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StarChefs
Features The StarChefs.com Boston Restaurant List
 
TRAVEL ARCHIVE
The StarChefs.com Boston and Beyond Travel Guide
December 2009

Boston may have its roots as a Puritan, meat and potatoes town, but it’s become one of the liveliest food scenes in the country with the most tight-knit chef community around. Although it’s a bit of a boys club (we can name a few women who’ve broken in), Boston chefs have each others backs, whether they’re opening a new restaurant, helping out at a charity event, or are just hanging out.

And beyond the chefs’ personalities, they’re also cooking sensational food. The tendency is towards rustic, comforting cuisine, but when it’s done well there’s nothing more satisfying. From straightforward Spanish tapas to regional Italian cuisine, and from Middle Eastern baked goods to French bistro-style food, these chefs have the comfort thing down. And cooks in Boston are using their local New England ingredients—from farmers market produce to locally caught sustainable fish—to their fullest potential, proving that you don’t need crazy techniques or components to make flavors pop and dishes sing.

Not to say that there isn’t experimentation going on in Beantown. They just know how to incorporate it such that they have fun and their diners are happy. Dehydrated olives are served alongside butter-poached lobster; an egg is cooked in a thermo-circulator and served on schnitzel; borscht is thickened with agar and xanthan gum to give it a gel-like quality. And in the end, these are all still comfort dishes and exactly the kind of food you want to eat every day.

And in a town known for its Irish pubs, cocktail culture is seeing an upward movement with talented young mixologists at the helm. With some of the top restaurants in the country it’s also a great city for sommeliers, who have the opportunity to work with any kind of establishment and cuisine they choose. And the community of somms is as tight-knit as the chefs. They have a dose of healthy competition with monthly “sommelier smackdowns” where two local sommeliers go against each other to determine the new champion.

   

Asana
Aura
Beacon Hill Bistro
The Beehive
Bin 26
Catch
Clink
Clio
Coppa
Craigie on Main
Dante
Flour
Garden at the Cellar
Gargoyles on the Square

Ginger Park
Gran Gusto
Harvest
Hungry Mother
il Casale
La Verdad
L'Espalier
Metropolitan Club
Mistral
Myers + Chang
Oleana
Rialto
Salts
Sel de la Terre

Sensing
Sofra
Sorellina
Tastings Wine Bar & Bistro
Temple Bar
Toro
Tremont 647
Troquet
T.W. Foods
Uni
Union Bar and Grille
Upstairs on the Square
Via Matta

Outside Boston
American Seasons
Five Fifty-Five
Fore Street
Lyric
Natalie's
Provisions
Straight Wharf

 
   

Clio
Craigie on Main
Drink

Eastern Standard
Tastings Wine Bar & Bistro
Toro

 
 
   

Back Bay Hotel
Beacon Hill Hotel
Chandler Inn
The Eliot
Hotel Marlowe

The Liberty
Mandarin Oriental
Royal Sonesta
Seaport Hotel

Outside Boston
Camden Harbor Inn

 
 

American Seasons
80 Center Street
Nantucket, MA 02554
(508) 228-7111
www.americanseasons.com
Hours: Thurs-Mon 5pm-10pm (closed Dec – April)

American Seasons, which will be celebrating its 20th season next spring, is one of the top dining destinations in Nantucket. Set right in downtown, the restaurant is cozy with a rustic country décor and murals on the walls. Chef Michael LaScola’s dishes are rich and sumptuous, like a foie gras tasting with rich, silky foie gras crème brulee, chunky and delicious duck confit terrine, and a round of creamy house-cured foie gras. He’s known for his devotion to regional and seasonal produce, which he incorporates into all of the thoughtfully composed dishes.

Recommended Dishes:

  • Foie Gras Tasting: American Seasons Foie Gras Crème Brulee, Foie Gras and Duck Confit Terrine, and House-Cured Foie Gras with Plum-Ginger Compote
  • Seared Dayboat Scallop with Shortrib and Nantucket Mushroom Ragout, Corn Ragout, and Arugula Puree
•	Seared Dayboat Scallop with Shortrib and Nantucket Mushroom Ragout, Corn Ragout, and Arugula Puree
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Asana
776 Boylston Street
Boston, MA 02199
(617) 535-8888
www.mandarinoriental.com
Hours: Breakfast Mon-Fri: 6:30am-11am Sat-Sun: 7am-11am; Lunch Daily: 11:30am-3pm; Dinner Mon-Thu: 5:30pm-9:30pm, Fri-Sat: 5:30pm-10:30pm, Sun: 5:30pm-8:30pm; Brunch Sat-Sun: 11am-3pm

At just over a year old (it opened in October, 2008), the sleek Mandarin Oriental on Boylston Street is already making waves. Chef Nicolas Boutin came from Hong Kong to head up the kitchen at the hotel’s restaurant, Asana,and has proven himself a worthy toque. He may be the new kid on the block, but Chef Boutin’s flavor combinations (like lamb, mango, basil, and caramel) are adventurous and his Asian and French inspired dishes are elegant and modern, much like the restaurant itself.

Recommended Dishes:

  • Poached and Seared Lamb Loin with Sauteed Mango, Basil, and Caramel Jus
  • Floating Island Egg White Cube with Banana Milkshake and Passionfruit
Floating Island Egg White Cube with Banana Milkshake and Passionfruit
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Aura
1 Seaport Lane
Boston, MA 02210
(617) 385-4300
www.aurarestaurant.com
Hours: Mon-Sat: 6:30am-2:30pm, 5:30pm-10:30pm; Sun 11:30am-2:30pm, 5:30pm-10:30pm

Aura is located in the Seaport Hotel in Boston’s financial district. 2009 Boston Rising Star Chef Rachel Klein draws upon a variety of influences, including her Eastern European heritage and New York upbringing, to compose dishes that are creative in presentation, flavor, and technique. Scarlet borscht is refined (with the help of agar and xanthan gum) from the big bowl of cold soup your grandmother made to an elegant composition accompanied by smoked sable, beets, potato, and sour cream.

