First Look at Tiffani Faison’s Fool’s Errand
The latest on the Fenway block from the Sweet Cheeks and Tiger Mama chef is a small, quirky, "adult snack bar."
The highly anticipated third restaurant from chef Tiffani Faison and Kelly Walsh opens Thursday, August 16, but you’re not invited to pull up a bar stool. No offense meant: You’re welcome to pop in for a glass of wine and a couple of snacks, or to make a full evening of trying different vermouths, sherries, crudo, finger sandwiches, and more.
It’s just that there are no seats at Fool’s Errand. The married couple’s latest venture is a petite, standing-room-only “snack bar for adults.”
“Every time Kelly and I are traveling, we find ourselves in places like this, hanging out, meeting people we didn’t know before, and having really great experiences,” says Faison, the Best of Boston chef who is also behind Sweet Cheeks Q and Tiger Mama. “I want people to come in, get to know their neighbor, and not take anything too seriously.”
The fun space is built for that: With crystal chandeliers, bouquets of fresh herbs on the bar, and French country-style wallpaper, Fool’s Errand reads as comfortable and classy at first glance. But irreverent design elements like the toile pattern on the walls, the hooks underneath the bar, and the restroom decor (we’ll let you experience these details for yourself) quickly make it clear that it isn’t meant to be a stuffy cocktail den.
Though it’s only about 400 square feet total space, there will be servers on the floor to take snack and drink orders (though no reservations are available). There is seating available for guests who need it, and underneath the bar are foot rests. Soon, a communal table with a wraparound ice trough will grace the landscaped, Boylston Street patio out front, offering al fresco standing room with a place to keep your drinks cold.
“We’re taking some inspiration from [Paris, Madrid, and Barcelona-style wine bars] in form and function, but not in food. We’re doing ham, but it’s Benton’s ham with apricot jam. We wanted it to feel uniquely American, and of this time and place.”
Ellie Roycroft, formerly of Tiger Mama and Commonwealth in Cambridge, is chef de cuisine. From the minuscule open kitchen behind the rectangular bar, she’ll dish out finger foods like croquettes, and small sandwiches filled with raclette and summer truffle, butter and gruyere, and more; and decadent snacks like crispy potato mille feuille; Benton’s ham and Bayley Hazen Blue cheese on Ritz; lobster gravy and uni; and crudités with sour cream labneh. Sweet Cheeks chef de cuisine Dan Raia is also helping out at Fool’s Errand, and the restaurant group’s pastry chef, Dee Chinn, has a couple of sweets including raclette-and-Parmesan ice cream “Foolsie Cups.”
The beverage program, overseen by industry veteran Daniel Motsinger (Giulia, Radius, Sam’s, Pigalle) centers on wine, sherry, and vermouths, with a handful of classic cocktails and canned beers. The focus on fortified wines is because that’s what Faison and Walsh like to drink.
“Not just as a digestif or an aperitif, but we’re really introducing those into an everyday dialogue of the American drinking conversation,” Faison says. She knows not everyone will be familiar with the offerings, and she’s looking forward to the staff engaging guests in conversation to learn—and taste—more.
But if you’re just up for a quick bite to fuel a City Target run, that’s perfectly OK, too. “You can hang out as long as you want and drink all the vermouths and sherries, or you can hit and run. It’s up to our guests how they want to experience it. We just want them to have fun.”
Fool’s Errand will open nightly from 5 p.m.-1 a.m.
1377 Boylston St., Fenway/Kenmore, Boston, foolserrandboston.com.