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. Diners also entertain one another during karaoke sessions that go until 12:30 a.m. on Tuesday and Saturday night.
Fowler House Cafe serves casual pub food amidst rustic tavern elegance, surrounding diners in high-backed hardwood booths, exposed brick walls, and high wood paneling. Staffers work to maintain its neighborhood sports-bar atmosphere, whether pouring pints at a central wood-topped bar or balancing plates of pub grub crafted in house from scratch. In the kitchen, chefs dress platters of buffalo tenders and wings in varying degrees of hot sauce, marinate black-Angus steak tips, and fry native scrod. Creative types can unleash their free will onto pizzas, which readily receive customization with more than 20 toppings such as pineapple, eggplant, and sausage. Diners can bite into a cheesy slice and view the vigorous clapping of proud coaches on high-definition TVs perched throughout the space.
Lorenz Island Kuisine’s roots are immediately visible on its ceiling, where a Jamaican flag proudly hangs. A few more steps inside the warmly lit eatery and more roots begin to show. There’s the orange walls with green trim, and the smell of Jamaican food wafting from the open kitchen. There, the kitchen staff cooks curry goat and plates crispy, brown pieces of jerk chicken. Other dishes include oxtail, plantains, rice and beans, beef patties encased in flaky crust, and almond cake made with rum and topped with icing. Many of the dishes double as loveable characters in the eatery’s recipe book.
For 25 years, Marina Bay has funneled fresh breezes into The Chantey at Marina Bay's dining room, where it stirs up aromas from burgers, pizza, sandwiches, and seafood. Since they work a shell's throw away from the sea, the kitchen staff has a surfeit of fresh ingredients to work with when crafting fried-clam strips, baked haddock, and steamed lobster. They also make liberal use of the kitchen’s barbecue sauce, splashing it onto the Chantey burger, the grilled-chicken sandwich, and the chicken that dots the barbecue pizza. Seated at booths, high tables, or the bar, eaters can augment their meals with cups of New England clam chowder or appetizer plates of fried calamari served with banana peppers. Outside, a white picket fence surrounds a handful of patio tables and crab cakes that still aren’t ready to be reintroduced into the wild.
Inside Kings, it can be hard to pinpoint the source of clattering sounds and uproarious cheers. The noise might stem from the bowling section, where glowing squares of abstract, retro wall art bookend the alleys. It might also come from ricocheting billiard balls, a well-aimed skee-ball, or a shuffleboard shot in the game room. Maybe someone spotted a celebrity—Bill Murray, Salma Hayek, and Lady Gaga are all on an extensive list of past famous visitors.
Wherever their origins, the telltale echoes of competition and camaraderie beckon to guests throughout the venue. They're accompanied in the air by the scents of comfort food, from staples such as sesame ginger wings to inventive fusions such as cheeseburger spring rolls. Sweeter aromas waft from multiple bars as the staff flavors martinis with gummy bears, pop rocks, and ice cream instead of the traditional fixings, olives or entire lemons on toothpicks.
As for sights, the surroundings blend vintage flair with luminous technology. More than 30 high-definition televisions line the space, broadcasting sports games and bowling scores. The Back Bay location has six Brunswick Gold Crown pool tables and hosts group events, including parties and corporate getaways where you can finally laugh at your boss's ridiculous shoes. Weekly themed nights for the public also encourage dancing, karaoke, and trivia.