Recommended Dishes:

  • Scarlet Borscht with Smoked Sable, Beets, Potato, and Sour Cream
  • Georges Bank Scallop with Parsnip, Chamomile Beurre Blanc, Grapefruit, and Radish
  • Lamb with Flageolet Beans, Merguez Spice, Greek Yogurt, Yellow Raisins, and Tatsoi
Lamb with Flageolet Beans, Merguez Spice, Greek Yogurt, Yellow Raisins, and Tatsoi
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Beacon Hill Bistro
25 Charles Street
Boston, MA 02114
(617) 723-7575
www.beaconhillhotel.com
Hours: Mon-Fri 7am-10am; Sat-Sun 7:30am-10am; Mon-Fri 11:30am-3pm; Sat and Sun 10am-3pm

This cozy Beacon Hill restaurant looks more like a French bistro than a restaurant in an inn, and the clientele is made up more of neighborhood regulars and fellow chefs than hotel guests—and that’s exactly what we love about it. Chef Jason Bond is unassuming and passionate, and cooks classic French-inspired cuisine that is simply presented and well executed. He gets whole animals, usually pigs, from local farms, and uses every bit of them to prepare classic charcuterie and terrines, like our favorite: Grilled and Chilled Marinated Pig Heart.

Recommended Dishes:

  • Grilled and chilled marinated pork heart
  • Pork terrine with hazlenuts and carrots
  • Elephant Trunk Area Scallops with Pak Choy, Spring Onion, Peas, and Lemon Thyme
Elephant Trunk Area Scallops with Pak Choy, Spring Onion, Peas, and Lemon Thyme
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The Beehive
541 Tremont Street
Boston, MA 02116
(617) 423-0069
www.beehiveboston.com
Hours: Daily 5pm-2am

The Beehive is a fun, funky music venue, restaurant, and bar in the South End. With live music most nights and no cover charge, it’s a great place to hang out after service or on your night off. Chef Rebecca Newell brings the focus back to the food with rustic, comforting dishes that hit the spot, like her Sautéed Shrimp with Chilies, Scallions, Olive Oil, and Rustic Bread, which she adapted from her mom’s recipe. The menu is eclectic with Middle Eastern influences (as in her super spicy Moroccan “cigars” with harissa) and New England touches (like the Chatham Cod with Parsley Garlic Sauce and Olive Oil Whipped Potatoes).

Recommended Dishes:

  • Sauteed Shrimp with Chilies, Scallions, Olive Oil, and Rustic Bread
  • Chatham Cod with Parsley Garlic Sauce, Favas, Peas, and Olive Oil Whipped Potatoes
Chatham Cod with Parsley Garlic Sauce, Favas, Peas, and Olive Oil Whipped Potatoes
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Bin 26
26 Charles Street
Boston, MA 02114
(617) 723-5939
www.bin26.com
Hours: Mon-Thu 12pm-10pm; Fri-Sat 12pm-11pm; Sun 5:30pm-10pm

Set in picturesque Beacon Hill, Bin 26 is a comfortable, casual wine bar that’s a great place to sit and enjoy a bite and a glass—or bottle—of wine from the thoughtfully compiled wine list. Chef Zee Vassos cooks unpretentious, seasonal, wine-friendly Italian food. Sommelier Andy Cartin is friendly and approachable, and has individually selected the wine list to have a focus on small family-owned wineries. The wine theme is even present in the funky, modern décor, with corks serving as coat hooks, wine labels shellacked to the wall, and wine bottles hanging upside down from the bathroom ceiling.

Recommended Dishes:

  • Spring vegetable risotto with morel mushrooms, fiddleheads, and ramps.
  • Jerusalum artichoke puree with watercress, striped bass filleted in house, browned butter sauce with pine nuts, peppidews, and chive blossoms
Jerusalum artichoke puree with watercress, striped bass filleted in house, browned butter sauce with pine nuts, peppidews, and chive blossoms
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Catch
34 Church Street
Winchester, MA 01890
(781) 729-1040
www.catchrestaurant.com
Hours: Tue-Sat 5:30pm-9:30pm

Catch is as New England as restaurants come, and is well worth the slight trek just outside the city to Winchester. 2009 Boston Rising Star Chef Chris Parsons is passionate about seafood and fresh, local ingredients (he can tell you where every piece of fish and produce came from and tell a story about the purveyor). This passion comes through in his elegant, clean food that is as much about the flavor combinations as it is about letting the ingredients shine.

Recommended Dishes:

  • Cape Cod Sea Scallop Served in it's Shell with Fava Beans, Baby Arugula, and Smoked Red Pepper Puree
  • Yellowfin Tuna with Chanterelle Mushrooms, English Peas, Jim Cook's Fingerling Potatoes, Niman Ranch Bacon, and Quail Egg
  • Fried Island Creek Oysters with Sugar Snap Pea Salad, Yellow Curry Oil, and Pea Leaves
Cape Cod Sea Scallop Served in it's Shell with Fava Beans, Baby Arugula, and Smoked Red Pepper Puree
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Clink
215 Charles Street
Boston, MA 02114
(617) 224-4004
www.libertyhotel.com
Hours: Mon-Sat 6:30am-11pm; Sun 10am-3pm

Located in the Liberty Hotel, which used to be a prison, the décor of Clink is in line with the chic, modern prison-themed furnishings of the rest of the hotel (think cell doors, large brick, slate grey color scheme, and bars). Who knew a prison could be so stylish? Chef Joseph Margate is down-to-earth but his cuisine is elegant. Chilled Yellow Tomato Soup is bright and summery and comes with a spherified ball of smoked yogurt that playfully bursts and adds depth of flavor. Barely seared mackerel shows Spanish influences with avocado slices and chorizo vinaigrette.

