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Roxy’s Lynnfield Is Now Open With New Sandwiches, Hot Dogs, and More

January 17th, 2017

The North Shore outpost of the grilled cheese mecca is previewing what’s to come at Roxy’s Central Square.

Roxy’s Lynnfield Is Now Open With New Sandwiches, Hot Dogs, and More

Boston’s 47 best new restaurants

January 9th, 2017

Dozens of picks for any budget, including a temple to Italian cuisine, fast Greek and fantastic Mexican, and seafood and burgers galore.

Within the listing are two receently completed Ashling projects, Ruka and Saloniki Greek I.  Both opened in 2016. See whole article at Boston Globe link below.



Best of the New 2016 contributors: Diane Bair, Kara Baskin, Ellen Bhang, Karen Campbell, Marisa Dellatto, Gary Dzen, Perry Eaton, Devra First, Jan Gardner, Patricia Harris, Emeralde Jensen-Roberts, Katie Johnston, Sheryl Julian, Marni Elyse Katz, David Lyon, Dan Morrell, Rachel Raczka, Melissa Schorr, Catherine Smart, Shira Springer, Tina Sutton, Denise Drower Swidey, Ann Trieger Kurland, Ted Weesner, and Pamela Wright. Send comments to magazine@globe.com.

Hottest Restaurants in Boston January 2017

January 9th, 2017

9 Ruka

This new project from the team behind Yvonne’s and Lolita, along with Oishii’s Ting Yen, hovers around in the intriguing intersection between Peruvian, Chinese, and Japanese cuisines, serving up intricate ceviche and sushi, large-format dishes to share (such as a whole crispy Japanese butterfish), and lots more, plus a very elaborate cocktail list. It’s your new downtown date-night destination for a lively ambiance with visually stunning decor, furniture, and glassware, not to mention adorable desserts.

Read more: Ruka Opens Today, Courtesy of the Yvonne’s Team

505 Washington St
Boston, MA, 02111

Where Julia Child favored the burger and Meryl Streep smiled

December 15th, 2016
Pork pate served en croute at Harvest.Pork pate served en croute at Harvest.

Photo by Josh Reynolds for the Boston Globe

Back in the day, everyone called it The Harvest — this was before the article dropped off and it became simply Harvest, no introduction necessary.

And, once upon a time, I was a waiter there.

I used to regularly serve Julia Child. To the frustration of the chef, she favored the burger. Her husband paid the bills and never left more than 10 percent. We were still happy for a brush with such a personality. Once, during a snowstorm, I served “lunch” to a certain illustrious Massachusetts governor and his guest — martinis followed by two bottles of wine. The waitstaff looked on in awe. When I once tried to pour Chateau Margaux into Meryl Streep’s Riedel, I missed and hit her hand. She smiled. I went shakily about my business.Oddly, the Harvest of then surely looked more contemporary than today’s Harvest. It was an airy exercise in Scandinavian light backdropped with swaths of Marimekko fabric, which the Thompsons introduced to the US via Finland. In other words, design out of reach. Today, Harvest’s ceilings hover low, wood runs baronial, decorative touches smack of luxe seriousness.

In those days, The Harvest was legend. An energy gripped the place. The cooks, the bartenders, the servers, the bussers, the baristas, the sommeliers, and of course the diners — everyone felt the charge, everyone was working on some kind of project in his or her spare time.

Like many aspiring writers, I found waiting on tables to be ideal work. You could log creative hours during the day, exhaust yourself at night making rent. For a solid chunk of the early ’90s, five shifts a week, I hustled the floor. Fell in love there, met my best pal, watched an obsession with cooking blossom. When I quit the place, I knew it better than my brother. (Sorry, Stevie.)

The jingle we heard by night was not money, though there was plenty to go around. It was culture. As house organ of the neighborhood university, the Harvard Square spot offered up a cast of luminaries on any given night. Nobel laureate, celebrity novelist, local rock star, fabled opera singer, aging screen icon. They were a dime a dozen.

Over the 41 years the restaurant has been open, the kitchen has seen an equal parade of talent, including Lydia Shire, Chris Schlesinger, Barbara Lynch, Sara Moulton, Frank McClelland, Bob Kinkead, Jimmy Burke. It was opened in 1975 by celebrated architect-designers Ben and Jane Thompson, whose firm Design Research reinvigorated Faneuil Hall, Navy Pier, and South Street Seaport. They were equally visionary regarding culinary trends. They set upon farm-to-table early, and put forth an upstart American aesthetic that challenged the traditional European. (Sometimes to a laughable extent; raspberry coulis was ladled out like soup.)

Yet the restaurant, tucked down an alleyway off Brattle Street, continues to buzz like a hive. It’s as if the conversation never stopped. Old professors continue to hold forth. Young academics argue vehemently, then explode with laughter. The Europeans still roll in late wearing black.

