Ward 8 sits on the cusp of two neighborhoods: The North End and the resurgent West End. The name nods to the latter, quite rightly, because technically this is not a North End eatery. Spiritually, too, it’s worlds apart from the traditional trattoria or even boutique Italian. Still, owner Nick Frattaroli, who took over the space that used to house the popular Nebo, has an Italian connection via his family roots — his uncle and cousins head North End joints Lucia, Filippo and Ducali.
Ward 8’s low ceilings, low lighting and warm brick and wood aesthetic make for cozy ambiance. The small interior has a giant rectangular bar located in its center and enormous ship lights with low watt bulbs, hanging like sci-fi chandeliers. The look is simple, yet striking.
Derek Kouyoumjian // derekimage.com
The menu is also small but dynamic. It’s good for dinner and it’s good for drinks. Duxbury oysters come from a small farm, not a mainstream producer, and are tastier for it, but the kicker is a cucumber mignonette that complements the mineral rich flesh. Carpetbagger carpaccio riffs on the classic steak dish with thinly sliced meat wrapped around crispy fried oysters and pickled scallions. The classic Boston brandade salt cod sticks are crispy on the outside and soft on the inside, but it’s the wine-infused tomato dipping sauce that makes the dish sing. Well-designed entrees include grilled salmon with organic quinoa pilaf and a ginger miso glaze and free-range chicken roasted with herbs.
As yet, there’s no dessert, but the cashew and bacon flecked caramel corn will more than satisfy a sweet tooth. Better still; don’t order it, because you won’t be able help but consume the entire bowl.
If you go
Ward 8 90 North Washington St., Boston Entrees: $14-$23 617-823-4478 ward8.com