25 Best New Restaurants in Boston 2015: The List
50 Northern Ave., Boston,
Committee hails from the same crew behind the fist-pumping nightclub Bijou, so it should come as no surprise that it attracts some of the same cologne-drenched clientele. Add to the mix a dose of throbbing international house music, and this Seaport spot can feel as subtle as an EDM banger. Yet beverage director Peter Szigeti’s cocktail program, with its flair for ornamentation (candied bacon!) and aromatic mists, is magnificent. And the modern eastern Mediterranean meze menu, developed by Greek chef Diane Kochilas, is executed by Committee’s kitchen with energy and verve. Hits like roasted red pepper stuffed with garlicky, chili-flecked feta, and lahmajun—a pizza-esque disk topped with lamb and charred tomato—take the more-is-more approach to layering vibrant spices, all with killer results. Surprised? Join the club.
468 Commonwealth Ave., Boston,
For biotech maven turned restaurateur Samuel Gosselin, Josephine is much more than a passion project. It’s personal. That’s evident in the tables he helped carve from slabs of Claro walnut and Big Leaf maple; in artist John Gonnella’s painting of Gosselin’s mother, the eponymous matriarch of the space; and, most important, in his hospitality—a presence far warmer than the faux flames in the campy digital fireplace. Michelin-starred chef Stefano Quaresima maintains that same scrupulousness in the kitchen, turning bistro fare into Gallic works of art. The only dilemma: how to choose between star dishes like mussels steamed in lemongrass-scented red curry and merguez-stuffed squid over saffron taglioni. Fret not: Gosselin will be there in his bespoke suit to guide you toward the right selection, and chances are he’ll come bearing an amuse-bouche or two.
105 Union St., Newton Centre,
In a sea of small plates, Comedor’s shareable fare stands out from the pack. Credit that feat to husband-and-wife team Jakob and Fernanda White, who weave the flavors of their homelands (hers Chile, his the good old U.S.A.) into plates as bright and beguiling as the space’s Day-Glo, kaleidoscopic murals designed by the Couto Brothers. Here, flaky empanada shells enrobe bay scallops and gooey rivulets of fontina; spicy-sweet chicken wings get a sprinkle of pistachios and a palate-cooling dab of whipped avocado; and papas fritas get the five-star treatment with fried Kennebecs and Yukon Golds dusted in cotija and merken, Chile’s signature spice blend. Outside might be a stodgy stretch of Newton Centre, but inside is a vibrant respite suggesting bolder things to come.
Woods Hill Table
24 Commonwealth Ave., Concord,
Never has the farm-to-table boast felt so fresh. In fact, at owner Kristin Canty’s rustic debut in Concord, it’s practically a religion. Chef Charlie Foster, an alum of Daniel Boulud’s New York empire, helms an oft-changing nouveau New England menu using meat sourced straight from the Farm at Woods Hill, the restaurant’s 260-acre sister property in New Hampshire. From a punchy fluke-and-kohlrabi crudo to the baked-to-order epi baguette served with whipped butter and maple pork fat, everything is caught, raised, and harvested from local farms and waters. Nowhere does that ethos slip, not in sommelier Andrew Rich’s biodynamic-heavy wine list; not in the microbrewed Vermont kombucha on draft; and not in pastry whiz Douglas Phillips’s delicate mousses, tarts, and sorbets.
Rosebud American Kitchen & Bar
381 Summer St., Somerville,
Joe Cassinelli resurrected the formerly seedy Rosebud Diner by reupholstering the booths in deep, rich, tufted red leather, installing dark wood flooring, and painting the walls black. Voilà! The Davis Square spot has gone insanely upscale. Now a 140-seat behemoth, Rosebud Kitchen employs the skills of chef John Delpha to tackle the sweeping terrain known as “Americana.” That means the jambalaya of the Louisiana Gulf Coast; the milkshakes and griddled cheese-burgers of Rosebud’s greasy-spoon roots; and the St. Louis ribs and bacon-wrapped jalapeño poppers of the competitive–barbecue circuit. But Delpha really shines when he wanders farther afield, such as with his lusty, Sichuan-inflected dry-fried green beans and barbecued hog’s head lacquered in gochujang—a hedonistic exclamation point on a menu that offers something for everyone.
One Bow St., Cambridge,
This Hokkaido-based chain excels at Japanese comfort foods like crispy chicken karaage, luscious gyoza, and tender takayaki. But let’s be honest, at Santouka it’s really about the ramen. Embodying the old bromide that if you focus on one thing, you can perfect it, Santouka runs a staunch in-house certification program that requires each of its chefs to stage under its ramen masters abroad. The result is a silky shio tonkotsu ramen—laden with buoyant noodles, pickled plum, and succulent char-siu pork cheek—that’s damn near perfect.
Boston Public Market
100 Hanover St., Boston,
At destinations like L.A.’s Grand Central Market and Gotham West Market, in New York, “food court” means savvy chefs hawking everything from Chemex-steeped cold brew to mackerel sashimi to hand-pulled Shanghainese noodles. This summer, Boston joined that growing movement with the opening of the Boston Public Market, a year-round, all-local farmers’ market that also serves as a rich and varied food hall. Nosh on some of Matt Baumann’s smoked–haddock tacos, the fish serving as a toothsome juxtaposition to the crunchy lime-cumin slaw. Dive into one of Red’s Best’s fresh-from-the-boat yellow-fin tuna rolls shrouded in Maine-sourced seaweed. Then brace yourself for Jasper Hill Farm’s raclette, a bubbling sheaf of Alpha Tolman scraped onto steamed fingerling potatoes. With almost 40 highly curated kiosks, BPM offers unique dining options every day of the week.
179 Massachusetts Ave., Boston,
At the Back Bay sibling of Chinatown’s Dumpling Café, servers wield platters of the same garlicky pea-pod stems and cleaved ginger-scallion lobsters. But here they hustle to the rhythm of Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 5 in E minor, a nod to nearby Berklee. And that isn’t the only difference between Peter Wang’s two eateries. The Palace’s flurry of chefs cinch xiao long baos behind a fabulous glassed-in dumpling station, while patrons—spared the typical sardine-can-like dimensions—have plenty of elbow room to spread out and blithely slurp down bowls of fiery Sichuan flounder fillets. Even better, the restaurant stays open until 3 a.m. for post-post-post–symphony munchies. That means masterful salt-and-pepper shrimp and golden duck buns until the fat lady sings.
Check out all of our Best New Restaurants 2015 coverage.