Steve Silverstein was tired. Tired of driving into the city just to get a good meal, and tired of paying too much for the food once he got there. So Steve decided to take matters into his own hands and create Not Your Average Joe’s, a chain of internationally inspired restaurants located in the suburbs of Boston, Washington DC, and other major metropolitan areas. Today, there are 18 Not Your Average Joe's locations serving up quality fare without pretension. There, appetizers of asian chicken dumplings and chouriço-stuffed quahogs give way to both casual grill fare and gourmet entrees. Hand-formed burgers come dressed in bacon and one of five cheeses, while stone-hearth pizzas don both classic and unusual toppings such as pistachios and rosemary. And, there are also entrees inspired by cuisines from all over the globe including a five-meat smokehouse jambalaya and a curry- and peanut-anointed vietnamese salmon. Joe's also offers a gluten-free menu, and because each dish is created from scratch the moment it’s ordered, diners can customize meals to accommodate their needs, whether they're following a low-carb, no-carb, or quadruple-carb diet.
Chef and owner Ayman Noufal crafts gourmet Italian dinners at Lantana Café, a charming neighborhood restaurant and bar. The menu features classic meat entrees including veal and chicken marsala, and a handful of vegetarian pastas such as tortellini alia pesto. You’ll also find a variety of local seafood—shrimp, mussels, baby clams, and a half Maine lobster top the signature Lantata Al Forno linguine dish, which can only be eaten with Poseidon’s trident. Brick-oven pizzas and global plates such as paella round out the rest of the menu.
Guests enjoy all of these dishes in an intimate 45-person dining room. Tinned ceilings, chandeliers, and a wooden hutch stocked with glassware add a touch of elegance to every meal. This classy yet cozy vibe carries over to the bar and lounge area, where diners can watch their meals spring from a giant slingshot out of the partially open kitchen.
The chefs at Yoki Restaurant can prepare all types of Japanese delicacies, from nama-harumaki appetizers with raw salmon and jumbo shrimp to hibachi steak. But sushi is their specialty. Behind the bar, sushi chefs slice raw fish to serve as sashimi or create maki rolls such as the ninja maki with shrimp tempura and eel. Four of the most popular rolls are named for local sports teams; the Patriots, for example, tops white tuna and cucumber with rainbow tobiko and three types of fish—precisely the list of ingredients that New England's quarterback shouts during every snap count.
Sports can be found elsewhere at Yoki—namely on the flat-screen TVs that anchor the restaurant's modern vibe. A rounded bar aglow with bright, multicolored lights creates a sleek Tokyo vibe that contrasts nicely with the dining room's high-top tables, long banquettes, and private booths.
Heirloom Coffee possesses a magic door to Southeast Asia, specifically Vietnam—or at least that’s how it seems as they endlessly stock their shelves with the country and region’s best coffees. Their coffee reaches nearly every US state and territory, a feat achieved by shooting the bags of beans out of a huge circus cannon. Out of their red-trimmed office in Medford, the coffee connoisseurs also educate the public on brewing their beverages through detailed seminars that span coffee’s history and culture before diving into a hands-on brewing and tasting lesson with take-home samples and equipment.
Upon seeing the iced and sprinkled goodies that glisten under the display case at CB Scoops, it's obvious that the bakery excels in the art of crafting inventive sweet treats. Behind the counter, staffers scoop generous portions of ice cream in seasonal and mainstay flavors such as butter pecan, death by chocolate, and coffee almond fudge to cool down maws or overheated laptop batteries. The flavors pour into cupcakes as well as ice cream cakes and festively decorated ice cream pizzas divided into tasty slices. In addition to its celebratory dainties, the kitchen also churns out sandwiches, salads, and soups.
Within an unassuming brick storefront near the river, Avellino's loads up tables with hearty portions of family-style pasta, pizza, and calzones. Boston's Hidden Restaurants praised the subs filled with "some of the best homemade meatballs that this writer has had in the Boston area." Other pages of the gargantuan menu hold dishes designed to tantalize steak-lovers, carb-counters, and those who simply like the way spaghetti feels in the palm.:m]]