Restaurant Openings

First Look at the Museum of Fine Arts’ New 465 Bar and Restaurant

The elegant, but approachable, fine-dining flagship reopens July 10.


Grilled swordfish skewer, Johnnycake grits, dry-aged prime sirloin, and baby carrots from the newly renovated 465 Bar and Restaurant at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

Grilled swordfish skewer, Johnnycake grits, dry-aged prime sirloin, and baby carrots from the newly renovated 465 Bar and Restaurant at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. / Photo courtesy Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

At past jobs leading the kitchens at the likes of Harvest restaurant in Cambridge, and the Sole Proprietor in Worcester, chef Brian Flagg would occasionally need a minute to himself and would step into the walk-in cooler to get it. These days, he visits the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston’s world-class Impressionist gallery and collects his thoughts in the presence of masterworks by Monet, Renoir, Degas, and more. It’s rejuvenating, says the MFA’s executive chef—and Flagg’s physical proximity and access to such masterworks is informing the newest restaurant under his purview. Opening to the public on Wednesday, July 10, 465 Bar and Restaurant is a sophisticated, global dining experience at the Museum of Fine Arts.

“You’d be hard-pressed to find another restaurant environment like this,” says Flagg, who is the culinary director for all four of the MFA’s food-and-drink options, which also include the more casual, full-service New American Café; Taste Café; and the family-friendlier Garden Cafeteria. 465 Restaurant, located on the second floor in the Linde Family Wing for Contemporary Art, takes the place of the MFA’s fine-arts, fine-dining concept, Bravo, which closed in October after 15 years.

Piggybacking on other renovations happening in the museum this past winter, the fine-dining spot’s refresh comes with not only a new name and a new menu, but also updates to the space. It was originally designed by I.M. Pei, and has been renovated by architectural design firm Bergmeyer.

Executive Chef Brian Flagg in the newly renovated 465 Bar and Restaurant at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

Executive Chef Brian Flagg in the newly renovated 465 Bar and Restaurant at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. / Photo courtesy Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

The newly renovated 465 Bar and Restaurant at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

The newly renovated 465 Bar and Restaurant at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. / Photo courtesy Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

The newly renovated 465 Bar and Restaurant at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

The newly renovated 465 Bar and Restaurant at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. / Photo courtesy Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

“The environment is a bit more modern-looking. The museum is pretty magnificent. When you sit down [at 465], you don’t want it to be a drastic disconnect,” Flagg says, noting a new, lighter color palette and warm woods, complemented by still-life paintings curated directly from the museum’s collection. The restaurant has a new communal table in its lounge area. “We want the place to have a pulse. It’s a place you can have a drink and snack, or full-blown dining experience. We want it to be versatile.”

The menu, executed by chef de cuisine Rey Cruz, is set up for those different experiences. It will change frequently with the seasons as well as with the chefs’ inspiration from ongoing or special exhibitions, but it will always feature a range of small plates meant for snacking, or sharing; as well as some larger entrées and desserts. Down the line, Flagg also hopes to introduce a selection of two-bite tapas-style snacks, as well.

Baby carrots three ways at the newly renovated 465 Bar and Restaurant at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

Baby carrots three ways at the newly renovated 465 Bar and Restaurant at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. / Photo courtesy Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

Spiralized zucchini salad at the newly renovated 465 Bar and Restaurant at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

Spiralized zucchini salad at the newly renovated 465 Bar and Restaurant at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. / Photo courtesy Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

Dry-aged prime sirloin at the newly renovated 465 Bar and Restaurant at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

Dry-aged prime sirloin at the newly renovated 465 Bar and Restaurant at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. / Photo courtesy Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

Pan chocolate chip cookie with vanilla ice cream at the newly renovated 465 Bar and Restaurant at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

Skillet chocolate chip cookie with vanilla ice cream at the newly renovated 465 Bar and Restaurant at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. / Photo courtesy Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

“This is a very inspirational environment to work in,” Flagg says. “The works in there are international, so we didn’t want to put any borders or parameters on the food, but we didn’t want it to be a confusing mishmash, either.” The menu also needs to appeal to a broad audience of locals and visitors, he notes. “Food, like art, is a very personal thing. Everything in the museum is beautiful to somebody. We want that experience to fold over into the restaurant space as well.”

