Hot Plates: 10 Dishes to Try Right Now in Boston
From inventive new barbecue spreads to cool treats like Greek ice cream, your handy list of buzz-worthy plates.
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Hungry? We’re here to help. Behold our list of the most crave-worthy, must-try dishes on Boston menus at this very moment. These are the tasty new offerings that have us talking–when our mouth isn’t full, of course. [Updated: July 14, 2020]
Boozy popsicles at the Bully Boy Distillers Outdoor Cocktail Garden
Although their indoor tasting room remains closed for the time being, the spirit-makers at Bully Boy have nonetheless set up a new, outdoor cocktail garden across the street from the distillery. The awning-shaded space is now open on Saturdays from 12-8 p.m., and though walk-ups are welcome, we’d suggest reserving ahead a seat to sip on signature craft cocktails made with Bully Boy gin, rum, vodka or whiskey—as well as cooling boozy popsicles in flavors like piña colada and espresso martini. (Don’t worry: There’s plenty of house-made hand sanitizer on hand.)
35 Cedric St., Roxbury, 617-442-6000, bullyboydistillers.com.
“Giselle’s Passion Packed Pints” at Deuxave
Here’s a sweet surprise: Giselle Miller, one of the city’s best pastry chefs, is keeping our home freezer stocked for the summer by selling pints of ice cream, sherbert, sorbet, and frozen yogurt. Over the years, Miller has become well known for innovative, whimsical, molecular gastronomy-invoking desserts at high-end spots like Menton and Deuxave, where she currently provides sweet finishes to the menu of French-American cuisine. Right now, though, she’s also expressing her fine taste through comparatively casual pints of burnt honey ice cream, cranberry cherry sorbet, and shiso sour cream frozen yogurt, among other options—all available for pickup ($10 each) at Deuxave.
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371 Commonwealth Ave., Boston, 617-517-5915, deuxave.com.
“GBQ” at Gibbet Hill Grill
Last summer, we deemed farm-set Gibbet Hill Grill in rural Groton to be destination dining-worthy. Guess what? An idyllic drive through the Middlesex County countryside is an even better diversion in our present era, which is dominated by indoor isolating, and there’s something new—and spectacular—waiting when you arrive. Chef Brendan Pelley has launched a flourish-filled barbecue-style menu, dubbed “GBQ,” for enjoying on the property’s spacious outdoor deck and yard. We’re talking about cotija cheese-covered grilled corn flecked with flower petals, refreshing watermelon and feta salad with ancho-lime vinaigrette, and maple-BBQ-lacquered baby back ribs. Insanely good, it more than merits the mileage.
61 Lowell Rd., Groton, 978-448-2900, gibbethillgrill.com.
Kaimaki ice cream at GreCo Seaport
There’s no doubt about it: Boston is an ice cream town. But the Seaport location of GreCo, a local Greek fast-casual brand, just debuted something that’s still rare to find ’round here: Kaimaki, an Eastern Mediterranean-rooted ice cream made with mastic plant resin. The mastic makes it a bit more resistant to melting, and lends a more densely textured, luscious mouthfeel. At GreCo, you can stop by the spacious patio to get it in flavors like quince, bergamot, fig, and sour cherry— then, add toppings such as walnuts, pistachio, butter biscuit, or shredded phyllo. If you’d rather, simply add scoops of kaimaki to an order of Greco’s famous loukoumas (deep-fried dough balls) for the ultimate indulgence.
200 Pier 4 Blvd., Boston, 617.572.3300, grecoboston.com.
Jerk chicken at Jamaica Mi Hungry
Since there’s a very good chance your summer-travel plans have been canceled, it’s a particularly good time to enjoy the bold Caribbean flavors at Jamaica Mi Hungry, which opened its first brick-and-mortar restaurant in Jamaica Plain last year. Even more timely, though, is the arrival of chef Ernie Campbell’s food-truck to a semi-permanent pop-up location in Allston. On Juneteenth, the truck parked itself in a lot outside the address where Jamaica Mi Hungry will soon open a second restaurant. For now, swing by for signature jerk chicken—and get excited for upcoming menu additions, like a jerk chicken Caesar salad, that will debut when physical doors open in the fall.
