A Movable Feast: How to Execute the Ultimate Boston Foodie Crawl
Once derided as a city full of uninspired and stodgy eateries, Boston has finally come into its own as a destination for serious gourmands. From traditional New England fare to fine tapas and Asian-fusion to regional Italian, the array of edible options is staggering. With so many places to choose from, some diners are electing not to limit themselves to one restaurant for the evening. Thanks to ride sharing, a group of friends can experience the very best of the burgeoning local culinary scene over the course of a single meal.
With Uber, everyone can safely enjoy craft cocktails and wine pairings with peace of mind. Think of this not so much as just dinner with friends, but as a night on the town you’ll talk about for years to come.
What better way to kick off an evening than with bivalves and bubbles? B&G Oysters, by local southie legend Barbara Lynch, accents its pristine oysters with toppings ranging from a delicate prosecco mignonette to nothing more than a squeeze of lemon. Other raw offerings, such as the sea scallop crudo with kumquats or the tart ceviche, are equally impressive.
Tapas are perfect for sharing and won’t destroy your appetite. With imported Spanish ingredients and a lively vibe, Toro has been one of the hottest tables in town since it opened. Load up on authentic pintxos like blue cheese-stuffed Medjool dates with Marcona almonds or on more substantial dishes like the chile-laced octopus salad. Alternatively, the newer Sarma over in Somerville boasts Middle Eastern-inspired small plates such as Tunisian steak tartare garnished with harissa chips and a half-molten egg.
Remember: in its native land, pasta is a warm-up before the main event. You’re getting yours at Rialto, where chef Jody Adams rolls out whisper-thin sheets so ethereal you’d swear they were made by a real nonna. Although certain staples (such as the lobster-studded bucatini tinged with saffron), are almost always available, special rotating menus highlight various regions of Italy.
Pull out all the stops with a killer steak at Toscano, a Beacon Hill icon favored by high-flying Bostonians for a generation. In classic Tuscan style, the bistecca fiorentina, a 22 oz. T-bone for two, comes dry-aged, sea salt-dusted, and grilled over maple, hickory, and oak for a subtly smoky finish. It needs no adornment, but the accompanying garlicky sautéed spinach and roasted potatoes gild the lily. Equally stunning is the whole lobster stuffed with buttery lobster risotto.
You’re probably feeling pretty full by now, but there’s always room for ice cream. Slide up to the bar at Picco and order the sublime passion fruit gelato. For an even lighter, more refreshing palate cleanser, house-made sorbets in flavors such as blood orange-raspberry hit the spot.
Still going? Instead of a post-dinner espresso, try the espresso martinis at the Living Room, a buzzy spot in the North End. Unlike inferior variations, these cocktails pack a strong, smooth caffeine punch courtesy of a custom three-bean blend.
Photo credit: Dale Cruse