Check out the opening menu below.

465 Bar and Restaurant has a full bar, with seasonal and classic cocktails and mocktails created by museum catering manager Keir Weinberg. It also carries local craft beer and cider in cans and bottles, with recent offerings like Trillium Fort Point pale ale, Sam Adams Boston Lager, and Downeast Cider.

Beginning July 10, 465 Bar and Restaurant is open Wednesday-Friday from 11:30 a.m. until 10 p.m. (last seating at 8:30 p.m.), and weekends from 11:30 a.m.–5 p.m. It’s available for rentals on Mondays and Tuesdays.

465 Huntington Ave., Boston, 617-369-3474, mfa.org.

465 Bar and Restaurant Menu

Small Plates
Sriracha Dusted Chips $6

Roasted Olives $6

Sweet Corn Veloute $9
with red pepper oil

Baby Carrots Three Ways $10
butter roasted, pickled, and shaved carrots with cardamom yogurt, pistachio, spicy date jam, and mint

Roasted Japanese Eggplant $11
black miso marinade, edamame hummus, crispy shallots, togarashi

Heirloom Tomato Tartine $10
Iggy’s sourdough with lavender ricotta, toasted sesame, avocado, and fleur de sel

Sous Vide Watermelon $11
whipped feta, pickled jalapeño, cucumber, boquerones

Spiralized Zucchini Salad $12
citrus-thyme dressing, sweet-sour red pearl onion, toasted almonds

Hand-Cut Tagliatelle $14
kale-pinenut pesto, sun-dried tomatoes, ricotta salata, garlic chips

Heritage Pork Pinchos $14
sour orange glaze, grilled corn, red slaw

Colorado Lamb T-Bone $15
black olive oil, cured lemon, cannellini piperade

Shrimp & Johnnycake Grits $14
scallion, North Country bacon, honey-habañero drizzle

Native Fluke Crudo $14
radish, pickled blueberries, lemon oil, American caviar

Grilled Swordfish Skewer $14
charred lime and salsa verde

Larger Plates
Grilled Chicken Paillard $20
frisee, watercress, watermelon radish, shaved celery, crispy capers, chunky oregano chimichurri

Tuna Nicoise $24
crispy potatoes, green beans, 6-minute egg, olives, tomato, avocado Green Goddess dressing

Pan Roasted Dayboat Haddock $26
herbed brioche crumbs, roasted baby vegetables, red quinoa, chervil corn nage

Dry-Aged Prime Sirloin $45
grilled broccolini, caramelized onion pommes Anna, pepita Romesco

Roasted “Turchetta” Sandwich $18
on ciabatta with lemon-caper aioli, arugula, and roasted peppers, served with chips and house pickles

Dessert

Warm Nutella-Stuffed Skillet Chocolate Chip Cookie For Two
with vanilla ice cream, caramel sauce, and Nutella drizzle

One of the still life paintings on display at 465 Bar and Restaurant at the MFA: Grapes and Walnuts on a Table Alfred Sisley (British (active in France), 1839–1899) 1876 Oil on canvas * Bequest of John T. Spaulding

One of the still life paintings on display at 465 Bar and Restaurant at the MFA: Grapes and Walnuts on a Table
Alfred Sisley (British (active in France), 1839–1899)
1876
Oil on canvas
* Bequest of John T. Spaulding / Photo courtesy Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

One of the paintings on display at 465 Bar and Restaurant at the MFA: Still Life of Bottles and Pitcher Giorgio Morandi (Italian, 1890–1964) 1946 Oil on canvas * Tompkins Collection—Arthur Gordon Tompkins Fund © 2011 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York/SIAE, Rome. * Photograph © Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

One of the paintings on display at 465 Bar and Restaurant at the MFA: Still Life of Bottles and Pitcher
Giorgio Morandi (Italian, 1890–1964)
1946
Oil on canvas
* Tompkins Collection—Arthur Gordon Tompkins Fund
© 2011 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York/SIAE, Rome. / Photo courtesy Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

One of the paintings on display at 465 Bar and Restaurant at the MFA: Still Life with Peaches, Pears and Grapes
Georges Braque (French, 1882–1963)
1921
Oil on canvas
* Museum purchase with funds donated by contribution
© 2011 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris. / Photo courtesy Museum of Fine Arts, Boston