Sorellina Revisited, Back Bay, Boston

If you are looking to celebrate with a special splurge, Sorellina’s modern and sophisticated Italian restaurant has great ambiance and good food. We love the tree motif in the dining room and plates. The last time we were at Sorellina, we enjoyed the Maccheroncelli, American Wagyu beef meatballs, Montepulciano sauce and Parmigiano.


The bread was nice and warm, soft on the inside and we loved the combination of olive oil and soft butter.

We kicked off with the Hand-cut truffled fries with Parmigiano for $12 first. The cone was filled with crispy fries on the outside and delicious, but saved some for the filet. _MG_6121

The pillowly potato gnocchi with fresh Maine lobster and of course Vermont butter was unbelievably rich and decadent. Surpremely delicious for $26 and we sopped up the lobster butter sauce clean with the bread._MG_6124

The 8 ounce filet with beech mushrooms, whipped potatoes and Montepulciano sauce for $40 was perfectly cooked and was very tender. _MG_6125

Overall, all the dishes we had at Sorellina made us happy, our service was solid and the ambiance was sleek. Definitely a win for the celebration. Sorellina on Urbanspoon

Five-O Shore Road, Ogunquit, Maine

There are many pizzerias, tapas places and bistros in the Ogunquit downtown area. One of the shop owners gave us suggestions for dinner and described a great restaurant Five-O Shore Road with a bar area and grilled chicken sandwich, roasted tomato, mozzarella, basil for $10.

The bar area was very relaxed and for 6:00pm not busy at all. Local Mainers and folks were drinking cosmos and starting their evening. Our bartender/server was very sweet natured and thorough in explaining the menu. She mentioned the artichoke aranchini with whipped goat cheese, peppers agro dolce and escargot, shallots, prosciutto, pernot, arugula, parmesean are very popular. Next time.

We enjoyed some olive oil and bread while waiting for our meal and probably filled up on too much. The beach and salt water made us famished and we could not help it.Five- O’s Lobster B.L.T. is one of the best lobster sandwiches, lobster anything ever eaten. The Native lobster, smoked bacon, lettuce, tomato and mayonnaise combination is unbelievable. Balanced, refreshing and generous. The french fries were nicely seasoned and a great compliment to the sandwich.
For $18, the Lobster B.L.T. is worth every bite. The only aspect we would change is the bread should be more toasted or on a baguette.

My friend enjoyed the fresh caesar salad with romaine lettuce, garlic croutons  for $12 and added chicken for $5 and said it was one of the top five salads ever eaten. The dressing had a nice tang and was house made.

Although we weren’t looking for chicken sandwich, we were looking for All American, well executed fare and found it at Five-O Shore Road.

Five-O Shore Road on Urbanspoon

Au Bon Pain, Copley Place, Back Bay, Boston

It has sometime since we had a proper sandwich at Au Bon Pain. We love the egg white and cheddar breakfast sandwiches, the perfect starter for the day. For years a large tomato soup was a staple for lunch, and the brie, fruit and cracker Portions as a great snack.

The Copley Place Au Bon Pain is spacious and has lovely lighting. We really like the outdoor space overlooking the Back Bay area and the last hour before closing hour baked goods sale.

Au Bon Pain has had a new cafe menu with new sandwiches, wraps and salads introduced, and even more appreciated, their calories listed. Initially, we were going to order a Boston favorite, the Grilled Chicken Avocado sandwich on a toasted baguette or the Chicken Cobb Salad, however  we noticed the New Lobster Salad BLT on brioche and had to try.

We were mesmerized by the sandwich making process. The staff are so quick and happy to accommodate special requests like extra avocado, make a sandwich into a wrap or anything one could dream of to customize their meal.

The Lobster Salad BLT looked quite appetizing and was $12.99. The salad is made with 100% claw & knuckle meat, lite mayo, mesclun and sliced tomatoes topped with diced Applewood Smoked Bacon served on toasted Brioche.

The balance of creamy mayo, leafy mesclun, sliced medallions of red tomato and crispy bacon with the lobster salad was perfect. The only two adjustments we hoped for was a squeeze of fresh lemon juice for an additional summery brightness and acidity, and instead of a brioche, we would have loved a warm toasted and buttered baguette for additional texture.

We have made a lobster roll at home (BMH’s Lobster Rolls), cracking the lobster shells, warming the buttered hot dog bun, and those additions would make this sandwich worth the destination.

Disclaimer: We received our meal courtesy of Au Bon Pain, however our opinions and views expressed are our own.

