Friday, February 18, 2011

Restaurant Review Round-Up: Food and Wine's 2011 Best New Chef Nominees' Restaurants

That title is quite a mouthful, isn't it? Have you seen the 2011 nominees for Food & Wine's Best New Chef award? (Voting is open until 3/1/11. More information here.)  How many of the restaurants have you been to?

Here's a round-up of restaurant reviews by Boston food and drink bloggers about the Massachusetts restaurants whose chefs have been nominated for the award: Bistro du Midi, Clink., Coppa, Deuxave, and Sensing. Let me know if I missed your blog post about any of these restaurants; my magical Google powers only go so far.

{Back Bay}

On a personal note, I've been here twice for lunch (summer 2010) and had the best French onion soup I have ever had. It appears to be gone from the menu. I am devastated.

  • French brunch at Bistro du Midi (Eat, Cook, Drink) - "The burger was delicious and I liked the ability to customize the burger as I went along...The best part of the meal was the Valrhona hot chocolate - thick, rich and strong chocolate silky creamy smoothness.  Only downside is the tiny serving." [Posted 1/31/11]
  • Bistro du Midi - A Best Bite (BostonZest) - "For us, the relaxed, friendly service combined with a South of France inspired cuisine makes for a Best Bite!" [Posted 10/13/10]
  • Bistro du Midi (The Jogging Concierge) - "This is by far one of my favorite restaurants in Boston. The ambiance is modern yet rustic and the service is attentive without being overbearing. The menu has a great selection of different options whether you like pasta, steak, fish, anything! And their desserts are soooooo good. Can’t say enough good things about this place. If you’re ever in Boston, this is definitely a great special occasion kind of place." [Posted 11/5/10]
  • Bistro du Midi | A Feast For 8 (Just Add Cheese!) - "The food was beyond impressive, which can be expected seeing as Bistro Du Midi is quite pricey. All the food was stupendous (branching out with my vocabulary as you can see); there wasn’t anything I ordered that I wouldn’t immediately order again. In regards to the atmosphere at Bistro Du Midi I will be honest in saying that the place is a bit stuffy." [Posted 12/22/10]
  • Bistro du Midi Restaurant & Bar Review 1 (Fleur Irisee) - "I typically eat upstairs in the dining room, but, due to a private function, I was only able to dine downstairs ... something I've been interested in trying now that the warm weather is here and the large windows open up to Boylston Street.  I was disappointed to notice the service was just not as friendly and polite, and the menu is quite different." [Posted 5/25/10]
  • Bistro du Midi Restaurant & Bar Review 2 (Fleur Irisee) - "After my disappointing downstairs dining experience, I was back upstairs for another great dinner with attentive and polite service!" [Posted 6/12/10]
  • Bistro du Midi Restaurant & Bar Review 3 (Fleur Irisee) - "I just went to the 1st floor bar this evening and had a nice time, and the bartender was friendly, but I was not thrilled with the bar stock." [Posted 9/7/10]
  • Bistro du Midi Restaurant & Bar Review 4 (Fleur Irisee) - "The food was great, the service was just as fantastic, and I had a wonderful time.  I do wish they would create better specials; nevertheless, I am looking forward to coming here again soon." [Posted 1/15/11]
  • Dinner with Some Lovely Ladies (Travel Wine Dine) - "I once again ordered Bistro du Midi’s mussels in pastis, and they were once again perfectly cooked and delicious." [Posted 6/23/10]
  • Sunday Funday (Travel Wine Dine) - "Bistro du Midi had incredibly friendly service and a very welcoming hostess, something that is always refreshing in downtown Boston. Their downstairs dining room is entirely open to the outdoors in the good weather, so even if you don’t score a patio seat as we did, there is still tons of light and fresh air. I can not wait to return to eat all of the items on the menu we didn’t try." [Posted 5/13/10]
  • Valentine's Day Dinner at Bistro du Midi (Fun and Fearless in Beantown) - "We had an enjoyable time at Bistro du Midi.  The restaurant's attempt at bringing a traditional French dining experience is solid.  I'm not sure that the description of "bistro" fits with the menu and the decor but the service and traditional dishes help forgive these contradictions.  Bistro du Midi is a wonderful place to go for a celebration or a special occasion." [Posted 2/18/10]
Dinner - Restaurant Week
  • Bistro du Midi - restaurant review (Healthy and Sane) - "Overall, we had a blast. Everyone really enjoyed their meals and the service was great. Bistro du Midi always focuses on local ingredients so the menu changes with the seasons. I think it’s well priced for the location and the quality of food and I can’t wait to go back there already!" [Posted 8/19/10]
  • Boston Restaurant Week in Review: Lessons for a Vegetarian (Unlikely Vegetarian) - "Overall, Bistro du Midi delivered a wonderful Restaurant Week experience. It felt like a fantastic deal on really great food at a really great restaurant, which is how it should be. I’ll be returning soon, perhaps for one last drink on the patio before the Boston winter settles in." [Posted 8/26/10]
Unspecified Meal
  • Bistro du Midi (The Discreet Hedonist) - A minimalist review: just a haiku. I won't spoil it for you. Click the link! [Posted 10/28/10]
  • Bistro Du Midi - Croque Monsieur anyone?! (Boston Weekends) - "In the Spring and Summer seasons, the entire front of the restaurant opens to an outdoor eatery, making for a sweet and romantic experience. From the menu, we can't get over the Lobster Macaroni Gratin $23 and the Croque Monsieur $12." [Posted 6/7/10]

