Where to Eat. Right Now.
A comprehensive, taxonomic, easy-reference field guide to dining out in Greater Boston, featuring: six full-color plates, 11 spruced-up street snacks, one headless annotated lamb, and 50 forward-leaning, rigorously vetted, utterly on-the-pulse restaurants worth a top spot on your feeding schedule.
Itâ€™s a benign hazard of the job, getting hit up constantly for restaurant leads. Where should I go to find date-friendly soul food in the South End? To take my aunt for worthy Italian 45 minutes north of the city? To send my postman for affordable seafood in Cambridgeport? All of these, yes, have been real questionsâ€”with real, reasonably straightforward answers.
However, thereâ€™s one recurring query that always puts us on our toes: Where should I be eating right now? Right now, you see, is a much harder place to pinpoint than the clean, Euclidean intersection of place, situation, and cuisine. Is it an opulent fine-dining experience? Not usually, unless thereâ€™s some occasion requiring a no-holds-barred celebration. The brand-spanking-newest opening in town, then? No, as a general rule we prefer giving newbies the time and space to settle into a groove. And as fond as we are of the cityâ€™s timeless steakhouses, bistros, and brasseries, perennial simply isnâ€™t the same as right-this-very-second.
Was it possible, we wondered, to pin down this elusive concept of culinary â€śnownessâ€ť? To find out, we strategically gorged our way through town in preparation for what, in the end, would be a fairly unorthodox spin on our annual restaurant spectacular: Rather than the usual straight-up ranking of the cityâ€™s best eateries, we focused instead on the 50 spots that truly nailed this modern, forward-leaning, trend-curious spirit. (As we soon figured out, however, the two lists would have had quite an impressive overlap.)
Like 19th-century naturalists observing sparrows or wildflowers in their native habitat, we dutifully recorded observations from the field right down to the tiniest detail, paying special attention to the minutiae that made an eatery feel not just in vogue and cutting-edge butâ€”and this is keyâ€”effortlessly of-the-moment. And wouldnâ€™t you know it: The more data we collected, the more we realized we were cataloging not just what we eat and where we eat but how we eat right now. All told, what we ended up with amounts to a userâ€™s manualâ€”a veritable Modern Gastronomeâ€™s Field Guide to Dining Out. So thatâ€™s how we decided to present it. For the full list, check out our quick-and-dirty roster of the 50 restaurants that, in late 2013, answer the urgent question: Where should I eat right now?
â€”Edited by Leah Mennies, Photographs by Bruce Peterson
Here, in list form, our compendium of where you should be eating right this very moment.
Weâ€™ve all seen a shift away from the rigid tripartite menu structure toward modular plates meant to be shared. The unexpected winner in this scenario? The veggie order.
Long relegated to gimmicky-tourist-food status, fading New England standards are getting a new lease on life.
We turn our attention to â€śon the half shellâ€ť variants.
Untethered in recent years from the conventions of Italian cookery, the modern pasta dish has become a culinary wanderer of sorts.
Let the record show: Forks are overrated, anyway.
Cut by cut, we drill down on a wealth of empirical evidence pointing to lamb’s citywide domination.
The cityâ€™s older, rarified destinations are attracting the modern diner in new waysâ€”most notably through their amped-up bar areas.
A taxonomical breakdown of some of the finest drinks in the city.
Source URL: http://www.bostonmagazine.com/restaurants/article/2013/10/29/where-to-eat-boston-restaurants/