Island Creek Oyster Bar, Kenmore Square- Another Revisit

What more can we say about Island Creek Oyster Bar? We don’t want to sound repetitive however. In a nutshell, it’s a lovely modern space with a great bar in Kenmore Square that makes solid seafood dishes and good cocktails, while providing excellent service. We always recommend ICOB to anyone who loves seafood, on the way to a Red Sox game or enjoys a nice meal on the town.We came here for the younger BMH sister’s birthday knowing she loves seafood and that she adores soft shell crabs. Unluckily, ICOB was not serving their soft shell crab special for dinner but we still had a wonderful time nonetheless.

(Going from left to right & clockwise…)

Abigail’s Delight – house soda of fresh pineapple and homemade orgeat

Refreshing and delicious mocktail that definitely quenched my thirst and acted like an aperitif.

Half dozen raw oysters

ICOB’s oysters are always very good. We could easily make a meal out of a dozen or more with a glass of champagne.

Clam chowder- hand dug clams, buttermilk biscuits, house-cured bacon

My sister loves the clam chowder here because of the thickness and taste but I’m not as impressed because I feel there should be more clams. The biscuit on top is always freshly baked. Try it and decide for yourself.

Crispy oyster slider- Brioche roll, lime chili aioli

The oyster slider is one of my favorite items on the menu. The flattened fried oyster is the star. Like the raw oysters, I could easily eat 4-5 of them in a sitting, however then I couldn’t try anything else.

Herb crusted Atlantic cod with lobster knuckle and caramelized leek risotto

This was a dinner special and it was well executed. The crispy herb crust and flaky tender cod went well with the creamy leek and lobster risotto. There were a good handful of lobster knuckle, one of the sweetest parts of the lobster. The portion was enormous as I had to take half home.

Lobster Roe Noodles- braised short rib, grilled lobster, oyster mushrooms, pecorino

This is one of ICOB ‘s signature dishes. Everyone always raves about how lovely it is, and we agree. You get a relatively large portion for dinner. The meltingly soft short rib and lobster go well together. It’s like a surf ‘n’ turf in noodle form.

Island Creek Oyster Bar
Kenmore Square
500 Commonwealth Ave.
Boston, MA 02215
Island Creek Oyster Bar on Urbanspoon

J’s Oyster Bar, Portland

J’s Oyster Bar is a local institution in Portland and is authentic and Portland as it comes. The J stands for the restaurant’s owner Janice “J” Noyes and J’s Oyster is the epitome of a locally owned Maine seafood joint.

The restaurant is right off the water and has simple leather bar seating, wood walling and is filled with a few tourists, businessmen eating chowder and the remainder seem like regulars.

The seafood focused menu is very straight forward and J’s Oyster has specific rules including no reservations.  They also do not accommodate special orders or make substitutions. What you see is what you get. The menu is filled with salads, sandwiches and seafood based soups.

After an unbelievable Lobster Roll from Island Creek Oyster Bar, I wanted to try J’s rendition. The red colored lobster place mat was very informative and explained the steps on how to eat a lobster.

I really enjoyed an order of Half Dozen Raw oysters for $6.50. The oysters were served with  lemon, cocktail sauce, horseradish and oyster crackers. The oysters were fresh, briney and exactly what I wanted. The oyster were the best aspect of our meal.

The Haddock filet sandwich was just ok according to my dining companion. The haddock itself was well cooked, but seemed under seasoned. It was was served with chips and a pickle ($8.50) and we were not able to substitute in a salad or french fries. J’s Oyster does not have fires. My friend and I both wished there were homemade tartar sauce versus prepackaged.

J’s Oysters lobster roll was filled with chunks of lobster on a bed of lettuce and a buttered hot dog bun ($12.50). The roll was served with with chips and a pickle and not dressed in mayo.

I can not decide if I like the ability to control the amount of mayonnaise in my lobster roll or if I wanted the restaurant to already add the perfect amount. We have made our own lobster rolls at home, and prefer ours (BMH’s lobster roll).

Next time, I would try the clam chowder, scallops with lemon and dill and the lobster pernod.

J's Oyster Bar on Urbanspoon

Island Creek Oyster Bar, Kenmore Square, Boston Revisited Cocktails

We were itching for some crab cakes (BMH’s crab cakes) and lobster (BMH’s lobster roll) so we headed over to Island Creek Oyster Bar. After an unbelievable brunch at Island Creek Oyster Bar, we knew we would be back to try the late night menu, when the popular bar and restaurant was less busy.

The two design elements I enjoy about Island Creek is the lighting fixtures and the back wall of oyster shells.

There were several oysters that were out that evening and the bartender crossed them off for us. We chose our favorites, the Duxbury based Island Creek ($2.25 each), Misty Point, Sunken Meadow and Riptide (all $2.50 each).

