A guide to the season’s hottest new restaurants
One of the hottest new spots is Bar Volpe, by Karen Akunowicz of “Top Chef All Stars” fame. It is just steps from Fox & the Knife, the James Beard Award winner’s other restaurant, in South Boston. Both serve Italian dishes; while Fox & the Knife’s culinary heart is in Modena to the north, Bar Volpe focuses on southern Italy. Come here to watch the noodles prepare, then savor curlgiones, Sardinian pasta stuffed with potatoes, goat cheese and tomato sugo; spaghetti al limone with crab; stuffed eggplant ravioli; and more. Of course, life isn’t all about pasta – like marinated mozzarella, roasted chicken with black truffles and kale, wood-fired seafood dishes, Negronis galore and a selection of wines from Kristie. Weiss (Nathalie). Prepare to wait: there would have been a line around the block to enter on opening day.
Japan is also in the spotlight in the culinary field. Menya jiro, a ramen chain founded in Kagoshima with an outpost in Brooklyn, is moving here. Noodle soups including the jumbo “Jiro Monster” are available at Harvard Square, with more branches planned for Seaport and Legacy Place in Dedham. In the downtown Hub Hall food hall – open in September and featuring dishes such as MIDA’s APIZZA, Cusser’s, GreCo, and Lily P’s Fried Chicken – there’s a new addition: Ramen Momosan, of “Iron Chef” star and restaurateur Masaharu Morimoto. Along with half a dozen ramen, the menu features Peking Duck with tortillas and sauces, tuna sashimi pizzas, sushi, and all kinds of grilled and skewered stuff. Malden is home to the Newish Omori Izakaya & Sushi, an offshoot of Omori Izakaya of Brookline. Come here for yakitori, donburi, a wide array of sushi rolls, and more.
The one I expect the most is Judy’s Bay, a âNew England izakayaâ taking charge of the cozy space that Bondir has long been. They are Lukas Dow and Kim Vo, spouses and hosts of an Asian-inspired pop-up barbecue series that has been going on since 2018. Dow, who has worked at restaurants such as Cafe Sushi, L’Espalier and Mei Mei, will assume leadership duties; he is also a hip-hop artist and co-founder of the non-profit Cambridge Hip-Hop Collective. Vo, career coach and negotiation consultant, oversees the commercial aspect. The menu will highlight fresh seafood, Japanese-inspired dishes, and drinks essential to the izakaya experience. Opening soon, the restaurant is named after Dow’s grandmother, Judy. She and her husband Anthony ran the Wah May restaurant in Fairhaven for 30 years.
The French tariff obtains a new outpost in the port with Coquette, at the Omni Boston Hotel. It comes from the people behind stylish places like Lolita, Mariel, Ruka and Yvonne’s. See and be seen while tasting seafood tours, flatbreads with duck confit, Provencal spinach balls, beef cheeks and sipping martinis. When you’ve got enough of the alluring French beach vacation vibe, head to Back Bay for some energy in town at Wild Coffee. The neighborhood bistro of the wife-husband team Anais and Antoine Lambert presents a multicultural Paris, with a menu that includes banh mi and injera pancakes, as well as French onion soup and steak fries. It is open for breakfast, lunch and brunch in addition to dinner. The couple have worked in places like Colette and Frenchie; executive chef Kendall DaCosta was at Bastille Kitchen.
Beacon Hill will also have a new neighborhood, 1928 Beacon Hill, in Lala Rokh’s longtime space. The chef is Dante Funes, formerly of Masa, Ghost Pepper, Southern Proper, and more.
The plant-based food scene continues to grow. Mother and daughter Sahar Ahmed and Dina Fahim started Mom Koshari at the Massachusetts Farmers’ Markets and then operated as a pop-up at the Bow Market. It’s now a Somerville restaurant specializing in vegan Egyptian street food – specifically the namesake koshari dish, a mix of rice, lentils, pasta, chickpeas and fried onions. Order it mild, incendiary or in between, with your choice of sauce. Eggplant rice bowls, mushroom shwarma, falafel and assorted dips are also on the menu. (Another Egyptian restaurant, Kushari & Grill, also opened in Medford, with meat on the menu.) In Kendall Square, chef Mary Dumont (Cultivar, Harvest) opened PlantPub with his partner Pat McAuley, who was originally the Rewild herbal brewery in Quincy. PlantPub takes over from Rewild, serving craft beer and herbal pub food. Think Buffalo cauliflower, filled nachos, burgers, pizza and soft serve.
