Soft live jazz music fills B Street Restaurant & Bar while servers deliver platters such as pumpkin hummus with grilled naan, wild mushroom ravioli, and glasses of rosé sangria from the full bar. This confluence of cuisine, libations, and music has attracted the attention of Metro magazine. Proprietor and host Elli "Ellen" Kaplansky, credits her grandmothers for instilling in her a passion for food. She fuses this passion with her work experiences with celebrity chefs Todd English and Jody Adams when she chooses her menu of signature dishes such as the 10-ounce char-grilled burger with Vermont cheddar and skillet potatoes.
She also adds inventive twists to entrees such as the pan-seared local cod entree with fire-roasted tomatoes and fresh corn risotto, or the fire-grilled lamb chops with a balsamic cherry glaze. The dining area's cozy booths, tall tables, and a curved bar in tones of brown, orange, and red add warmth to the atmosphere, and the restaurant adds warmth to the community by reaching out to partner with local charities both financially and with a poker stick that stretches several city blocks.
Charley's invites diners to taste a sprawling menu that features American classics such as steaks, seafood, and salads. Hand-cut french fries are served alongside burgers piled with bacon, crisp fried onions, and enormous pickle slices. As forks and knives dig into steaks forged from USDA choice beef, aged a minimum of four weeks, a wine list details more than 60 different wines available in bottles and glasses, instead of a server’s boots. During weekend mornings, brunch details specialties such as thick-cut french toast, filet-mignon benedict, and corned-beef hash, served with spicy bloody marys, mimosas, or champagne.
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.
One of the most enjoyable ways to experience different cultures is by exploring their cuisines, and at Maxwells 148, guests can zoom around the globe with bites from an international menu. Executive Chef Mitchell Maxwell sees to it. More than just a passive admirer of the Asian and Italian foods that stand out on the Zagat-rated menu, the experienced kitchen master has trained in the lands from which these cuisines originate. His passion for Asian food has taken him to Honolulu, Hong Kong, China, Thailand, Indonesia, and Singapore—he spent time in a kitchen in each of those locations. And his love of Italian fare dovetailed neatly with his pan-Asian education when he learned how to cook in the style of the Friuli region of Italy with chefs who hailed from there, but who were in Hawaii with Maxwell.
The results of Chef Maxwell’s globetrotting education are palpable in the flavors of appetizers such as Maine lobster or Hudson Valley foie gras. Or, they emerge from a pasta dish of Cantonese noodles with shrimp or linguini siciliana with cauliflower. His house specialties include classic chicken marsala, gnocchi ai aragosta, and kaffir-lime seared scallops.