Getting the show on the Tavern Road

Tavern Road’s striking 30-foot wide mural isn’t the initial visual attention grab on this evening. What is really affecting is the sight of the chef cleaving at a quartered pig carcass at the front of the open kitchen, just feet away from diners. Whole animal cuisine, which doesn’t waste any part of the animal, is the next antidote to 1950s mass consumerism and factory farming. Each week, a locally raised animal will similarly inspire and fill the menu. This little piggy was from Vermont.

Still, this new Fort Point restaurant’s somber neo-realist mural, created by local artists Project Super Friends, is spectacular and pays homage to an artist uncle of co-owners, brothers Louis (he with the meat cleaver) and Michael DiBiccari.

The DiBiccaris’ pan-Mediterranean menu is equally expansive but well edited. An array of interesting side dishes is more than just accompaniments to the weekly beastie and form a fleshless fantasy. Puddingy Parmesan polenta has a soft poached egg; grilled broccoli rabe with vanilla – unusual – is pulled together with hazelnuts; a tangy lemon artichoke risotto is enriched with ripe Tallegio; and wonderful sautéed mixed mushrooms with spring carrots are glazed with soy sauce. How does soy work on a menu with no Asian interests? Rosemary is tossed in for a European twist. Amazing.

Elsewhere, a simple roasted red pepper soup has a drizzle of oil, a scattering of walnuts, and Maine crab stuffed arancini. Among the small bites, gooey centered fried chickpea bites made with a Parmesan-garbanzo batter only fail because there aren’t enough on the plate.

Chef Louis DiBiccari has done time at Sel de la Terre and the Mandarin Oriental, Boston. So far, dessert numbers on-site made ice cream – say, caramelly brown butter with choc chip tuille. More may follow and the adjacent space is due to open soon for take-out.

Of course, there’s charcuterie and other meat dishes, say a Flat Iron steak with a mildly spiced red curry sauce. But, so far, there’s not a burger in sight. Welcome to the Innovation District, then.

Tavern Road
Entrees: $15-$30
343 Congress St., Boston
617-790-0808
www.tavernroad.com


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