Clarke's Grill & Sports Emporium After internships at the Ritz-Carlton in St. Thomas and on the Laguarian Sea Coast in Italy, chef Clarke Congdon winged his way to Boston, eventually opening his own restaurant, Clarke's Grill & Sports Emporium. Chef George Zwetkow was trained at the Culinary Institute of America and distills 35 years of experience into each dish he sears, to say nothing of this polyglot's fluency in English, Russian, and Spanish. The third pillar of the eatery, Mike Larkin, gives the establishment its sports aesthetic, having played minor-league hockey for five years before cultivating marketing prowess. Framed jerseys, photos, and sports memorabilia make the walls as athletic as Bo Jackson and are available for love-struck patrons to purchase after sharing a platter of nachos and dreams with an autographed hockey jersey. Plates of the signature fish tacos, topped with creamy chimichurri sauce and fresh cilantro, steal outside onto the sprawling patio. The outdoor space features weekly events including bean-bag tournaments and wine tastings, and flat-screen TVs light up the full bar, displaying both Red Sox and Yankees games to satisfy rival fans without inciting a duel over the remote or with remotes.
Naru Asian Cuisine's chefs blend the traditions of Japanese and Korean cooking over searing woks in the kitchen and behind the curved coolers along the sushi bar. Beneath racks of samurai-style swords, chefs slice and roll up a wide variety of maki rolls and assemble platters of sushi and sashimi in wooden boats, transforming meals into edible dioramas of The Odyssey. From the kitchen, hot hibachi and teriyaki entrees fill plates, and thick udon noodles simmer in bowls filled with clear, flavorful broth.
Red Hot & Blue draws from many corners of the Southern map to bring together a mix of classic barbecue and traditional southern fare served amid an array of handpicked blues memorabilia. Red Hot & Blue cooks top-quality meats atop a smoky bed of hickory logs where relatively low temperatures and long cooking times infuse eats with succulence. The meaty mélange encompasses three ways to order ribs ($22.99 for a full slab, $15.99 for a half-slab): wet, slathered with mojo mild barbecue sauce; dry, rubbed with a blend of Memphis-style spices; or sweet, dripping with a more-sugary sauce and a never-ending stream of compliments.
Chefs use grass-fed beef, cage-free chicken, and steroid-free pulled pork that hail from sustainable sources to craft a bounty of tortilla-wrapped treats that take their names from the likes of Caddyshack, Fletch, and Seinfeld. It's this dual mindset of serious food and irreverent attitude that tinges every one of the eatery's southwestern morsels, from the Art Vandalay burrito to the John Coctostan quesadilla. As the kitchen staff crafts their daily batch of guacamole to join the lineup of six zesty salsas, diners choose from a list of more than 20 ingredients to fill out the entree that will soon be conjured before their eyes. Because dishes are made to order, each finds easy customization for vegetarian, gluten free, and low-calorie diets, and the absence of microwaves, trans-fats, and MSG keep eats wholesome. Meanwhile, a complimentary accompaniment of chips and salsa turns portions into full meals faster than an industry-grade blow-up ray.
Romance is in the air at Carmello's, where diners perch on ivory padded chairs surrounded by the warm tones of exposed brick walls, dark wood, and golden accents. In crafting its dishes of seafood, pasta, and chops from scratch, the kitchen draws on Italian and Portuguese influences. The ingredients are fresh from local purveyors, so the offerings change with the seasons. These dishes can be complemented by selections from the eatery's wine menu—its more than 50 Portuguese wines earned it Wine Spectator's Award of Excellence and two thumbs up from Bob.