We enjoyed Anchor Liberty Ale, a San Francisco based pale ale. The hops and champagne-like bubbles was a nice counterpoint for all our seafood items ($6).

While waiting, our server provided us with some in-house baked honey wheat bread. The tender bread had a nice crust and was even more enjoyable with the soft butter.

My favorite was the Misty Point oyster and my dining companions loved the Island Creeks. They both had a nice ocean flavor and were super fresh. All of the oysters had a nice chilled temperature and were perfect with a twist of bright lemon.

We were pleasantly surprised that ICOB had Sriracha originates from Thailand, but was popularized in the States by a Vietnamese businessman. We love Rooster sauce on practically everything (NPR’s Ode to Sriracha). For a touch of heat, we added  a dot of sriracha to one of our oysters. ICOB also has Sriracha fries ($4), which we will definitely try next time.

We shared a bite of the lobster slider ($5) and crab cake slider ($4). we had a choice of sauces and our friendly bartender suggested the lime and chili aïoli versus the other sauces (tartar sauce, horseradish mayo or meyer lemon aïoli). I loved the butteriness of the fresh Brioche roll. The lime & chili aïoli had a nice zesty flavor and really went well with the warm crab cake and fresh lobster meat.

We will have to return to ICOB finally for dinner. The service, kitchen and bar have executed in every facet every time and we know it will continue to deliver.

Island Creek Oyster Bar on Urbanspoon

Grotto, Beacon Hill, Boston

Grotto is an adorable romantic small Italian restaurant located in Beacon Hill. When you enter the divey basement restaurant all you see is a sweeping room of chic red. There is exposed brick walls and unique artwork from locals. They do a wonderful prixe fixe for $36 nightly. You get your choice of an appetizer, an entrée and a dessert off their regular menu per person. Service was prompt, polite and considerate. The portions were generous and we ended up taking half of our mains home.

Fontina cheese fondue, Beef tenderloin, Aged balsamic, Truffle oil, Portobello mushrooms $10

The Fontina cheese fondue with comes with some tender beef tenderloin, meaty Portobello mushrooms, aged balsamic vinegar and truffle oil. The cheese fondue had a nice rustic, creamy consistency. The portions are pretty generous the only thing I wish there was more of was beef! It seems like they give you more mushrooms than beef in the serving I got.

Crab ravioli, Asparagus, Almonds, Saffron (half portion as an appetizer) $10

There’s actually 4 ravioli in a half order, just to be clear. One of my dining companions snagged one before I could get a picture. The al dente pasta had creamy seafood filling, the asparagus and sweet tomatoes went well with the buttery saffron sauce.

House prepared ricotta cavatelle, Sausage, Peas, Mushrooms, Pancetta, Cream $10

The perfect balance of cream and pancetta combined with crumbles of sausage, sweet peas, toothsome mushrooms and lovely al dente pasta. This was a wonderfully satisfying starter.

Apple stuffed duck breast, Crispy leg, prosciutto, Dried cherries, Parmesan potatoes, Black truffle, Madeira $21

The proscuitto-wrapped stuffed duck breast was tender and cooked perfectly, the crispy leg with cherries delicious and the cheesy potatoes was creamy with lots of Parmesan and truffles. This dish was interesting because each of the 3 items in the dish were great on their own, but if you combined a bite of each all together, it wasn’t so great. There was nothing to tie each of the items to each other in terms of flavors.

House cut tagliatelle pasta, San Marzano tomatoes, Lamb, Pork, Beef

This was delicious. I’m a huge fan of well executed bolognese, especially the kind with multiple types of meat. The bolognese sauce was rich without being overpowering and robust with flavor.  Everything about it was perfect. My dining companion cleaned his plate with the bread.

Butter poached lobster, linguine, spicy tomato sauce $21

This was very tasty. I wish there was more lobster however, not half a tail and 1 claw. The spiciness of the tomato sauce was pleasant and went well with the buttery sweet lobster and al dente linguine.

Pannacotta $9 (foreground), chocolate cake $9 (background)

A blend of velvety custard and smooth gelatin, one of my all time favorites, Panna Cotta. Grotto’s lemon version is bright and refreshing with a decadent balsamic raspberry sauce and a crispy pizzelle cookie. The lemon flavor was very pronounced in some bites however.

Melting chocolate cake with vanilla ice cream It is a VERY dense chocolate cake, that was served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Not my favorite dessert sheerly because molten chocolate lava cake is everywhere these days.

Banana bread pudding, caramel sauce, caramel ice cream and spice nuts $9

This was my favorite dessert of the night. The rich sweet yet slightly bitter caramel ice cream melted into the banana bread pudding so it soaked in the ice cream. It was heaven on a plate.

Grotto on Urbanspoon