Recommended Dishes:

  • Chilled Yellow Tomato Soup with Smoked Yogurt
  • Barely Seared Rhode Island Mackerel with Avocado and Chorizo Vinaigrette
Barely Seared Rhode Island Mackeral with Avocado and Chorizo Vinaigrette
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Clio
370 Commonwealth Avenue
Boston, MA 02115
(617) 536-7200
www.cliorestaurant.com
Hours: Mon 6:30am-10:30am; Tue-Thu: 6:30am-10:30am, 5:30pm-10pm; Fri: 6:30am-10:30am, 5:30pm-10:30pm; Sat: 7am-11am, 3pm-10:30pm; Sun 6:30am-12pm, 5:30pm-10pm

Ken Oringer’s flagship restaurant, Clio, serves contemporary French-American cuisine. The restaurant itself is modern and upscale without being stuffy. Diners can go for more traditional dishes, like butter-poached lobster, or opt for something playful, like a take on fish and chips that is served instead with sardines and vinegar foam. Pastry Chef Renee Herzog makes playful desserts with fun touches, like freeze-dried blackberries, crystallized violet petals, and whipped root beer. Each of her desserts are carefully planned and executed with fun flavor combinations and tons of textures. Sommelier Alex Riveros has one of the most refined palates in the city and an approachable tableside manner. Mixologist Todd Maul has made the bar at Clio a destination with his philosophy of putting new spins on tried and true classics.

Recommended Dishes:

  • “Fish and Chips” with Sardines and Whipped Malted Vinegar Foam
  • Vegetable Crudités with Green Goddess Dressing and Avocado
  • Dark Chocolate and Caramel Bisquit Colont with Salted Peanut Ice Cream and Peanut Praline and Saltine Tuille, and dark choclate puree
  • Strawberry Fields

Recommended Cocktails:

  • Laura Lee
  • Pisco Fizz
  • The Coconut Something

Strawberry Fields
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Pisco Fizz
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Coppa
253 Shawmut Avenue
Boston, MA 02118
(617) 391-0902
www.coppaboston.com
Hours: Daily 5:30pm to 12:45am

We haven’t been to Coppa yet, but we love Chefs Ken Oringer and Jamie Bissonette’s other collaboration, Toro (and all of Oringer’s restaurants), so we know we’ll feel right at home here. While Toro focuses on Spanish tapas, Coppa is its Italian counterpart with stutzi, house-made pastas and charcuterie, and wood-oven pizza. Courtney Bissonnette, who is behind the fabulous cocktails and beverage program at Toro is heading up the front of the house at Coppa.

Recommended Dishes:

  • Text goes Here... 


Craigie on Main
853 Main Street
Cambridge, MA 02139
(617) 497-5511
www.craigieonmain.com
Hours: Tues-Sun 5:30pm-10pm

2006 Rising Star Chef Tony Maws blew us away when his restaurant was Craigie Street Bistrot. In its newly remodeled location, Craigie on Main is bigger and as good as ever; the well-equipped, shiny open kitchen is simply stunning. Chef Maws’ cooking is as impressive as ever, with a menu that changes daily, his “Chef’s Whim” tasting menu, and his commitment to local, organic ingredients. And 2009 Rising Star Mixologist Tom Schlesinger-Guidelli has revamped the bar program at Craigie, making it a true cocktailian spot with artisanal touches like house-made vermouth.

Recommended Dish:

  • Grilled Pork Belly with Glazed Chestnuts, Pomegranate Seeds, and Burnt Caramel Vinaigrette

Recommended Cocktails:

  • The Camino Cocktail
  • Conquistador Collins
The Camino Cocktail
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Dante
5 Cambridge Pkwy
Cambridge, MA 02142
(617) 497-4200
www.restaurantdante.com
Hours: Sun-Thurs 5:30pm-10pm; Fri-Sat 5:30pm-11pm

Chef Dante deMagistris is one of our original Rising Stars, and he has definitely risen. de Magistris grew up in Boston, trained in Italy, and worked under some of Boston’s greatest chefs before breaking out on his own. Dante serves Italian food that is elegant, rustic, refined, and even better than your grandmother would make. House-made pasta is made with love, meat is roasted with care, and vegetables are treated with respect. The restaurant, which is located in the Royal Sonesta in Cambridge, boasts a spacious patio that overlooks the Boston Harbor and has a beautiful, sleek, modern interior.

Recommended Dishes:

  • Crudo: Marlin Tartare, Sunchoke Puree, Basil Oil, and Preserved Lemon
  • Nasello: Maine Hake, Artichokes alla Romana, Clams, Salsa Verde, and Meyer Lemon
  • Bistecca "Florentine Style" Bone in Sirloin, Hen of the Woods Mushrooms, Native Potatoes, and Truffle Bearnaise
Crudo: Marlin Tartare, Sunchoke Puree, Basil Oil, and Preserved Lemon
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Drink
348 Congress Street
Boston, MA 02210
(617) 695-1806
www.drinkfortpoint.com
Hours: Sun-Sat 4pm-1am

The newest addition to Barbara Lynch’s group, Drink, is a hip cocktail bar. 2006 Rising Star Mixologist John Gertsen is managing a group of talented young mixologists like Misty Kalkofen who are all equipped to mix cocktails to match every whim and fancy. There’s no menu or drink list here; describe your mood, favorite spirit, or preferred flavor profile and any one of the vest-clad bartenders will whip up a concoction fit for the occasion. And then they'll print out the recipe of the cocktail you had so you can try it at home or reference it on a future visit. They prepare all of their juices and syrups in-house and painstakingly chip away at big blocks of ice to achieve just the right ice cubes.

Recommended Cocktails:

  • The Maximilian Affair
  • Four Points
  • Donn the Beach Comber
  • Hanky Panky
Donn the Beach Comber
+ Click image to enlarge
 

Eastern Standard
528 Commonwealth Avenue
Boston, MA 02215
(617) 532-9100
www.easternstandardboston.com
Hours: Mon-Sun 7:00am-10:30pm; Sun 10:30am-3pm; Mon-Sat 11:30am-2:30pm; Mon-Fri 5pm-11pm; Sat-Sun 5pm-Midnight

Eastern Standard is one of Boston’s most successful bars, in part thanks to talented Bar Manager Jackson Cannon. The space itself is cavernous with brown leather banquettes and a long marble bar with studded red leather bar stools. Cannon’s lengthy cocktail menu—which is creatively organized into Standards, Heritage, Sparklers, Oeuf, Infusion, Long Drinks, Lineage, Confection, and Mocktails—appeals to the broad cross-section of diners who come from nearby Fenway Park, the adjoining hotel, or folks who are there just for the cocktails.

