Local artists Denise Girardin, Steve Levinsky, and Liza Curtis are some of the brains behind Palettes, a studio that aims to awaken the creative side of the community with painting's jubilant anthem. Their artistic endeavors stretch far beyond Palettes, though?Steve plumbs the depths of fire to find glass art, Liza paints with the intention to inspirer herself and others, and Denise designs unique pottery inspired by the ocean and the seahorses that ride off into the sunset every evening. In addition, they are so involved in local affairs that Natick Center Associates selected them as the recipients of the 2012 Heart of the Community Award.
A row of easels dominates Palettes' roomy space during classes and open sessions, in which students re-create works of art while snacking on menu items such as cheese plates and cannoli. Additionally, house-made waters are perfect for making toasts to the art instructors for offering such helpfully Latin-free guidance.
Feng Shui embraces the culinary traditions of both China and Japan while updating its menu seasonally, garnering praise from the Boston Business Journal and New England Cable News for its extensive selection. Stir-fried orders of chicken, beef, and seafood arrive laden with ginger or signature sauces, and sushi chefs roll maki with traditional tuna and salmon or such innovative combinations as strawberry and wasabi aioli. Other menu items includes creamy crispy deep-fried jumbo shrimp with coconut sauce and spicy orders of Mala chicken, as well as signature sushi rolls like red sox maki and tempura lobster.
Melt Cafe and Gelato Bar grounds its recipes and preparation techniques in Italian tradition, creating desserts that are low in both fat and calories. The franchise encompasses brick-and-mortar storefronts and kiosks across five states. In each, staffers craft the classic whipped Italian ice cream, gelato, in more than 30 flavors such as cappuccino, pistachio, and swiss chocolate. Dessert cups also brim with silky-soft sorbetto, which is made entirely from sugar and fresh fruits. Though Melt focuses on frozen treats, it also lives up to the café portion of its name with hearty panini sandwiches and sweet or savory crepes. Tuscan-style espresso and drip coffee wash down bites of food and give you the energy to finish that screenplay about the lost dog who, by finding his owner, also finds himself.
Cooks at Gourmet India sling health-conscious, regional Indian recipes that have garnered praise from the Boston Globe. The casual eatery packs its menu with North Indian fare and serves South Indian specials on weekends, representing the subcontinent better than one grain of rice from each state. Each combo meal rounds up two to three servings from a rotating list of entrees, flanking the savory morsels with basmati rice or naan. Combo meals always include at least one vegetarian entree so diners can pick between vegetable-based gobhi aloo, a dish of cauliflower cooked with ginger; the palak paneer, a blend of spinach and homemade cheese; or a platter of cumin seeds arranged into a pleasing, vegetable shape. Meatier fare includes chicken tikka masala, tender poultry cooked in a tomato-cream sauce, and lamb korma with cashews and raisins. Dishes emerge steaming from the kitchen with fresh-cooked flavor, unlike entrees at other eateries that import their fare from India so it typically arrives cold. Combo meal 2 includes one appetizer, which could include either potato-filled samosas or aromatic onion bhaju.
With two locations situated in the heart of Harvard Square and Natick, Dolphin Seafood Restaurant reflects the unique maritime flavors of Boston and the Atlantic coast, receiving daily shipments of fresh seafood such as Chesapeake Bay oysters and Maine clams. Cooks stir fresh pots of New England clam chowder and broil filets of Bluefish, Idaho rainbow trout, and swordfish swathed in butter and garlic over their breadcrumb-flavored scales. At each restaurant, patrons can unwind in the evenings in a lounge with beers on tap, sports on the TV, and martini glasses filled with specialty cocktails.
Lunch boxes burst with authentic eats from Lola's Italian Groceria, where sandwich artisans sculpt imported ingredients and cold cuts into culinary masterpieces, including several gluten-free dishes. The sultry sizzle of the midday menu's eggplant parmesan sandwich, slathered with tomato sauce and provolone cheese ($6.25 for small, $8.25 for large), serenades diners into passionate acts of devouring. Meanwhile, a meaty triumvirate of mortadella, salami, and hot ham fight for final condiment authority over the italian sub, ablaze with a heap of hot peppers ($6 for small, $7.50 for large).