i've been meaning to write some reviews of random restaurants andy and i have been to lately. for all but the last, mentally add the following line at the end of each review: "oh well, at least it's nice to try new places." torch (beacon hill, 26 charles st). winnie didn't have any complaints when she went some years ago, but andy and i were disappointed. the ambience was pretty good, with unusual sheets of copper on the walls, and the service was fine (although andy found our waiter to be a bit abrasive). as for the food: my asparagus soup was fine, but my mushroom pasta was completely one-dimensional and relied too much on portabella, which i think people would generally agree is always a bad move. andy had a decent salad to start, but his lamb was pretty much ruined due to overcooking. veggie planet (in club passim in harvard square). this was one of the more bizarre meals we've had. i'm all for earthy food, but earthy shouldn't mean tasteless. andy got a pizza (made from haley house dough) that was incredibly bland, and i had the "peanut curry" which basically was some slightly-cooked peanuts and broccoli w/ a gloopy, salty sauce dribbled on it. both strongly called to mind the image of a young elementary-school aged kid cooking a father's day meal. the kid-sized seats and tables added to the illusion. cambridge brewing company (kendall square, across from the movie theater). i just had to write about this. andy and i went here out of desperation (i'm still bummed out that the kendall cafe closed) and had some more strange food. his "iceberg lettuce salad" came out, and it was literally a quarter head of iceberg lettuce on a plate w/ some white stuff dribbled on it and a couple of mushy "falafels". what was really amazing was that not only was the lettuce not cut at all and not only was it pretty much the least fresh produce i've ever had in a restaurant, but they didn't even bother to peel off the outer, definitely brown leaves. and the meat inside his chicken empanadas looked suspiciously like cat food. i get chills just thinking about it. also, the waitress gave me a textbook "blank look" when i rather smilingly commented, "that was a very interesting salad!" prairie star (dartmouth st south of the back bay T stop). this one actually turned out to be a keeper ... or at least in comparison to most of the stuff in the area. andy and i walk by this place all the time, but we assumed it'd be on par to b.good which is next door and which is even worse than its pointlessly strangely punctuated name (i.e. pretty terrible, i.e. worse than mcdonald's), or (god forbid) the cheesecake factory. (speaking of the cheesecake factory, andy and i went to the latter on a whim b/c i was craving their avocado eggrolls (there goes my street cred), and we just have to wonder who in the world is making up their menus: the food tends to be like a suburbanite's idea of what haute cuisine might be like. i was intrigued by their "fried macaroni balls in creamy marinara" and believe you me, it was an adventure.) anyway, back to prairie star: the chips and salsa were good, and i had the vegetarian tostada. the food wasn't incredibly deep, but the ingredients were quite fresh and overall very satisfying, particularly since there really isn't much in the way of mexican around here. apparently this replaced a place called "baja cantina", and apparently it's owned by the same people who own laurel and firefly (been to the former for an okay brunch, but not to the latter which looks about as cheesy as legal's). so ... one out of four ain't bad ... i guess?


Anonymous carl said...

I'm sorry you didn't have a good experience at VP. They're not the best restaurant in the world--but I have had a few good meals there. They have a spicy pizza that I especially like.

Also, I think they're right in line with Pho Pasteur when it comes to cheap Harvard Sq lunches.

6/16/2005 08:19:00 AM  

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