Another new draw for beer geeks: Castle Island Brewing Co. Now has a bar in South Boston serving all the beer as well as food from Bardo’s Bar Pizza (there are salads, sandwiches and wings in addition to the South Shore style bar pies). In Hyde Park, a taproom comes from Round head brewing company., Massachusetts’ first Latino-owned brewery. It was started by head brewer Luis Espinoza and Craig Panzer, who met through their children’s football league. In the meantime, you can taste the products of the outdoor cafÃ© Aji Seco on November 12 and 19. And for those who miss Bukowski’s in Inman Square, you can still drink beer and sample global street food at the gastropub. Tale of the wanderer, who took possession of the space.
And now for dessert. To Revere, Beirut espresso serves Lebanese and other baked goods, coffee and more. From the Kimchipapi Kitchen team, Pon of joy has mochi donuts for you, inside Super 88 Market in Allston. And Zuzu petals is a magical unicorn of delights: a cellphone-less wine and dessert bar where you can nibble on cheese boards and Sacher pie while clinking glasses in the absence of appliances. In the former City Girl Cafe space, it comes from the owners of the Somerville Girl-Like Candy store and specialty food store Picnic & Pantry.
We will meet over there. In the meantime, here are some other places to discover: Comfort kitchen, the brick and mortar Uphams Corner currently in pop-up mode on the Jamaican Plain; Dear Annie, serving natural wine and sustainable food in Cambridge, by the folks behind Field & Vine and Rebel Rebel; the Haven of peace at the brewery, a collaboration between the Scottish tavern The Haven and the former Bella Luna, in JP; Bar Nash in the Theater District, serving Nashville-inspired food and maybe line dancing in the old Abby Lane space; and Wusong Road, serving American-style Chinese food and tiki drinks in the Harvard Square space which was Les Sablons, from chef Jason Doo (Menton) and his business partner Thomas Brush (Felipe’s Taqueria).
If you are going to . . .
1928 Beacon Hill, 97 Mount Vernon St., Beacon Hill, Boston, 857-233-5662, 1928beaconhill.com.
Bar Enza, 1 Bennett Street, Harvard Square, Cambridge, 617-661-5050, www.bar-enza.com.
Bar Volpe, 170 W. Broadway, South Boston, 617-865-7100, www.barvolpe.com.
Beyrut Espresso, 3 rue Everett, unit 3C, Revere, 781-629-5400, beirut-espresso.business.site.
CafÃ© Sauvage, 25 Massachusetts Ave., Back Bay, Boston, 857-277-0075, www.cafesauvage.com.
Castle Island Brewing Co., 10 Old Colony Ave., South Boston, 617-977-4017, www.castleislandbeer.com.
Coquette, 450 Summer Street, Seaport, Boston, 617-419-8140, www.frenchcoquette.com.
da La Posta, 825 Washington St., Newton, www.dalaposta.com.
Drifter’s Tale, 1281 Cambridge St., Inman Square, Cambridge, 617-714-5712, www.drifterstale.com.
Geppetto, 100 N. First St., Cambridge, 617-945-1349, www.thelexingtoncx.com/geppetto.
Judy’s Bay, 279A Broadway, Cambridge, www.judysbay.com.
Koshari Mama, 585 Somerville Ave., Somerville, 617-229-9230, www.kosharimama.com.
Kushari & Grill, 321 Boston Ave., Medford, 781-874-1536, www.kushariandgrill.com.
Menya Jiro, 57 John F. Kennedy St., Harvard Square, Cambridge, 617-945-1002, www.menyajiro-boston.com.
Momosan Ramen, 80 Causeway Street, Boston, 617-263-8900, www.hubhallboston.com.
Omori Izakaya & Sushi, 166 Eastern Ave., Malden, 781-321-8600, www.omorisushimalden.com.
Plant Pub, 675 West Kendall St., Kendall Square, Cambridge, 617-714-5452, www.plantpub.com.
Pon de Joy, 1 Brighton Ave., Allston, 617-208-8885, www.pondejoy.com.
Roundhead Brewing Co., power station at Westinghouse Plaza, 1 Westinghouse Plaza, Hyde Park, www.roundheadbrewing.com.
Petals of Zuzu, 204 Hampshire St., Inman Square, Cambridge, 617-945-7749, www.zuzuspetalscambridge.com.