Hot Plates: 10 Dishes to Try Right Now in Boston

From a perfect pupu platter to a spicy fried chicken sandwich, your handy list of buzz-worthy plates.

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.

Charred avocado at Alcove. / Photo by Emily Kan

Charred avocado at Alcove

Before heading to the West End to help hospitality whiz Tom Schlesinger-Guidelli open his first solo venture, Alcove, chef Maxime Fanton created this simple but stellar snack at Cambridge’s Pagu. We’re glad he carried over his blowtorch-charred haas avocado, which is hollowed and filled with a generous pool of harissa aioli (and topped with red vein sorrel). It’s quickly become a signature starter.

50 Lovejoy Wharf, Boston, 617-248-0050,

Luscious pike dumplings at Bar Lyon. / Photo provided

Quenelle de brochet at Bar Lyon

Don’t call it a comeback. Quenelle de brochet—creamy pike dumplings—is a “Lyon classic.” (And that’s exactly how the dish is specially designated on the Bar Lyon menu.) But it took this South End newcomer from chef Jamie Mammano’s Columbus Hospitality Group, the team behind Mistral and others, to revive our fondness for an old favorite. Served with crayfish tail in lobster velouté, it’s a heavenly rendition of a French tradition.

1750 Washington St., Boston, 617-904-4020,


Hail the “Caesar” at Fox & the Knife. / Photo by Brian Samuels Photography

Broccoli alla griglia “Caesar” at Fox & the Knife

James Beard award-winning chef Karen Akunowicz just opened her Italian-inspired solo venture in South Boston last month. Yet one fabulously flavorful standout has already emerged: the grilled broccoli that reads like a fancy-antipasti twist on a Caesar salad. The florets are coated with lemon juice and olive oil, then topped with Parmigiano-Reggiano, croutons, black pepper and a finish of colatura, Italian fish sauce, with white miso.

28 W Broadway, Boston, 617-766-8630,

TKO. / Photo provided

Knockout sandwich at Fuku

Bostonians are proud folk. We don’t just swoon every time a celebrity chef opens up shop here. But yes, we’re weak in the knees for the spicy fried chicken sandwiches at the new Seaport outpost of Fuku, a fast-casual concept from NYC-based restaurateur David Chang. The Knockout, especially, makes the eyes roll back. It pairs the perfectly crispy bird with seasoned cabbage and “Knockout Sauce,” a tangy wonder that more than earns its rep.

43 Northern Ave., Boston, 617-221-5102,

The burger at the Longfellow Bar is messy and marvelous. / Photo by Michael Scelfo

Longfellow’s Burger at the Longfellow Bar at Alden & Harlow

Chef Michael Scelfo is officially a burger king. First, his “Secret Burger” at Alden & Harlow became a well-known hit. He followed it up with the WP Burger, topped with tonnato (tuna sauce) to reflect the seafood focus of Waypoint. But Longfellow’s Burger, found at this just-opened cocktail den housed above his Harvard Square flagship, might be his best yet. It’s loaded with fermented Nardello peppers, grilled onions, and a Tillamook cheddar spread spiked with pickle brine. It’s an insanely delicious napkin assassin.

40 Brattle St., Cambridge, 617-864-0001,

A Boston Cream Pie-inspired treat is available exclusively at Harvard Square’s Milk Bar. / Photo provided

Boston Cream Pie MilkQuake at Milk Bar

Okay, we’re taking liberties with “hot plate” here; this is more like a “cold cup.” Semantics. The important part is, acclaimed pastry chef Christina Tosi just brought her NYC-founded sweet-treats chain to Harvard Square, where the sugar shack doles out something exclusive to this location: a version of her signature loaded milkshake that is inspired by Massachusetts’s official state dessert. Creamy. Dreamy.

3 Brattle St., Cambridge, 857-321-8430,

We’re bowled over by this Jewish deli-inspired spin on ramen. / Photo provided

Pastrami ramen at Our Fathers

Chef Pat McRell recently stepped into the kitchen at Our Fathers, where he’s mostly focused on introducing knishes, sufganiyot, and other traditional Jewish deli foods to a menu that originally emphasized detours into modern Israeli cuisine. One funky exception: pastrami ramen, quickly earning cult-fave status. It’s only available on “GINdustry Night,” a monthly (first Mondays) series that sees Our Father, which has an extensive gin selection, pair with a local distiller for a night of special snacks and cocktails. The seasoned beef and noodles soak in tonkatsu broth with a soft egg and pickled root veggies. Slurp. [Update: The pastrami ramen will be added to the daily menu beginning Monday, March 18.]

197 N Harvard St., Allston, 617-303-0101,

This pupu platter is a Shore thing. / Photo by Reagan Byrne

Pupu platter at Shore Leave

Here’s another Monday night special worth seeking out–though this time, you can find it every week. “Mahalo Mondays” just launched at Shore Leave, the new, subterranean tiki hideaway from chef Colin Lynch (Bar Mezzana). At each installment, a rotating featured bartender designs a one-night-only menu of special cocktails. Lynch, meanwhile, turns out limited-availability pupu platters that collect some of the regular menu’s greatest hits—like Filipino BBQ ribs and karaage chicken wings—alongside “Mahalo”-only crab rangoons.

11 William E Mullins Way, Boston, 617-530-1775,

Award-winning meatballs at Tony & Elaine’s. / Photo by Justin Power

Spaghetti and meatballs at Tony & Elaine’s

With Ward 8, North Square Oyster, and now Tony & Elaine’s, North End restaurateur Nick Frattaroli brings fresh energy to an oft-old-fashioned neighborhood. Frattaroli’s latest, named for his parents (longtime local servers), tosses a vintage-kitsch filter over a snapshot of a traditional, red sauce-soaked Italian joint. Naturally, the simple spaghetti and meatballs is stellar. Before doors even opened, chef Eric Bunogurio’s creations, inspired by his nonna’s recipe, had already won “best meatballs” at the North End’s last Fisherman’s Feast.

111 N Washington St., Boston, 617-580-0321,

Union Park Pizza offers standout pies in the South End. / Photo by Pat Piasecki

Pizzas at Union Park Pizza

Boston is finally starting to build a stronger reputation for pizza, and we have a feeling that this South End newcomer will only help the cause. Since Union Park Pizza opened in November, the neighborhood has been (rightfully) buzzing about its super-thin flatbread pies, made with a blend of imported Italian “00” flour, the gold standard, and local flour from Northfield’s 4 Star Farm. They’re topped with super-fresh ingredients, like mushrooms from Mycoterra Farm in Western Mass, and pepperoni from Waltham-based Moody’s Deli.

1405 Washington St., 617-855-1100,