Blog Off at Mandrake: North Shore Dish v. Good Morning Gloucester

Posted: May 31st, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Beverly, Casual/Pub Food, Mandrake, Seafood | Tags: , , , , , | 22 Comments »

The thing about Joey C. (seen here sporting his new geek chic glasses) is that it’s virtually impossible to say no to him. Which is how we found ourselves at Mandrake last Thursday night eating, drinking, carousing, and wearing paper bags over our heads.

A few weeks prior, Joey C. (Ciaramitaro) and Patrick Ryan of Good Morning Gloucester fame had challenged us to a blog-off in which we’d meet on neutral ground (i.e., not Gloucester), dine together, and post about our experiences on the same day. The post that gets the most comments ensures bragging rights as the most awesome North Shore blog.

It was not our usual anonymous meal, that’s for sure. But despite the paper bags (a humorous nod to our standard under-the-radar dining) and Joey’s antics (he befriended everyone in the place and set up his tripod anywhere he pleased), we had a great time, and the food was right up our alley.

We started with the hummus and tapenade plate, accompanied by soft pita ($7). It was good, but totally eclipsed by the calamari, which were very tender and accompanied by a delicious aioli ($10), and the crab cakes, which were good sized, flavorful, and exceptionally light ($14). The only cocktail we tried was the Islander, which tasted like summer in a glass ($8).

Our entrees were all good, with a couple of standouts. The steak tips were cooked to our requested medium rare and accompanied by a huge amount of garlic mashed potatoes ($18). The baked scallops had great flavor, and the scallops were moist ($17). The horseradish and dijon crusted salmon was perfectly cooked and sitting on lyonnais potatoes, a nice change from the usual ($19).

The yellowfin tuna was very tender and fresh, perfect with just a sear on the outside. The sides were spot on in flavor: a salty seaweed salad and a bright asian coleslaw ($19). The best of the night was the seafood mac and cheese, which managed to be rich but not heavy. The cream sauce was delicious, the portion was huge, and the seafood was not overcooked ($24).

Thanks to Joey’s gregariousness, we were treated to dessert—a huge plate of fried dough topped with cookie dough ice cream, whipped cream, and caramel sauce. It sounds like carnival junk food run amok, but it was actually a unique indulgence that quickly disappeared.

We had been to Mandrake only for cocktails and bar snacks, and we’re glad we got a chance to return for dinner. The decor is cozy, the service is extremely friendly (and not just to Joey, we observed), and the atmosphere is the relaxed kind we tend to gravitate to.

We had a boatload of fun that night, and want to thank the staff for putting up with us. Of course, we could never seriously compete with Joey and Patrick, who get hundreds of hits a day due to their loving coverage of all things Gloucester, not to mention the photos of albino lobsters and LOLseagullz, but let’s give them a run for their money. Whether you’ve been to Mandrake or not, if you’re a loyal North Shore Dish fan, please comment on this post so we can show the boys of GMG that not only are we good sports, but we know what great local blogging is all about.

And no, we weren’t kidding about the paper bags, Joey’s got the evidence.

Mandrake
252 Cabot St, Beverly
(978) 922-0663
www.mandrakebarbistro.com

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22 Comments on “Blog Off at Mandrake: North Shore Dish v. Good Morning Gloucester”

  1. #1 Rick said at 7:51 am on May 31st, 2011:

    Nice review! I’ve had the calamari at Mandrake and thought it was quite good also.

  2. #2 Jane Ward said at 8:36 am on May 31st, 2011:

    Both blogs are fabulous, how can we choose? Thanks for the review. I see I must get there soon for the calamari…

  3. #3 Patrick Ryan said at 8:47 am on May 31st, 2011:

    Great night out and the review is spot on. You are the best at what you do and a truly trusted source of information.. and well joey is just joey… him and his gregariousness

  4. #4 Paul Morrison said at 8:49 am on May 31st, 2011:

    That “not being able to say no to Joey” combined with the aforementioned gregariousness is a dangerous combination.

    You didn’t have to arm wrestle the bartender for your cocktails? You got off easy with just the paper bags.

    Your description of the seafood mac and cheese sold me.

  5. #5 Paul Morrison said at 8:53 am on May 31st, 2011:

    Patrick, nice job, you spelled gregariousness correctly too. I just copy and pasted it.

  6. #6 Sarah said at 10:11 am on May 31st, 2011:

    North Shore Dish FTW!

  7. #7 Sarah E said at 10:27 am on May 31st, 2011:

    I still say “blog off” sounds quite rude.

  8. #8 Geoff said at 10:31 am on May 31st, 2011:

    There is only one true Dish on the North Shore!

  9. #9 Geoff said at 10:34 am on May 31st, 2011:

    Do all of Joey’s comments on his own post count? He’s up to three.

  10. #10 admin said at 10:49 am on May 31st, 2011:

    Ha Geoff, good point! I think any comments by either blog owner will be removed from the final tally.

    Thanks everyone for great support! Our readers rock!

  11. #11 BJ Larson said at 11:07 am on May 31st, 2011:

    I love the explosion of good eating opportunities on the North Shore, and both blogs support that!! Keep it up!!

  12. #12 Cathleen said at 1:35 pm on May 31st, 2011:

    Nice review, we haven’t been here in a while.

  13. #13 Susanne said at 2:30 pm on May 31st, 2011:

    Nice review!
    -A devoted NSD fan

  14. #14 Jenn C. / Siercia said at 3:48 pm on May 31st, 2011:

    Sounds like a delicious meal and a very fun time!

    Your blog makes me wish I lived on the North Shore.

  15. #15 Julie Cook said at 5:00 pm on May 31st, 2011:

    Both great blogs. Joey C wins for Mr. Congeniality and NS Dish for overall reviews.

  16. #16 Mary said at 7:31 pm on May 31st, 2011:

    Great review! I’ll have to try it.
    What’s in an Islander?
    Thanks for all you do for the North Shore food scene.

  17. #17 Colleen said at 7:35 pm on May 31st, 2011:

    Look forward to your reviews. Enjoyed the Mandrake a year or so ago. Just can’t remember what I ate! All I remember are those hot potato chips!

  18. #18 JohnL said at 8:39 pm on May 31st, 2011:

    Mac and cheese and seafood? Roadtrip!

  19. #19 Rebecca said at 9:48 pm on May 31st, 2011:

    Thanks to GMG and it’s quick link to your site. Now I know where I will turn to get valuable advice for where to dine. :D

  20. #20 Kristin said at 3:27 pm on June 1st, 2011:

    I live right down the street from Mandrake. Love their steak tips and the service is always friendly. (Glad to see they finally have a website up and running too!)

  21. #21 Whizkid said at 7:43 am on June 2nd, 2011:

    Wow thanks! Great Review. I’ll have to go!

  22. #22 julie said at 3:52 pm on June 4th, 2011:

    excellent blog! will have to try Mandrake soon after that great review!


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