Ever since that one dude discovered fire, people have roasted entire animals for sustenance and celebration. And because seared meat is 100% delicious. Unfortunately, braising a whole goat in your city apartment is logistically impractical. Luckily, many Hub restaurants offer whole-animal dinners, for those times when just consuming a leg, or whatever, simply won't do.
The 7 best whole-animal feasts in Boston
Tavern Road is known for its inventive cocktails and impeccable bites, but Chef Louis DiBiccari goes next-level when it comes to whole-animal dinners. He’ll roast a pig, lamb, goat, duck, or other surprise critters for you and 12+ friends, and there will be plenty for everyone. The feast begins with small bites (like braised lamb tongue) followed by a major meat bonanza with your choice of three sides (hopefully meat, meat, and meat). The menu varies based on the animal and the chef’s whim, so you’ll need to call (617.790.0808) to find out more.
Chef Rachel Klein only cooks all-natural, "Never Ever 3" program meats in her funky L.A.H. kitchen (as in... Never-ever antibiotics, Never-ever hormones, Never-ever by-products). And that’s exactly why you need to experience one of her Whole Communal Roasts, served family style. You have four tantalizing choices: Trio of Green Circle Chickens (chicken jus), Milk Fed Upstate NY Suckling Pig (shallot jam, red wine jus), Colorado Leg of Lamb (roasted olives & grapes, mint gremolata), and Rohan Duck (sour cherry marmalade, jus du canard). Yeah, decisions, decisions. Note: there is a 72-hour advance notification required. For more, call 617.457.8130.
Belly knows exactly what’s good for your... umm... belly: four course Arm + A Leg pig roasts, naturally. With a 48-hour heads-up, Chef Andrew Bonner and his team will put together a mega spread for parties of four-eight very hungry people ($62 each). Settle into one of Belly’s excellent wine selections and prepare yourself for cracklings, fried pigs tails, head cheese, and pork cassoulet. Oh, and a fig & pine nut tart (variety!). Pro tip: you should order some charcuterie for extra cured-meat-goodness. Another pro tip: visit their website in the spring to find out when they’re roasting lamb (you’ll want to know). Reservations only; ring them at 617.494.0968 for details.
At cozy Ashmont Grill, you are invited to make a whole day of your whole-animal roast. Show up early, sip some brews, and hang out with the team as they slow-roast your pig, lamb, or goat in their La Caja China Cuban cooking box. You can arrive at dinner time (6pm), but you should check out the early action. They do all the work and you reap the benefits, as they serve up Chef/Owner Chris Douglass’ tasty choices of family-style appetizers, seasonal sides, and dessert. Required: eight-16 carnivorous comrades, a seven-day notice, and an RSVP with credit card ($45/person). E-mail the grill for info.
At Posto, it’s all about piles of pork. Juicy, delicious pork. A two-week notice is required for your swine time... just so the team can find the perfect local heritage breed pig (courtesy of Ron Savenor) to feed your crew (12+). Bigger party = bigger pig. Once procured and prepped, your special oinker is stuffed with homemade seasonal fig or chestnut sausage stuffing seasoned with fresh herbs, veggies, and Marsala wine. Also included: seasonal salads, sea salt rosemary bread, warm country olives, more veggies, herb-roasted Yukon Gold potatoes, and roasted apples. Your journey to porky bliss begins here.
Chef Tony Maws loves roast beast, and he wants to share that love with you at Kirkland’s Whole-Animal Feasts, a variation of his popular Whole-Hog Dinner at Craigie. You can still go with hog, but lamb and other critters are available, too. All of the food (meat + tons of sides) and wine are customized to the group (12+), and Chef Maws will dish it up himself. Prices start at $55/person (Monday-Thursday) and $85/person (Fridays and Saturdays). Call the restaurant at 857.259.6585 to book your meat-fest.
Too bad Jules doesn’t dig on swine (disregarding Vincent’s compelling "Bacon tastes good" argument), because he’s totally missing out on Citizen’s Whole-Roasted Suckling Pig Dinners. They cook your little piggy 14 hours for maximum tenderness, and then present it to you with varying seasonal sides like Brussels sprouts, broccoli gratin, and whipped Yukon Gold potatoes. Major bonus: a bit of surf is part of the deal, with shellfish appetizers (fresh oysters, little necks, shrimp cocktail) when you arrive. $450 for 10 people, $45 for each additional person. Call 617.450.9000 for availability, because they often book up the dinners in advance.
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1. Tavern Road343 Congress St, Boston
2. Liquid Art House100 Arlington St, Boston
3. BELLY Wine BarOne Kendall Square, Cambridge
4. Ashmont Grill555 Talbot Ave, Dorchester
5. Pizzeria Posto187 Elm St, Somerville
6. The Kirkland Tap & Trotter425 Washington St, Somerville
7. Citizen Public House & Oyster Bar1310 Boylston St, Boston
Open for dinner seven nights a week, Tavern Road is a modern resto and bar specializing in small plates and craft cocktails. The bright and airy space is the perfect place to bring a group-- the resto seats 120 in a "high-energy" environment. We especially love their burger: a bacon and smoked cheddar behemoth slathered with sriracha aioli on a toasted sesame seed bun.
This grand experiment is equal parts restaurant, gallery, showroom, lounge, and online platform. The food is just about as artistic as the pieces they're showing off on the walls: handmade dumplings with duck cracklings, Brussels sprouts, aged Gouda, and Asian pear; or Maple Planked Arctic Char with baby potatoes, quail eggs, dill pickles, sour cream, and roe.
BELLY's an Italian-inspired, 45-seat vino sanctuary meets charcuterie HQ set in a 19th-century mill that contrasts wood beams, plank ceilings, and salvaged chestnut/ steel girder tables with a sleek, nine-seat marble bar, Italian porcelain-tile floor, and bistro-style mirrored menus.
This neighborhood grill joint boasts a sweet patio and fresh takes on American classics.
From a chef-turned-first-time owner eager to break the location's curse (four spots in five years), PP's a modern take on the "classic Italian wood-fire pizzeria and enoteca" plating a mélange of small bites, pastas, and pizzas in an airy high-ceiling'd "woodsy-meets-industrial" themed space replete with exposed brick/stone accents, floor-to-ceiling windows, a black/dark grey slate bar, an exposed wood fire oven, and a private dining room behind dual sliding doors.
Tony Maws' Somerville gastropub is more laid-back than its upscale sibling, Craigie on Main, but the food is just as good. Inspired by English neighborhood pubs, KT&T wants to be the kind of place you can go every night of the week, so it serves an American comfort menu that will have you begging for more. Both brunch and dinner are a meat-lover's paradise, and the kind of amazing grass-fed cheeseburger is available on both menus.
From the guys behind Tasty Burger/Franklin Cafe, this upscale neighborhood tavern's outfitted with vintage-esque black/grey damask print wallpaper, brown leather booths, exposed wood ceiling beams, and a 100-year-old fireplace.