On The Menu

Weekend Roundup (Picante Mexican Restaurant, Estragon)


Category : , , ,

Hey, JP's blogging again. First let me say: GO HUSKIES!!!! Way to beat USC (University of Spoiled Children). That made my freaking weekend. OU shutting out the #1 offense from last year wasn't too shabby either. Anyway, I'll try to get more posts in throughout this week. Things to look forward to include a Top Chef Masters recap, why I'm not watching the current Top Chef, and my thoughts on a great chef like Andy Husbands being on Hell's Kitchen.

Picante Mexican Restaurant
Friday night we jumped on the 1 to head down Mass Ave into the country known as Cambridge. Central Square is not that far away but for some reason it sure feels like it's another state. Maybe it's because the 1 stops every 20 seconds and it takes forever to get pass the Charles on a Friday night.

In any case we had plans to hit up Garden at the Cellar for some good bar food and tater tots. Once we got there though, there was an hour and a half wait for a table and no one looked like they were leaving their bar seats any time soon.

We walked back down Mass Ave and went to Picante Mexican Restaurant, a place I've been dying to try out. I've been trying to find really kick ass Mexican food in Boston since I moved here 5 years ago. What we got wasn't kick ass, but it was pretty darn tasty and satisfying.

Abby ordered the Tostada Salad with chicken and I got the Chicken and Rice plate. The friendly cashier (this is a order and pick up your food joint) told me to get the salsa verde over my chicken and rice and since she probably knows best I did. My chicken and rice was a nice simple dinner. It was a good thing I added the salsa verde, not just because it was a tangy salsa but because the dish could have been very dry. This meal was what it was: chicken and rice. Which is a good thing...when I order something like this, then I don't want anything else on my plate. I want chicken and rice. Abby's tostada salad was large and had a nice dalop of guacamole on top. You could go a lot worse for a Friday night dinner than Picante Mexican Restaurant. Plus the price is right with most dishes under $8. I give Picante Mexian Restaurant a 3 1/2 out of 5.

Cafe Picante on Urbanspoon


We missed out on our buddy Joey's birthday dinner a week or so ago, so we owed him one. On Saturday night we took him and Emilie out to Estragon. Located just down the street from us, Estragon is a trendy tapas restaurant. We've only been once before and enjoyed our meal very much. I'm actually surprised we haven't been here more often.

When I made my reservation online on their website I noticed that you could order a pig's head for dinner. I was nearly tempted to do this, but then I realized not everyone would want a piggy staring back at them no matter how good the cheek is. (And if you have never had pig's cheek then you are definitely missing out.)

Dinner started out slowly. Water took forever to get to our table and our waiter was no where in site to order. Luckily this was the only hiccup of the night. Everything else was fantastic. We ordered a bunch of different items and was not disappointed in any. OK, the salt cod fritter, while nicely cooked, didn't have much flavor. But that was it...the other ten items were fantastic.

Tortilla Espanola - you just have to get this at any tapas place or you aren't at a tapas joint.

Chorizo - served on toasted bread.

Patatas Aioli - came free to us for dinner, since every tapas joint in Spain always gives something free.

I forget the name of this dish, but this was my favorite. Pork belly fat and shredded beef over bone marrow and toast. So buttery and delicious! I want it now!

Potatas Bravas - fried potatoes with a spicy sauce.

Salt Cod Fritters - not really my favorite, but not bad either.

Head on Prawns. The best part of most animals is the head and I loved sucking the juicy goodness out of these guys.

Roasted Brussels Sprouts - surprisingly good, and this is coming from a guy who doesn't like brussels sprouts.

Garlic Shrimp - simple and delicious.

Lamb Empanada - flaky crust covering chopped lamb meat. Another surprise...I wasn't expecting this to taste so good.

Seared Pork Belly over Lentils - screw the lentils, just give me the seared pork belly and I'll die a happy man. Something else you must try before you die.

We ate very well that night and I plan on coming back for the pig's head.

I give Estragon a 4 out of 5.
Estragon on Urbanspoon


Maybe we botched up our ordering, but we were totally underwhelmed by Estragon. It probably doesn't help that I love the restaurant of the ex-wife of Estragon's owner (Tabero de Haro) and then we don't usually go out spendy since we went back to school, so our standards are through the roof.