Myers+Chang – John Hancock Never Had Flavors So Exciting

Occasionally, you have a meal that is really exciting.  Not necessarily fancy or expensive, just exhilarating with memorable, often new and intense flavors. It might have been at a street vendor in Singapore, the bistro where you took shelter from the rain outside of Paris, the first time you had Thai food, or even that little restaurant where you first tried ceviche in Lima.

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I’ve had these meals, and I just had another one here in Boston at Myers+Chang in the South End. They have been around for a few years, and I can’t believe that it took this long to get here! It is a little out of the way for most Freedom Trail visitors, but the trek is worth it if you like exciting, Asian influenced food.

Public transportation is via the Silver line bus to the East Berkley Street station – SL5 Bus 9, link here. Metered parking is readily available on Washington and East Berkeley Streets. It is also walkable from the Theater District downtown. Although there is seating at the counter/bar, make a reservation, which you can do at, or call them at 617.542.5200.

It feels like a hip diner, e.g., it is not fancy and you don’t need to dress. But, it is fun, funky and has its own style and vibe. Food comes out when it is ready, so don’t plan on traditional coordinated courses. Order dishes to share – two to three per person. Save room for desert.

We ordered a number of the “standards.” The braised pork belly buns came out first. These are little sandwiches of tender pork belly, bao (a green) and hoisin sauce served on dough that almost had the consistency of memory foam – cool and delicious. The taiwanese-style cool dan dan noodles were in a creamy piquant peanut sauce; a great balance to the pork buns. The red miso glazed carrots (serendipitous, as we couldn’t decide what to order) provided perfect contrast. But the piece du resistance was the tiger’s tears (supposedly hot enough to make a tiger cry) – grilled sliced steak in a fiery sauce with plenty of basil and lime. It was not as hot as we expected, but it lingered in our mouths for a while, but not long enough.

Joanne Chang is a fantastic baker (visit one of her four “flour” bakeries if you get a chance), and we elected to share a sticky date pudding w/ginger crème anglaise. Whatever of the crème anglaise wasn’t used on the pudding, I ate with a spoon. I had a Patron XO Café (coffee flavored tequila) and my wife had a Fernet Branca (an herbal aromatic liquor), both on the rocks.

The bill with two drinks with dinner and the after dinner drinks was under $100. On the way out we chatted with the owners, who were both humble and charming; everyone was was welcoming and helpful. The pace on a busy Saturday night was a little frenetic, but it just added to the texture.

All in all, it was a fantastic blending of flavors; unexpected, pungent, sublime and a fun night. Go.

For bargain hunters, Meyers+Chang feature a Cheap Date Night on Monday and Tuesday nights with a $40 prix fixe “themed” menu for 2 people. This is a steal for an amazing culinary experience.

Scutra – Arlington

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Elegant night out with excellent food. Creative menu with good specials. Service can be mixed, but overall very nice experience.
Good value. coupons have been available.

Lantana Cafe – Medford

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Warm, informal, romantic and eclectic Mediterranean restaurant with good, if slight rich food.
Very good value. See for coupons.

Thai Moon – Arlington

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Thai Moon is a great, low key family run Thai restaurant in Arlington center.  The food is very good, the people are friendly and prices reasonable.  They do not have a website.

Hidden gem.

Punjab Restaurant – Arlington

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A great Indian restaurant with “high-end” atmosphere.  Excellent food, a bar you can sit at with good draft beer and elegant dining area.  They can be crowded on weekend nights, so expect a wait.

Great value.