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30 Under 30 Boston: The Restaurants

Where to find our honorees in action
December 8, 2014
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by Scott Kearnan

You've checked out our 2014 list of young culinary talent, now find out where you see them in action. The slideshow below is a companion to our latest 30 Under 30 list, and a collection of some of Boston's most interesting places to eat and drink. 

Alden & Harlow

Former Russell House Tavern chef Michael Scelfo has transformed the Harvard Square subterranean digs long occupied by Casablanca into this rustic-chic destination offering shareable plates of creative yet unpretentious New American fare and standouts like the "secret burger" (limited availability). At the whiskey-heavy bar, Seth Freidus, an Eastern Standard alum, has devised a cocktails-on-tap program, and the drinks are served until late-night alongside the food.

40 Brattle St., Cambridge; 617-864-2100

Audubon

Food: 23

Decor: 20

Service: 21

Cost: $21

The team behind Trina's Starlight Lounge imparts a similar hipster sensibility to this casual entry not far from Fenway Park, which boasts a modern, minimalist space of straight lines and lots of sleek, glossy wood. Inventive bites and a few heartier dishes, from Asian-inflected apps to robust burgers, are complemented by a creative cocktail program and selection of craft brews.

838 Beacon St.; 617-421-1910

Bastille Kitchen

This sprawling eatery, owned by one of Boston's major hospitality impresarios, transports the herringbone fabric, oak paneling and bronze sconces of a French countryside bistro to a former Fort Point textile factory. Chef Adam Kube, a young but decorated vet of Ritz-Carlton kitchens, brings unique, refined flair with a few nods, like tea-smoked mussels, to the nearby site of Boston's Tea Party. Don't miss: Chalet, the subterranean cocktail lounge.

49 Melcher St.; 617-556-8000

BELLY Wine Bar

This contemporary Kendall Square American wine bar aims to debunk the seriousness of wine drinking with a whimsical sense of humor and two- and five-oz. pours, which are offered alongside a midpriced small-plates menu of cheese, charcuterie, oysters and other bites; the subterranean dining room features mod-rustic digs with mirrored walls, graphic tiling and reclaimed wood; P.S. it doesn't take reservations, except for the group ‘Arm & A Leg' whole-animal dinners.

1 Kendall Sq., Cambridge; 617-494-0968

The Blue Ox Restaurant & Bar

Food: 25

Decor: 22

Service: 22

Cost: $40

Such "an unexpected surprise in Lynn", this "enjoyable" bistro supplies "terrific" takes on American fare and "excellent" service in a "romantic, candlelit" converted storefront; being a "rare gem" – "particularly for a local place" – it's predictably "become a very popular spot" (read: "make reservations").

191 Oxford St., Lynn; 781-780-5722

Canary Square

Food: 20

Decor: 23

Service: 21

Cost: $23

This "unique" Jamaica Plain joint is all about "whimsical touches", from the bread-and-butter pickles served alongside the "solid", eco-friendly American fare and "fab" draft beers to the roomy brick-and-beam digs that incorporate recycled materials; a few feel the "ambitious menu" could use "a bit more polish", but with a "fun staff" and "fair" prices, it's still "totally worth a stop."

435 South Huntington; 617-524-2500

Clover Food Lab

Food: 24

Decor: 17

Service: 21

Cost: $10

"Who says vegetarian is boring?" wonder champions of this "super-green" mini-chain, where the "fabulous" light bites based on local ingredients present a "healthier, more inventive" alternative to "fast food"; "simple" setups "reminiscent of an actual lab", "helpful" service and "totally affordable" prices complete the picture; P.S. they have food trucks too.

7 Holyoke St., Cambridge; 617-395-0240

Coda Bar + Kitchen

Food: 22

Decor: 20

Service: 23

Cost: $27

Plying a "homestyle" lineup of "consistent", "tasty" American eats and a "great selection of beers", this Back Bay "standby" is an "everyday-casual" joint "done right"; add "attentive servers" and a "cozy, neighborly setting", and it's a square "deal in the area."

329 Columbus Ave.; 617-536-2632

East by Northeast

Food: 25

Decor: 21

Service: 24

Cost: $38

The "tempting" lineup at this "tiny" "oasis of calm in Inman Square" showcases "exciting" modern Chinese small plates from a well-versed staff, though it can be "a bit pricey considering the number" of dishes that "make up a meal"; still, admirers who appreciate the "Zen-like atmosphere" plead "don't tell!"

1128 Cambridge St., Cambridge; 617-876-0286

Eastern Standard Kitchen & Bar

Atmosphere: 27

Decor: 26

Service: 25

With an "excellent" menu boasting everything from cheese and charcuterie to seared salmon and burgers, this "classy, cool" and "casual" American brasserie in Kenmore Square's Commonwealth Hotel is "anything but standard"; the "beautiful" lounge showcases the city's longest marble bar, where "exceptional" barkeeps shake "top-notch" classic cocktails, some made with house infusions, for a "young, hip" crowd.

528 Commonwealth Ave.; 617-532-9100

Farmer's Market Kitchen

Owned by three high school friends turned chefs, this warm, woodsy Watertown take-out shop (and catering business) spotlights New England ingredients in its seasonal selection of novel sandwiches like bison-and-blue-cheese and Cajun tofu, made with rustic bread from Iggy's, plus fresh salads and soups. Rounding out the offerings: local cheeses, honey and cider, plus homemade potato chips and chocolates.

222 Arsenal St., Watertown; 617-393-0201

Giulia

Named for a street in Rome, this rustic Porter Square eatery from Michael Pagliarini focuses on Italy’s coastal flavors. Those feeling bold can request a seat at the custom-built communal table – you never know who you might meet over beer, cocktails or wine from the Italian-only list – which doubles as a pasta-making station by day.

