One of the most enjoyable ways to experience different cultures is by exploring their cuisines, and at Maxwells 148, guests can zoom around the globe with bites from an international menu. Executive Chef Mitchell Maxwell sees to it. More than just a passive admirer of the Asian and Italian foods that stand out on the Zagat-rated menu, the experienced kitchen master has trained in the lands from which these cuisines originate. His passion for Asian food has taken him to Honolulu, Hong Kong, China, Thailand, Indonesia, and Singapore—he spent time in a kitchen in each of those locations. And his love of Italian fare dovetailed neatly with his pan-Asian education when he learned how to cook in the style of the Friuli region of Italy with chefs who hailed from there, but who were in Hawaii with Maxwell.
The results of Chef Maxwell’s globetrotting education are palpable in the flavors of appetizers such as Maine lobster or Hudson Valley foie gras. Or, they emerge from a pasta dish of Cantonese noodles with shrimp or linguini siciliana with cauliflower. His house specialties include classic chicken marsala, gnocchi ai aragosta, and kaffir-lime seared scallops.
With two locations situated in the heart of Harvard Square and Natick, Dolphin Seafood Restaurant reflects the unique maritime flavors of Boston and the Atlantic coast, receiving daily shipments of fresh seafood such as Chesapeake Bay oysters and Maine clams. Cooks stir fresh pots of New England clam chowder and broil filets of Bluefish, Idaho rainbow trout, and swordfish swathed in butter and garlic over their breadcrumb-flavored scales. At each restaurant, patrons can unwind in the evenings in a lounge with beers on tap, sports on the TV, and martini glasses filled with specialty cocktails.
The Simple Man Saloon's simple confines host hearty pub grub alongside live Southern rock and blues music. Its menu is studded with savory offerings such as 100% Angus-beef burgers made fresh to order, plated with fries and a pickle on black-and-white checked paper that signals the meal's finish line. Beers are available to toast the live bands and wash down sweet-potato fries, veggie burgers, and hand-battered buffalo wings.
The clatter of pool balls resounds off of brick walls at Cole's Tavern, where wafts of sizzling meats and fresh seafood emerge from the kitchen. As draft beer, wine, and spirits gush into glasses, fresh-ground Angus beef piles onto freshly baked buns and seafood and chicken burrow into nests of pasta. Chefs craft house-made dough for pizzas before arranging toppings, such as mushrooms, shrimp, and calamari, into a likeness of each customer's favorite Impressionist painting. Large plasma TVs and live music infuse the pub with a sense of revelry as bocce balls careen across the court of an expansive outdoor courtyard and deck. A private-function room equips up to 100 guests with a full bar and buffet-style catering.
Charley's invites diners to taste a sprawling menu that features American classics such as steaks, seafood, and salads. Hand-cut french fries are served alongside burgers piled with bacon, crisp fried onions, and enormous pickle slices. As forks and knives dig into steaks forged from USDA choice beef, aged a minimum of four weeks, a wine list details more than 60 different wines available in bottles and glasses, instead of a server’s boots. During weekend mornings, brunch details specialties such as thick-cut french toast, filet-mignon benedict, and corned-beef hash, served with spicy bloody marys, mimosas, or champagne.