Gaslight Restaurant - Front

Gaslight Restaurant in Boston’s South End

The Gaslight Restaurant is a French Parisian brasserie located at 560 Harrison Avenue in Boston’s South End. It offers refined dining with a very neighborhood-friendly feel and value. The Parisian zinc bar, reclaimed wood floors, mosaic tiles, and beamed wood ceilings, Gaslight’s ambiance is warm and inviting for anyone looking for a nice, solid place to dine in.

Restaurant Entrance Street View - Gaslight is encased in a red-bricked building that almost looked abandoned. Without a clear outdoor sign, this gem can be easily overlooked at night

Restaurant Entrance Street View – Gaslight is encased in a red-bricked building that looks as if abandoned. With very subtle signs, this gem can be easily overlooked at night

With a reservation made on OpenTable, we were guided immediately to our table at the arrived time. The service was great, as we were presented with a decked out table setting with a bottle of fancy mineral water.

Table Setting- Classy French Brasserie table setting with a bottle of S Pellegrino mineral water

Table Setting– Classy French Brasserie table setting with a bottle of S Pellegrino mineral water

To start off with the meal, we ordered a small bucket of their pomme frittes, which are solid. These fries are dangerous for people with smaller stomachs because they can easily be devoured really quickly and leave little room for the main course. Of course, French Baguettes were served with a side of butter as well.

French Baguette and Pomme Frites with ailoi- Great appetizer with complimentary crisp baguettes and an order of pomme frittes fried with parmesan and fine herbs

French Baguette and Pomme Frites with ailoi- Great appetizer with complimentary crisp baguettes and an order of pomme frittes fried with parmesan and fine herbs

After the appetizer, we chose two main dishes. The first was the Berkshire Pork Chop. Naturally, the Berkshire pork is an amazing cut of meat that is way superior to a normal pork chop in that it’s so much more fatty and tender. Gaslight serves are really large cut of bone-in Berkshire pork chop that is juicy and magnificent. Garnished with a vinegary red onion jam and baked in bacon juice, the pork chop had a very rich, deep flavor that made each bite a delight.

Berkshire Pork Chop

Berkeshire Pork Chop – A large cut of juicy, tender, bone-in Berkeshire pork chop with braised greens, red onion confiture, and house-smoked bacon jus

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Look at the consistency of that 62 degree egg!

Review: Shojo Restaurant; Hip Restaurant Bar in Boston Chinatown

Shojo Restaurant is a hip Asian-fusion restaurant that I was surprised to find in Chinatown. I usually view Asian-fusion restaurants with some disdain as there are many places that use that genre to serve half-ass authentic Asian food for a western audience. However, Shojo serves a style that I would describe as Contemporary Asian Cuisine or Hip/Modern Asian Fusion that can easily fit-in with the trendy shops of New York’s East Village neighborhood.

From the outer appearance under the sign of the China Pearl restaurant (a long time establishment in Chinatown known for pretty decent dim sum), and next to a stereotypical Chinese Travel agency, Shojo offers an escape to a solid, nice restaurant bar that may make you forget that you are in the traditional and somewhat grimy neighborhood of Boston Chinatown.

Shojo Restaurant sandwiched between China Pearl and Trans Pacific Travel Agency

Shojo Restaurant sandwiched between China Pearl and Trans Pacific Travel Agency

 

This looks promising:

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If you don’t look for the restaurant, you could easily miss it. Once you are in the restaurant, the ambiance will immediately make you forget you are in Boston Chinatown. The walls are decorated with hip-hop inspired graffiti art and Asian artifacts. The television is playing a Bruce Lee movie to the beat of Kanye in the background. The tables are packed with people and small plates. The bar prominently displays Japanese premium beers and whiskey that most bars wouldn’t stock (I was really happy to see Yamazaki, Hibiki, Hakushu, and Nikka Coffee whiskey being displayed). Shojo can easily be a new favorite restaurant bar for a variety of reasons.

