Want to check out a new restaurant or squeeze in some al fresco dining in the waning days of summer? Dine Out Boston Summer 2016 — August 14-19 and 21-26 — is the perfect opportunity to keep you and your wallet full with two-course lunches for $20 and three-course dinners starting at just $28. Here are some menu highlights courtesy of some of the city’s top chefs.
Though the Innovation District may be called such because it’s the epicenter for many of the city’s tech companies, the neighborhood also is home to some of Boston’s most creative restaurants — including Bastille Kitchen. Chef Adam Kube gives diners something to cool off with this August with seasonally appropriate avocado gazpacho and also serves up some special Dine Out fare, such as oat and quinoa-crusted chicken breast with a refreshing asparagus and grapefruit salad. “I wanted to offer guests dishes that are delicious and satisfying, but also bring a sense of lightness and freshness and aren’t too heavy,” Kube said. “I also wanted to offer guests the opportunity to try a few signature dishes that have been top sellers since day one, including our tea-smoked mussels marinière — our homage to the Boston Tea Party — and prime skirt steak frites, our interpretation of this classic French dish, which flies out of the kitchen every night.” Top it off with such Dine Out desserts as black forest torte with port wine and cherry reduction and vanilla crème brûlée with a pistachio butter cookie. Make a Dine Out Boston Summer 2016 reservation at Bastille Kitchen.
STRIP by Strega
With a new multimillion-dollar facelift that’s transformed an aging grande dame into one of the city’s coolest hotels, it’s only appropriate that the Park Plaza’s restaurants would serve as the historic property’s sexy accessories. STRIP by Strega offers up a modern feel with dark colors and sensual artistic touches, along with full steakhouse fare and a new jamming DJ brunch on Sundays. Executive chef Farouk Bazoune offers up both lunch and dinner options, focusing on sourcing seasonally and locally. “Due to the availability of so many fresh, local ingredients, summer is the perfect time to dine at local restaurants. Dine Out Boston is just one more reason to give a new restaurant a try,” he says. Look for the perfect combination of savory and sweet on the dinner menu with a melon and prosciutto appetizer. “It hits all the taste buds with light, crisp flavors coming from the lime, mint and melon that are balanced by creamy notes from the brie cheese, and sweet and savory notes from the aged balsamic and prosciutto. And personally, I love our chilled corn and crab soup, which is perfect for a hot summer day.” Meat lovers can enjoy a juicy strip twin filet with a light green bean salad and salsa verde on the dinner menu. Make a Dine Out Boston Summer 2016 reservation at STRIP by Strega.
Serafina may be known for its thin-crust pizzas, but executive chef Brendan Burke sees Dine Out as an opportunity to welcome fans of myriad main dishes into the fold. “We actually offer an extensive menu packed with plenty of salads, meat, seafood and homemade pastas, so I wanted to use Dine Out to highlight a few signature dishes and seasonal items are perfect for enjoying during warm weather,” he explained. “Guests can expect plenty of summery ingredients like watermelon, Maine lobster, and grilled organic chicken and grilled salmon. Seasonality is something we take seriously and we’re always finding new, fresh ingredients to incorporate into the menu.” Watermelon makes its way into tomato gazpacho with red pepper flakes on the Dine Out menu and there’s a “lobster salad salad” with burrata cheese, avocado, fried green tomato, and pesto aioli. For some of that homemade pasta, check out cavatelli with duck confit, too. Make a Dine Out Boston Summer 2016 reservation at Serafina.
Just right for a hot day given its origins closer to the Equator, Mexican food is prime for summer diners — especially when they’re given choices says Besito Chestnut Hill chef Sebastian Navarrete. For just $28 (at both that location and the other in Boston’s suburban Burlington neighborhood), the Dine Out offerings includes three courses from the full menu. “The culinary team stays true to [the restaurant’s] Mexican roots and incorporates only the finest, authentic chili peppers and spices to complement its carefully sourced selection of ocean-fresh seafood, marinated prime meats, and garden-fresh veggies.” Think chicken tacos with fresh-made salsas, roasted salmon Manchamanteles with mole sauce, a crispy banana slide, and pineapple salsa, or indulgent queso fundido. All lunch and dinner Dine Out specials come with tres leches cake. Enjoy a slice while relaxing on Chestnut Hill’s redesigned outdoor patio with wrought-iron lanterns and a brick fireplace. Make a reservation at Dine Out Boston Summer 2016 reservation at Besito-Chestnut Hill.
New to the Dine Out scene, chef Ryan Landry wanted to offer some of the restaurant’s signature dishes for guests in the historic Boston neighborhood of Charlestown. “Charlestown is beautiful in the summer … There’s no better time to visit,” he said of the space overlooking City Square Park on the Freedom Trail. Among the hits on the lunch and dinner menus are a white-clam pizza, Ligurian fish stew with monkfish, shrimp, squid and clams, and brick-oven braised cod. Seafood always pairs well with lemon, so expect a ricotta pie with candied lemon for dessert at dinner, and on the lunch menu, ricotta also makes an appearance in fritter form, served with spicy honey. Make a Dine Out Boston Summer 2016 reservation at Legal Oysteria.
Although Scampo may be named for the Italian word for “escape,” chef/owner Lydia Shire’s summer and Dine Out menus are anything but an escape from her signature stylings combining New England’s best tastes with international flavors and styles. This year, working alongside executive chef Simon Restrepo and executive sous chef Alex Pineda, Shire’s appetizers include grilled lamb shoulder — one of her favorite proteins — with homemade Italian potato gnocchi and Greek tzatziki. Mains are just as indulgent with other homemade pastas such as orecchiette with shredded duck leg confit or risotto a la carbonara. It’s a good thing Dine Out concludes summer in the city because with decadent desserts including dark chocolate truffle tart, Shire’s signature tiramisu, and a key lime tart, bathing suit days are almost done! Make a Dine Out Boston Summer 2016 reservation at Scampo.
Back Bay Harry’s
With a personality as colorful as the blue hair that earned him fame on “Hell’s Kitchen,” it’s no surprise chef Jason Santos is a fan of flavors that pack a punch. Some of his new favorites at Back Bay Harry’s include Nashville hot chicken wings and buttermilk fried chicken. “I’ve always been inspired by Southern cuisine, especially after a recent trip to New Orleans and wanted to try some of my favorites out on this menu — with a Back Bay Harry’s twist, of course!,” he says. Both the dinner and the lunch menus for Dine Out Boston include his boneless buttermilk fried chicken with whipped potatoes, seared kale, and peach BBQ sauce. Santos’s favorite lighter options on the Dine Out menu include lobster guacamole and yellow cherry tomato salad with burrata. Make a Dine Out Boston Summer 2016 reservation at Back Bay Harry’s.
TAMO Bistro + Bar
This year’s Dine Out menu’s star dish lauds another superstar — TAMO bartender Mike Wuschke. “He’s a huge fan of red meat so it was only appropriate that when we approached him about creating a dish, steak was involved,” says executive chef Robert Tobin, who serves Wuschke’s Steak alongside a potato pancake, creamed spinach, and a red-wine sauce. Pastry chef Karen Hodgson throws out an ode to the last blast of summer and rounds out the savory with the sweet: s’mores in a crock with graham crackers, chocolate chips, mini marshmallows, and vanilla ice cream. Make a Dine Out Boston Summer 2016 reservation at TAMO Bistro + Bar.
Carley Thornell is a travel writer whose experiences eating street food in Japan, English peas in the UK, free-range steak in Argentina, and Brussels sprouts at Estragon tapas in her hometown of Boston have provided unforgettable culinary inspiration. Shout out at firstname.lastname@example.org.