Category Archives: Davis Sq

Yoshi’s, Powderhouse Sq

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Where: Yoshi’s – 132 College Avenue Somerville, MA 02144
When: June, 2012

A few days after I broke my foot a dear friend invited me over to her house (with a pick up and drop off service!) for a movie and sushi. Full of Vicodin and exhausted from carrying my weight around for the last few days I was stoked to get out of the house and have a real evening with little effort.

We ordered from Yoshi’s in Powderhouse Sq, which I hadn’t ordered from since I moved out of Somerville a few years ago. We shared an order of Gyoza and then I got the Seaweed Salad, Spicy Tuna Maki and Sweet Potato Maki. For starters, this was too much food so ended up taking the Seaweed Salad home for another time.

The Gyoza, with “meat” (what kind, I couldn’t tell you) and vegetables, were lightly pan fried and flavorful. The sauce it came with wasn’t particularily good, it tasted very watered down which made me wish I had brought my own bottle from home (from Whole Foods – its the best I’ve found). The sushi was fine, your standard fare, although definitely not our favorite. We both talked about how we prefer Blue Fin and , for me, Super Fusion – both in Porter Sq. The Sweet Potato Maki was a little dry and didn’t have that crunch from the tempura that I hoped for. The Spicy Tuna was a little on the mild side.

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Overall, I wouldn’t actively seek out or suggest Yoshi’s but for delivery its quick and adequate. I wouldn’t order from here again unless knocked out on Vicodin with a broken foot without many other sushi options around. Glowing review, eh?

How did Yoshi’s measure up? 2 Spoons!

Yoshi's on Urbanspoon

Painted Burro, Davis Sq – Revisited

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Where: The Painted Burro – 219 Elm Street Somerville, MA
When: May 2012

I’m very fond of the Painted Burro. In fact, in some cultures I may be considered “in love” with the Burro. He makes me very happy.

Lately I have been spending more time at the Painted Burro, it seems to be becoming one of my regular spots.  The have turned me into a big margarita fan.

This last visit started off as just going out for a couple of margaritas but once we got a couple of those in us we wanted food. We ordered the Guacamole “El Mero Mero” with fire roasted poblano & onion rajas and the Crispy Maine Redfish tacos with savoy cabbage, jalapeno slaw and baja mayo.

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The Burro offers three types of guacamole: one traditional, one with pork belly, and one with peppers and onions. We opted for the third options which was really good. The poblanos weren’t too spicy but gave the guacamole a nice texture and flavor. The guacamole alone would have been great so this was just an added bonus. And the chips… delicious. Not too heavy or greasy like a lot of places.

Its a little hard to tell whats going on in this photo but this is the Crispy Maine Redfish tacos with savoy cabbage, jalapeno slaw and baja mayo.I had had this dish earlier in the week and remembered it being really good (so good I forgot to take a photo before inhaling them) so suggested it again. We both really enjoyed the tacos and found them really filling. They had  just the right amount of crunch, crisp, spice, and creaminess. I think I actually prefer these over the shrimp tacos I got last time I was there.

Overall, I love this place and am upping the spoons I gave them last time. I love the atmosphere, the food is great and the service very good (they forgot to put in our guacamole order so when we asked 30 minutes later they brought it out for free and were very apologetic). I actually just realized why I recognized the bartender, he is / was the bartender at Posto, which is owned by the same people. You know you are in trouble when you start recognizing bartenders from bar to bar, right?

How did The Painted Burro measure up? 4.5 Spoons!

The Painted Burro on Urbanspoon

Highland Kitchen, Porter / Union Sq (ish?)

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Where: Highland Kitchen – 150 Highland Avenue  Somerville, MA
When: May, 2012

A few weeks ago the lovely Mr and soon-to-be Mrs Juddles came down to Somerville to have dinner with Libby and I. Our last dinner took us to the Gulu Gulu Cafe in Salem which is fairly close to where they live and the one before that was at my place so this time we chose a restaurant near Libby’s. What better choice than Highland Kitchen which is just a stone’s throw away! The Juddles put our name on the list and with over an hour’s wait we went to Libby’s for a few glasses of wine. When we headed back down they were just about to call us to be seated – perfect timing.

