Amid the clattering pins and spirited cheers that echo across Boston Bowl's lanes, Jack Torchetti never lets his attention drift from his three stainless steel tanks. As the brewmaster for Deadwood Cafe and Brewery—the entertainment complex's site for quick eats and frosty drafts—Jack ensures that the taps constantly flow with five different beers, all of which he creates on the premises. The selection includes everything from a stout made using four varieties of malt to a pilsner made with Liberty and East Kent Golding hops. Growlers are available as well as pints and pitchers, allowing patrons to enjoy their beer at home or at the nearest crazy straw factory.
While ordering a beer from the counter, customers can snag a quick bite from the café's menu of classic comfort foods. In addition to wood-smoked St. Louis-style ribs that fall off the bone, the cooks grill Angus burgers, load down sandwiches with Boar's Head deli meats, and glaze wings with piquant buffalo sauce. The menu also includes a handful of Italian-inspired dishes, namely 10 different pizzas and calzones stuffed with everything from thin-sliced ham and cheese to baby spinach, onions, and feta.
Pan Asia summons guests into its sleek yet casual atmosphere with oceanic lighting, mounted TVs, and its star: a menu of Chinese, Japanese, and Thai recipes. Nests of lo mein noodles cradle tender slices of shrimp, beef, roast pork, and chicken, and five styles of Thai curries—including the Indian-influenced massaman—transform coconut milk into liquid heat, warming tongues with infusions of classic spices. Representing the artful cuisine of Japan, paper-thin sheaths of seaweed enfold rice and raw fish to create sushi varieties that include spicy salmon maki and boston maki, a roll of yellowtail, crab stick, avocado, scallions, and tobiko.
Sea-foam-green lights illuminate the underside of the counter at the sushi bar, making the legs of guests look as though they’re underwater or ailed with the asparagus disease. Bright-green shafts of bamboo shoot from floor to ceiling from a bed of dried river rocks, obscuring the intimately lit restaurant from the bright lights of the takeout lobby.:m]]
The flat-screen televisions and long wooden bar at Freeport Tavern might mark it as just another pub, but the wood-fired grill in the kitchen tells a different story. With it, chefs bake Italian-style thin-crust pizzas or sear smoky flavor into marinated choice-certified Angus beef steak tips. They also grill burger patties, fish filets, and chunks of New England lobster, then stuff them into sandwiches served with hand-cut fries. They pair their pastiche of New England eats with a constant stream of entertainment, whether it’s the latest local NBA and NHL action on the TVs, trivia on Tuesday nights, or performances by DJs and live musicians held Wednesday through Saturday nights. As soon as the DJ packs up on Sundays, the tireless chefs begin whipping up the brunch buffet, complete with a salad and dessert bar and omelette station.
When festival founder Anne-Marie Aigner first noticed the burgeoning food-truck scenes on the West Coast and the Midwest, her prescient mind foresaw that the tide would make its way to New England. In order to cultivate the nascent movement, she founded her food-truck-festival tour to bring dozens of trucks' eclectic wares to locales outside of Boston. Already scoring mentions in Boston and Worcester Mag in its first year, the festival has featured such four-wheeled kitchens as Redbones BBQ and Roxy's Grilled Cheese. Aigner hopes to sustain the food-truck industry beyond the festival's inaugural year by attracting interest throughout the region and motivating grassroots support for the mobile culinary spots and their future descendants, sandwich-slinging helicopters.
Though it’s clear from the name that Pho 2000 specializes in traditional Vietnamese noodle soups, Boston Magazine warned diners not to sell its other selections short. “Everything that comes out of the kitchen is superlative,” they raved when naming Pho 2000 the best Vietnamese restaurant of Boston in 2006. The publication recommended the Bo 7 Mon, seven rounds of beef that may be fried, skewered, marinated, steamed, or placed in a relaxing bubble bath. Beef isn’t the only star; hot pot feasts invite guests to cook a platter of seafood in savory broth simmered tableside.
No matter what country her family was living in at the time, Longteine “Nyep” De Monteiro—the wife of a Cambodian diplomat—always heard the same thing when she served dinner at one of her lavish parties: “This is so good! You should open a restaurant!” It wasn't until the rise of the Khmer Rouge forced Longteine and her family to relocate to America that she began to seriously entertain the idea. Longteine finally opened The Elephant Walk in 1991, where she filled the menu with a mélange of her favorite Cambodian and French recipes.
Since then, Longteine’s daughter Nasda and her son-in-law Gerard Lopez helped her expand The Elephant Walk to three locations. All three Elephant Walks separate their kitchens into French and Cambodian preparation lines, each staffed with chefs adept at both traditional and contemporary dishes. Each dish makes meticulous use of flavorful, wholesome ingredients such as ripe plum tomatoes, fresh tuna, Vermont goat cheese, and organic tofu. The Elephant Walk also serves up a host of vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free variants.
The Elephant Walk loves to feed the mind as much as the mouth. During its regularly scheduled Cafe Science series, Brandeis professors deliver compelling lectures on a variety of topics from the Large Hadron Collider to explaining why science alone cannot turn water into chocolate milk. As part of the restaurant's mission to make a positive impact in the community, owner Bob Perry designated the Waltham location as The Elephant Walk’s Benefit Restaurant in September 2009. The restaurant has since given upwards of $200,000 to local, national, and international nonprofit organizations fighting poverty.