Boston’s Wicked Good Eats
I’m a both a seafood lover and a history fanatic—two big reasons why I can’t resist Boston’s siren song. I lived there at several points in my life, worked there, attended school there and some of my best friends live there (huge ups to Norm and Mike who have turned me on to many of the best places in my show and on this list). My dad lives in Portland, Maine, so I fly through Beantown several times a year.
Some of my all-time favorite restaurants are there, check out: o ya, Clio, Uni, Daily Catch, Neptune Oyster, Island Creek, Santarpios, No9Park, Rialto, Oleana, Sichuan Gourmet, Meyers and Chang, Radius, Menton … shall I keep going?
You’ll see what I’m talking about on the Bizarre Foods America Boston episode. I could elaborate on why I love these places and what happened behind the scenes, but I think I’ll just let the footage speak for itself. Instead, let’s focus on what got left on the cutting room floor and what we couldn’t even fit into our filming schedule this time around. Here are a few of my other favorite Beantown spots.
New Jumbo Seafood
I love Boston’s Chinatown, and I can’t get enough of the food at Jumbo Seafood. I love the steamed whole shrimp, the lobster with ginger and scallion, the raw shaved geoduck and plenty of other Cantonese seafood favorites. It’s an iconic Boston place; people have been talking about it ad nauseum for years and it still lives up to the hype.
My friend Chef Ken Oringer and his restaurant Clio did make it into the show. But let’s talk about Coppa where he and Jamie Bissonette take on housemade salumi, pizzas, pastas and heartier entrees (here’s to the crispy chicken with lemon). I love it here. Super simple plates that deliver every time.
If I could, I’d kick-off every night out in Beantown at B&G Oysters. The raw bar is unparalleled (I’m a sucker for oysters), and their wine list pairs perfectly with seafood. Don’t skip the fried clams if they’re on the menu.
Hamersley’s cassoulet easily claims a spot in my top five winter eats. It’s the perfect dish to tuck into on a cold night. Pork, duck confit and garlic sausage. Fantastic.
Craigie on Main
If the idea of trying something a little of the ordinary (cock’s combs, crispy pig tails, braised oxtail pastrami) sits fine with you, celebrate a special occasion here. Go for a prix fixe menu and let Chef Tony Maws wow you with his ever-evolving arsenal of seasonally-driven menu. Great brunch too, by the way.
Ken and Jamie do it again. Do these guys ever sleep? What can I say, when Ken picks a concept, he nails it. A meal at Toro is like stepping into a chic Barcelona tapas bar. Try the Jamon de La Quercia, Iowa’s take on acorn-raised ham and the tuna conserva—Spanish tuna belly with tomato tapanade and celery leaves. Then again when I am there I always get seconds of the uni sandwich.
This old-school butchery (they’ve been around since 1939) is still very relevant today. I love the staff at Savenor’s—they really know their stuff. From helping you make the perfect meaty selection, to advice on how to best cook a leg of lamb, aged beef, or maybe even frog legs (you never know what might be in stock), Savenor’s does it for me.
Of course traveling doesn’t always lend itself to well to cooking at home. Satisfy your meat craving at the super hip Butcher Shop. Charcuterie, steak tartar, beet salad, hot dog a la Maison—basically all the stuff that’s trending right now. Who cares when it all tastes great.
Mike’s City Diner
For a meal like mom used to make, head to Mike’s City Diner on Washington Street. This local favorite is known for their hearty breakfasts and home-cooked dinners—Mike’s turkey dinner with all the fixin’s hits the spot.
A super casual Japanese hot pot pig out in Chinatown. Get there!
For more insight on my favorite Boston eats (plus a fascinating segment on how some folks at Harvard are shaking up the food world), tune in to Bizarre Foods America: Boston @ 9|8C on Monday, Feb 13. High-five.