In a plot twist we never saw coming, old-fashioned Boston is earning destination status as a new-fashioned, culinary hotspot. As part of its evolution into a true metropolis, the New England capital has solidified a star role in the global foodie movement with a surge in new, chef-driven restaurants helmed by both established and rising talent. From a pan-Asian restaurant by Top Chef royalty to a fast-casual seafood eatery by James Beard award-winning chefs, here are some of the places throwing a Red Sox’s curve ball into Boston’s formerly predictable restaurant scene.
At her uber-popular pan-Asian restaurant, Top Chef alum Tiffani Faison, who trained under Todd English, wows with small plates inspired by her personal travels throughout Southeast Asia. Neon lights, a massive mosaic elephant, and a jungle chic setting replete with lush gardens lend to a fun and festive atmosphere for an eclectic, gastronomic voyage through Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, and Singapore. You really can’t go wrong with any dish, but don’t pass up an opportunity to try the crispy blowfish with sherried black bean sauce or Faison’s sweet-and-savory, modern take on Pad Thai.
After three decades working under celebrity chef Barbara Lynch and her eponymous restaurant group, Chef Colin Lynch (no relation to Barbara) and two of his colleagues branched off in 2016 to open their own coastal Italian restaurant. Specializing in seasonal crudo dishes, generously topped crostini, and handmade pastas, Bar Mezzana impresses with its fresh—and delicious—simplicity. Add to the mix a snazzy mid-century modernist design, a superbly curated wine list, and Italian cocktails perfected, and you have a winning recipe for one of the city’s hottest tables.
2017 James Beard Foundation award-winners Andrew Taylor and Mike Wiley bring a fast-casual version of their iconic Portland, Maine-based Eventide Oyster Co. to Boston’s burgeoning Fenway neighborhood. Step up to the counter and order from a menu board which features many of the original’s top—and best—items, including the Eventide Brown Butter Lobster Roll™, the tuna crudo with ginger-scallion, tare, and radish, and local oysters on the half-shell.
In September 2017, Executive Chef Brendan Burke was tapped to revamp and reinvent the menu at French-inspired Bastille Kitchen in Boston’s trendy Fort Point neighborhood. Mission accomplished—and in a major way. Look forward to Burke’s iteration of Parisian-style gnocchi (tossed with fresh crab, sweet potato, and baby Brussels sprouts), dreamy black truffle and mushroom duxelles flatbread, and almond-crusted halibut on a bed of fresh corn and baby lima bean succotash.
Strip by Strega
Dress to impress at this celebrity-frequented, modern Italian steakhouse, where Boston’s calorie-conscious ‘in’ crowd unapologetically feasts on a menu that includes house-made ricotta with honey, truffle butter-basted prime cuts, 3-pound lobsters with bacon and goat cheese, and twice-baked potatoes. The dimly lit, seductive dining room—anchored by white leather, semi-circular booths and celebrity black-and-white photos—oozes a decidedly Vegas nightlife vibe, and unsurprisingly, dinner typically evolves into a wild, all-night affair.
At the Boston outpost of his famed bistro and wine bar, celebrity Chef Daniel Boulud mingles traditional French fare with New England’s prolific farm-to-table assets and ocean-to-table riches on a menu that changes seasonally. In fall, for example, indulge in the likes of duck confit with Lyonnaise potatoes, Brussels sprouts, and huckleberry, followed by a dessert of maple pear coupe (whole, spice poached pears, biscoff crunch, and maple foam).
Boston’s seafood dream team—oyster farmer Skip Bennett, chef Jeremy Sewall, and restaurateurs Garrett Harker and Shore Gregory—take us on an unforgettable epicurean journey under the sea at this much-buzzed-about restaurant. Sip on craft beer and savor a lobster roll, piled high (with thick, hand cut fries, no less), after polishing off a half-dozen of the restaurant’s namesake oysters—the most mature bivalves from Bennett’s Island Creek Oyster Farm in Duxbury Bay, positioned along the 34th row of cages onward.
James Beard award-winner Chef Michael Schlow and chef de cuisine Brendan Pelley bring the sublime flavors of Greece to life at this lively Back Bay restaurant. From its bustling kitchen, Doretta delivers hearty plates of cold mezze (we recommend the spicy whipped feta and smoked eggplant), hot mezze (don’t miss the baklava-inspired, pan-roasted shrimp with honey), and even larger mains such as the fresh whole Mediterranean Sea Bass, served with red quinoa, ouzo fennel, and roasted peppers.
Fly into Boston with Tradewind’s regularly scheduled shuttles, offering four daily flights Monday through Friday from New York (White Plains).
*Featured Image: Bar Mezzana via Brian Samuels