Recommended Cocktails:

  • Heather in Queue
  • 261 Cocktail
The 261
+ Click image to enlarge
 

Five Fifty Five
555 Congress Street
Portland, ME 04101
(207) 761-0555
http://fivefifty-five.com/
Hours: Sun-Thurs 5pm-9:30pm; Fri-Sat 5pm-10:30pm; Sun 9:30am-2pm

At Five Fifty-Five, Steve (chef) and Michelle (wine director/GM) Corry have created a small, seasonal restaurant that combines rusticity and elegance. Chef Correy’s dishes are simple and unpretentious but packed with flavor. In Steve’s hands, the classic (and often over-played) combination of beets and goat cheese gets new life in the form of a delicious beet-topped tarte tatin, and scallops are treated like steak au poivre, crusted in cracked black pepper and seared.

Recommended Dishes:

  • Summer Beet Tarte Tatin with Freedom Farm’s Organic Beets, Melted Leeks, Horseradish-Spiked Chevre, Bibb Lettuce, and Candied Walnuts
  • Pan-Seared Pepper-Crusted Diver Scallops with Aromatic Fennel-Potato Puree, Butter-Glazed Pearl Onions, Organic Baby Carrots, and Vanilla Emulsion
Summer Beet Tarte Tatin with Freedom Farm’s Organic Beets, Melted Leeks, Horseradish-Spiked Chevre, Bibb Lettuce, and Candied Walnuts
+ Click image to enlarge

Flour
12 Farnsworth Street
Boston, MA 02210
(617) 338-4333
Hours: Mon-Fri 7am-7pm; Sat 8am-6pm; Sun 9am-3pm

1595 Washington Street
Boston, MA 02118
(617) 267-4300
Hours: Mon-Fri 7am-9pm; Sat 8am-6pm; Sun 9am-3pm

Flour is the ultimate neighborhood bakery—and anything but traditional. Yes, there are the classic breakfast pastries, like buttery croissants, tarts, cakes, and cookies, but there are also some unconventional additions like sesame and jicama, and sandwiches so good you want to eat them every day (we’re partial to a custardy egg sandwich with spinach and Portobello mushroom). Behind the bakery is 2009 Boston Rising Star Restaurateur Joanne Chang, whose loving touch is visible on every item in each location. With at least two more locations in the works and a cookbook on the way, Chang is proving to be an unstoppable force in the Boston food scene.

Recommended Dishes:

  • Egg Sandwich with Portobello and Spinach
 

Fore Street
288 Fore Street
Portland, ME 04101
(207) 775-2717
www.forestreet.biz
Hours: Sun-Thurs 5:30pm-10pm; Fri-Sat 5:30pm-10:30pm

A trip to Portland isn’t complete without a stop to visit Chef Sam Hayward, who has set the bar for New England restaurants cooking. Fore Street remains one of the best restaurants in the region, with very simple dishes in which the natural flavors of the ingredients shine. Open since 1996, Fore Street has been a longtime champion of the farm-to-table movement, and has always taken advantage of the incredible community of Maine farmers, fishermen, foragers, and cheese to get the best local, usually organic, ingredients. Chef Hayward changes the menu daily to reflect what is freshest and in season. And be sure to check out his incredible temperature-controlled cheese room.

Recommended Dishes:

  • Wood Oven-Roasted Casco Bay Lobster with Chanterelles, Baked Corn Pudding, and Rich Lobster Cream
  • Morel Mushrooms with Shallots and Butter
Wood Oven-Roasted Casco Bay Lobster with Chanterelles, Baked Corn Pudding, and Rich Lobster Cream
+ Click image to enlarge

Garden at the Cellar
991 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02139
(617) 230-5880
www.gardenatthecellar.com
Hours: Tues-Sat 11:30 am-2:30 pm; Tues-Sat 5:00 pm-11:00 pm; Sun 5:00 pm – 10:00pm

If you didn’t know it was there you might pass by Garden at the Cellar and never know you were missing a great restaurant. Inside 2009 Rising Star Chef Will Gilson is cooking imaginative, impeccably executed, exciting cuisine in a tiny kitchen. Having been raised on an herb farm with an attached restaurant, Gilson has an innate respect for his ingredients and instinctually knows how to properly compose a dish. Flawlessly seared foie gras is served with the unlikely combination of doughnuts, rhubarb, and rhubarb foam, while rustic schnitzel is topped with a two hour egg and lemon aioli. Watch for Gilson's new restaurant in 2010.

Recommended Dishes:

  • Seared Foie Gras and Doughnuts
  • Arctic Char with Fava Beans, Sunchoke Rosti, and Charmoula
  • Chicken schnitzel  with a two hour egg, glazed baby turnips, lemon aioli, and brown butter
Seared Foie Gras and Doughnuts
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Gargoyles on the Square
219 Elm Street
Somerville, MA 02144
(617) 776-5300
www.gargoylesrestaurant.com
Hours:Tues, Wed, and Thurs 5pm -12am; Fri and Sat 5pm - 1am; Sun 10:30-3pm, 3-5pm, 5-10:30pm

Chef Jason Santos is easily identified by his signature blue hair and larger than life personality. His food is eclectic with definite Asian influences and a playful attitude. Calamari is served to look like spaghetti over a homey ragu and topped with parmesan foam. A beet salad is artfully presented with a medicinal-looking dropper of vinaigrette in the center. But where Santos shines most is with his aggressively seasoned dishes like Hawaiian Style Tuna Poki and Duck Confit with mango Sticky Rice, which make your mouth dance with flavors like ginger, yuzu, nori, and hoisin.

