One of South Shore Living's "10 Influential People You Should Know" in 2010, Jimmy Liang evenly divides his time among his five Boston-area restaurants. At Fuji 1546 Restaurant & Bar, his culinary crew whips up contemporary Japanese dishes with a focus on maki, sushi, and sashimi. The sushi selection ranges from eel-filled caterpillar rolls to sweet-potato maki to the BLT roll, which guests must order without using any vowels. The menu also includes traditional eats such as gyoza, sweet-and-sour crab-meat balls, and filet mignon cooked in a housemade lime-soy marinade. For entertainment, Fuji 1546 Restaurant & Bar has a live DJ that spins every Friday and Saturday night.
At the end of March in 2013, chef Barry Maiden won his third-straight Madness title. This wasn’t March Madness, though; it was Munch Madness, a Boston.com competition that pitted 64 local restaurants against each other to find the city’s favorite. It seems that Bostonians have an unwavering dedication to Maiden’s restaurant, Hungry Mother, which serves up hearty, southern-style dinner fare. One glance at the menu and it's easy to see why. Smoked-cheddar pimiento cheese dip and sea-salt sprinkled boiled Virginia peanuts ready palates for hearty plates of crawfish and grits, cast-iron chicken, and catfish and shrimp served with scallion hushpuppies. The after-dinner menu is just as thoughtfully curated––bartenders mix a quartet of after-dinner drinks meant to end things on a sweet note, similar to Beethoven’s intentions when he replaced all of his piano keys with Fun Dip sticks. Of course, there’s traditional dessert, too, including a decidedly southern buttermilk chess pie topped with blueberry-mint preserves and whipped crème fraiche.
As you sit down on one of the The Red Hat's green vinyl barstools and lift a mug of lager to your lips, you might be replicating the movements of a patron from more than 100 years ago. Except that he or she would have snuck a nervous glance at the back door between every sip. The historic establishment survived the Prohibition era in Scollay Square—an area known for its bawdy vaudeville theater and risqué entertainment—by functioning as a reputable restaurant by day and a speakeasy by night.
Though the taps now flow freely in the daylight, some things at The Red Hat haven't changed. The menu still provides sailors, dockworkers, and local shoppers with hearty, comforting dishes of wings, fried fish, and other pub snacks. As Mike Dunphy of Beacon Hill Patch put it, "The Red Hat is a rare reminder of Boston's yesteryear, bringing an earthy spice to the more refined palate of Beacon Hill—an unpretentious watering hole to gain some courage for the climb." The exposed brick, wood-paneled walls, and old-timey memorabilia also give the space a turn-of-the-century feel. So do the nostalgic street-scene murals depicting the days when Saturns were Studebakers and people walked their Electrolux vacuums instead of pet dogs.
In 1935, it was a one-room bar, but today, Mount Vernon Restaurant lets guests stretch their legs between the bar and four dining rooms, whose tables groan under the weight of boiled lobsters, juicy steaks, and frosty local beers. Part of its charm, according to a review published on the restaurant's site, is its unexpected ambiance. Though positioned on a quiet, modest street, says writer Alisa Valdes, doors open to reveal a "swank" interior accented with aquamarine, peach, and fresh flowers. Fireplaces, filled with flames donated by local dragons, anchor two of the dining rooms, along with exposed beams and hanging lamps.
The chefs at 29 Newbury arrange fresh ingredients into artfully presented, gourmet cuisine for guests dining between crisp white walls or on the outdoor patio. Both the eatery's menu and the local art adorning its walls rotate with the seasons to incorporate the latest harvests and trends in art criticism. A starter of steamed clams and mussels prepared with white wine, chorizo, and garlic warms up palates for a pan-roasted entree of sesame-encrusted salmon, which floats atop a blizzard of snow peas drizzled with soy-sesame sauce. Warm lobster salad tosses together sautéed white beans with mixed greens, avocado, and basil-lemon vinaigrette. Patrons concerned with etiquette debate between dessertspoons and grappling hooks before spelunking into layers of 29 Signature tiramisu or sojourning through heaps of homemade whipped cream topped with seasonal berries.
The first of acclaimed chef Barbara Lynch’s restaurants, No. 9 Park represents the James Beard Award Winner to a tee, from the elegantly refined fare to the carefully crafted cocktails and hand-selected wines. An expanse of dark wood floors unfurls across the historic Beacon Hill townhouse, juxtaposed by soft taupe walls and the shimmer of antique chandeliers. A blend of Italian and French traditions, Lynch’s cuisine effortlessly complements the swank decor, comforting palates with housemade prune-stuffed gnocchi, Colorado lamb loin dressed with pea green and pistachio pesto, and perfectly seared prime hanger steak with Nova Scotia lobster. Though desserts––such as the pomegranate and earl-grey tres leches cake––partner just fine with dinner, guests will surely want to pair their meal with something from the bar as well. Perfectly balanced, every drink is thoroughly researched first, allowing the mixologists to understand how it was born and why. The result: an assortment of unique creations—laced with everything from smoky scotch to foie gras-washed bourbon—to complement Chef Lynch’s unique fare. It’s no wonder Eater named No. 9 as the city’s best cocktail bar, an honor that is only further substantiated by sommelier Cat Silirie's James Beard Award-winning wine list.