GMG contributor and all around great guy Patrick Ryan came up with an idea for a Blog Off with the girls from North Shore Dish.
The premise was simple- The North Shore Dish gals and Patrick and I go out to a restaurant which was geographically neutral to our respective home bases of operation and a joint that neither one of our blogs had reviewed. After our meal, each blog would do a post about our experience at the restaurant we both agreed on and whosever blog garnered the most comments about their respective restaurant post would “win”.
I should say that by default North Shore Dish should probably “win” any type of restaurant review contest as that is what they do. They go out to dine all around the North Shore and give impartial reviews of the restaurants where they dine. It’s what they do and on the North Shore of Boston, nobody does it better.
What we do here at GMG is a little different, we specialize in fun, positive energy and helping people to slow down and appreciate all the good stuff around us. We don’t do bad reviews, if our meal someplace sucked or if the service at some local joint sucked, you just wouldn’t read about it on these pages. There are several reasons for this. One, anybody can have an off night- a server, a chef, a bartender and I hate to pass judgment online where it could hurt someone’s business. Hey, I know that I’m not “ON” 100% of the time here at the dock. I try to do my best but believe me, there are times where I mess up- everyone does. Another reason you may not read about something is when I’m out for a nice dinner with the Mrs, the camera stays home. So it is rare that you see pictures from Duckworth’s Bistrot, The Rudder, The Franklin, Passports, The Dog Bar, ect, ect ect.
So we’re not going to deviate from what we do here on GMG as far as food postings. We will stick to our strengths which is having fun and for the most part letting the pictures tell the story. We will leave the incredibly detailed and real restaurant reviews to our buddies from North Shore Dish.
Let’s get to it shall we?
We decided on Mandrake on Cabot Street In Beverly.
Our boy Patrick Ryan had been calling me sporadically during the week to get me fired up about our “Blog Off” and was pushing me to think up some ideas which would bring our post over the top. As my cousin Frankie has been off for the past week, work leading up to Memorial Day weekend by myself down the dock has been crazy busy and I didn’t have too much time to think about what we would do to make our post special. In fact I hadn’t given it much thought until about an hour before we were scheduled to meet.
As you know when real restaurant critics dine out, they need to keep the fact that they will be reviewing the place a secret from the restaurant so that the critic can get an accurate feel for what type of service their viewership would most likely get without any special treatment. This is the mode under which the girls from North Shore Dish operate.
They take their credibility as restaurant critics very seriously. I on the other hand operate altogether differently. As my favorite radio/tv personality Tony Korheiser always says, “The only reason to do radio is to help your friends, destroy your enemies and get great service at restaurants” Operating under anonymity while you are at a restaurant to do a review is not part of the GMG way. We’re up in your face and letting you know that we are about to shed some light on your food and we’re not shy about whipping that camera out.
So it stuck me, we would come in like gangbusters, invade every space we could, chat up the staff and get a feel for what the place is like GMG STYLE.
On the way to Mandrake there would be a little diversion to Stop and Shop for some props. Knowing how the North Shore Dish girls cherished their privacy I decided to swing by Stop and Shop to pick up some brown paper bags for our friends from NSD to wear over their heads to protect their identities. I told the cashier at Stop and Shop I need a few paper bags for my daughter’s school project and offered to pay for them but they let me have them for free.
I figured the chances of using this line of reasoning to trick them into actually wearing brown paper bags over their heads and them allowing us to take their pictures at about 20% but it was an idea that I couldn’t resist trying despite the low probability that they would fall for it.
To my surprise they took the “You guys need to remain anonymous to keep your restaurant critic credibility intact” line and let us snap a few flattering photos of our lovely dining companions.
True to GMG form as soon as I got to Mandrake I whipped out the camera, headed to the kitchen to meet the chefs and let them know they better bring their A-Game because their food is gonna be seen by about 25,000 people when we do our post.
The Mandrake chefs were super friendly- REPRESENT!!!!!
Next up I rounded up the front of the house staff and headed out for a shot out in front of the restaurant with Da Sticka!
Pictured holding Da Sticka below is Georgia.
Georgia is the Grande Dame of the joint. EVERYBODY KNOWS GEORGIA! Super friendly, super attentive, not pushy and on point at all time I think every restaurant needs a woman like Georgia who knows her regulars and makes them feel special every time they walk in the door. Whatever they pay the woman, they should double it. Love that broad.
Then you have the edgy hostess who I couldn’t resist getting this shot showing off Da Sticka with her fresh ink and the reflection of the building across the street.
So we settle in with a few libations. The bartender was expert and served us up these-
OUR BOY PATRICK RYAN
Next we decided to get a couple appetizers-
A Mediterranean type app with olive tapenade (I’m a sucker for olive tapenade). You put olive tapenade on the menu I’ll make a meal out of it.
and a seared tuna app which was fresh citrusy and tasty as hell-
a calimari app-
crabcakes with lump crab- good ratio of lump crab to binder. excellent
Here is the gourmet seafood mac and cheese-
My dish- the Dijon encrusted salmon cooked perfectly.
After dinner we finished up with a fried dough type dessert covered with caramel, chocolate, whipped cream. It didn’t suck!
So that my friends is what we do here at GMG. We let the pictures tell the story, try to inject a little humor and let you decide if the dishes look to your liking. You’re not gonna get how the wine paired with the main courses or some other fancy foodie bullshit, you just get honest pictures and the commentary and know that if it was featured here on these pages, it was worthy.
All that being said, you all really ought to check out North Shore Dish for unbiased, in depth restaurant reviews with the apostrophes in the right places and all the nitty gritty details the way a proper restaurant critic would present them. Thanks for a great evening girls.
I suggest you all leave comments on North Shore Dish’s Mandrake review because they are the real deal restaurant critics and probably deserve to win a contest like this.
We just like to have fun,
your boy Joey
Photo credits Joey and Patrick Ryan