182 Western Ave., Allston and 225 Centre St., Jamaica Plain, 617.708.0465, jamaicamihungry.com.
Chef’d up picnic favorites at the Lexington at Picnic Grove in Cambridge Crossing
We’ve been waiting for a table at the Lexington—chef Will Gilson’s upcoming, multi-venue Cambridge project—since it was announced last year. Thanks to COVID-19, of course, we’ll have to wait a little longer: The Lexington is now slated to open in early fall. In the meantime, though, we’ll settle for an early taste (sort of) at the just-launched Picnic Grove, an outdoor seating space in Cambridge Crossing, the development where the Lexington will eventually open. At this al fresco iteration, which serves beer and wine, Gilson is focusing on casual, picnic-style fare, though a few items also offer a sneak preview of what’s to come. The lobster roll, tossed with mayo, Greek yogurt, scallions and togarashi, as well as the potato chips with za’atar onion dip, will wind up on the Lexington’s rooftop bar menu; pistachio Rice Krispies treats, meanwhile, will appear at its pastry-oriented Café Beatrice.
219 Jacobs St., Cambridge, thelexingtoncx.com.
[email protected] kits from Tasting Counter
If you thought your work-from-home situation was challenging, imagine how chef Peter Ungár feels. After all, his 20-seat Somerville restaurant is all about the intimate experience of preparing a multi-course tasting menu right in front of guests. So, what’s the next best thing for the social-distancing era? A Zoom call, of course. Ungár is now offering [email protected] kits loaded with everything you need to create a three-course meal in your home kitchen—and to do so, you’ll hop on a call with Ungár and other guests for a two-hour how-to. It’s a really cool, rare experience to whip up strawberry gazpacho, oxtail roulade, or rhubarb clafoutis with the chef behind our reigning pick for the best restaurant around.
14 Tyler St., Somerville, 617-299-6362, tastingcounter.com.
Gelato at Il Giardino at Tuscan Kitchen Seaport
After spending so many months cooped up inside, just about every urbanite is craving a garden of their own. We can’t help you with that, but we can direct you to “Il Giardino”—that’s what Tuscan Kitchen is calling the sprawling, 22,000-square-foot patio and lounge just added to its Seaport location. The space serves house made pastas, crudo such as chilled lobster tails, and pizzas fired in an outdoor oven. But because this is summer, we’re particularly pumped about the Aperol spritz cart and gelato cart, the latter offering daily-changing flavors like double chocolate, salted caramel, and pomegranate-and-raspberry sorbeto. Oh, and a note to North Shore folks: Tuscan Kitchen also just opened a new waterfront location at 38 Merrimac Street in Newburyport.
64 Seaport Ave., Boston, 617-303-7300, tuscanbrands.com.
Clam Shack menu at Uni
First of all: If it’s fried seafood you seek, we’ve got a brand-new guide to some of the best Boston-area spots to find it. That said, sometimes you just need a quick fix from a takeout window—in which case, the new Uni Clam Shack is exactly what you’re looking for. The just-launched concept, located on the Massachusetts Ave. side of chef Tony Messina’s Back Bay izakaya, ditches the restaurant’s fancy fusion-style approach for simpler (but still spectacular) offerings: fried clams with tartar sauce, lobster rolls poached with butter or tossed with Japanese mayo, onion rings, and more. You can also snag a can of craft beer or rosé wine to go with it.
370A Commonwealth Ave., Boston, 617-536-7200, uni-boston.com.
“Chef Jesse’s Famous BBQ” at Woods Hill Pier 4 and Woods Hill Table
Only a couple weeks ago, chef Charlie Foster rolled out a new menu for enjoying at Woods Hill Pier 4’s spacious Seaport patio—it covers everything from lobster popovers to striped bass ceviche to squid ink pasta. Even more recently, though, both the Boston restaurant and the original Woods Hill Table in Concord have launched a weekend-only barbecue menu based on the recipes of sous-chef Jesse Windhausen. Available only on summer Fridays and Saturdays from 5-8 p.m., the superlative splay includes smoked grass-fed beef brisket, pulled pork shoulder, baked beans with bacon from Woods Hill Farm in New Hampshire, and even a “hot dog plate” of two franks topped with cheddar aioli.