And for the most part, the food at Harvest hits as squarely and creatively as ever. That sophisticated American style the Thompsons nosed out has assumed an impressive life of its own. If anything, the service is better: quietly, knowledgeably professional.

Granted, the cocktail menu could be swapped with that at just about any other area restaurant. At $14 a pop, one hopes for concoctions that run deeper and more daring. Thankfully, the ambitious wine list is both those things.

The pork pate is a tremendous start to dinner. Served en croute, studded with pistachios and dried black cherries and draped with pear mostarda, it elaborates boldly on what had been a simple Harvest staple.

Maine sea urchin at Harvest.Maine sea urchin at Harvest.

Photo by Josh Reynolds for the Boston Globe

For a lighter beginning, the Maine sea urchin offers a quintet of sweet discord. Lobes of uni see their funk checked then raised by weightier celery root and toasted brioche, brighter green apple and radish.

Apple and fennel salad is beautiful enough to justify the price ($14) for mere apple and fennel. As with the sea urchin, texture and intensity are put subtly into play. I eat this before the garlic and fennel roasted porchetta — pork loin inside crisped pork belly, served with farro risotto and green chimichurri — which has to be one of the more satisfying one-two punches around.

A few of the starters could use retooling. The beet salad sounds promising, yet the brie it’s layered with is tough, offering no creamy solace. Parsley rigatoni represents one half of a superb dish. Sure, the pasta is beguilingly green and toasted hazelnuts cast surprise depth and crunch, but it misses the simple bite of straight-up parsley. My mouth pines for it.

Still, at most turns chef Tyler Kinnett upends expectations vividly. This accounts for one of Harvest’s finest dishes. What sounds weird — whole-wheat pappardelle with braised veal, toasted pepitas, and zhoug (a Middle Eastern condiment made with spicy green peppers, cilantro, and parsley) — tastes multidimensional and novel in the best sort of way. I could eat this pasta every week.

Entrees follow the zigzag trail left by appetizers: wannabes laced with acts of transcendence. Risotto comes strewn generously with foraged mushrooms, braced with arugula pistou, yet slicked with olive oil and butter. The halibut, described as “brown butter poached,” turns out to be a honking fillet that feels like work to eat, and especially when fanned with undercooked pumpkin.

Meat, however, is where everything comes alive. That porchetta is the definition of visceral pleasure. The venison — another echo from the Harvest of yore — can be glimpsed on just about every table. And with good reason. Served atop wine-braised cabbage, dolloped with sweet potato, traced with Concord grape jus, it is perfect for the cold season.

Caramelized apple entremet.Caramelized apple entremet.

Photo by Josh Reynolds for the Boston Globe

Somebody has been let loose to experiment at Harvest’s dessert station. The birch-beer float is fun to look at — a scoop of black-pepper ice cream sitting in a tuile suspended over a half-filled glass of soda — yet its puzzle pieces never quite fit. To resuscitate the real thing, you may be tempted to grab a can of A&W and a pint of vanilla on the trip home. Every Harvest dessert acts as eye candy, including a delicious caramelized apple entremet that’s the color of a preppy’s chinos. (Kelly green, no whales.)

In a restaurant world that’s increasingly corporatized — Harvest is part of Himmel Hospitality Group, which also includes Grill 23 and Post 390 — this quirky play with sugar and cream and fruit feels like a Cambridge throwback. For a few moments, it allows you to shut your eyes and travel into the past. No cellphone, no Instagramming the meal, just a man and his apple.


44 Brattle St., Harvard Square, Cambridge, 617-868-2255, www.harvestcambridge.com. All major credit cards accepted. Wheelchair accessible.

Prices Raw bar and first courses $12-$70. Entrees $26-$42. Desserts $8-$16.

Hours Dinner Sun-Thu 5:30-10 p.m., Fri-Sat 5:30-11 p.m. Lunch Mon-Sat 11:30 a.m.-2 p.m. Brunch Sun 11:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m.

Noise level Low-key buzz

What to order Sea urchin, pork pate, apples & fennel, whole wheat pappardelle, venison, porchetta, apple entremet

Ted Weesner can be reached at tedweesner@gmail.com.

Original article link below.


Ruka Move

December 14th, 2016


The Yvonne’s team opens a new Peruvian-Asian concept in DTX.

girl-picWhatever you do, don’t call RUKA a follow-up to the wildly popular Yvonne’s. Sure, the latest spot is the next project from the same team behind our 2016 pick for Boston’s Best New Restaurant. But RUKA, which just opened in Downtown Crossing’s Godfrey Hotel, has been in the works for a while.

“We started doing test menus before Yvonne’s even opened,” says Tom Berry, culinary director for the group, which also includes Back Bay’s Lolita. “I was still in Nantucket at the time, and I flew off and did a dinner for some of the executives for the hotel group just to say, ‘Hey, this is kind of what we were thinking.’ ”

What they were thinking was a concept that draws on Nikkei (Peruvian-Japanese) and Chifa (Peruvian-Chinese) cuisines. Berry tapped Preston Miller as the executive chef for RUKA and brought in Ting Yen as the executive sushi chef.

