Nobu Next Door
This review is from January 2017.
Our preferred dining scenario is going to a restaurant with an Omakase menu. We have dined at O Ya in Boston, Morimoto in NYC, Oishii in Boston, and Zuma in Miami. Nobu Next Door sadly came in last place when comparing to these other establishments.
Even though we arrived a little early the hostess seated us right away. Unfortunately, this was the first of several issues. The tables for 2 are literally inches apart. The table next to us had to move two tables for the customer to be able to be seated. Our waiter came over and knew about my dairy allergy and so that was lovely. We ordered the $150 Omakase menu but we were told that they aren't able to do a Sake pairing with our meal. Our waiter suggested a single Sake for the entirety of our meal.
Our meal consisted of an amuse bouche which was a type of seaweed wrap, a salad, lightly broiled oysters,
Salmon and Tuna Sushi, battered and fried lobster, miso cod, and ended with a chocolate cake for Greg and sorbet for myself.
We had to struggle to remember what we ate because the meal was that forgettable. The Oysters were the highlight of the meal. They were simple and silky. The worst courses of the meal were the miso cod (overly sweet to where I couldn't finish it) and my sorbet (the clementine was inedible due to it's bitterness).
For a $400 meal the courses we dined on could have been prepared by any above average Japanese restaurant. When we compare this meal to the other Omakase menu's we've dined on it seems like those other restaurants have gone above and beyond in innovation and in variety.
Hilton Times Square
This review is from January 2017
We are Hilton Diamond members and this was our first stay at this property. Unfortunately it will be our last.
We pulled up to the 41st St entrance for valet service. The Bell service was friendly, helpful, and very fast. The first downside to this hotel is you have to take an elevator to the 15th floor for the lobby. We checked in and weren't welcomed as Diamond members until after we asked about upgrades. We were told we could upgrade to a Deluxe room - we were booked into a Corner Room which is a higher cost then a Deluxe but decided to ignore this fact since the room was ready at 10:30 a.m. We were also told this property only has 2 suites and no diamond lounge.
We then took an elevator to the 41st floor. Not a big deal but it is a bit annoying ot have to wait for 2 different elevators when entering or exiting the hotel. First impressions were okay but it was strange that there were 2 tables with room service plates in the hallway. Our room 4117 was clean, had a king bed, and offered a view of Times Square. The room does need some updating though. There was chipped paint, rusty shower drain, etc.
We frequented the hotel bar a few times over the weekend. The bar service was polite and offered food and good drinks.
Now to the completely unacceptable portion to my review. Those 2 tables with room service plates remained in the same place from Friday at 10:30 am until we checked out on Sunday at 11 a.m. When we complained about this we were told that it's basically an ongoing fight with Hilton Corporate. Hilton wanted to do away with room service all together and then at the last minute changed it to Sunday - Thursday from 3:00 pm to 11 pm. There is no room service staff there on the weekends hence the disgusting leftovers and plates in our hallway all weekend. The problem I have with this statement is that this shows the Hilton Times Square staff isn't a team and won't go the extra step for the comfort of their guests.
When we received our car from the valet I got the pleasure of opening my passenger side door to a cake wrapper, crumbs, and powdered sugar all over my car. I asked for a manager to come over. The gentleman I spoke with was from the valet service. He was rude, and removed all blame from himself or his drivers. I have a dairy and gluten allergy and can't eat snacks like that so it sure wasn't me! When I stated that I will have Hilton get involved he walked away. Luckily a Hilton manager happened to be out front of the hotel. Oscar was polite, apologetic, and offered to take one night of valet off of our bill.
Sadly between the lack of room service, the disgusting policy of leaving plates near rooms all weekend, and the irresponsible 3rd party valet company we will not return to this location nor do we recommend it to others.
Fenway Park Tour
This review is from December 2016
We purchased tickets online a few days before our tour. We picked up our tickets at the will call office and crossed the street to the meeting point. We were with a very large group since it was school vacation week. The four of us enjoyed the day even in the cold! We watched the crew setting up the hockey rink for college hockey, sat in several sections for different view points, looked at various memorabilia, sat on the green monster, and sat in the press box. Afterwards we stopped back into the store for some Red Sox Gear. A great tour for locals, visitors, and baseball fans alike!
Playing Tourist in Massachusetts
In November we had family in town from Ohio. We had an extra large turkey who visited us on Thanksgiving (look familiar)? We did a little sightseeing and shopping around Salem. Salem can be unique and fun all year round not just at Halloween. Finally, we surprised my dad with a birthday party. We had a vintage candy table, wine bottles with his picture, and dined at an old school steak restaurant. In between all this we grabbed some good take out, poured some fun drinks, and played games as a family. What a wonderful long weekend!!
