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.
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.
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.
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.
Tempo serves up generous portions of fresh seafood within its elegant but casual dining room. The menu brims with choice catches from the sea, such as the lobster mac 'n' cheese, comprised of a 1.25 pounds of buttery lobster and a five-cheese blend ($26), and Tempo’s special grilled, marinated sword chop, paired with fried poblano polenta ($29). Those searching for gluten-free options can peruse the extensive celiac menu, offering slow-cooked baby-back ribs served with mouth-watering cole slaw ($24). For dessert, indulge in the Tropical Dream, made of layered coconut cake drenched in mango mousse and passion-fruit sauce that was mined from a mystical rainforest ($8).