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.
The Gloucestershire "Old Spot" pig is a fitting mascot and namesake for The Old Spot. The breed, once a staple of English farming, is docile, warm, and always in search of tasty grub. The pub and its inhabitants are similar--a crowd of neighborhood regulars who take their Guinness at the hardwood bar. The menu of meat pies and curried chicken evokes a cozy pub dining experience. Seated near the picture windows that run the front length of the pub, diners cut into crispy portions of fried haddock, the batter dashed with spritzes of lemon, malt vinegar, and tartar sauce. Though less neighborly figures necessitated the restaurant's end as a music venue, it continues to offer weekly trivia nights where the answer is always "John Major".
The bar at The Naumkeag Ordinary was made from reclaimed wood, and it's that mentality?of sustainability, renewal, making the most of what you have?that defines the restaurant's ethos. In the kitchen, for instance, chefs use local, in-season meat and produce to craft an ever-rotating menu of gourmet comfort food, which has included everything from deviled eggs with basil, pesto, and bacon to pork loin with spinach, parmesan, cornbread stuffing, and kale. Dishes as exotic as duck and sweet-potato hash anchor the weekend brunch specials, which help ease the homesickness of being away from the office for at least one more day. Patrons can always find something new on the chalkboard menus posted inside or out near the patio.
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.
Dirty Rotten Scoundrels is a musical comedy based on the 1988 film of the same name starring Steve Martin and "wild and crazy guy" Michael Caine. The stage adaptation follows competing con men Lawrence and Freddy as they scheme and swindle their way through the French Riviera. After failed attempts to team up, the suave Lawrence and the not-as-suave Freddy make a bet on who can steal $50,000 from a young heiress—the winner keeps the cash, and the loser has to leave the Riviera. The show boasts a Tony Award–nominated score by David Yazbek, the songsmith behind the similarly adapted-from-a-movie The Full Monty, as well as a pyramid scheme's worth of laughs from the capable cast.