Recommended Dishes:

  • Hawaiin Style Tuna Poki with Yuzu, Hijiki, Squid Ink and Nori Oil over Green Shiso
  • Duck Confit Served over Mango Sticky Rice with Coconut milk, Cashew Hoisin Glaze and Bean Sprouts
Hawaiin Style Tuna Poki with Yuzu, Hijiki, Squid Ink and Nori Oil over Green Shiso
+ Click image to enlarge

Ginger Park
1375 Washington Street
Boston, MA 02118
(617) 451-0077
Hours: Sun–Wed 6pm-11:30; Thurs-Sat 5pm-Midnight here

Chef Patricia Yeo was one of the original class of New York Rising Stars back in 2002. After leaving New York to spend a year travelling through Asia, Yeo has returned stateside and decided to make Boston her new home. The striking interior of Ginger Park is designed to look like a banyan tree, creating a wavy, cave-like effect. Yeo has stuck to her roots cooking Asian-inspired cuisine that has only grown stronger with her travels. Most of the dishes are inspired by street food from all over Asia, including Thailand, China, Malaysia, and Korea. She even spent time working with street food vendors to learn their craft, and it translates into her spicy, flavorful dishes.

Recommended Dishes:

  • Silverpin Noodles
  • Dan Dan Noodles
  • Duck Meatballs with Massaman Curry
Silver Pin Noodles
+ Click image to enlarge

Gran Gusto
90 Sherman Street
Cambridge, MA 02140
(617) 441-0400
www.grangustocambridge.com
Hours: Mon-Thu: 12pm-10pm Fri-Sat: 4pm-11pm

Gran Gusto is hidden in the residential area of Cambridge, and is a favorite for families and locals. Chef Guiseppe Castellano is from Italy and brings the flavors of his homeland to his American kitchen. A range of Italian specialties are available—from butternut squash risotto to spaghetti alla chitarra, but where Chef Castellano shines are with his rustic pizzas. Crisp white pizza is topped with prosciutto, buffalo mozzarella, and straciatella cheeses and is finished with fresh shaved truffles, making for a true slice of heaven. Castellano is planning on opening his first New York outpost, so will be splitting his time between New York and Boston in the coming year.

Recommended Dishes:

  • Truffle Pizza with Proscuitto and Straciacella Cheese
Truffle Pizza with Proscuitto and Straciacella Cheese
+ Click image to enlarge

Harvest
44 Brattle Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
(617) 868-2255
www.harvestcambridge.com
Hours: Mon-Sat: 12pm-2:30pm; Sun-Thu: 5:30pm-10pm; Fri-Sat: 5:30pm-11pm; Sun11:30am-2:30pm; Bar: 12pm-close

Right in the center of Harvard Square is Harvest, a calm, beautiful restaurant with dark wood and fireplaces inside and beautiful trees and plants outside in the secluded terrace. Chef Mary Dumont is one of the most talented young chefs in the city, cooking New England cuisine with local ingredients, much of which come from her community garden plot. Dumont’s dishes are delicate with rich flavors and hand-spun elements, like her elegant asparagus salad that is served with lemon sabayon and house-made ricotta.

Recommended Dishes:

  • Green and White Asparagus Salad with Prosciutto, Ricotta, Lemon Sambayon, Thai Basil, and Epic Roots Mache
  • Dayboat Scallops with Peruvian Potatoes, English Peas, Braised Lettuce, Woodear Mushrooms, and Early Summer Truffles
Dayboat Scallops with Peruvian Potatoes, English Peas, Braised Lettuce, Woodear Mushrooms, and Early Summer Truffles
+ Click image to enlarge

Hugo's
88 Middle Street
Portland, ME 04101
(207) 774-8538
http://hugos.net/
Hours: Tues-Sat 5:30pm-10pm

Hugo’s is the home to lauded chef Rob Evans, who honed his skills at The Inn at Little Washington and The French Laundry and was recently awarded Best Chef in the Northeast by the James Beard Foundation. Chef Evans’ dishes at Hugo’s are elegant and refined, drawing upon seasonal and local ingredients for inspiration and resulting in compositions like local lamb tartare with cauliflower tabbouleh and fried cornichons. The menu rotates frequently based on seasonality and what’s available at the market, and Chef Evans offers a “Nightly Blind Tasting” where the menu isn’t presented until the end of the meal.

Recommended Dishes:

  • Lamb Tartare with Fried Cornichons, Cauliflower Tabbouleh, Fresh Mint, Aerated Dijon, and Lemon Olive Oil
  • Sweet and Salty Sweetbreads with Caramelized Cauliflower, Braised Pistachios, Brown Butter, and Fried Capers
Lamb Tartare with Fried Cornichons, Cauliflower Tabbouleh, Fresh Mint, Aerated Dijon, and Lemon Olive Oil
+ Click image to enlarge

Hungry Mother
233 Cardinal Medieros Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02141
(617) 499-0090
www.hungrymothercambridge.com
Hours: Tue-Sun 5pm-10pm; Bar and Snacks 5pm-1am

If Southern food is what you’re craving, Hungry Mother is the place to go. Chef Barry Maiden, a Virginia native, cooks Southern food that has serious flavor and still manages to be light—a rare feat for the traditional cooking of the South. Fried catfish is cornmeal-crusted and super crispy, served with traditional red rice spiked with smoky house-made andouille. Pastry Chef Heather Tirell serves nostalgic, Americana-inspired desserts to match, like her Strawberry Tart with Homemade Buttermilk Ricotta and Graham Cracker Crust.

