Boston’s restaurant scene is already booming this year, with fresh and seasoned names adding new spots to make merry. Though Fort Point dominates as a destination, a South End space is revived, and Jamaica Plain is about to get Boston’s most dynamic dining duo.
351 Hanover St.
What it is: This pop-up boîte, operated in conjunction with Haley House, revives the idea that eating out is an experience rather than just a matter of throwing bacon on something.
Why you should go: Both visually and flavor-wise, Whisk co-owners and co-chefs Jeremy Kean (Rialto, Aquitaine) and Philip Kruta (L’Espalier) create exquisite dishes and a date night sexy atmosphere. Through winter, Whisk is open Sundays only in its North End spot, but will reopen full-time in JP in March.
606 Congress St.
What it is: James Beard Award-winning garden-to-table chefs Mark Gaier and Clark Frasier closed their famed Maine estate, Arrows, offloaded their Burlington gem, Summer Winter, and after M.C. Spiedo’s mid-winter opening, will flit between their Ogunquit restaurant, MC Perkins Cove, and Boston.
Why you should go: Expect spit-roasted, locally sourced meats and, according to a rep, “old world flavors from Florence, Bologna and Venice.” One signature dish, Leonardo’s Salad, is based on a shopping list da Vinci wrote in one of his famed notebooks.
49 Melcher St.
What it is: Another February opening will unite Seth Greenberg (Mistral), Cameron Grob (Cafeteria) and former Ritz-Carlton executive sous chef Adam Kube for a two-floor, modern French bistro.
Why you should go: While “kitchen” in the name implies a casual ambience, we’re guessing that the Mistral connection will translate into inspiration beyond charcuterie and cheese plates.
Wink & Nod
3 Appleton St.
What it is: Located in the old Icarus spot in the South End, this new venture from Boston Nightlife Ventures is a speakeasy-inspired restaurant and lounge with “an atmosphere that is mysterious and enticing.”
Why you should go: OK, hold on to your hats because the PR rhetoric says that the dinner menu “is designed to complement and enhance the drinking experience.” Well, at least they didn’t say “gastropub.” They had us at “speakeasy.”
345 Congress St.
What it is: Pastoral is opening in mid-February in Fort Point, next to Tavern Road. A rep says it will be a rustic style restaurant featuring, “Neapolitan pizzas and peasant-style dishes.”
Why you should go: Co-owner chef Todd Winer put the Met Club’s kitchen on the culinary map, and was recently certified by the Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana as an official Pizzaiolo. That means he can make a mean pizza!