Chef Knows Best

Off-the-menu meals from Tony Maws and other masters.

The Old World tradition of menu-free dining has contemporary incarnations at a number of area restaurants. For example, on Wednesdays and Sundays after 9 p.m. at Craigie Street Bistrot in Cambridge, chef Tony Maws replaces à la carte ordering with “chef’s whim” meals. He works around allergies, but other than that, whatever’s in your four-
or six-course dinner is up to him. At Ten Tables, owner Krista Kranyak encourages adventurous eaters to put their trust in the chef. Every night except Tuesday at her tiny Jamaica Plain restaurant, diners can ignore the menu and ask chef David Punch to whip something up on impulse. And at the Needham bistro Quince, chef Ian Grossman will come to your table to consult on a menu of “Your Favorites”—a surprise meal custom-made with whatever ingredients you crave.

>>Craigie Street Bistrot, 5 Craigie Cir., Cambridge, 617-497-5511,; Ten Tables, 597 Centre St., Jamaica Plain, 617-524-8810,; Quince, 1019 Great Plain Ave., Needham, 781-449-0022,