Drawing upon their training at the Cambridge School of Culinary Arts, Scugnizzi's chefs craft heaping portions of traditional, housemade Italian cuisine. After it makes them clean their rooms, cooks hand-stretch mother dough into thin-crust neapolitan pizzas before baking them in a hearth stone oven at more than 700 degrees. Their white and whole-wheat subs and wraps—named for Italy's 20 regions—incorporate ingredients such as sopressata and balsamic reduction, while their pastas include lobster ravioli and housemade sausage coated in porcini-mushroom cream. Meals can unfold in Scugnizzi's dining area or in the comforts of your home via delivery.
In 2004, Chef Paul Turano put everything he had, quite literally, into starting his restaurant, Tryst. As he explained to theBoston Global, "I…leveraged the equity from my condo, lines of credit, and personal loans with interest to fund it." But what started off as a huge risk has turned into a satisfying pay-off as Tryst, an upscale bistro offering contemporary American cuisine, has not only earned a Zagat rating but has also gained praise from Boston Magazine and TV Diner. But Chef Paul's determination isn’t the only driving focus behind Trysts success. It's also his ambitious culinary philosophy that cuisine should be approachable yet intelligent.
By regularly rotating the menu's entrees, diners are served fresh, seasonal dishes that take a modern approach to comfort food, such as Angus sirloin burgers, pumpkin French toast, and house cured bresola. A lengthy list of wines and specialty cocktails are always on hand to pair with the artfully-plated meals, while seasonal dessert options, such as a pumpkin pie sundae with Bourbon caramel, end meals. And to enhance each diner's experience, modern chandeliers illuminate the 100-seat bistro's dark wood accents and rich chocolate hues.
It's fitting that, from the outside, Scutra's brick-faced building looks like a family home that's been turned into a neighborhood restaurant. When you enter the cozy space—which is decorated in warm yellow and orange tones—you might see chef Didier Baugniet asking for diners' thoughts on the WiAnno oysters with parmesan-lemon-pepper butter or one of the many dishes from the constantly changing menu. Elsewhere in the welcoming, dinner-only venue, you might see patrons turning in their comfy, woven-back chairs to talk to Baugniet's wife and partner, Cesidia Cedrone, asking for recommendations from the thoughtfully curated wine list, which features varietals from all over the globe.
The international wines paired with European dishes and hospitality help diners feel like they’re thousands of miles away, dining in a cozy bistro while watching men kick a ball around in a game oddly dubbed football despite its lack of resemblance to the classic American pastime. The restaurant’s food—scallop schnitzel with sake butter, beef short-rib gnocchi, and salmon grape leaves—all made with fresh, local ingredients, is a nod to the delicious offerings of multiple countries. Restaurant manager Louie Paparella even said in a 2009 article in the Arlington Advocate, "Our Belgian chef has worked around the world and picked up little culinary traits and we use it all."
When Ricardo and Nancy Mermet opened Tango Restaurant, their mission was to bring a flavorful slice of Argentina to the Northeast. Sides of beef rotate slowly on spits over an open-flame grill, searing to premium tenderness and juiciness before a knife-wielding asadore (grill chef) carves off the choicest cuts. The menu revolves around beef entrees, such as filet mignon topped with roquefort cheese, but it also showcases grilled chicken marinated in lemon sauce and seafood dishes such as seasoned sole prepared with red sauce and cheese. Adventurous diners can try delicacies such as kidney and sweetbreads (usually made from the throat or pancreas), and super-adventurous diners can enjoy their meals while suspended above a shark tank.
Tango's vinegar-parsley chimichurri sauce complements the flavor of entrees, leading some diners to eat up to 2 pounds of meat in a single sitting, according to Ricardo and Nancy. Tango's chic wood bar pours wine and beer, and an open space invites diners to shimmy off their dinner by performing the eatery's eponymous dance amid dim mood lighting and exposed brick walls.
There's a certain kind of unique, primal pleasure in eating wings. You have to use your hands and sauce splatters everywhere as you tear the meat from the bone. At Wings Over Arlington, such primal behavior is not only accepted, it's encouraged. Fresh, hand-battered wings arrive hot from the kitchen wearing any of 24 sauces, including five varieties of buffalo sauce, rated from the mild 'wimpy' sauce to the 'after burner,' which requires a respectful salute of acknowledgement before consumption. Those who prefer a less saucy experience can go for buffalo-chicken sandwiches slathered in creamy bleu cheese, or wings prepared with dry rubs such as West Texas mesquite.
Chefs at Fusion Taste top white tablecloths with a mix of Chinese and Japanese cuisine. Rock-shrimp tempura and hand-tossed scallion pancakes share table space with Chinese classics such as sesame chicken and black-pepper beef. Thick stalks of bamboo rise beneath the window of the dining room, providing natural decor as well as a place to hide tuna-stuffed sushi rolls for later. The chefs also showcase Japanese flavor in cooked dishes such as aigomo-rosu teriyaki, or sliced duck meat in a sake soy sauce, and seared tuna sautéed in a wild-mushroom sauce.