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We started with the oysters which were a special (Wellfleet maybe or am I getting my oysters confused?). I loved them, as usual, and could have eaten another dozen just on my own.

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Libby and I decided to share a couple of appetizers and then a sandwich. First we started with the Ricotta and Mozzarella Fritters with a Chile-honey dipping sauce. Oh my. These fritters just melted in your mouth and the sweet spiciness of the sauce is such a nice compliment to the salty creaminess of the cheese. I think I may get these every time I go back. The photo is a bit blurry as I may have been shaking from mild excitement.

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We then split the Smoked Bluefish Cakes with mango-mustard hot sauce and scallions. These were really good, smokey and tangy with the sauce. Light but substantial.

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Now our main course… We split the Blackened Catfish Po’ Boy that came with remoulade, shredded lettuce, tomatoes, and pickles on french bread. This photo doesn’t do it justice but you get the idea. The catfish was really nicely cooked, or fried I should say, with a crispy layer outside and nice and flaky inside. As for the remoulade, I could eat that shit by the bowlful. The bread was perfect for it as well, toasted and not too doughy. The fries were delicious. Overall, fantastic.

We decided to get two desserts to share with the table, which is always a good idea…

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The first, which Judd was adamant about (that’s praise, not judgement), was the Hot Fudge Sundae with Vanilla Ice Cream and Whipped Cream. This was good, although very melty, and I would have likely really enjoyed it if we hadn’t gotten the second dessert but it just got blown out of the water by the second one.

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Now this is the dessert that blew my socks off. Warm Banana Bread Pudding with Caramel Sauce and Vanilla Ice Cream. I have been so fond of bread puddings this past year – I have got to make one at home sometime as its rare to find other foods that are as comforting. The bread pudding was firm yet totally bursting with banana and caramel flavors. The ice cream, although simple, went along with it perfectly. Yes, please.

Overall, loved everything we got to order, especially the fritters and the bread pudding. The service was great (and wine glasses quickly replenished) and Highland Kitchen has a busy but friendly atmosphere. I’d definitely go back and likely will, many times. Just beware of the wait.

How did Highland Kitchen measure up? 4.75 Spoons!

Highland Kitchen on Urbanspoon

Saloon, Davis Sq

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Where: Saloon - 255 Elm Street Somerville, MA 02144
When: March, 2012

Last Friday, after drinks at Area Four and before drinks at Mead Hall, I met some colleagues, Ken and Theo as well as Panos (did I spell that right?), one of Theo’s friends, for dinner at Saloon in Davis Square. I had been there one other time with Libby for drinks and really liked the atmosphere as well as the cocktail list.

As I waited outside for the boys to be done with their group hair cut (adorable) I got to watch a very, very drunk man who only spoke Spanish heckle the bouncer. The bouncer remained so calm and cool, I was damn impressed as even I wanted to march over and tell him to calm his ass down.  Well done.

After getting our IDs checked (thank you) we headed downstairs where we were quickly seated. Saloon is dark and cool and smells almost musty, but not in a bad way. There is just something in the air that makes you wonder what happened there the night before. Lots and lots of dark wood, area rugs and leather chairs. It felt like the kind of place you would go to for a bourbon and cigar after dinner at your grandfathers house and I liked it.

After hemming and hawing about getting a drink or not (it was going to be a long night) I decided to get the same cocktail that I got last time – the Americana. The Americana is bourbon based with brown sugar, j. thomas bitters, and sparkling wine. Its delicious and although strong it has a lightness to it that makes it feel like a totally acceptable drink to have with dinner.

