Thanks to some major changes, these local standbys have us excited all over again.
Marc Orfaly’s French-cuisine flagship has gotten an interior refresh. The most noticeable changes are at the bar, where you’ll now find 10 seats rather than four. Meanwhile, a new coat of paint and improved lighting aim to pull in more patrons. The restaurant will also lure guests Tuesday to Thursday from 5 to 7 p.m. by offering free—yes, free—barside eats like barbecue duck buns, short rib arancini, and onion-ring-topped beef sliders.
The Blue Room
While the Kendall Square spot has long operated under the radar, that’s about to change. Chef Robert Grant, a Butcher Shop vet, has revitalized the menu with a mix of charcuterie, vegan-friendly fare, and grilled dry-aged meats.
Lunchtime gets a bit more interesting at this Southie hangout, thanks to the addition of the in-house deli Pinky’s. That means sandwiches stuffed with great combos like Gruyère and pastrami, house-roasted sirloin and Swiss, and duck prosciutto and bacon. Try the pots of pickles, tater tots, and pimiento-cheese-slathered fries on the side.
Clio and Uni
After 15 years, Ken Oringer has finally decided to strip his fine-dining establishment of its outdated leopard carpet. He’s introducing an updated, sleeker interior and an expanded, -illuminated walnut bar that better showcases barman Todd Maul’s cocktail wizardry. Uni is getting a facelift, too, with a more distinguished entryway, lower sushi bar, and white-oak-paneled walls.
This Faneuil hall frites-and-waffle shop is ready to make a play for downtown crowds seeking a proper lunch or dinner. They’re rolling out a beer-braised chicken sandwich, as well as veggie croquettes and chicken satay. To wash it all down? Four rotating drafts, and about a dozen beers available by the bottle.
If we had to, we’d sit on the floor of a rundown bus depot to savor Paul O’Connell’s famed Cuban sandwich. But we much prefer dining in Chez Henri’s newly updated bar space, where deep red walls and burnished flooring create a polished look. The dining room’s been gussied up, too, with handblown light fixtures and new artwork.
We had just one beef with this South End gastropub: Sometimes cravings would strike for those griddled burgers or cool wedge salads in the afternoon, but—grumble—it didn’t open until dinnertime. Thankfully, that’s changed with the addition of a Thursday and Friday lunch menu, complete with tuna melts and blue-cheese-and-roasted-fig sammies.
Upstairs on the Square
Though the downstairs Monday Club Bar recently received a makeover, it lost none of its whimsy in the process—witness the paintings of zebras prancing across the walls, the gilded chairs, and the lacquered pink tables. The food is now more approachable, however, thanks to a new pizza bar that serves up crisp-crusted pies. Still, toppings like duck-fat potatoes, Robiola, and guanciale keep this place feeling as luxurious as ever.