At 88 Wharf Riverfront Grill, chefs craft New American dishes from scratch with ingredients such as fresh meats including North Atlantic lobsters, greens, and tart macintosh apples. Visitors enjoy entrees such as nested tenderloin steak and appetizers that include steamed mussels in a dining room noted for soft lighting and hardwood floors, as well as water-front views and an intimate bar. The grill also hosts special events and private functions.
After more than 25 years as a lobsterman, Peter Dawson experienced what many others never see in a lifetime—fishing off the New England coast, he reeled in a blue lobster. Nicknaming it Baby Blue, Dawson couldn't bear to let it see the pot; today, the arthropod lives out its days at the New England Aquarium, turning red only when it blushes from too much attention.
Transferring his love of the ocean to his own enterprise—and energized by a life's worth of bragging rights—Dawson opened The Lobster Stop right along the docks. That proximity to the sea ensures a bounty of fresh, native seafood, from fish, clams, and scallops to live lobsters—a specialty, of course. Comprised of Dawson and his family, the shop's staff also prepares cuisine for takeout, serving up platters and sandwiches behind a large display case, and a large mural behind the counter depicts two whales just waiting for the day when the menu includes bowls of plankton soup.
Fresh from his homeland of Brazil, Chef Rodney Moreira set himself on a path to become a master of Italian cuisine, beginning humbly as a prep cook at Pizzeria Uno. Ultimately, Moreira found his culinary muse, cooking his way up the ladder to his current position as head chef at Porcini's Italian Restaurant, where he holds numerous awards for his pasta and risotto. Building a menu off of these staples, Moreira crafts Italian- and Mediterranean-inspired cuisine finished with homemade sauces and fresh herbs. The restaurant's nightly specials and permanent entrees include grilled swordfish steak and pounded veal cutlets, and pair easily with varietals from around the world represented on the carefully curated wine list. The intimate dining room features the warming tendrils of a crackling fireplace, and the garden patio invites guests to indulge in meals under a sky filled with more stars than the sun's rolodex.
It’s not what you think. The name, that is. Strip-T’s was named in accordance with owner Paul Maslow’s original vision—an eatery centered around sirloin strip sandwiches. But the price of sirloin strip skyrocketed sometime after the restaurant’s 1986 opening, and the rising prices clashed with Paul’s desire to keep things tasty yet affordable. And so, he dropped the sandwich, kept the name (new signs can be pricey), and expanded the menu to include the American-style comfort foods that influenced one Boston Magazine critic to hail it as “the most unexpectedly dazzling food I’ve had in years.” Chalk up some of that praise—which has also come in from the Boston Globe and Bon Appetit, to Paul’s son Tim, a culinary student and transplant of David Chang’s New York hot spot Momofuku Ssam Bar. Tim gave Strip-T’s menu a second makeover, veering even further from the namesake dish with new items such as grilled bavette steak and sweet potato and pork belly angolotti. Tim’s creations have turned this unassuming Watertown eatery into a bona fide foodie destination, yet the restaurant still retains its original charm: the t-shirt wearing waiters are still friendly (except on customer-abuse Fridays), and press outlets, including The Boston Globe, are still raving about the “extraordinary, reasonably priced fare.”
Blu bills itself as a “hidden gem.” But it’s hard to miss, towering four stories above Sports Club/LA and immediately recognizable by its curved steel pipe lattices and floor-to-ceiling, wall-to-wall windows. The view from the inside is even more enticing: a sweeping 360-degree view of Downtown Crossing is a treat if you can pry your eyes off the curved banquettes, oval-shaped stand-alone bar, and plates of coriander-dusted scallops and roasted duck breast. The airy, sunny hues give way to seductive blues come evening, as the space takes on a sophisticated club-like ambience. Neon lights color the white piping while the city lights glimmer in the background, and the eatery comes alive with young professionals sipping martinis, cocktails, and fine wines. Patrons can revel in desserts such as cinnamon-orange crème brulee and seasonal cheesecakes that Gayot promises are “worth the extra calories,” despite seeing the toned celebrities and muscular team mascots prancing around the posh Sports Club/LA.