A bachelor’s degree in international language has lent Chaba Thai Cuisine & Sushi's owner, Lawan Seelawongsayree, an advanced understanding of human communication. However, at her restaurant—which she opened in 2004 and where she perpetuates family recipes passed through generations—Lawan speaks to her customers through her cuisine: a language primal yet international and sophisticated all at the same time.
Spicy, sweet, bitter, and citrusy flavors collide in dishes that hold true to Thai tradition while playfully thumbing their noses at stodgy conventions such as chewing. Curry dishes marry sweet coconut milk with spicy red-chili paste, a combination sewn with coriander and cumin threads in the massaman version. With every guest’s meal, Lawan aspires for a dining experience rich with sanuk, a term that denotes fun and pleasure at the table without forcing guests to sculpt mashed potatoes into Bobcat Goldthwait.
Owner Geoff Houghton transformed an abandoned 1830s mill into a bustling pub on Factory Island, a place dominated for centuries by the iron and sawmill industries. Today, the only things milling there are Houghton's handcrafted beers, which flow from The Run of the Mill's 14 barrels straight into the bar's taps. These lagers, ambers, and cask-conditioned ales complement classic pub meals of wings, crab cakes, and burgers. The Run of the Mill also organizes a Mug Club, which awards guests who drink 300 of its beers in one year with a handmade ceramic mug, an official hat or T-shirt, and a heartfelt, bar-top eulogy to all the fallen hops.
Chefs at Hi Bombay have honed recipes for curry, vindaloo, and spicy masala over the course of 23 years, yielding a carefully spiced menu of Northern Indian classics and regional seafood specialties. Fresh-baked naan bread and whole-wheat roti sop up sauce from lamb and chicken dishes cooked in a clay-oven tandoor, and fish labadar from the Bay of Bengal simmers in a creamy tomato sauce. Hi Bombay also rents a 75-person banquet room for catered gatherings, and welcomes diners on major holidays such as Christmas, Thanksgiving, and the anniversary of Caddyshack II's DVD release.
By name, Jimmy the Greek’s sounds like a typical Mediterranean restaurant. However it’s evident that the restaurant-bar hybrid is much more. On most nights, guests can indulge in live entertainment and drink specials, including martini-and-manicure nights, trivia, and mechanical bull riding. Brewers of craft beers gather on Thursday nights to introduce themselves and their libations to crowds, and crowds put their knowledge to the test during late night trivia. To enhance the raucous happenings, bartenders serve up domestic and imported beers, accompanied by a Mediterranean-slanted menu of brick-oven pizzas, Greek-inspired appetizers, and innovative burgers.
When David Glidden received an A on his culinary-school thesis, he did not anticipate that the business plan it outlined would ever become a reality. Yet 13 years later, he opened The Chef & the Gardener, fulfilling his dream of a restaurant with a seasonal menu made from locally sourced ingredients which caters to all types of dietary preferences, whether meat-loving, vegan, or gluten-free. Glidden's chefs craft dishes such as vegan roasted portobello and butternut risotto using fruits and vegetables from the restaurant's own backyard garden, and make everything from scratch so they may accommodate customers with special diets. Even the decor is local: local artist Priscilla Goulet painted the watercolors featuring vegetables that adorn the walls. A tree-lined outdoor patio hosts alfresco diners during summer months. Not satisfied with feeding patrons within his restaurant's walls, Glidden constructs to-go meals for healthy dining at home. He also opens the doors to his commercial kitchen on Monday, when The Chef & the Gardener is closed, for beginners' cooking classes with included wine pairings.