The ‘Burbs: The Best New Restaurants in the Boston Suburbs

For New England foodies, spring is about farmers markets, food trucks, and flowers, but this season there’s something else growing: new restaurants in the Boston suburbs. A cadre of notable city chefs are tossing their toques into the Interstate 95 ring, attracted by more space, lower rents, and excited diners waiting, fork and knife in hand. Take a look at the best new restaurants in the Boston suburbs.

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Chef Rachel Klein, formerly of some of the city’s top hotel restaurants, gave up her gig as executive chef at Liquid Art House to pursue something closer to home in Needham – leading RFK Kitchen, slated to open in late summer. “I’ve been living here for 10 years, and I wanted to do something a little bit more upscale but with price points that the town already has,” she said, also noting that it’s easier to overcome hurdles like liquor licenses that can go for half a million dollars in Boston. “We’re trying to bring a bit more of that Boston aesthetic and feel with a serious bar program, people who are on the cutting edge of their craft. But nothing pretentious or anything that makes you feel stupid. Nothing hoity-toity!”

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The mother of two is looking forward to offering other parents a cloth-napkin option that welcomes kids; the open-kitchen concept is ideal for upcoming classes for families and singles looking to mingle during bar seminars. Having fine dining within an Uber’s ride away also means that no one needs to skip out on the fun to be the designated driver or add on the cost of valet and a babysitter to the meal check since RFK is in the heart of town. “It’s really about being part of the community,” Klein said. “And yes, sometimes it’s good to be a big fish in a small pond.”

Restaurateur and chef Joe Cassinelli just expanded to Metrowest as well, with the opening of Osteria Posto in Waltham. While most of his locations are in Somerville, a hip, smaller Boston-area city accessible by public transportation (Posto, Painted Burro, and Rosebud American Kitchen & Bar also call it home), a trip to Osteria requires a car. So why take the chance with a new audience and locale? “I live in the suburbs, and most of the options out here are chains,” he explained. “Waltham is really centrally located, and it’s not overdeveloped, although there are a lot of families and tech people coming in now — the time is right.” Some of his guests even include fans of his chef-driven Mexican food hot spot and thin-crust upscale pizzeria.

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What they’re finding is a more refined menu of prime steaks and homemade pastas with an airy 8,000-square-foot space that seats 240 (in addition to a 100-person function space) that wouldn’t be available in a city as built up as Boston. “With more space we’re able to offer a great wine program with extensive vintages so it’s really a cool experience,” Cassinelli said. “The palate is a little more foodie-driven and the service is more refined, but it’s still casual fine-dining.”

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We Partied Our Aspen off at Jimmy’s Bodega with Don Julio Tequila!

Like all good foodies, we headed to Aspen for the annual Food & Wine Classic. While we were there, we took the opportunity to fete a few of our restaurant-industry friends.

On Friday night, OpenTable joined with Don Julio Tequila to celebrate the opening of Jimmy Yeager’s Jimmy’s Bodega. The new sibling to Aspen hotspot Jimmy’s, Jimmy’s Bodega is a seafood and raw bar restaurant serving wine, bottled cocktails, and Mezcal, with chef Bryan Nelson behind the burner. There were delicious eats from chef Nelson and his crack culinary team, and refreshing signature cocktails, courtesy of Don Julio Tequila, including the sangrita green with cilantro and pineapple, a strawberry basil paloma featuring Don Julio Reposado, and an Anejo old fashioned.

Guests include chefs Barbara Lynch (Menton) and Ming Tsai (Blue Ginger), the Union Square Hospitality Group’s Danny Meyer, La Caravelle Champagne founder Rita Jammet, and Eater editors Raphael Brion, Hillary Dixler, Paula Forbes, Kat Odell, and Andra Zepelin. Take a peek at the action by clicking through our exclusive slideshow below, courtesy of photographer Katrina Smith of The Smith Design.

 

James Beard Awards 2014 + Michael Murphy’s Annual Rosé Bowl

In celebration of the James Beard Foundation Awards, Michael Murphy hosts the Annual Rosé Bowl at Jonathan Waxman’s Barbuto restaurant in Manhattan. Nominees, celebrity chefs, and culinary luminaries, including Daniel Patterson (Coi), Mario Batali (Babbo), and Ruth Reichl, were in attendance. Sneak a peek at the fun in our slideshow below.

 

And, congratulations to the 2014 James Beard Foundation Award winners, including:

Outstanding Chef
Nancy Silverton, Pizzeria Mozza, Los Angeles, California

Outstanding Restaurant:
Slanted Door, San Francisco, California

Outstanding Restaurateur
Barbara Lynch, Menton, Boston, Massachusetts

Outstanding Service
The Restaurant at Meadowood, St. Helena, California

Best New Restaurant Continue Reading

10 Things You Need to Know About Top Chef Seattle Episode 11

The idea of elevating a humble cuisine is a bit tired, but last night it was inspiring to see Sheldon execute his mission to marry the authenticity of Filipino food with modern elegance.

This season has been supremely frustrating, from the appearance of the grating and gangly CJ to the non-cancellation of The Josie Show, but this episode is really the sour cherry atop all of that. Don’t get me wrong; it was so satisfying to see Sheldon shine, but if you were on Twitter and following the #topchef action, you’re well aware of the mutiny among viewers prompted by the events at judges’ table.

1. Stefan was immediately singled out to do front of house because he’d been through restaurant wars before. I see that logic, but not at all, because … it’s Stefan! He does not suffer fools, and, really, that’s part and parcel of FOH work. I will say, however, in my years as a hostess, I did often fantasize about being able to shame campers into moving on so that I could seat the throngs of hungry diners at the door.

2. Kristen basically called Josie classless.

3. Elevating a cuisine you’ve never had before is a hard thing to do. And Josh did just that, with Sheldon’s tutelage, of course.

4. Brooke has opened four (!) restaurants with her husband, so it’s no surprise that she has a deft front-of-house touch.

5. Sheldon may well be the most guileless, genuinely kind cheftestant this competition has ever seen.

6. Kristen would prefer to have a dishwasher as her sous. This sounds like an insult (and probably is), but Sheldon started out as a dishwasher and he employs his restaurant wars dishwasher to help with prep work.Continue Reading