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.
Boloco aspires to delight diners with the unexpected and strives to take care of its employees and the planet in the process. The Boston-based business first opened in 1997 as Under Wraps. But in 2005, it changed its name to Boloco, realizing wraps incited some terrible feelings - often involving alfalfa sprouts. With the fresh name came a new mantra, "Globally Inspired Burritos."
Despite winning an award for "stupidest name change", Boloco's menu has steadfastly offered customers globally inspired burritos and burrito bowls alongside smoothies and shakes, such as the Jimmy Carter, infused with all-natural peanut butter and premium ice cream. Boloco also uses eco-friendly practices, recognizing that today that might mean corn cups and utensils, but tomorrow it could mean driving to work in cars fueled by guacamole.
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.
The skilled chefs at Blue Fuji deftly meld organic vegetables and fresh wild-caught seafood in specialty sushi and authentic Japanese and Chinese entrees. Blue Fuji's menu bursts with an appetizing array of specialty maki rolls, including fruity Hawaii maki ($10.95/5 pieces) and Red Sox maki ($13.95/8 pieces), which tucks shrimp tempura, potato tempura, and digital photos of Fenway into a tuna-topped seaweed blanket. Savor piquant chicken or beef teriyaki for a traditional treat ($19.95), or indulge in eclectic entrees, such as una-ju ($18.95), broiled eel glazed with sugary soy sauce, to silence an unruly sweet tooth. Amiable servers unite diners and entrees in Blue Fuji's spacious dining room, which glows invitingly with golden walls, flickering candles, and customer-service-trained sunbeams.