Recommended Dishes:

  • Beef Tongue Canapes
  • Fried Catfish with Red Rice and House-made Andouille
  • Strawberry Tart with Homemade Buttermilk Ricotta and Graham Cracker Crust
Strawberry tart with homemade buttermilk ricotta and graham cracker crust
+ Click image to enlarge

il Casale
50 Leonard Street
Belmont, MA 02478
(617) 209-4942
http://ilcasalebelmont.com
Hours: Tues-Thurs, Sun 5pm-9:30pm; Fri-Sat 5pm-10pm

il Casale is the greatly anticipated second restaurant of 2003 Rising Star Chef Dante de Magistris in his hometown of Belmont. Where Dante serves elegant, refined Italian food, il Casale is all about rustic, homey Italian food set in a casual backdrop. With wood walls and tables, the restaurant looks like something you would stumble upon in the Italian countryside, and the food is as good as anything in Italy. This is the food of your Italian grandmother, and every bit as comforting.

Recommended Dishes:

  • Maiale: Pork Meatballs with Mozzarella and Sugo di Testa
  • Carne: Traditional meatballs with Tomato Sugo
  • Baccala: Salt Cod Balls with Tomato, Pine nuts, and Golden raisins
  • Arancini: Porcini risotto, Scamorza, and Spicy Tomato
  • Strozzapreti San Marzano Tomato Sugo with Basil and Grana
  • Gnocchi Boar Ragu with Merlot and Dried Fruits
 

La Verdad
1 Lansdowne Street
Boston, MA 02215
(617) 421-9595
www.laverdadtaqueria.com
Hours: Sun-Thu 11am-11pm; Fri-Sat 11am-12am; Taqueria Sun-Thu 11am-1am; Fri-Sat 11am-2am

You can’t get more authentic Mexican food in Boston than La Verdad. The most casual in Chef Ken Oringer’s mini-empire of Boston restaurants, La Verdad sits in the shadow of Faneuil Stadium (keep this in mind when planning a trip—it’s packed any time there’s a game or concert). Chef Brian Roche serves finger-licking good Mexican favorites, like grilled corn, insanely good tacos, and aqua frescas, plus killer margaritas. Disclaimer: if you’re craving nachos or burritos, this isn’t the place for you; Chef Roche refuses to put these Tex-Mex creations on the menu.

Recommended Dishes:

  • Grilled Corn with Toro Maiz Asado, Mayonesa, Cotija Cheese, Chile Spice
  • Taco Plate with Carne Asado, Pescado, and Pato
  • Aqua Frescas with Hibiscus and Horchata flavors
Taco Plate with Carne Asado, Pescado, and Pato
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L'Espalier
774 Boylston Street
Boston, MA 02199
(617) 262-3023
www.lespalier.com
Hours: Daily 5:30pm-10pm; Mon-Fri 11:30am-2:30pm; Sat-Sun: 12pm-2pm

For the ultimate example of fine dining service, atmosphere, and cuisine look no further than L’Espalier. Their new digs on Boylston Street are more elegant than ever. Maitre d’ and Fromager Louis Risoli has been at L’Espalier for over 30 years and gracefully and knowledgeably runs the front of the house, as well as the Grand Fromage cheese program. Executive Chef Frank McClelland has a nearby farm that supplies L’Espalier and the Sel de la Terre restaurants with fresh produce and meat. Chef de Cuisine James Hackney takes these ingredients and creates a menu that is seasonal, graceful, and full of fun flavors. 2009 Rising Star Pastry Chef Jiho Kim makes playful desserts like a grownup Oreo with milk sorbet and Raspberry Greek Yogurt with Muscat Gelee and Coconut Sorbet that is a study in textures.

Recommended Dishes:

  • Roasted Hudson Valley Foie Gras with Jim Cook Sunchokes, Wild Ramps, and Roasted Strawberries 
  • Indian-Spiced Halibut with Cucumber Yogurt, Tamarind-Glazed Carrots and Mango
  • Rasberry Greek Yogurt with Muscat Gelee and Coconut Sorbet
  • Chocolate and Milk Tart with Oreo Cookie and Milk Sorbet
Indian-Spiced Halibut with Cucumber Yogurt, Tamarind-Glazed Carrots and Mango
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Lyric
43 Route 6A
Yarmouth Port, MA 02675
(774) 330-0000
www.lyriccapecod.com
Hours: Thurs-Sat 11:30am-2:30pm; Sun 11am-3pm; Daily 4:30pm-9:30pm

If you’re looking to get out of the city, then make a trip to Cape Cod to visit Chef Jerome Watkins at Lyric in Yartmouth Port. Chef Watkins is definitely someone to watch, and he will be making an impact on the New England—if not the national—culinary scene. He has brought his upscale training to the comfortable, elegant restaurant that focuses on local, organic ingredients and French-inspired contemporary American cuisine. Mahi tuna is served with a creamy and unusual carrot flan that brings the whole dish together.

Recommended Dishes:

  • Organic Crisp Pork Loin with Organic Squash and Apple Butter Coulis
  • Mahi Tuna with Crab, Watermelon, Roasted Spaghetti Squash, and Carrot Flan
Organic Crisp Pork Loin with Organic Squash and Apple Butter Coulis
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Metropolitan Club
1210 Boylston Street
Chestnut Hill, MA 02467
(617) 731-0600
www.metclubandbar.com
Hours: Sun: 5-9pm, Mon-Sat: 5-10pm; Tue-Sat: 11:30- 2:00pm; Sun 11:30-2:30pm

Set in the Chestnut Hill neighborhood, just outside Boston, is modern steakhouse The Metropolitan Club. Chef Todd Winer lends a modern touch to steakhouse classics, like a caprese salad with local Backyard Beauty heirloom tomatoes and impeccably prepared house-made burrata. The Tokyo Burger is made from a custom beef blend, cooked vertically in a vertical burger grill, and topped with muenster cheese, avocado, sticky soy sauce, koyari sprouts, pickled onions, and wasabi mayonnaise. It’s super juicy and flavorful and worth the trip alone (or visit the Met Burger Bar in Natick, MA).