{Beacon Hill}

  • Stuck in a Jail with My Family (Amateur Gastronomist) - "The donut holes were the heaven, light and fluffy with the perfect cinnamon, sugar coating!...Both of our breakfasts were good but not really memorable." [Posted 3/28/10]
  • Clink: Sweet Potato Fries (The Passionate Foodie) - "His fries were very crisp, like an excellent regular french fry, with a light, fluffy interior possessing that delicious sweet potato flavor. Lightly salted, they were thoroughly addictive, the best sweet potato fries I can remember having. Just imagine a top notch french fry, and then change it to sweet potato. I would have lunch there again, happily just devouring a large bowl of those fries. It is a simple food, but so satisfying." [Posted 3/11/10]
  • Clink. at the Liberty Hotel (Dish This!) - "In conclusion...Some restaurants seem designed for certain occasions, like Mother's Day brunch at Upstairs on the Square, or a birthday party at Masa. For a Girl's (Fancy) Night Out, Clink. just might be the place you've been looking for." [Posted 5/20/09]
  • The Jailhouse Rocked (Boston Food and Whine) - "I will definitely be going back to this place. I want to try a few more of the dishes and I definitely want to hit up the bar scene. This is a great new addition to both Boston’s restaurant scene and its nightlife. Well worth a visit… and possibly even an overnight!" [Posted 6/20/08]
Dinner - Restaurant Week
  • Restaurant Week Round Up (Cave Cibum) - "All three courses at Clink wowed me, and based on all the other things on the menu that sounded tasty, I'd definitely head back." [Posted 6/12/09]
  • Cousins Do Beantown Part 2 (Indulge Inspire Imbibe) - "Craving #2, as previously mentioned, was satisfied and then some at Clink's extensive make-your-own bloody mary bar." [Posted 12/30/10]
Media Event
  • Just Released: CLINK.'s Summer Menu (The Leather District Gourmet) - "This was the most ethereal, loveliest goat I have ever tasted. So often goat is curried, or jerked, roasted or grilled, all fine preparations and I have no issue with them. But this dish has spoiled me for all others. Must. Get. Recipe. (stay tuned) Really fine plate. A revelation." [Posted 7/26/10]

