An essential Boston meal

TeSalutamus asks:

If you could have any dish in any restaurant in the City of Boston tomorrow, what & where would it be?




Some answers via Twitter

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Great Eats

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The "Roast Beast" on Comm Ave by BU for a Roast Beef Sando.... The Best!

Any dish? Is that what I want, or what a tourist should have?

First-time visitors generally want New England shore food in one form or another, or maybe something in the North End. (And a shocking number of visiting businesspeople I have to entertain for dinner still want the kind of dull food they can get in their godforsaken flyover-country hometowns, as at national chain luxury steakhouses -- go figure.)

A few suggestions on the local seafood front:

Lobster roll -- Belle Isle Seafood in Winthrop. Impeccable, generous and cheap.

Fried clams -- Row 34 in Fort Point, which also has a superb beer list and is overall one of our best local seafood restaurants.

Clam chowder -- Neptune Oyster: almost no dairy, real clam stock, quality hard-shell clams, no gloppy thickeners or sea clam bullshit. Pretty much nothing they do on the seafood front isn't impeccable, including their raw bar, but as a small and now famous place, it's a bit too popular for its own good. Crowds and no reservations make it a pain to visit at peak dining times; go at 3pm on a weekday.

Local fish -- something out of the live tank at Peach Farm in Chinatown, steamed whole and served simply in soy/ginger/scallion sauce. The one swimming on its side is not ailing; that's tautog, a great local ocean fish. Point out the one you want, they'll fish it out of the tank, bring it to your table in a plastic bucket to confirm that's the one you picked, bring it back to the kitchen, then serve it to you steamed whole in five minutes, with expert tableside filleting. It couldn't possibly be fresher. Boston has only recently gotten Western seafood restaurants good enough to support its national reputation. Before then, Hong Kong live-tank places like this is where chefs and food geeks went first for fish.

Crudo -- raw fluke done in a quasi-Japanese style at Coppa, another lesser-known local fish that deserves more fame. Pretty much everything else on the menu at Coppa rocks, too: great charcuterie, pastas, wood-oven pizzas.

Raw bar -- Island Creek Oyster Bar, which isn't afraid of putting up Pacific Northwest oysters against a great array of coastal New England and maritime Canada oysters. Great wines and cocktails, to boot. The rest of the seafood menu is also fabulous. Count this place, its sibling Row 34, and Neptune as the best New England seafood joints in town.

Sushi and sashimi: O Ya and Uni. Worthwhile even if you have exquisite, very high-end Japanese restaurants in your hometown. Bring your black card.

Whole lobster in the rough, with bib and nutcracker -- you really ought to go up the Maine coast for this, but in town, Jasper White's Summer Shack (make the effort to hit the Cambridge original in Fresh Pond) does it right, though I prefer his pan-roasted version with bourbon, chervil and chives.

Belle Isle moved across the bridge

a year and a half ago. How can you be protective of a restaurant you haven't been to in over a year? Tell everyone you know about the places you think are great. Keeping them secret so there won't be a line when you go leads to good places going out of business.

Row 34 is untouchable, but it

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Row 34 is untouchable, but it feels wrong eating fried clams in that nice (and expensive!) a restaurant. Yankee Lobster's my preferred spot if we're sticking within the city limits. Cheap food served at a take out seafood counter with a cheap beer; that's the top New England specialty to me.

A selection of mezzes from

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A selection of mezzes from Istanbul'lu in Teele Sq., with at least one being mucver.


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Hot dog and fries from Sullys! Make that 2 hot dogs all around and make sure to add vinegar to the fries, and get extra ketchup :) A soft serve on the side wouldn't hurt either.

Kinda weird how only in the

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Kinda weird how only in the past few years has Sully's exploded into a "thing," Not denigrating it as a place, it's fine. Just commenting on how people treat it.


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in Eastie. Be sure to try a homemade sausage or lamb skewer while you wait for your pizza.

I wish...

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Roast beef from Buzzy's, Roast beef at Locke-Ober, the Clam Soup that Heals at Jasper's, maybe a hot dog from Joe & Nemo's

and ...

A $1.35 tall Knickerbocker and 10-cent hot dogs at the Bow And Arrow in Harvard Square.

Or an Elsie Burger.


The Fresser at Elsie's. Steak subs from Yellow Submarine. The meatball sub from Ray's Subs on McGrath Highway. Jackie's Subs downtown. And my personal favorite, the 24 hour Kim Toy Lunch at Beach and Tyler where a gang fight at 3:30 AM one night caused my Dad to pull my mother and me under the table as things were flying around! God, this town used to be so much fun!

Kim Toy Lunch

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When I would go into Boston with my Dad, we would always eat at the Kim Toy Lunch. He frequently worked around the corner for New England Tele on Harrison Ave. You may notn remember, but Kim Toy Lunch was on the edge of the Combat Zone.

Buzzys may have been a Boston

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"food experience", but it's hardly one I would have intentionally wished on anyone. OTOH, Joe and Nemos - and Elsie's in Cambridge, I do wish were still around and would recommend in a heartbeat if so. Not to mention Bailey's Ice Cream.

I did high school racing at

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I did high school racing at Community Boating back in the day, and for whatever reason, forcing our way through some Buzzy's became an absolute must pre-race tradition. Not because the food was any good, but because we'd definitely lose if we didn't.

I used to work a hotel job,

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I used to work a hotel job, and I got out of work at 1am. I have a real soft spot for Buzzy's, one of the few options for dinner, but then, I have a fondness in general for burger shacks!

I have a hard time thinking of the quintessential Boston meal. 20 years ago, I'd have said something good about the Surf and Turf special at Durgin Park... but I haven't been so impressed lately.


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Durgin's used to have the best vegetable soup. Seriously. I used to go there just for that soup. It was magnificent.

They took the soup off the menu about 15 years ago, as I remember. At around the same time, they stopped serving fresh mashed potatoes, at least for a while. I don't know if either has made a comeback to the menu, but I pretty much gave up on them around that time.


That coincides with Durgin-Park's sale by the family

that long owned it to Ark Restaurants in 2007, a NY-based group with a collection of historically themed restaurants. That marked a sharp downward turn in Durgin's food and odd charm.

The same could be said of the old Back Bay Restaurant Group, which Charlie Sarkis mostly sold off to giant Tavistock a few years ago; Abe & Louie's especially has taken a quality nosedive since. Ownership by a big national chain is usually better for shareholders than it is for customers.

A South End tie

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Either the roast chicken at Hammersley's Bistro or the chicken and waffles at Meyers and Chang.


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I'm from Dorchester, and the Meyers and Chang version, yeah.


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North End, not South End. Anything on the menu, but I'm partial to a pasta with their Fra Diavolo sauce. Maybe a little seafood - esp. shrimp. Expect to wait in line - and to forget about the wait after you are done eating. YUMmmmmmmm!


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Anything from Bob the Chef...back in the day. Today, a pastrami on rye & a side of slaw from Sam Lagrasa!