For foodies, being paid to eat out at the city's new restaurants is a dream job, not a chore. But after sampling our way through the absolutely delicious offerings of these 2017 openings, we're feeling a bit, well, bloated. No matter, we'd do it all again in order to relive the enticing flavors of Mary Dumont's homemade bucatini or Jeremy Sewell's roasted duck. Go on, give it a try…
Looking for a 100-plus-bottle tequila selection, emerald green guacamole and creative tacos? Chef and owner Joe Cassinelli (Posto, Osteria Posto) presides over this place; there's brightly decorated with edgy Mexican pop art to get you in the mood. It is Washington Square’s younger sibling of popular Painted Burro Mexican Kitchen in Somerville. We recommend the beef tongue taco with crunchy hazelnut slaw, coconut cod taco with pineapple salsa and the sautéed mushrooms taco with spicy, carrot-habanero salsa. Chicken tinga-stuffed tamale, ahogada “drowned” in salsa ranchera is muy delicioso.
Iron Chef America’s Mary Dumont (formerly of Harvard Square’s Harvest) introduces patio-to-plate dining at her new, stylish restaurant tucked into a corner of the boutique Ames Hotel. Vegetables and herbs from a hydroponic garden on the terrace go into Dumont’s season-centric menus. Feast on grilled yakatori beets with ricotta and poached egg, and homemade bucatini tossed with vegetables, lemon, miso and butter. The whole roasted chicken for two, stuffed with wild mushroom ragout is a knockout. It’s served over creamy Anson Mills blue polenta and strewn with freshly picked herbs.
East Coast Grill
Shuttered for a year after a three-decade run, East Coast Grill has reopened under the management of Highland Kitchen chef and owner Mark Romano. The notorious barbecue hot spot is as flavorful and fun as ever with many of the same dishes like Inner Beauty hot sauce drenched smoked chicken wings, oak smoked barbecue, and grilled, spice-crusted mahi mahi “in the style of the Yucatan.” Try Romano’s crisp skinned buttermilk fried chicken. The lava lounge is back although the volcano no longer erupts. Back too—the kitschy, plastic mermaids and animals on every cocktail glass.
South Enders have warmly embraced this charming subterranean wine bar with its people-watching sidewalk seating and airy solarium out back. The menu from chef Alex Falconer (Josephine) includes Gallic inspired dishes like escargots toast, tuna tartare, salt-encrusted whole branzino for two and classic steak frites. Owner Sandrine Rossi’s family produced the bottles of Chateau La Tour de By Medoc on the wine list. Weekend brunch gets crowded; remember, the early bird catches the croque monsieur.
Great dining doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg. At Newbury Street basement take-out Gre.Co., the specialty is a gyro sandwich, made from marinated meats carved from a vertical grill, then folded in pita flatbread with French fries, tomato and onion, and your choice of assorted Greek sauces and condiments. The avgolemono soup is lemony and the sweet loukoumades are addictive. Nothing costs more than 10 bucks.
This chic hideaway, located in the long-abandoned MBTA Conductor’s Building in Harvard Square, offers high-end French fare with service and ambiance to match. Excellent eats and attention to detail are what the dining public has come to expect from restaurateur Garrett Harker and Chef Jeremy Sewell, the team behind Island Creek Oyster Bar and Row 34. At Les Sablons, you’ll bliss out on fresh oysters, rye spaghetti and chanterelles tossed in arugula pesto, escargots in puff pastry and roasted duck with cherries. The wine list is deep enough to dive into.
It’s summer vacation year round at this Seaport sister of popular Nantucket restaurant LoLa 41—a self-styled global bistro-cum-sushi bar featuring foods from the 41st parallel. Here, this translates into creamy Havarti, Jarlsberg, cheddar, and Parmesan mac and cheese, a moist tuna burger perched on English muffin, and assorted maki rolls. With its dark wooden surfaces, white butcher-block paper over white line tablecloths, and seashell chandeliers, this is a handsome spot to enjoy the dramatic view of Boston Harbor. Think Nantucket minus the ferry.
Brian Moy (Shojo) continues his hipification of Chinatown with the opening of noodle bar Ruckus downstairs from China Pearl, the Moy family’s iconic dim sum palace. At this graffiti decorated, white tiled, hole-in-the wall you’ll need a spoon in one hand and chopsticks in the other to devour dishes like tori paten ramen with fried chicken, fried skin, soy egg and chicken broth. Don’t miss the black garlic mazemen (no broth ramen) with spiced lamb, grilled nori, and crunchy chili threads.
Sumiao Hunan Kitchen
The area’s first Hunanese restaurant showcases regional dishes like spicy crunchy cucumbers, shredded potato with green pepper and duo jiao salted chilies, and red braised pork (said to be Chairman Mao’s all-time fave). Owner Sumiao Chen, a Cordon Blue alum and Hunan native, has decorated the Kendall Square space in Fruit Loop colors with chic artwork. You’ll never have better General Tso’s chicken, although it’s believed Hunan’s best known dish was actually invented by a Taiwanese chef in New York.
Troquet on South
It’s technically not ‘new’ new, but we can’t overlook the relocation of one of Boston’s truly great restaurants, Troquet, from the Theater District to the Leather District. Larger digs means an expanded bar menu and a bigger kitchen where chef-co-owner Scott Hebert can produce his critically acclaimed, Continental-influenced cuisine. Try roasted Vermont suckling pig with spoonbread and baked beans or whole-wheat bigoli pasta with lamb shoulder ragu. Co-owner Chris Campbell knows every single bottle on what’s arguably Boston’s best wine list.