1682 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge; 617-441-2800

Kirkland Tap & Trotter

Tony Maws, of the very popular Craigie on Main, is behind this casual yet creative New American gastropub in Somerville that's drawing in food lovers and hipsters for the kind of fare the chef-owner says he'd cook for family and friends. Simple plates get funky twists (e.g. the cheeseburger with kimchee Russian dressing) and are paired with craft beers and signature cocktails in a rustic-chic space with rough brick walls, mismatched chairs and plenty of stools at the bar.

425 Washington St., Somerville; 857-259-6585

Liquid Art House

Combining a restaurant with an art gallery, this airy, ambitious concept in The Arlington in Bay Village surrounds diners with rotating exhibitions of paintings and digital installations that inspire chef Rachel Klein's global menu of rotisserie meats, dumplings and appetizers. Well-heeled culture vultures clink cocktails at a massive circle bar under an elaborate three-tier chandelier, flanked by dining rooms from which you can take home something in a doggy bag or a picture frame.

100 Arlington St.; 617-457-8130

Lulu's Allston

Chef Sarah Wade helms the kitchen at this playful Allston eatery, presenting creative twists on common American comfort foods, from Southern-inspired dishes like short rib mac 'n' cheese to trussed-up takes on Frito chili pie, made with wild game. Cordial-based cocktails and a bountiful beer list round out the offerings, all served in a charming space with a midcentury-modern, Pop Art–inflected air.

421 Cambridge St., Allston; 617-787-1117

Mei Mei 

Fans of the popular Mei Mei Street Kitchen food truck can also take a seat at its brick-and-mortar offshoot on Park Drive, digging into creative Asian-American fusion fare like scallion pancake sandwiches and beef dumplings prepared with carefully sourced ingredients by the sibling owners. The bright, upbeat space features an open kitchen, colorful furniture, walls adorned with art and shelves lined with books.

506 Park Dr.; 857-250-4959

Metropolis

Food: 25

Decor: 21

Service: 23

Cost: $33

It's "always a pleasure" to hit up this "intimate, neighborly" South End "standby", a "casual but elegant" space where "fantastic", "adventurous" Eclectic meals are delivered by "lovely" servers; "midpriced" tabs that offer "amazing value" add to its allure.

584 Tremont St.; 617-247-2931

Night Shift Brewing

The local craft beer maker unveils its big new production facility and 16,000-sq.-ft. taproom in Everett for pouring pints and tastings from staple varieties, cellared favorites and experimental, test-batch beers and beer-blends, like the R Squared, an imperial stout aged in red wine barrels. The 80-seat space features communal tables and 24 draft lines, ensuring plenty of rotating selections for thirsty visitors.

87 Santilli Highway, Everett; 617-294-4233

Oleana

​Food: 28

Decor: 24

Service: 26

Cost: $55

Chef Ana Sortun continues to "expand dining horizons" by embedding "complex", "memorable spice combinations" in every "taste bud–tantalizing" Mediterranean dish (including vegetarian and vegan ones) at her "pricey-but-worth-it" Inman Square "treasure"; just "plan ahead" to score reservations from the "warm" staff, since the "inviting" interior fills up with "beautiful people" – or arrive early to wait for a table on the "delightful", leafy patio, which doesn't accept bookings.

134 Hampshire St., Cambridge; 617-661-0505

Row 34

From the team behind Island Creek Oyster Bar comes this airy, stylish Seaport District destination sporting raw wood columns, shiny metal surfaces, large windows and an outdoor patio. The kitchen provides raw bar selections, including local bivalves, and refined but casual seafood-centric fare to accompany the bar’s menu of craft beers and wine.

383 Congress St.; 617-553-5900

The Salty Pig

Food: 23

Decor: 20

Service: 21

Cost: $27

"Everything you ever wanted to know about pork" can be learned from the "well-informed" servers at this "reasonably priced" Back Bay bistro, where you can select "cutting-edge" American comfort food like "yummy" flatbread pizzas or "choose your own adventure" in charcuterie; there's also an "excellent assortment of interesting beers" – as if the "trendy", "lofty" space wasn't "cool" enough already.How we get this »

130 Dartmouth St.; 617-536-6200

TRADE

Food: 24

Decor: 23

Service: 20

Cost: $46

Jody Adams' "bursting-with-flavor" Eclectic-Mediterranean small plates "knock the socks off" a "high-energy, low-age clientele" at this "trendy" Waterfront "hit"; the "minimalist", "modern" "warehouse" atmosphere boasts real "buzz" (read: it's "noisy"), aided by "creative" cocktails, of course.

540 Atlantic Ave.; 617-451-1234

Ward 8

The old North End Nebo space has been remade into this casual, industrial-chic gastropub named for the circa-1898, locally created cocktail, which in turn was named for a Boston voting precinct – so little surprise that bartenders here offer a vintage cocktail-focused drink list at the marble-topped square bar. Sophisticated, midpriced plates of comfort food range from lamb meatballs to black-truffle-mayo-laced lobster rolls, plus there's a late-night sharing menu.

90 N Washington St.; 617-823-4478

Wink & Nod

With a nod to the Prohibition era, this South End speakeasy pours craft cocktails in festive glassware paired with Southeast Asia-inflected fare from Bread & Salt Hospitality, the latest inhabitant of a culinary incubator program that offers temporary residency to roving pop-up concepts. Rendered in reds and golds with snakeskin-backed seating, black leather banquettes and zebra rugs, the sensuous setting is equally transporting.

3 Appleton St.; 617-482-0117

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