“I probably should have more of a tagline for the food, but I think I’d call it a fun and creative and somewhat approachable take on Peruvian and Japanese fish, vegetable and meat preparations, and also using some of the local, New England and regional fish that are available to us,” Berry says.


The menu breaks down into six sections of shareable plates. The makimono include Terra Incognito, made with wild mushrooms, grilled leeks, pressed rice and mushroom foam, as well as Hamachi Amarillo, which pairs the fish with a baby corn and avocado roll, tomatillo salsa and jalapeno-corn sauce. The tiraditos include crunchy salmon tacos and penshell clam sashimi. Ceviches of Nantucket Bay scallops and halibut fill the chilled and raw grouping, while skewers of octopus and Sichuan king trumpet mushrooms dot the anticuchos section. Veggie fried rice and chicken fried rice make the hot-and-wok section, which also includes a green noodle dish with smoked cobia, curly udon, miso-dashi butter, basil and spinach. Monumental dishes include a whole crispy Japanese butterfish, which will cost $150.

“We sort of take it off the bone and almost cube it into nice chunks, then fry those, as well as the whole body, and then piece it back together on the platter. It’s a little easier to eat than a typical whole fried fish, where you have the bones to worry about,” Berry says. “It’s larger, big, kind of over-the-top things.”

The dessert menu from Liz O’Connell, the group’s pastry chef, also includes a larger dish, a buttered taiyaki waffle with caramelized banana, lucuma ice cream, prickly pear sorbet, chocolate sauce, spicy peanut brittle and peanut butter caramel.

The 177-seat space, centered on an open kitchen, has ornate columns with dragon sculptures and multicolored Peruvian ropes hanging from charred Japanese wood beams on the ceiling.

“It’s very different from Yvonne’s,” Berry explains. “This is a very ambitious project for us, and hopefully it will appeal to our customers from there, and hopefully a new group of customers who haven’t been to Yvonne’s.”

Ruka The Godfrey Hotel Boston, 505 Washington St., Boston rukarestobar.com

Here’s Your First Look at the Ruka Menu

December 14th, 2016

The vibrant, edgy, Peruvian-Japanese-Chinese-inspired concept is the latest from the team behind Yvonne’s and Lolita.

Lion’s Tail Swishes Into the South End Next Week

December 9th, 2016

Finally opening at the Ink Block on Harrison Avenue

lion-tails-logoA new venture from a team of well-seasoned Boston restaurateurs will be ready to feed the South End soon. Lion’s Tail opens next week at 300 Harrison Ave. in the Ink Block and will be a speakeasy-style restaurant with a focus on cocktails, as Boston Magazine reports.

The team behind the restaurant includes Dropkick Murphys musician Ken Casey and Jarek Mountain (formerly of Back Bay Harry’s and Abby Lane), along with Brian O’Donnell and Taniya Nayak, who are also behind Lower Mills Tavern and a few other restaurant ventures with Casey.

Lion’s Tail wasn’t Lion’s Tail when it first started out. The first name was Scofflaw, back when the team acquired a license and set its sights on opening a new spot, and for a brief moment it was Bottled & Bond. The group has landed firmly on Lion’s Tail ahead of opening, reportedly in honor of Mountain’s favorite cocktail. Diego Orsono will serve as executive chef at the restaurant. The new spot joins the likes of Fuji and Bar Mezzana, which are already up and running at Ink Block.

Ruka Opens Today, Courtesy of the Yvonne’s Team

December 5th, 2016

ruka_brand_image-0-0 ruka

Where Peruvian, Japanese, and Chinese cuisines meet

Restaurant Owners and Noise Levels

October 20th, 2016

The Painted Burro in Somerville made two major changes to improve noise levels: It moved the location of the bar and added soundproofing under the tables and chairs and to the ceiling and walls (painted with images).

 The Painted Burro in Somerville made two major changes to improve noise levels: It moved the location of the bar and added soundproofing under the tables and chairs and to the ceiling and walls (painted with images).


BROOKLINE — No one thought about the noise. Instead, the team that opened Ribelle last summer in Washington Square focused on the restaurant’s decor and inventive dishes that would soon win raves. Warm days meant open storefront windows. When fall arrived, the large glass windows were closed against the chill. Then the noise increased. A lot.

The sound of cocktails being shaken reverberated against the mirror behind the concrete-topped bar. Cooks barking orders and clanging pans in the open kitchen competed with background music. Multiple parties sharing a wood communal table in the center of the dining room made conversation a challenge. Some customers at small tables were practically yelling to be heard. By October, chef and owner Tim Maslow got the message and installed professional soundproofing.  Read the whole article here.

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