Before Christmas Greg and I spent a night in Boston. You can read about our stay at the Ames Hotel, our lunch at Haru Sushi, or our dinner at Bar Boulud. While walking around and shopping for Christmas gifts we got interviewed by students from a local college regarding the legalization of marijuana. We watched people ice skate on frog pond, watched the lights twinkle in Faneuil Hall , and wandered around taking in the views of the skyline.
During the Christmas break we had two of our teenage cousins visiting us from Colorado. We took them for lunch at Eataly and were lucky enough to purchase a black truffle. We took that truffle home and made risotto for the rest of the family. Before heading home we did shopping on Newbury Street for clothes and harry potter gear. Another day we walked through Boston to The Old North Church, Fanueil Hall, and the Holocaust Memorial. Our last tour of Boston was a Fenway Park Tour (more about this later), lunch at Sweet Cheeks, and a visit to Harvard.
This review is from December 2016.
It's lunch time on Newbury Street and we thought we'd give Haru a try. We started with a Sake tasting for each of us. We ordered the Shishito peppers and a variety of sushi. Everything was fresh and beautifully presented. When you read about different sauces, toppings, and additions you expect bold and vibrantt. Sadly the dishes were a touch lackluster. I would give the restaurant a 2nd try though.
This review is from May 2016.
This was our 2nd stay at the Hilton Saint John. We checked into room 907 and were given vouchers for breakfast and 2 for 1 drinks as Hilton Diamond members. Unfortunately, weren't offered an upgrade. Upon entering we noticed our pre arrival amenities weren't in the room (extra towels and foam pillows).
The property is very clean, in a great location, offers nice views. Our room was large, clean, and well appointed. Sadly the water in our shower was finicky. Room service was very good, fast, and with staff who are beyond nice, aware of allergies, and deliver high quality service and ingredients. We especially loved the unique and bold flavored fried calamari.
To read more about our stay and the places we visited in Saint John visit here.
Bar Boulud Boston
This review is from December 2016.
A few years ago we dined at Bar Boulud in London and it was one of our favorite meals to date. We didn't have very high expectations of Bar Boulud Boston due to online reviews. Sadly the reviews were mostly accurate.
We started our dinner with drinks in the bar while waiting for our table. For appetizers we ordered Crispyy Pork Rinds, Beef Tartare, and Pork Belly. We could not stop eating the pork rinds! Unfortunately the pork belly was just okay and the Beef Tartare wasn't to our taste and the accompanying potatoes were inedible due to salt.
For our entrees we orderded the Duck breast and the Coq au vin. While both dishes were fine the salt content was again much to high.
Sadly our dinner was disturbed by the customers next to us. When a customer's credit card is declined for whatever reason I feel it would be best to pull the customer aside not discuss it at a table with other customers a foot away. This process went on for at least 20 minutes!
We probably wouldn't return nor recommend this location.
Ames Hotel Boston
This review is from December 2016.
We are Hilton diamond members and were happy to see the Ames was acquired by Hilton. The hotel staff are friendly, it is in a great location, and the hotel is nicely decorated. We stayed in 1507 for one night. The room is really well appointed although it did have stained curtains and a stained ottoman. The windows in this room are small but we were made aware of this and it was just fine for us. Unfortunately this room if not the hotel itself was very noisy. We heard people in the hallways, their rooms, and even street noise 15 floors below us. The only other problem we encountered was very low hot water pressure the next morning.
Tasting Counter - Somerville MA
Making a reservation at Tasting Counter is different than most restaurants. On their website you buy tickets for lunch or dinner on a specific day and seating time. A dinner ticket (which we booked) is $180.00 per person and includes your dinner experience, your paired beverages, taxes, and service tip.
The evenings 1st service was late so we didn't enter room until 8:20. I really feel dinners should be at 6 and then 8:30 instead of 8 giving the team time to turn things over when there are guests who lag behind. We were checked in and seated but had to get back up to have my coat checked.
The chefs were very impressive especially considering that their schedule was a bit off. I was also thrilled to see that my allergies were taken seriously. The chefs didn't just remove components from my dishes but made separate items to accommodate. The sommelier offered us a nice selection of sake however o ya selection was more diverse. I will say there was a few faux pas by the sommelier. For instance drips on the counter were wiped up by her hand.
Over all the food was beautiful, refined, modern and cooked perfectly. My husband and I do tend to lean towards bold flavors so we both agreed that the seasoning here was on the subtle side.
Oishii - Boston MA
This review is from July 2016.
We were a party of 3 with a reservation for dinner. We were seated downstairs and greeted right away. The service was a little slow to start. It seemed like our server had too many tables. We decided to go for it and ordered the Omakase for the 3 of us with 2 of us enjoying sake. All of the dishes were beautiful to look at, cooked to perfection, and the flavors were outstanding. We can't wait to return.