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fried pork intestines

Review: Taiwan Cafe: Taste of Fermosa in Boston’s Chinatown

TaiwanCafeLocated just above a Chinese medicine store and down the alley from my frequent barber shop, Taiwan Cafe is a casual Taiwanese restaurant tucked neatly on the corner of Beach St. and Oxford St. in Boston’s Chinatown. With a mostly Taiwanese staff, this place seems to be one of the most authentic Taiwanese restaurants in Boston. The restaurant is quite busy during the prime lunch and dinner hours. The staff is constantly bustling from one table to the next with a sense of urgency. Small-numbered dinner parties are forced to share a 12-person table with other small-numbered dinner parties when there are no 4-person tables available.

Taiwan Cafe definitely has a lively atmosphere. Customers range from young college students to full traditional families. Although some may be uncomfortable with the wait staff’s lack of smile and no-nonsense request for orders, I find the service excellent simply because I can always waive a waiter down and get what I want. Upon opening my tea pot lid for a refill, it took a mere 20 seconds for a waitress to notice and refill it [See Doing Dim Sum Right — Tea if you don’t understand why this happens]!

You don’t come to Taiwan Cafe to chat up the waitress, but rather a casual atmosphere, good company, and great food. Among the few times I visited Taiwan Cafe, that is what I got.

I had the pleasure of dining with friends that enjoyed authentic Taiwanese cuisine and so we stuffed ourselves with the dishes below. Please note that if you are looking for good General Gau’s Chicken, this isn’t the place to have it (even though it’s on the menu). Instead, I encourage everyone to try something here they might not otherwise find in other Asian restaurants in Boston.

stinkytofuwithpaoutsai

Stinky Tofu with Paou Tsai – This is an interesting appetizer that is very popular in Taiwan night markets. In the Taiwanese-style, stinky tofu is deep-fried tofu that has been brined in fermented milk, meat, and vegetables. The tofu has a crispy outside and a soft, silky smooth inside. As its name suggests, the tofu also has a strong, pungent smell that may, from afar, be comparable to garbage or manure. Some say the taste is similar to pungent blue cheese, while others suggest rotten meat. Really, it’s a love-or-hate kind of dish. Ideally, the more it smells, the better the flavor. However, Taiwan Cafe does not make it all that smelly (most indoor restaurants avoid stinking up the place for other customers) and the dish was a bit too dry for my taste, requiring me dunk it in seafood soy sauce. Paou Tsai is the transliteration for 泡菜, better known as pickled cabbage or in Korea, kimchi. The sharp, sour taste/smell of pickled cabbage pairs well with the musky taste/smell of stinky tofu.

Chilled Sponge Tofu with Mushroom and Bamboo shoot – A delicious tofu dish that uses tender spongy tofu, which carries the texture of a sponge. Braised and then chilled along with sliced mushrooms and bamboo shoots in a sweet soy-based sauce, this delicious appetizer was consumed before a picture could be taken.

oysterpancake

Oyster Omelette- Another original dish popular in Taiwan night markets, the oyster omelette is an egg omelette mixed with tapioca starch and whole oysters over Chinese vegetables. It has a very thick, gooey consistency and a fragrant oyster-egg aroma. The real kicker is that the omelette is drenched in an addicting sweet ketchup/soy paste sauce. This is an extremely welcoming dish and I find it a great comfort food choice.

ministeamedbunswithpork

Mini-Steamed Buns with Pork — Better known as ShaoLongBao, or Soup Dumplings, this Taiwanese version of a Shanghai favorite must be eaten hot. Unlike a regular dumpling or bun, these dumplings carry a mouthful of hot broth and must be picked up carefully. The typical way to eat this dish would be to: fill a spoon with a ginger/black vinegar sauce, lift the dumpling onto the spoon with chopsticks, take a bite of the skin to suck up the broth, and finally consume the dumpling with the sauce.

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