7 Dining Secrets in Boston

By Scott Kearnan  |  September 9, 2013

We're always listening for the people, places and plates that have people raving, but sometimes what deserves our attention sneaks under the radar. Below, you'll find hush-hush gems: off-the-menu dishes you need to ask for by name, restaurant-within-restaurant hideaways and more. Take a peek and tell your friends - or better yet, keep it a secret.

  • The Fat Felix at Pauli's

    The North End sandwich-slinger isn't exactly one to shy from big portions - this is, after all, the same place that offered an infamous 14-oz. lobster sub back in June it was billed as the largest in the state). So it's no surprise that it goes for gluttony - and gloriously so - with the off-menu "Fat Felix." Ask for it and you'll be handed a big ol' sub of shaved steak and cheese topped with bacon, grilled fresh pepers, onions and mushrooms. Oh, and the whole thing is stuffed with cheese fries too. Because that's just how Felix rolls. We like this guy.

    65 Salem St.; 857-284-7064

  • Seafood Kimchi Fried Rice at Moksa

    This hush-hush off-the-menu item is a delish combo of shimp, mussel, clam, radish, scallion, kimchi, Korean chile paste and a sunny-side-up egg that puts a sunny smile on our faces. 

    450 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge; 617-661-4900

  • 24-oz Rib-Eye at Zebra's Bistro

    Hey big spender with a big appetite: ask for this special, and chef Brendan Pelley will cook up a cast iron-seared rib-eye that clocks in at a pound and a half, with foie gras butter and red wine gastrique. The weighty indulgence comes with a hefty $60 price tag but is obviously worth every buck and bite.

    21 North St., Medfield; 508-359-4100

  • Notorious B.I.G. Burger at The Gallows

    The burger is anything but notorious (it's not even listed on the menu), but this hipster-chic spot scores a big hit with those in the know. Sitting in poutine is a double-patty burger slathered with American cheese and topped with a fried egg - a high-calorie tribute to general manager Sethe Yaffe's favorite rapper.

    1395 Washington St.; 617-425-0200

  • Bogie's Place in jm Curley

    Chef Sam Monsour's creativity is no secret (this is, after all, the man who can turn convenience store junk food into culinary masterpieces). But outside the foodie world, his hideaway steakhouse is still pretty hush-hush. The reservations-only room offers a handful of diners a private place to eat from an upscale menu with meaty mains, a luxurious Victorian presentation of American sturgeon caviar ($120 and served with chilled vodka), and appetizers like this Hudson Valley foie gras torchon, with cocoa nubs and black garlic purée.

    21 Temple Pl.; 617-338-5333

  • Secret Menu at Thai North

    Sometimes secrets hide right in plain sight. This cozy neighborhood gem offers all its visitors a standard menu. But take a look on a small chalkboard by the restaurant's back, and you'll find about a dozen other dishes written in a separate language indigenous specifically to Northern Thailand, where the owner is from. This cuisine specifically culls from that region, and includes northern-style chicken curry and nam prik noom, ground beef with roasted and crushed chile pepper, tomato, Thai fish sauce and other tantalizing spices.

    433 Faneuil St., Brighton; 617-254-2025

  • The Ruby Room in Emerald Lounge

    The Revere Hotel's bumping nightspot is usually pretty packed with noshing, sipping social butterflies. But if you need a place to get away from the crowd (and, perhaps, an area to get more up close and personal over drinks), wind your way through the mazelike bathroom-area hallways to arrive at the Ruby Room, a small nook that glows crimson, holds only about 30 people and typically requires reservations. But if it's not otherwise in use, you can typically click your heels and come in for a cocktail.