Boston Springtime signals many things here in The Hub, like less snow, Bruins playoffs, and more daylight hours (for more day drinking!). It’s also the beginning of the busy season for New England farms flush with seasonal goodness waiting to be eaten. By you. And Boston-area restaurants badly want to help make that happen. Here are five great spots to taste the season:
Prezza (info and address)
Prezza’s Executive Chef Anthony Caturano combines Italian comfort food with fresh (not like, back-talking) New England ingredients. For apps, try the baked WiAnno oysters with radicchio, scallion, and mascarpone or the red wine-braised short rib with spaetzle and horseradish cream. After that, ease into the handmade potato gnocchi with lobster, amaro cream, tarragon, bacon (!), and crushed hazelnuts -- or the braised lamb shank with chickpeas, roasted root vegetables, watercress, and feta cheese.
Commonwealth (info and address)
Chef/owner Nookie (best name EVER) is surrounded by locally sourced sustenance at his restaurant/market mash-up. Spring menu additions include Equinox Farm greens (watermelon radish, asparagus, farro), grilled flatbread (pork sausage, ricotta, ramps, pesto), New Bedford scallops, Rose Finn fingerlings, and sweet pea risotto cakes. Bonus news: Commonwealth’s 96-seat patio (with views of Broad Canal) will be opening soon (May-ish), and the full menu will be available out there. Stay tuned.
Poe's Kitchen at The Rattlesnake (info and address)
Poe’s Kitchen at The Rattlesnake takes New England ingredients and heads South of the border with unique selections from Chef Brian Poe. Go for the Hop-Dusted Shrimp (chili chilled shrimp, grapefruit, mint, romaine), Pork Belly (serrano chile cilantro sauce, salt pork tomato confit, spicy vinegar), Lobster & Avocado Tostada (black pepper lavendar crema, avocado crema, balsamic reduction, flour tortilla), or Antelope Tacos (duck fat-infused, ground antelope, smoked fresnos, Chihuahua cheese, jalapeño, bacon ranch, fried corn tortillas). Note: "lobstah tostada" is fun to say.
Pier 6 (info and address)
Ogle the sweet waterfront views while you enjoy the latest from Greg Reeves (Green Street Grill, B&G Oysters). Start light with the shrimp ceviche (fresh avocado, grilled pineapple salsa, fried tortilla), indulge in the Pier 6 Short Ribs (green papaya slaw, hoisin barbecue sauce), and then catch (!) grilled swordfish (quinoa salad, sugar snap peas, mint yogurt). Top all that off with some rhubarb shortcake (mascarpone mousse, toasted coconut) and/or the cheesecake brownie (coffee anglaise and whipped cream).
Haru (info and address)
Haru, which literally means "Spring" in Japanese, honors their namesake with seasonal tastes such as edamame dumplings (shiitake mushroom and spicy pepper broth) and their carpaccio (thinly sliced yellowtail, escolar, or white tuna, light citrus dressing). When you’re ready for sushi, try the Strawberry Fin (crunchy, spicy yellowtail, jalapeño peppers, and mango topped with scallops, wasabi tobiko, fresh strawberries) and the Perfect Fantasy Roll (avocado-wrapped shrimp tempura, asparagus, spicy mayo).
This North End Italian mainstay boasts a lineup that blends popular faves (wood-grilled squid, potato gnocchi w/ a rustic meat ragout, etc.) with fresh plates like a venison loin w/ grilled cabbage, prosciutto w/ Lambrusco-braised chicken, and anchovy-stuffed eggplant.
Part market, part restaurant, Commonwealth is a huge, 500sqft space including a dining area, bar/lounge, a raw bar, and a 10-seat chef's table (plus the aforementioned market section) -- they are focused on utilizing the products of nearby farmers, fisherman, and other local providers.
For a while, Rattlesnake got by on being the only spot on Boylston with a rooftop deck, but eventually doing the bare minimum wasn't enough. To remedy the situation, the RS folks brought in chef Brian Poe to ensure that customers nevermore (see what we did there?) walked away complaining of the rooftops's lack of carne asada tacos. That, plus quesadillas, nachos, BLTs, a whole range of tequilas, cocktails, beers & wines, is exactly what they're now offering up. On a roof. On Boylston. It's the perfect combination at last.
If you're looking for a restaurant with panoramic views of Boston Harbor, Pier 6 in Charlestown is for you. The three-floor restaurant focuses on New England fare and features a raw bar, a private dining room, and a roof deck.
Chain darling Haru Sushi’s Back Bay location offers all of the usual sushi, sashimi suspects, alongside an extensive selection of high-quality Japanese sides. The menu is comprised of salads, soups, hot entrees (try the Crispy Duck with ginger-scallion pancakes and black plum hoisin), and specialty rolls, like the Boston Uncommon, with crunchy spicy salmon, tuna, avocado, mango black tobiko, and gold lead (only available at the Boston location, so Haru snobs, you most definitely have a reason to come here). The restaurant’s cocktail concoction highlights include fun, fruity options -- like the tropical Svedka Mango-Pineapple and hibiscus syrup-mixed Tiki Taki Martini -- to bolster its colorful and fresh array of sushi and seafood.