Thanks to some major changes, these local standbys have us excited all over again.
Marc Orfalyâ€™s French-cuisine flagship has gotten an interior refresh. The most noticeable changes are at the bar, where youâ€™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 freeâ€”yes, freeâ€”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, thatâ€™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 Pinkyâ€™s. That means sandwiches stuffed with great combos like GruyĂ¨re 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After 15 years, Ken Oringer has finally decided to strip his fine-dining establishment of its outdated leopard carpet. Heâ€™s introducing an updated, sleeker interior and an expanded, -illuminated walnut bar that better showcases barman Todd Maulâ€™s cocktail wizardry. Uni is getting a facelift, too, with a more distinguished entryway, lower sushi bar, and white-oak-paneled walls.Â
This Faneuil hall frites-and-waffle shop is ready to make a play for downtown crowds seeking a proper lunch or dinner. Theyâ€™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.Â
If we had to, weâ€™d sit on the floor of a rundown bus depot to savor Paul Oâ€™Connellâ€™s famed Cuban sandwich. But we much prefer dining in Chez Henriâ€™s newly updated bar space, where deep red walls and burnished flooring create a polished look. The dining roomâ€™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, butâ€”grumbleâ€”it didnâ€™t open until dinnertime. Thankfully, thatâ€™s changed with the addition of a Thursday and Friday lunch menu, complete with tuna melts and blue-cheese-and-roasted-fig sammies.Â
Upstairs on the Square
Though the downstairs Monday Club Bar recently received a makeover, it lost none of its whimsy in the processâ€”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.
Source URL: http://www.bostonmagazine.com/2012/01/where-to-eat-in-2012-restaurants-2-0/