Cambridge Brewing Company experiments with hops and barrel-aging processes to create house beers on-site. You don’t have to look hard to catch a glimpse of their brewing tanks and kettles—they’re as much a part of the décor as the exposed-brick walls and pine accents.
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.
A common scene at The Wine Cellar: servers toting percolating pots of gruyere, emmental, or gorgonzola to diners, who in turn dip skewers of bread or potatoes into the steel cauldrons of melted cheese. This celebrated practice of submerging things into other, more scalding things isn't the only European tradition The Wine Cellar draws upon; its menu culls culinary influences from around the great continent, including France and Switzerland. In addition to sizzling up pots of oil or vegetable broth in which guests can cook their own beef, tiger shrimp, or rabbit, the chefs forge a spread of signature dishes, including tartifletes and roblochonnades, and pierrades made at the table in front of guests. They accompany this transatlantic fare with an international wine list, which sports hearty reds and delicate whites from vineyards and grocery-store aisles around the world.
Although the menu remains firmly rooted in the Old World, the dining room evokes classical American aesthetics. Exposed brickwork and wrought-iron lanterns surround the tables, and one wall sports a hand-painted mural of a Boston streetscape.
Head to “The Library”—one of L’Espalier’s four dining rooms—for a truly romantic experience. Amid the dim lighting and shelves of books, you’ll find sophisticated yet accessible French cuisine crafted from local ingredients and served with a bit of flair. Try the rib eye for two, carved tableside and meticulously arranged with mushroom ragout.
La Voile serves up authentic, stylish French cuisine in a cozy, elegant atmosphere. The restaurant’s extensive menu of flavorful fare is guarded by its duo of extensively trained chefs, both of whom have experience at restaurants such as Guy Savoy and Alain Ducasse and graduated from culinary schools in France, where food was invented. Start with an appetizer of mussels in curry sauce ($12) before moving on to the meatier horizons of a pork chop served in its own juices with juniper berries on a bed of sauerkraut ($22). Mediterranean sea bass comes simply roasted with a beurre blanc sauce ($33), while crispy breast of duck is served a l’orange with a cinnamon glaze alongside fingerling potatoes and spinach ($26). The dessert menu’s warm pear tart ($9) and crème brûlée ($8) are available to complement taste buds’ post-prandial high-fives. Daychewers can also stop by for a midday munch from the lunch menu, including gnocchi “Caprese” ($12), a handful of hand-friendly sandwiches ($10.50–$13.50), and roasted organic chicken with potato purée ($17.50).