Next, the menu…

My eye immediately went to the Bubble and Squeak partially because of the name but also because all the ingredients looked so good – some of my favorites. I second guessed by decision wondering if I should get the Grilled Flatiron Steak, which Ken got, or even the Fish and Chips. I decided to stick to my gut feeling and got the Bubble and Squeak. It came with a roasted sausage, mashed root vegetables, shaved brussel spouts, winter leeks, and onion gravy. Everything was cooked really well and the flavors worked really worked together. It was a 20120324-111939.jpgtad under seasoned for me so I added a little salt but otherwise it was great. It was pretty heavy and I sort of wished I had gotten something a little lighter as it was one of those wacky Boston winter days that felt like summer. You definitely won’t leave hungry if you get this dish.

When I asked Ken how his steak was he just glazed over and said “This is all I have ever wanted”. Enough said. Everyone really seemed to enjoy what they got and the only other comment I heard was that the portions were a little on the small side (from Panos). I know this is a blessing for me as I can rarely leave a plate until its been cleaned but I can see how this may be a con for someone with a larger appetite.

Overall great atmosphere, fantastic cocktails, and a small but very good menu. Great place to go with a group of friends, family, a date or just for cocktails. I’d definitely go back.

How did Saloon measure up? 4 Spoons!

Saloon on Urbanspoon

The Painted Burro, Davis Sq

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Where: The Painted Burro – 219 Elm Street Somerville, MA
When: March 2012

I have been on the edge of my seat for months with the much anticipated opening of Posto’s second restaurant, The Painted Burro. For months I’ve been stalking their facebook page and drooling over the drinks, food and art they had been working on.

Libby and I chose, coincidentally, to go on their first official opening day. I knew this could go one of two ways: they either did their homework and gave themselves plenty of time to perfect the menu, train staff and get it right or they set an arbitrary deadline and rushed to the finish.

The first thing I noticed was the decor – I love the Mexican inspired art covering the walls, the colorful clay skulls lining the shelves, and reclaimed wood that the bar is made out of of.

We were quickly seated and greeted by our server who was very sweet but noticeably nervous. The first thing she asked is if we had been to The Painted Burro before. Libby and I looked at each other and couldn’t help but laugh as it was their first night. No, we did not come for lunch (which I don’t even think they are open for). Our server then spilt water on our table but that very well could have been the fault of the Mexican inspired, but maybe not practical, water pitcher. I couldn’t help but have a soft spot for our server as she was trying hard and was new, they all were really.

We made this really easy for her by ordering the same thing – two De La Casa Margaritas and two orders of the Dos Tacos with Gulf Shrimp Diablo. Our margaritas, which had Agavales Blanco, Combier, lime juice, and agave nectar, came out quickly and went down like lemonade on a hot summer day. Not too tart, not sweet, just right. I’m smacking my lips just thinking about them.

While we waited for our food we were given some chips and salsa which I could not get enough of. I wasn’t that hungry when I walked in but once that salsa hit my tongue it was as though my stomach opened up and was grumbling for more. So good!

The Gulf Shrimp tacos 20120320-102248.jpgcame with avocado salsa and baja mayo. The plate came with two tacos each but each one had two tortillas and were overstuffed so we quickly discovered that we could easily make four tacos of each of our plates. We agreed that they were good tacos, the shrimp was cooked well and the seasoning was well balanced. The guacamole seemed a little subdued to me but the baja mayo was fantastic. They were very filling.

We both got another drink during dinner which was a bit difficult to do as we couldn’t catch anyone’s attention, eventually we managed and realized our server was a little overwhelmed with her tables.

Overall, I love the atmosphere of The Painted Burro, the drinks were fantastic, the chips and salsa were memorable, the tacos were good but not necessarily crave-able (like Ole’s), and service a little chaotic. I’m sure once everyone gets in the swing of things that last point will change though. I’d recommend this restaurant for large groups, dinner with friends, date nights, or just drinks at the bar – which I definitely will be doing. Soon.

