better in general, not just on top. I'd definitely go here again before Shino Express or Typhoon, but Douzo still ranks at the top for Japanese in the Back Bay for me.
Burdick's hot chocolate (pudding) is so good. You already know this. Just a reminder. Friend had the white chocolate version that was way too sweet for me, but if you like a white chocolate bar, just imagine it melted. The dark chocolate, my choice, was excellent.
Dim sum at China Pearl was great! Dishes:
lou mai gai, 糯米雞, sticky rice wrapped in lotus leaf: Rice was excellent, as was the assortment of meat, but I found the sauce to be a little gloppy
dou fu fa,豆腐花, tofu flower: Silky tofu, sweet ginger sauce - a lovely version. The tofu was gorgeous.
cheong fun, 腸粉, rice noodles: we had ours with shrimp. Too gummy for me. I like the ones at Chau Chow better.
char siu baau, 叉燒包, char siu buns: Lovely. I like the char siu here better than Gitlo's, but the baau were on par.
Shumai, 燒賣: fine.
chiu-chau fun guo, 潮州粉果, dumplings filled with water chestnuts, peanuts, chives, and pork: A taste explosion! The filling may be slightly superior at Gitlo's, but the wrapper at China Pearl was perfect.
I stupidly ordered taro sou when I meant to order wu gok, 芋角. Entirely my fault as I dislike taro sou. The deep fried taro balls were fine for what they were.
head on crispy fried shrimp: excellent.
The steam table in addition to the cart service was a great variation as one could get up and order something else if one was feeling peckish. I'm always feeling peckish. I've been getting terrible msg headaches recently at Hei La Moon, so I was so happy that China Pearl is just as good (same owners, afterall) without the headache.
I feel like I've been eating a lot of scallion pancakes lately. Some observations: the ones at Zoe's in Somerville are not good. They're dense, not flaky, and incredibly chewy - the exact opposite of what I look for in a pancake. At Wang's, I was very happy. At King Fung Garden, I'm in heaven - flaky, crusty, light - it's my current goto scallion pancake.
For those of you looking for a lounge and a cocktail, you might want to avoid Clink and Alibi. There was a line outside in the snow (outside of The Liberty Hotel, in fact) to enter Alibi early on Saturday night. Clink was barely any better - the crowd was 4 deep around the bar. Seating and service was so scarce we left after doing a lap.
I think I'm caught up now!