At first blush, the expansive, shimmering Woods Hill Pier 4—opening this week on the footprint of a bygone Boston dining destination—might feel like any glass-walled restaurant anchoring a new, luxury tower in the Seaport District. But Woods Hill Pier 4, the Boston debut for MetroWest restaurateur Kristin Canty, brings soulful, farm-fresh fine dining to a neighborhood now typified by modern steel-and-glass towers, employing a hyperlocal ethos that informs everything from the food to the familial spirit.
Woods Hill Pier 4 opens for dinner on Tuesday, Nov. 26, as a waterfront expansion of Canty’s excellent Concord outpost, Woods Hill Table. Executive chef Charlie Foster, an alum of Ken Oringer’s Toro, Clio, and Daniel Boulud’s DBGB Kitchen & Bar, is also overseeing the Pier 4 menu. Like he’s been doing in Concord since 2015, Foster is sourcing entirely organic ingredients for his menus, from Canty’s Woods Hill farm in Bath, N.H., as well as from other local growers and producers.
The Pier 4 location offers small and large plates meant for sharing in the citified space, rather than more traditional appetizers and entrees. Expect offerings to change as frequently as ingredients do, but the opening menu features the likes of Island Creek caviar service with mini popovers from Boston Public Market baker, the Popover Lady; a raw cheese board; fresh pastas; and plates like Woods Hill Table’s beloved grilled broccoli with cheddar and smoked garlic aioli; and Woods Hill Farm glazed pork butt with autumn squash, spigarello, and sassafras. Among the new, large-format dishes is an update on lobster Newburg, inspired by Anthony’s Pier 4, the 50-year-old seafood spot which preceded today’s development; and a dry-aged duck for two, served with a nose-to-tail dirty rice made with the bird’s offal.
Along with farm-fresh herbs, fruits, and sweeteners, the full bar uses local spirits when available. For example, the house Bee’s Knees is comprised of Privateer Tiki Gin, the Farm at Woods Hill honey, lemon, and farm-foraged lavender. The beer and cider list is entirely New England-sourced.
Canty, who produced and directed a documentary called Farmaggeddon about government control of farming, also owns Adelita, a taqueria and tequila bar in West Concord. “I didn’t get into the restaurant business to be a restaurant owner,” Canty recently told Eater Boston. “I have a restaurant to support farmers.”
She’s also in the business of supporting local craftspeople. The 186-seat, waterfront restaurant has a nautical theme seen beyond the panoramic views of Boston Harbor. Boston artist Betsy Silverman, for example, used recycled magazines to make a collage of buoys that greets guests in the Woods Hill Pier 4 lounge. Locals Julia Powell and Lindsey Adelman have also created original artwork for the space. Canty thoughtfully sourced Woods Hill’s tableware from the likes of Vermont glassblower Simon Pearce.
For the overall design, Boston firm Analogue Studio took inspiration from the nautical decor of Anthony’s, combined with Woods Hill Table’s rustic elegance. Blues, pearly grays, and brass accent rich woods and stone, and photos and memorabilia from the bygone restaurant hang in the new space. In season, Woods Hill Pier 4 will expand with an additional 60 seats on a waterfront deck, which connects to the main dining area via garage-style glass doors.
“It is exciting that location is back in the hands of a locally-owned restaurant family,” says Canty, who grew up in Concord and appreciates what Anthony’s Pier 4 represents for a generation of Boston-area diners. “Our goal is to honor the memory with a stunning restaurant committed to serving nutritionally dense food in a thoughtful and sustainable manner.”
Experience it beginning Tuesday, Nov. 26. Woods Hill Pier 4 opens nightly at 5 p.m.
300 Pier 4 Blvd., Boston, 617-981-4577, woodshillpier4.com.
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