How did The Painted Burro measure up? 3.75 Spoons!

The Painted Burro on Urbanspoon

Hana Sushi, Cambridge

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Where: Hana Sushi – 2372 Massachusetts Ave Cambridge, MA 02140
When: November, 2011


Located on Mass Ave a little further up from Davis Sq towards Arlington
I don’t think I had ever even heard of this sushi place but it came up with good reviews in my in depth “Davis Sq + sushi” google search.

I got there a few minutes before Daniela and looked in to see only one table of guests which was a bit of a turn off but Daniela did reassure me that it was still early at 6:30 so we went in and took a table. The staff were all very friendly and the atmosphere was fine, your standard black Chinese lacquer (I confirmed this is the official name with my furniture buddy, I am not stereotyping) tables and chairs.

After debating between the scallion pancakes and tempura appetizer we went with the latter. It was a generous plate with tempuraed (?) shrimp, acorn squash, butternut squash, red and orange pepper, and broccoli. Peppers were a waste of space on that plate, I’d take extra of all of the others over those. I’m glad I saved the best for last, the shrimp, as those were crispy yet succulent.

It’s kind of nice that we get the exact same sushi options every time we go out as we can then compare apples to apples, or spicy tuna to spicy tuna in this case. We ordered the spicy tuna maki as well as the sweet potato make, often called Idaho rolls. I also got two pieces of unagi sushi as I have a weak spot for eel done right.

We both agreed that the tuna in the spicy tuna was super fresh, practically still breathing fresh, but the ratio of tuna to everything else in the roll seemed a bit off for us. It was a mouthful of tuna and then the “spicy” and cucumber sort of trailed behind unnoticed. The pieces were bigger than what we are used to and sort of awkward to eat. The sweet potato maki and unagi were good as well but nothing particularly special.

I wouldn’t not go back but given the choice I’d pick to Blue Fin over Hana any day! Sorry, Hana.

Oh, here is a challenge I was given by Daniela if anyone can help me out with it! There was a restaurant she and her mom used to go to in LA where she would always get a thinly sliced cucumber salad with a vinegar dressing on it. Has anyone seen this on a menu in the Boston / Cambridge area? If so, where?

Hana Sushi on Urbanspoon

5 Horses Tavern, Davis Sq

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Where: 5 Horses Tavern -400 Highland Ave. Somerville MA 02144
When: November, 2011

400 Highland Ave seems to be jinxed as no restaurant ever seems to last more than a year there. I had only been to Sagra, the previous restaurant, once for a drink at the bar with Judd and with top 40 playing and waitstaff in tight black t-shirts we were sorely out of place and the only ones in there. When I heard that 5 Horses Tavern was opening up here I had higher hopes.

Don’t get me wrong, they had an awesome playlist going with music from MGMT, Matt and Kim, Black Kids, Vampire Weekend and the like which was a joy. Their drink list was also impressive. But their food…. Libby and I actually only tried one thing on the menu after we asked about the seafood soup and get a lukewarm response from our waiter. While trying to decide we ordered the grilled brie cheese sandwich with tator tots to hold us over. The tator tots were good but then again I could have turned my oven on to make those so that’s not too impressive (I know, I should have tried the jalapeno mashed potatoes like everyone says). The grilled cheese was, sadly, terrible. A grilled cheese is pretty hard to mess up as it really only has three ingredients – bread, cheese, and butter. Three delicious ingredients! The cheese, what there was of it, was very good. The bread, however, was terrible. It was this thick dry texas toast type bread. I think they called it brioche but that had to be a typo as there was nothing soft and buttery about it. It was thick, dry and crumbly. Oh the heartache.

We were grateful for the numerous free drinks sent over by the much younger gentleman at the bar but that doesn’t make up for the very sad grilled cheese so this place doesn’t get a recommendation. Lets hope they fix their menu before they, too, have to close down.
I did like their chandelier though!

Five Horses Tavern on Urbanspoon