{South End}

  • A Food-a-Licious Day 'N' Night (Semi-Sweet) - "The crostini are superlative, and the pizzas are scrumptious, but you’ve gotta try the pastas and the meatballs, too.  Lunch was a lot less crowded, so if you’re in the ‘hood (or desire a field trip), you should definitely give it a whirl.  Note also that the patio is now open – too cold for us to eat there last week, but it’s in full sun at noontime and would make for a truly spectacular lunch or dinner experience when it warms up." [Posted 4/21/10]
  • Friday Lunch at Coppa, an Italian Seduction (BostonZest) - "A lunch meant to begin an afternoon of leisure, became the main course of an afternoon of pure pleasure. I love it when that happens." [Posted 5/21/10]
  • 3 Restaurant Reviews in 1: Coppa & Woodward & Finz (Food to Run For) - "It felt good to walk out of a restaurant not filled to the rims but at the price we paid, we probably should have been full.  It's definitely worth checking out but I'm still not completely sold on the "small plate" and "small dish" trend.  What can I say, I like to eat!" [Posted 10/5/10]
  • Coppa (Peteypumpkin!) - "I am eager to go back and partake in yet another tantalizing meal at Coppa when my travels take me to the South End!" [Posted 11/5/10] 
  • Coppa, 253 Shawmut Ave. Boston (Belly Love) - "I think Coppa will get better with time, and given Oringer’s success with his other restaurants I will be returning frequently to double-check." [Posted 1/6/10]
  • Coppa - A First Look (BostonZest) - "Your menu becomes your placemat. That keeps it handy for ordering the next plate and lets you fold it up and take it home– stains and all. Dishes run between $5 and $15. These are small plates- perfect for sharing. And, they were served that way. Despite the waiting crowd, we were not rushed and our meal was well paced." [Posted 12/12/09]
  • Coppa, Boston (Chomp Chow Chew) - "Oh my goodness- I went to Coppa and fell head over heels." [Posted 9/29/10] 
  • Coppa does not runneth over (BellyGlad) - "Next time, I'd go to Coppa for a glass of wine and a bite of wood-fired pizza before a movie, or a snack of salumi and a chat at the end of a night. For a full Italian meal, go elsewhere." [Posted 12/10/09]
  • Coppa Enoteca | South End Trifecta | Part 1 (Just Add Cheese!) - "At the end of our meal the three of us left stuffed, buzzed and waddling down Shawmut after spending just $80 total. With tip! How? I don’t know. This was after 5 dishes, one round of drinks and a seriously good dessert. It made me wonder why can’t eating out always be this fun/convenient/inexpensive/perfect all the time?!?" [Posted 11/22/10]
  • Coppa II (Chomp Chow Chew) - "I love everything about their atmosphere and everything I've eaten has just been a perfect experience for the senses." [Posted 12/12/10]
  • Coppa in Boston's South End (Eat Boutique) - "Believe the hype. It was one of the best dining experiences I have had in years.  I can’t wait to go back and try more of their menu. I woke up the next day thinking about all of the different tastes that I experienced at Coppa and started scheming about the recipes I could take from their menu." [Posted 4/14/10]
  • Coppa Is Worth The Wait (Semi-Sweet) - "These small plates of luscious Italian treats will be a highlight of your visit, for sure.  And even better, you’re encouraged by the very friendly staff to linger as long as you like – you can place an order for a few plates and drinks, then order more as you go along." [Posted 3/5/10]
  • Coppa (JP Review) (Sweet and Sour in Boston) - "Overall, a very positive experience at Coppa. I definitely will be back because there is so much more on the menu I want to try, including the pig's ear which was not available to us that night. I give Coppa a 4 out of 5." [Posted 7/29/10]
  • Coppa Restaurant Review (Fleur Irisee) - "The serving sizes are small and the price tag is high, but the food almost makes it worth it!" [Posted 8/1/10] 
  • Coppa, South End, Boston (A Boston Food Diary) - "Coppa was by far an incredible spot. The food, as Ive described was beyond words. Well executed, well delivered, well spiced, every item was spot on. What shone, though, even more than the food was the outstanding service. Each person who spoke with us, and helped us along the way was welcoming, gracious and knowledgeable. Each treated us as friends, and we felt the difference." [Posted 12/23/09]
  • Coppa: Worth the Wait? (The Passionate Foodie) - "The food at Coppa is very strong, and I understand why there are large crowds on the weekends. It is food that is worth the wait, though I recommend going on weeknights to avoid much of the wait. I like the small plates concept, always have, and think it works well here." [Posted 3/5/10]
  • Dining Out: Coppa (Pop.Bop.Shop.) - "While there were a few bumps in the road at Coppa, the food is fresh, seasoned perfectly, and offers some exciting flavor combinations. The New York vibe is a nice change from the typical Boston restaurant scene, and the menu is expansive enough you can keep coming back and trying new things." [Posted 2/24/10]
  • From the Fois to the Tail: The Joys of Coppa Enoteca (FoodieMommy) - "Each seemingly simplistic dish was so layered, and reflected the best ingredients and a sophisticated understanding of food. Yet, Coppa never feels pretentious or unreachable. Instead, it is a place that I will return again and again." [Posted 1/16/10]