Recommended Dishes:

  • Caprese Salad with House Made Burrata, Backyard Beauty Tomato, Basil Leaf Salad, and Sicilian Sea Salt
  • Tokyo Burger with Sweet Potato Planks
Tokyo Burger with Sweet Potato Planks
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Mistral
223 Columbus Avenue
Boston, MA 02116
(617) 867-9300
www.mistralbistro.com
Hours: Mon-Thurs: 5:30pm-10pm; Fri and Sat 5:30pm-11pm; Sun: 10:30am-2pm, 5:30pm-9pm

Mistral is a large space with lofty ceilings, tall columns, large windows with billowing yellow curtains, and Cyprus trees in the middle of the dining room. We visited Mistral to taste the desserts of Pastry Chef Shane Gray, which are straightforward and comforting like a Strawberry Shortcake that brings you back to childhood summers. Gray shines when he plays with unexpected flavor combinations, like a Warm Nectarine and Blueberry Tart that is paired with a refreshing duet of Basil Gelato and Basil Ice Cream.

Recommended Dishes:

  • Native Strawberry Shortcake
  • Warm Nectarine and Blueberry Tart with Basil Gelato and Basil Ice Cream
Warm Nectarine and Blueberry Tart with Basil Gelato and Basil Ice Cream
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Myers + Chang
1145 Washington Street
Boston, MA 02118
617.542.5200
www.myersandchang.com
Hours: Mon-Wed 11:30am-10pm; Thu 11:30am-11pm; Fri-Sat 11:30am-11pm; Sun11:30am-10pm

Pink Chinese dragons decorate the windows, vintage tea cans hold plastic chopsticks, and Chinese newspapers act as placemats at hip Myers + Chang. Co-owner Joanne Chang, winner of the 2009 Boston Rising Stars Restaurateur Award, has created a funky diner-like atmosphere with a menu that is inspired by Taiwanese soul food and Southeast Asian street food. She and Chef Matthew Barros collaboratively cook up fiery food that is comforting and totally addictive. Fried chicken is braised in coconut milk and lime then steamed on the line and fried to order, the result of which is an aromatic chicken that is über-crispy on the outside and succulent on the inside. Nasi Goreng (Indonesian Fried Rice) comes with a fried egg and fiery chili paste on top for a dish that is brimming with heat and flavor. Chang's pastries, her specialty, are also Asian-inspired and downright comforting. Frozen Vanilla Bean Parfait with Fresh Orange Granita is a grown-up creamsicle with the oranges acting as a homage to Chinese desserts.

Recommended Dishes:

  • Asian braised short ribs soft tacos with pear, radish, and chili-sesame salsa
  • Nasi Goreng (indonesian Fried Rice) with Shrimp, pork, pineapple, farm egg
  • Taiwanese Shaved Ice
  • Vanilla bean parfait with fresh orange granite
Nasi Goreng (indonesian Fried Rice) with Shrimp, pork, pineapple, farm egg
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Natalie's
83 Bay View Street
Camden, ME 04843
(207) 236-7008
www.nataliesrestaurant.com
Hours: Daily 5:30pm-9:30pm

Natalie’s is a romantic restaurant in the Victorian-style Camden Harbor Inn with red cloth banquets, chairs, hanging lamps, and votives, and white tablecloths. Chef Lawrence Klang cooks sensual, sophisticated food with clean, balanced flavors. His modern French cuisine is beautifully plated and highlights the local ingredients (particularly seafood) available to him in Maine. Porcini-dusted sea scallops are served with a tomato that has been blanched, peeled, coated in olive oil, garlic, and basil, and dried in a low oven. Modern French cuisine, fabulous flavors, beautiful presentation

Recommended Dishes:

  • Porcini Dusted Sashimi Grade Sea Scallop with Dried Tomato, Parmesan Tortellini, and Anise Chicken Jus
  • Seared Serrano Wrapped Loup de Mer with Marinated Heirloom Cherry Tomatoes and Tomato Emulsion
Seared Serrano Wrapped Loup de Mer with Marinated Heirloom Cherry Tomatoes and Tomato Emulsion
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Oleana
134 Hampshire Street
Cambridge, MA 02139
(617) 661-0505
www.oleanarestaurant.com
Hours: Sun-Thu 5:30pm-10pm; Fri-Sat 5:30pm-11pm

Every time we visit Oleana we’re reminded of why Chef Ana Sortun was named a 2003 Boston Rising Star Chef (one of the first ever!). She is all about infusing her soulful Middle Eastern cuisine with intricate layers of spice, resulting in dishes that awaken the senses and keep you wanting more. Her Spicy Fideos is like paella but prepared with crushed vermicelli instead; tossed with Swiss chard and chickpeas and garnished with orange aioli, fresh cilantro, and scallions, this spicy dish is absolutely addictive. Pastry Chef Maura Kilpatrick (winner of the 2009 StarChefs Concept Award for her and Sortun’s bakery Sofra) prepares delectable desserts with Middle Eastern flavor profiles that are unusual and satisfying. Pairing with all of these unusual flavors and spices is 2009 Rising Star Sommelier Theresa Paopao, who isn’t afraid to think outside the box and searches out spectacular wines from a range of regions.

Recommended Dishes:

  • Spicy Fideos and Chick Peas with Green Chard and Orange Aioli
  • Duck Buried in Vermicelli - Chard, Sweet Onion, Orange Blossom and Sugared Almonds
  • Nougat Glace and Pistachio Atayef with Blackberries and Lime-Orange Blossom Granita
  • Apricot-Almond M'hencha and Milk Pudding with Poached Apricot and Hibiscus
Spicy Fideos and Chick Peas with Green Chard and Orange Aioli
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Provisions Sandwich Shop
3 Harbor Square
Nantucket, MA 02554
(508) 228-3258
www.nantucketrestaurantguide.com
Hours: Daily 7am-6pm (May-Oct)

2006 Boston Rising Star Chefs Gabriel Frasca and Amanda Lydon’s Nantucket summer sandwich shop always has a line out the door—and for good reason. Their simple sandwiches are packed with fresh, local, often house-made ingredients and range from the common (ham and cheddar) to the out there (tofu, hoisin, cucumber, cilantro, peanuts, and spicy Vietnamese pickles). They’re famous for the comforting Turkey Terrific sandwich, which is essentially Thanksgiving leftovers between two pieces of Portuguese bread.

