Mandrake- The Blog Off With North Shore Dish

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. Smile

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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!!!!!

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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.

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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.

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So we settle in with a few libations.  The bartender was expert and served us up these-

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OUR BOY PATRICK RYAN

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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.

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and a seared tuna app which was fresh citrusy and tasty as hell-

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a calimari app-GMG 013

crabcakes with lump crab- good ratio of lump crab to binder.  excellent

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Here is the gourmet seafood mac and cheese-

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My dish- the Dijon encrusted salmon cooked perfectly.GMG 018

After dinner we finished up with a fried dough type dessert covered with caramel, chocolate, whipped cream.  It didn’t suck!

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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

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Photo credits Joey and Patrick Ryan

33 comments

  • That looked like a lot of fun. Will have to check out the Mandrake. I only have one question, in the last picture, who is that intellectual looking man in the eyeglasses?

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  • Beautiful close up pictures of food! ;)
    I was sad I missed getting a pic of Patrick, so glad to see he made it up here.

    You guys are the best.

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    • No youse guys are da best, LOL. That was a lot of fun and you guys earn huge points for being restaurant critics without the usual pretentiousness that the “restaurant critic” badge usually carries. Name me one other restaurant critic who would don brown paper bags in the name of credibility?

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  • Where’s your manners? Take your hat off when you’re dining inside!

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  • Definately looks like it is worth trying out! Love the pictures.

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  • You gave a real feel for the place and not just the food. I thought your insights were great.

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  • Thanks for the great photos and humor. Now I’m on my way over to NSD for their review. I think my comments are about to cancel each other out.

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  • I couldn’t have said it any better myself. Awesome post and a great time. I never realized how strong of a sense of community there is between the north shore blogger nation. Good to see!

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  • Big props to the Mandrake team for taking on the GMG invasion with a smile (and to the North Shore Dish ladies for sitting through a meal with Joey and Patrick). Is PRyan sipping a Sunny D and Rum?

    Love the dueling posts. After reading these, we’ll be heading to Mandrake soon.

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  • My vote is for Joey and Patrick from GMG all the way! Though I do love the North Shore Dish blog as well…no disrespect intended.

    Jenn

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  • What, no Minute Rice?
    Wow! Looks like you guys had a great time and you also met Elvis Costello. What a night!

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  • I’m really impressed by the way Poindexter and Patrick covered every detail of the dining experience. I will make the Mandrake a must go to based on this review and coverage.

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  • Poindexter…. tee hee! Great post!

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  • Both the crabcakes and calamari sound and look divine–too hard to chose! I’ll have to try one as an appetizer and the other as an entree.

    Love the glasses–you look very blogeristic!

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  • I always thought this counting of the comments to rate the blog in a blog-off was going to be tough. With this comment I bring my tally to two a piece to become neutral.

    But I think we need to put our money where our mouths are or something like that. Go to Mandrake this weekend and order the entire left hand side of the menu. When you sign the check be sure to mark which blog caused you to go food nutty and crazy at Mandrake.

    Totally by accident I have a meeting 2,000 feet from Mandrake on Thursday and I am going to try to work down the apps menu all for the good of GMG. If I can get someone with a corporate credit card to come we are well on our way to Charlie Sheen winning.

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  • There you go again Joey. Talking about Mandrake’s & joints. Oh, not the Mandrake root. Oh I see, Mandrake’s is the name of the joint. Joint being one you eat in, not one you smoke…LOL..The pictures are great & the food looks good. And that is a real big compliment coming from someone like me.

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  • Joey took me on a man date to mandrake once…! I know we have a severe case of bromance, what else is new. We order great food together on occasion and this place has it. Is that a crime? If so Patrick Ryan you will be convicted of it as well… Let me shed some murky light on clever observations by way of a response. The glasses do creep me out brother as the poindexter comment was spot on and the hat he always wears like his lucky charm… Haven’t you all seen the guy who tries to steal the magic hat from frosty?? Fits him to a friggen T when it comes to GMG just try and take it….Time to get Busy Busy Busy…This hat/glasses combo matches his funny walking style like butter on a lobster, to soon after the other jabs? Never not once did he try and play footsie with me for the record. You left out the decor and what type of game the place has..More toward the upscale casual….It’s a cozy place but get in early for the food. You want time for a few mixed drinks and sorted conversations. “Defiantly a place to see and be seen so stay after for a round….” Lastly build a damn light box for the food shots…The place is a little darker to really let the bromance sparkle. [All I know is Joey took me on a man-date to Madrake not a bad time and good food.] He most often cheats on me with a person named Jill when he goes to this place….It’s a superb establishment for a couple in other words. Side note I’m open to women that wear paper bags before I get them home. Then I wouldn’t need the damn sunny D and rum…Hubba hubba tag em and bag emmmmmmm…LOL

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  • Considering that by 8:00AM this post will be off the first page and onto never never blog land for 95% of the population who don’t realize the blog exists past the front page I would like to extend thanks and congratulations to our pals at North Shore Dish.

    Everyone wins IMO. Even though we had more comments, I’d say that if you took mine out we are about equal and then if you wanted to drill down and take out the comments that were solely about my Poindexter looks I’d say NSD would actually be the winner.

    What a perfect excuse for a night out, let’s do it again!

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  • Your being to modest Joey, I appreciate a review with humor and a refrain from trashing. Why not just give the good ones!

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  • Rabbit, I love your statement. I’m just glad you put in Joey didn’t play footsies with you. Have a good one.

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  • If you knew the “Dish” ladies you would certainly know there is no cosmetic need for those bags! They are very nice.

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  • Definately looks like it is worth trying out! Love the pictures.

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