At the behest of U. S. senator John F. Kerry, the prestigious Boston law firm agreed to provide free legal counsel to Quincy shipyard workers who opted for early retirement. Unfortunately, the pro bono offer was not extended to laid-off workers, who could really have used the help.
Like its South End sister restaurant (and fellow Best of Boston winner), the Franklin Cape Ann has it made. Its wellpriced wine list, crazy-good cocktails, and New American fare are enhanced by its amiable spirit. Must-order items include the mixed grill daily assortment of meats, corn, and potatoes. 118 Main St., Gloucester, MA franklincafe.com/.
Bragging rights for best sushi in the western suburbs (or all of the greater Boston area, for that matter) may just have to be laid permanently at this tiny spot. Tender, delicate hamachi, hard-to-find otoro (fatty tuna belly), and succulent eel are just a few of the ingredients the sushi chefs here craft into an unforgettable experience. 612 Hammond St., Chestnut Hill, MA oishiiboston.com/.
Rubyhorse's recent album Rise does not "sparkle" like their single, but it's to catch these Irish rockers (who are Cork-to-Boston transplants) in the act. The band, which jammed on Conan O'Brien's show in the spring, tears up the stage with high-stamina riffs that would wear out the Energizer Bunny.
The new 35-year-old conductor of the Boston Pops has entered the stage on in-line skates and at another time seated on an elephant. He has also jumped out of a birthday cake and appeared before his audience suspended in a space suit over the orchestra. What's next?
Boston hasn't had an outdoor concert venue since Concerts on the Common was canned. Now there's Harborlights, a dramatic open-air structure whose graceful tented peaks overlook the harbor, with sailboats, cruise ships, and the cityscape as a backdrop. Perfect for a summer night in the city.
NYNEX has failed so far to unplug the Boston Phoenix's escort-service ads, even though (hypocrisy alert) the NYNEX yellow pages contain 15 pages of escort-service ads. Score another one for the First Amendment.
Romance is available at your very fingertips. Just call Rosexpress, a new outfit that delivers a dozen roses, with superlong stems and huge blossoms, anywhere in downtown Boston for only $29.99. Warning: the price goes up on Valentine's Day, but it's still less than the extortion that takes place at other shops around town. 125 B St., Boston, MA .
When the Newton showroom expansion opens in September, Splash will have the most extensive and by far the sexiest bath fixtures anywhere in the Boston area. Besides Kohler and American Standard, you'll find many Italian lines and cutting-edge styles. Coming soon: contemporary European kitchen cabinetry. 244 Needham Street, Newton Highlands, MA .
This is the place to satisfy literary wanderlust, from Boston to Bangladesh to Beijing. Seating makes longer browsing more comfy. And the staff doesn't seem to mind, even when you pull out a pad and take notes on hotel and restaurant phone numbers. Now, if they'd just install a phone for making the reservations. 500 Boylston St., Boston, MA .
It should come as no surprise that the wine list at Meritage is outstanding. The entire concept of the restaurant is, after all, about pairing food and wine. After 15 years as executive chef of the dining rooms at the Boston Harbor Hotel and of its annual Boston Wine Festival, Daniel Bruce is now cooking for a wine-first audience. The menus at Meritage lead off not with first courses, but a selection of wine styles—sparkling, light, full-bodied, and so on—that are then paired with an appropriate dish. Such a system demands a wine list that's substantial, varied, and reasonably priced, and sommelier Jamie Moore has seen to it that this one is. Moore changes the 850-choice list every two weeks to make room for more bottles of special but recognizable Rhone varietals like Cline, Côtes d'Oakley, or rare gems such as an Aile d'Argent, Château Mouton Rothschild from Bordeaux, or the heaven-on-earth elixir 1990 Château d'Yquem Lur-Saluces, Sauternes. The informed servers want you to enjoy the wine as much as they clearly do, and manage to explain the options in plain English. Boston Harbor Hotel, 70 Rowes Wharf, Boston, MA meritagetherestaurant.com/.
A spectacular view of the Charles River and the Boston skyline, free appetizers during the week from 5 to 6:30 p.m., and live reggae on Thursday evenings. 5 Cambridge Parkway, Cambridge, MA .
Dominican food, made by Cubans. Also wins best refugee hangout award, edging out the Rendezvous (Vietnamese) in Cambridge and Bangkok Cuisine (Thai) in Boston. 405 Center St., Jamaica Plain, MA .
This subterranean oasis is the only place in Boston that satisfies our craving for great sushi as well as our need for a real Tokyo sushi bar. 827 Boylston St., Boston, MA .
On those rare occasions when the line isn't on strike, the Boston-Minneapolis run may feature shrimp salad, filet mignon, and a complimentary split of Mateus. MA