On The Menu

My Ideal Neighborhood


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So I've been kicking around this idea for a while about what restaurants/bars would I love to have in my neighborhood. Now I live in the South End, so there are already great restaurants and bars, but I find myself having cravings sometimes that just can't be satisfied with what's around me.

Let's start with the lowest of low end dining to the highest of high end.

There are days when I just need to have one of the following: gyros, hot dogs, shawarma, tacos or fried chicken. While I can get some form of any of those items in my neighborhood now, they just aren't as satisfying.

So from Seattle, I would love it if an Aladdin would open up right on Albany street. Hands down the best gyros ever, and also open until 4 in the morning. So many nights during my college years ended with me passed out on a couch with an empty Aladdin wrapper on me.

For hot dogs, it's gotta be none other than Hot Dougs. Our review can be found here. Hot dogs on the very finest, and on the cheap side.

In NYC, there's some shawarma place I've been to a few times that was knock your socks off delicious. I don't know where it was, or the name of it. However, Brookline's own Shawarma King wouldn't be a bad replacement. (I know there's some pita place opening up on Union Park and Albany, so maybe that will be my local middle eastern eatery.)

And I know many people in the South End will hate me for this, but dammit, I would love it if a Taco Bell/KFC hybrid would open up within walking distance from our condo. And that Taco Bell better serve the Chili Cheese Burrito I love so much.

Now no neighborhood would be complete without the great hamburger joint that all locals know about and tourists hunt down. For me, that has to be the greatest gastropub I've ever been in, The Spotted Pig. (Review here.) Tremont 647 has a good burger already in our neighborhood, but it doesn't quite compare to The Spotted Pig. A nicer bathroom will have to be included though. If I can't have The Spotted Pig, how about a Bukowski's? Not only will that quench my thirst, so to speak, for a great beer bar, but their burgers, especially before 8pm, are cheap and delicious.

Speaking of beers, I would also need a microbrewery in my ideal neighborhood. Once again, Seattle comes through for me: Big Time Brewery can easily be transported from the U-District onto Washington Street right? Their website lists all their different beers, but the best is Old Rip. My personal favorite beer. Add in the awesome shuffleboard table, and I think I've found my McClarens. (That's a How I Met Your Mother reference. And I'm so jealous that those lucky people have such a great bar right below their building.)

When gameday rolls around and I'm too lazy to fry up my own chicken wings, I'd drive myself to Brookline to get Wings Over Brookline. Their boneless wings are the greatest. They need to either widen their delivery area or open one up on Tremont Street.

Steaks...coming from Oklahoma, I know steaks can be big, juicy, tasty, and cheap. In Boston, you are not going to find cheap steak. It's impossible. What we need in the South End is either Cimarron Steakhouse or Cattlemen's Steakhouse. You telling me the people of Boston wouldn't want to go spend $20 and get a 25 oz porterhouse steak with two full sides? On the opposite end, sometimes you do need to go to a fancy steakhouse, and Boston for sure is not missing any of those. However, if you could get a restuarant similar to Peter Lugar on a quiet street like Shawmut, well there's your hidden jewel that is worth driving to.

While I can't see Thomas Keller opening a French Laundry or Per Se up in Boston, I could see him opening a Bouchon. Gaslight is in a similar mold, the warm inviting bistro, and is definitely one of the best restaurants in my neighborhood already...but it does not have the Thomas Keller name associated with it. You talk about economic stimilus right there, what with all those foodies coming in from all over to try out one of the world's greatest chef's newest place. You thought parking was trouble before...

I'm sure I'm leaving off tons of other places, and as you can see, my dream neighborhood would be a foodie mecca. If you lived here and could not find something for dinner that suits your fancy, well you probably are a vegan or vegetarian and I wouldn't want you in my neighborhood anyways. (I kid, I kid...I'm sure you can live off of the bean burrito at Taco Bell.)