Sports, Steaks & Spirits combines the television-studded walls of a sports bar with the hearty comfort food of a neighborhood pub. Menu items include baby back ribs and half-pound burgers, as well as more internationally inspired dishes, such as tempura-fried shrimp with coconut breading. Cooks can also top hand-stretched, thin-crust pizzas with a combination of 17 available toppings, including basil, sausage, and red onion.
Although its menu might distinguish Sports, Steaks & Spirits from other bars, guests are also welcome to just knock back a beer while watching Boston sports teams compete for control of the world’s supply of silver-plated trophies. Sixty plasma televisions line the bar’s walls, and all booths boast their own small screen, which may have prompted Patch to describe the spot as “a veritable North Reading sports haven.” Even the color scheme evokes the feel of well-trodden sports turf, surrounding visitors with yellow-green walls and pool tables lined with emerald-green felt.
Maple Street Tavern's events list is so extensive that you might mistake it for the menu. There's something to do almost every night?whether it's challenging your coworkers to a game of trivia or stepping up to the open mic to test your music or comedy chops. And the space is surrounded by flat-screen TVs, so you can watch as your favorite football team rallies to victory with an unexpected home run.
The kitchen constantly updates their menu to include new?and sometimes themed or seasonal?dishes. Its current incarnation features classic grilled burgers and buttermilk-marinated chicken tenders. Other entrees range from seared duck breast in red wine sauce to slow-roasted pot roast.
Scosso Ristorante & Bar combines Italian delicacies with an extensive wine list and martini menu. The expansive martini menu offers a variety of flavors such as strawberry lemonade, Smores, and French berry. They delicately artfully plate center cut filet mignon, karabuta pork chops, and fresh Atlantic haddock with scallops and shrimp, dressed in white-wine sauce. They celebrate the classic Italian styles of preparation—romano, parmigiana, and marsala, to name a few—with dishes sporting chicken, veal, and shrimp, but make them their own with minimalistic platings.
The opulent post-modern interior plays with perceptions, taking the clean lines that one expects from modern décor and adding mind-bending curves and squiggles. This effect is found in everything from the chair backs to the support pillars and bannisters.
The kitchen at Brodie’s Pub elevates typical bar bites with quality ingredients, such as Angus steak tips and turkey tenderloins. Bowls of housemade chili and chowder whet taste buds for elaborate sandwiches, such as veggie-stuffed chicken-teriyaki pockets and the Famous Philips burger, whose housemade italian sausage has never signed an autograph. An array of beers and other drinks are available to complement any entree, from barbecued-turkey-tip salad to fried chicken wings served buffalo-style or with duck sauce.
A wall of glass flanks one side of the dining room at Hokkaido Restaurant, starting at the floor and stretching up to include a slanted portion of the ceiling. Punctuated only by wooden beams, this wall of windows floods the entire restaurant with sunlight, keeps out sushi-stealing birds, and offers a view of leafy, green trees. The sunlight slides across the bar's glossy, marble top, speckles a wall of leafy bamboo, and, most importantly, illuminates colorful plates of Japanese, Thai, and Chinese cuisine. Under photo murals of serene Asian landscapes, diners can dig into dishes ranging from pad thai and curry to orange chicken and specialty sushi rolls. Add in the karaoke that animates restaurant-goers on weekends, and the result is a vibrant environment equally suited to intimate dinners and convivial gatherings.
One might leave Red Lulu Cocina & Tequila Bar, which was named this year's best new restaurant north of Boston by Boston Magazine, with some sense of the broad scope of Mexican cuisine, geography, and culture. That epiphany might come from the selection of 180 tequilas, which slip down in shots, release bell peals of clicking ice in glasses, or blend with lime in thick margaritas rimmed with salt. The tantalizing menu also parades traditional Mexican ingredients, though they are tangled into surprising configurations.
Red chandeliers glow, bringing to life the colors of chipotle peppers on plates at plush black booth seating, all beneath red wallpaper. In the tequila lounge, ample couches create a circle around red, candlelit tables for resting a glass of sangria or a mojito muddled with strawberries or cucumber. A row of inset shadowboxes displays the colorful lucha libre masks typically used in overblown battles and attempts to go out in public without being recognized as Kevin Bacon.