It was only a matter of time before champion pitmaster Andy Husbands decided to open a barbecue joint of his own. The chef behind Tremont 647 recently opened doors at The Smoke Shop, a Kendall Square eatery boasting Korean-style brisket served with Gochujang-ranch dipping sauce and platters of his award-winning ribs served with sides like pit beans and pimento mac and cheese.
The Seattle-native and "Hell's Kitchen" alumnus shares with us his favorite spots to grab a bite, where his industry pals hang and the therapeutic slurp of shabu shabu.
Best late night meal?
I love Hojoko because their cocktails are delicious and a lot of fun. They also have this great menu item called Wasabi Roulette, where you don’t really know what you are getting. It is an entertaining way to try items that you may not have known about, or eat more wasabi than anticipated. There is always a great industry crowd there so you are bound to run into a friend or two. 1271 Boylston St., Boston, 617-670-0507, hojokoboston.com
Best meal under $5?
When I lived in Dorchester, my favorite cheap eat was the Double Double from Singh’s Roti Shop. It’s a spicy chickpea roti that had a real kick to it. I still crave it now, so even though I don’t live in the neighborhood anymore, I still go by and grab it on occasion. Word to the wise — always grab extra napkins, you’ll need them! 692 Columbia Road, Dorchester, 617-282-7977, singhsrotishop.net
Best hidden foodie gem?
The best gem is some of the smoked food that John Delpha is doing at the Rosebud Diner in Somerville. Even though it looks like a diner, it is one of the most innovative kitchens in the area. John sometimes has something called ABT on his menu, which stands for Atomic Buffalo Turd. Doesn’t sound appealing, but they are his awesome take on a jalapeno popper. He stuffs jalapenos with cream cheese and wraps them in bacon before he smokes them in his smoker. Also, his smoked wings are addictive. 381 Summer St., Somerville, 617-629-9500, rosebudkitchen.com
Best place to dine alone?
When I am solo, I head to Kaze in Chinatown and sit at the bar. I order hot pot and it is very meditative to enjoy the act of shabu shabu and eating noodles. It really is a calming way to eat. 1 Harrison Ave., Boston, 617-338-8283, kazeshabushabu.com
Go-to date spot?
Well, since I had my first date with my wife at Steel and Rye, I would have to pick that as my go-to. We love it there and it's both contemporary and casual in a calm setting with really good food. There is a little booth that we request by the door which is a little like a cove. For first dates, it isn’t too overwhelming and it is just casual enough to make both people relax. 95 Eliot St., Milton, 617-690-2787, steelandrye.com
Best place to catch up with friends?
When I go out with my buddies, we generally head to State Park. It reminds me of hanging out in a really cool basement in the '80s with awesome drinks. There are games to unwind, like shuffle board, and they have a rotating sour on tap, which is my go-to drink. 1 Kendall Square, Cambridge, 617-848-4355, statepark.is