{Back Bay}

  • Deuxave (A Little Bit About a Lot of Things) - "The service was better the second visit, our waiter was knowledgeable and gave great suggestions. The first visit our water glasses stood empty for the majority of the meal and there were times when the waiter was no where to be found. Overall, we really liked Deuxave (obviously…since I was there twice in two weeks)." [Posted 1/4/11]
  • Deuxave, Back Bay, Boston (A Boston Food Diary) - "Chef Coombs, as expected, is putting out not only delicious food at Deuxave, he is putting out incredibly inventive offerings, jazzing up the classics with new twists, while paying homage to their history and culture. I look forward to visiting Deuxave many more times in the future to see what Chef Coombs does with each of the upcoming seasons." [Posted 9/28/10]
  • Deuxave Delicious (Travel Wine Dine) - "Deuxave gets 2 thumbs up, 5 stars, whatever your top rating would be for ambience, service, knowledge, thought, food, and wine. Simply fabulous." [Posted 9/17/10]

Sensing (which is apparently closing) - Gerard Barbin
{Battery Wharf}

  • Blissful Brunching (Indulge Inspire Imbibe) - "After a superb dinner earlier this month, my expectations were high. Sensing exceeded even those with a most elegant plate of Eggs Benedict and superior service to match." [Posted 2/7/11]
  • Brunch at Sensing (Travel Wine Dine) - "Sensing’s outdoor patio has a great view of the harbor, and we were gratefully seated in the shade so that we were able to enjoy the beautiful day without baking in the sun. The restaurant manager seated us and served us for most of the meal; the service was absolute perfection." [Posted 8/31/10]
Lunch - Restaurant Week
  • Sensing Restaurant, Battery Wharf, Boston (A Boston Food Diary) - "Aside from timing, I have not a complaint about Sensing. Their dishes were creative, and really well thought out, using imaginative ingredients and flavor combinations." [Posted 8/14/09]
  • Awakening the Senses (Indulge Inspire Imbibe) - "Sensing most certainly lived up to their motto as a culinary journey for the mind, body and spirt. The dishes showed pure creativity and precise technique." [Posted 1/19/11]
  • Sensing, Fairmont Hotel @ Battery Wharf, Boston (Belly Love) - "I highly recommend Sensing to anyone who likes a healthy dose of the absurd. From the seating by the hostess to the dessert menus, the extremely friendly (but extremely poorly trained) waitstaff and the long-on-promise, short-on-delivery kitchen at Sensing never miss an opportunity to violate every expectation you might have for dining in an establishment that is a recent recipient of AAA’s Four-Diamond rating." [Posted 6/23/09]
  • Sensing restaurant, Boston: Guy Martin didn't bring the stars (Limey G) - "Sensing is not a bad restaurant. It isn't Mercer Kitchen bad. But neither does it come across as scion-of-Michelin-star-genius good. At best, it's a reasonable hotel-chain restaurant." [Posted 1/18/09]

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