Hot Plates: 10 Dishes to Try Right Now in Boston
From Roman style pizza to fried lobster rolls to a "secret" taco special, check out this 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: February 23, 2021]
Roman style pizza from Mr. Roni Cups at Bianca
Please note: All cravings for Roman-style pizza—square, thin, crunchy slices of central Italian heaven—are now being highly satisfied by Mr. Roni Cups, the pizza concept within Bianca in Chestnut Hill. And if these delicious, pepperoni- or garlic béchamel-topped pans are any indication, we ought to be excited when Roni Cups rolls out its next regional variety at the end of February: pillowy Neapolitan-style slices, wood-fired in a custom Mugnani Toscana pizza oven.
47 Boylston St., Chestnut Hill, 857-576-8300, biancachestnuthill.com.
Secret taco at Cósmica
“Can I have the secret taco?” With these words, a whole new world opens at Cósmica, the new, contemporary Mexican-inspired addition to the South End’s Revolution Hotel. This ancient chant, when spoken to your server, will summon a chef’s-whim creation from chef Colton Coburn-Wood—something not otherwise on the menu. And your mission, if you choose to accept it (you will), is to relish whatever arrives: It might involve rattlesnake, or venison, or scallops, or beef; it will definitely be delicious.
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40 Berkeley St., Boston, 617-313-7878, cosmicaboston.com.
Kitchen Sink Meat Lasagna at Geppetto
What’s in the “Kitchen Sink” lasagna at chef Will Gilson’s new Italian restaurant in Cambridge? Whatever happens to be on hand in the kitchen that week, that’s what. Gilson’s lasagna has emerged as the menu’s top-selling item since Geppetto opened in January, thanks to layers of cheese (mozzarella, Parmesan, and ricotta, plus a porcini béchamel sauce) with combos of marvelous meat—right now it’s braised short ribs, roasted pork shoulder, and mortadella cubes.
100 North First St., Cambridge, thelexingtoncx.com/geppetto.
Thai fried chicken from Ghost King Thai
The pandemic has inspired a slew of new “ghost restaurants,” a growing category of concepts without their own signs, front doors, and physical dining space. And among the standouts (no surprise) is the latest venture from James Beard award-winning chefs Ken Oringer and Jamie Bissonnette: Ghost King Thai, which actually operates out of their kitchen at Toro restaurant in the South End. It doles out boxes of spicy, Thai-style fried chicken and a few sides, like green papaya salad, via online orders for pickup or delivery. And guess what? These King birds rule.
1704 Washington St., Boston, 617-536-4300, ghostkingthai.com.
Harpoon Mike’s Pastry Cannoli Stout at Harpoon Brewery
Okay, here’s a hot plate that’s actually, well, a drink served cool. Whatever. Point is, this month Harpoon Brewery brought back its stout inspired by Mike’s Pastry’s iconic cannoli. The beer, made using actual hand-made cannoli shells from Mike’s, is aged in whiskey barrels to give its notes of creamy vanilla, cinnamon, and caramel a bit of rye spice. You can pick up a pack from various packies or just head to Harpoon’s brewery in the Seaport.
306 Northern Ave., Boston, 617-456-2322, harpoonbrewery.com; also available at area package stores.
Chicken and waffles at Laced Quality Kitchen
Step one: Snag some snazzy new kicks from LACED, a longstanding South End sneaker and streetwear boutique. Step two: Wear ’em over to the Laced Quality Kitchen, a new fast-casual joint that the store’s owner, Joamil Rodriguez, just opened inside the CambridgeSide mall: There, you’ll find awesome fried chicken sandwiches, wings, and tenders served in a host of flavors, including Buffalo, Carolina mustard, Sriracha honey garlic, and mango habanero. The sides of French fries (“shoelace,” fries, they’re called) are great, but the truly must-try pair is the chicken with waffles that comes drizzled with Vermont maple syrup. (And yes, large orders are served in a shoebox. Because amazing.)
100 CambridgeSide Place, Cambridge, lacedqualitykitchen.com.
“The” Breakfast Sandwich at Lulu Green
For the record, the confident quotation marks around “The” come directly from Lulu Green, a fabulous lil’ vegan, Middle Eastern, fast-casual cafe that opened right before the pandemic. How do you know its brunch sandwich earns that capital-T “The”? Well, consider that—even when we’ve all been isolated—the neighborhood buzz picked up enough that it sells out every weekend (so get takeout orders placed early). Inspired by ka’ak, a Lebanese purse bread, the savory roll is dipped in pomegranate molasses, covered with toasted sesame seeds, and stuffed with chickpea egg, tofu bacon, potato pancake, and marinated kale and avocado. A bit of hot sauce for zing. It’s “The” best.
246 W Broadway, Boston, 617-420-4070, lulugreen.com.
Warm lobster roll at Row 34
There’s a lot to mourn about the just-confirmed closing of Eastern Standard, Island Creek Oyster Bar, and the Hawthorne, three legendary Kenmore Square establishments from restaurateur Garrett Harker: the food, the drink, the energy, the crowds, the jobs. After all, Harker helped to totally transform that neighborhood (not to mention, Boston’s hospitality landscape) when Eastern Standard, the first entry in his hat trick, opened in 2005. Sadly, you can’t go home again—but you can go to Island Creek Oyster Bar’s surviving location in Burlington, as well as sibling restaurant Row 34 in Boston’s Seaport, to savor the same warm, buttered lobster roll that lured us to the Kenmore original. It lives on, and so will our love for it.
Fried lobster roll at Saltie Girl
Okay—we’ve covered off-menu orders (Cósmica) and lobster rolls (Row 34/Island Creek Oyster Bar Burlington). What happens when you put the two together? The off-menu, fried lobster roll at Saltie Girl in the Back Bay: chunks of lightly battered meat served with a luscious roasted corn butter. It’s available by request only, so don’t be shy. Oh, and if fried lobster isn’t enough to scratch your comfort-seafood itch, note that Saltie Girl just opened a brand-new lobster-, crab-, and clam-topped pizza concept next door.
281 Dartmouth St., Boston, 617-267-0691, saltiegirl.com.
Speed hot dog at Troquet on South
Speaking of taste bud-blowing blasts from the past: Over at refined downtown restaurant Troquet on South, chef-sommelier Chris Campbell has revived the original recipe for the Boston Speed Dog—which hasn’t been seen since 2013. That’s when the 1975-founded hot dog wagon that first dispensed these dogs took itself off the road; Campbell, a friend of founder Ezra “Speed” Anderson, has brought back the half-pound all-beef frank—topped with chili sauce, sweet relish, mustard, and onion—for a whole new generation of dog lovers. It’s available for takeout, delivery, and during lunch and dinner service.