If you’ve been reading the blog recently, you have probably have a good sense my feelings about the findings of the Baker-Hamilton Commission. My reaction is to sound off on a few of the eateries I’ve hit in the past few days.
Canto 6. 3346 Washington Street. Jamaica Plain. I must confess. I liked the pure simplicity of Bread and Butter. There was nothing better than grabbing a chocolate croissant at the defunct Washington Street bakery prior to a mayoral event at the nearby artificial multi-purpose athletic field. While some say the workers at the austere establishment were sometimes gruff, I always found them helpful. They probably responded to the intensity of my interest in the baked goods.
More physically ornate and with a larger array of offerings, Canto 6 is certainly a different place. They wisely offer an espresso bar in a still-Starbucksless neighborhood. (I wonder how long that can last.) They also offer fantastic hot chocolate which was the perfect place in which to dip my fresh French roll. I can also give a high grade to a pastry I have never eaten before: a corn muffin filled with raspberry jam. You know the deal with corn muffins. For generations, they have disintegrated upon touch. Canto 6 bakes their corn muffins in fancy French-style baking paper and the jam actually seems to keep the muffin together. I did not try everything, but I suspect they are less fanatical about their bread than their predecessor. Nonetheless, it is a welcome replacement.
Chau Chow. 669 Morrissey Blvd. Dorchester. Years ago Linda Mae’s was a central location to eat and meet for people from Dorchester, South Boston and, even, the South Shore. It was packed for breakfast and served as a meeting place for politicos during the Flynn Administration. The restaurant hit hard times during the ’90s, briefly came back, and finally was replaced by a Vietnamese steakhouse that didn’t take hold. I broke bread during its penultimate rendition with members of the Globe’s Spotlight Team. That meal was pleasant but, thankfully uneventful (any meeting with Spotlight that fails to result in a giant Page 1 gotcha is blissful). The food, however, was lousy.
I ate there again with a member of the Globe staff. While the conversation was strictly off-the-record, the meal was outstanding. We had several different versions of dim sum dishes, various kinds of shrimp and meat filled dumplings, noodles and cakes. The quality was Chinatown-level with the convenience and ease of parking of the old Linda Mae’s.
Finally, the Fabulous Dana took Gitell.com to No. 9 Park as a birthday celebration. As a general rule, this website is not going to be a forum to rave about super-fancy restaurants. Get that from Zagats. The meal was exquisite. My dish, a braised veal chop, was hearty, a happy fact as I was trying to avoid miniscule portions. I would like to single out for praise our server, the graceful John George, who spotted us right away as special-occasioners in a restaurant filled with heavy expense-account customers. Unlike many servers in upscale places, the people who make you feel not quite good enough to give them your hard-earned money, John George went out of his way to make us feel comfortable. He also guided us to the perfect dessert. Thank you, John George.