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Paella to Die for at Portuguese-American Seafoods in 1970s Union Square

A reader sends in some dining memories for the Classics Week 2015 Long Lost Lamented Restaurant Power Hour, from P-A Seafoods to Casa Barbi.

Joyce Chen
Joyce Chen
Official Site

Eater reader Geoffrey R. sent in the following bits of nostalgia for Classics Week: "I remember going to the Portuguese-American Seafoods restaurant as a teen in the '70s, located outside Union Square, Somerville. The Paella Valenciana and Mariscada Costa Brava were entrees to die for!!!

Replete with lobster, Cherrystones, mussels, sausage, chicken, and all other paella goodness, they knew how to create a crust on the rice that I haven't seen in any recent paella from here to Barcelona! Very disappointing.

I also remember an old red sauce classic, Casa Barbi, which was in a ground floor, below-ground floor space right down from Harvard Avenue in Allston on Commonwealth Avenue. As a boy in the '60s, this was my meal to warm me: meatballs and fresh mushrooms in red sauce on spaghetti!! Mangia!!! I loved that place...

I have fond memories of eating the luncheon buffet at Joyce Chen on Memorial Drive. Great, spicy Szechuan, little-known then in the early 1970s, which warmed me and filled my tummy with flavors so unlike the typical Cantonese-American 99-cent lunch plates found so much elsewhere. I salute Joyce Chen for turning me on to becoming a lifelong rabid Chinese cuisine nut. Three meals a day, baby.

I'd eat it three meals a day!"