7 (!) quick restaurant reviews: Woodward, Trade, Lone Star Taco Bar, Marc Forgione, Minca, Chacareros, Rosa Mexicano…

You know I’m really far behind in my blogging backlog when I need to cram multiple restaurant reviews, normally one of my favorite blogging topics, into one quick post.  And yet, the past month or so has been insane, with almost no time to write, so here we go.

Woodward at Ames: happening little place in a downtown hotel.  The entrance could be better, as you think you’re just entering a small hotel lobby.  I was there on a Friday night, and it was packed, with a good vibe.  Good-looking crowd, decent-looking menu.  Nothing too crazy, all fairly crowd-pleasing items, and reasonably (not amazingly) executed.  Service was decent, the wine selection just OK, so overall this was fun, but no rush to go back.

Trade: new restaurant from Jody Adams (of Rialto fame) near South Station.  It, too, was busy while I was there, but not packed.  The location seems like it would be tough beyond the after-work crowd, i.e. into late hours, and on weekends.  The menu had a variety of items, including some good-looking flatbreads.  Service was decent, and most of the food was good, not great.  Chef Adams was there while we were there, which was cool, and I would hope to see that in a new place: the owning chef should be there to help improve service, get feedback directly, and improve things rapidly.  No particular dish sticks out as amazing, but I’d like to check it out in a couple of months.

Lone Star Taco Bar: love, love, loved this placed.  I actually went there twice on consecutive days, May 4th and 5th (Cinco de Mayo), with different people.  On May 4th, we were there for dinner before a live music show, had a bunch of tacos and some tequila (and mezcal), had a blast, and it was packed.  On May 5th, I was there with friends from a 5K outdoor obstacle race, in the middle of the day, it wasn’t quite as busy, and the food was again delicious.  In both cases, the spicy beef and fish tacos stood out, among the best tacos we’ve ever had, as did the El Diablo margarita.  (And my dinner companion that night is as much a connoisseur of these two categories as I am.)  I’ll be going back here multiple times in the future.

Marc Forgione is a restaurant in NYC with 1 Michelin star, named after the co-owner and chef, also known as “the Forge” after his Iron Chef (America) victory a couple of years ago.  It’s a romantic restaurant whose food and service were both excellent — as expected from a place of this caliber / rating.  The wine selection was very good, as was the presentation.  My friend and I agreed that although we enjoyed this place a lot, it did nothing badly, but with so many restaurants in the City, it’s not clear whether we’ll be going back.

Bonus: after Marc Forgione, we went to Ward III for drinks, and they were pretty amazing.  However, we already had a bunch of wine with dinner, so I think my judgment was probably a little impaired, and there’s no point writing a lot about this place.

Image from Fermented Adventures: thanks!

Minca is a small but amazing ramen restaurant in New York City, where I spend some of the past few days.  I’ve been trying more ramen recently ahead of an upcoming trip to Asia (more on that shortly), in order to establish a baseline for comparison to ramen in Japan.  Minca was exceptional.  I had the spicy pork ramen and it was the best I’ve ever had, so far 😉

Chacarero is a tiny lunch place in downtown Boston, specializing in its namesake, Chilean sandwiches.  They’re really good 🙂  Get the BBQ beef or chicken with extra hot sauce, and you’ll thank me.

Rosa Mexicano is (yet another) new upscale Mexican restaurant on Boston’s waterfront.  I went there last night, roughly 36 hours after they opened to the public.  It was packed, which was a surprise, and service was just OK, which was expected.  I’m sure they’ll improve that in the near future.  What disappointed me a little bit was the food quality, as well as one of the drinks.  But the El Mezcalito drink was excellent, and the concept of a matching taco and tequila flight (3 of each, paired) is really nice.  Overall, not a bad place, but not near the top of my list.  See above for a better taco and tequila place…