When I went to Black Birch for the first time last week, I didn't know how I'd missed it for so long. It's what every neighborhood restaurant should be: low-key, cheery, and reasonably priced with food that's well-executed and imaginative but not flashy; a great beer list; and fun cocktails.
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As much as I love Sichuan Garden's Chongqing dry-fried chicken and double-cooked bacon, I'm also very satisfied by the restaurant's produce-heavy options.
As food aesthetics go, the murky, rust-brown, pebbly lalla musa dal at Tamarind Bay Coastal Kitchen can't compare to the restaurant's other specialties like the fennel cream-sauced cauliflower dumplings or the spiced lobster tail. But famed Indian chefs like Julie Sahni don't consider this dish "the most exquisite of all dal preparations" for nothing, and speaking in terms of decadence, it outclasses the rest by a long shot.
By the time you read this, it'll already be too late. Due to an exceptionally bountiful early season harvest, the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission's Northern Shrimp Section has decided to close Maine shrimp season six weeks early to avoid depleting next year's stock. That's good news for the oceans and bad news for fans of Hungry Mother's shrimp and grits.
Of all the restaurants that sit on my to-eat list for months or years before I get to them, the one I most regret waiting on is Rendezvous in Central Square. Chef/owner Steve Johnson couldn't be more gracious, and his food hits that remarkable combination of smart, well-executed, totally unpretentious, and just a bit out-of-the-ordinary.