Recommended Dishes:

  • Tukey Terrific Sandwich with Smoked Turkey, Stuffing, Cranberry, and Mayonaisse on Portuguese Bread
  • House-Made Mozzarella Sandwich with Zucchini Ribbons, Arugula, and Basil Pine Nut Pesto
Provisions Menu Board
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Rialto
1 Bennett Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
(617) 661-5050
www.rialto-restaurant.com
Hours: Mon-Sat 5:30 pm-10:00 pm; Sun 5:30 pm-9:00 pm; Lounge hours Mon-Sat 5pm-11:30 pm; Sun 5pm-10:30 pm

Chef Jody Adams is a master of layering flavors to create depth and dimension. At Rialto, she cooks regional Italian food that is bright and balanced, even with multiple components on the plate. Her dishes are deceptively simple and appear effortless, but with one bite all of the flavors and textures shine through, bound together by a masterful use of acidity. Pastry Chef Sarah Abbot’s desserts incorporate simple ingredients that result in decadent treats with amazing texture and layers of flavor. Sommelier Brahm Callahan is incredibly talented and a self-described wine “geek” who goes to great lengths to find the small producers, cult wineries, and unusual varietals that idyllically match the food.

Recommended Dishes:

  • Grilled Stuffed Quail with Pickled Peaches, Mascarpone, Cress, and Tomatoes
  • Soft Cheese Lasagna with Pistachios, Peas, and Chanterelles
  • Cherry Cream Tart with Yoghurt Sorbet, Mint, and Sesame Crunch
  • Strawberry Pizzelle Gelato Cone with Strawberry, Anise, and Rose
Cherry Cream Tart with Yoghurt Sorbet, Mint, and Sesame Crunch
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Salts
798 Main Street
Cambridge, MA 02139
(617) 876-8444
www.saltsrestaurant.com
Hours: Tue-Sat: 6pm-10pm

Salts is the ultimate romantic date restaurant. It's tiny, cozy, and undeniably elegant.. Chef /Owner Gabriel Bremer is part of the 2006 class of Boston Rising Stars, and he has only continued to rise. On our most recent visit we were more impressed with Bremer than ever as he incorporated innovative techniques with incredible flavor combinations to create dishes that are out of this world. Traditional White Gazpacho comes with a macademia yogurt truffle floating in the center, which adds tang to the mellow soup. Bremer has as much finesse with his plating as with his inventive flavor profiles (so much so that he led this year's Art of Presentation workshop at the Starchefs.com International Chefs Congress). And at just 21 years old, Bremer’s young pastry chef, Nicholas Guillespe, is sure to go far; with the help of his mentor, Guillespe is already creating some of the best pastry in the country. Analia Verolo, Bremer's life and business partner, runs the front of the house and her eye for detail is evident in all the little touches that make the restaurant so special.

Recommended Dishes:

  • White Gazpacho
  • Torchon of Foie Gras with Native Strawberries, Salts Farm Rhubarb, Lychee, and Almond Crumble with Fresh Brioche
  • Heirloom Melon terrine with Lime Salt, Olive Oil Powder, Whipped Chamomile Tea
  • Lime Panna Cotta with Strawberry Sorbet, Compressed Strawberries, Strawberry Gelee, and Crystallized Strawberries; Yuzu Merengue, Candied Sesame, and Micro Shiso
Heirloom Melon terrine with Lime Salt, Olive Oil Powder, Whipped Chamomile Tea
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Sel de la Terre
774 Boylston Street
Boston, MA 02199
(617) 266-8800
www.seldelaterre.com
Hours: 11am - 11pm; Café and Bar Sun-Tues 4pm-12am; Weds-Sat 4pm-1am; Bar open until 2am

Located in between the Mandarin Oriental Hotel and L’Espalier is the Boylston Street location of Frank McClelland and Goeff Gardener’s Sel de la Terre. Chef de Cuisine Louis DiBiccari (winner of the inaugural 2009 Rising Stars Community Award) prepares the restaurant’s signature French-Provençal cuisine with rustic dishes like Bluefin Pate and Foie Gras Torchon with diBiccari’s own flare in the form of pickled cherries and house-made potato chips with Z’atar spices. DiBiccari is deeply involved and committed to the Boston culinary scene, and whenever he’s not in his own kitchen he can be found cooking for a sommelier smackdown, hosting one of his popular “Chef Louis” nights, travelling to New York to help a buddy cook at the Beard House, or supporting his fellow chefs at their restaurants.

Recommended Dishes:

  • Baby Octopus with Charred Pepper Vinaigrette, English Peas, Radish, and Croutons
  • Long Island Duck Breast with Pommes Robuchon and Local Green Beans
  • Bluefin Pate, Foie Gras Torchon, House-Made Potato Chips with Z'atar spices, pickled cherries
Bluefin Pate, Foie Gras Torchon, House-Made Potato Chips with Z'atar spices, pickled cherries
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Sensing
3 Battery Wharf
Boston, MA 02109
(617) 994-9001
www.sensingrestaurant.com
Hours: 6:30am-10pm

Chef Guy Martin’s first venture in the US, Sensing is a contemporary French restaurant that incorporates local and seasonal ingredients to create a Franco-New England cuisine with international influences. Chef de Cuisine Gerard Barbin, a native of France, executes Martin’s vision with finesse and sensational plating. The Rutabaga and Tom Yum Soup is delicate in texture and bold in flavor; dig deep into the bowl to scrape up the fig jam, comte, and cocoa nibs for added dimension and texture.

Recommended Dishes:

  • Cod Steamed in Lemongrass with Seasonal Vegetables, Coconut, and Grapefruit Sauce
  • Rutabaga and Tom Yum Soup, Fig Jam, Comte Cheese, and Cocoa Nibs
  • Lemon and Yuzu Crystalline
Cod steamed in lemongrass, seasonal vegetables, coconut and grapefruit sauce
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Sofra
1 Belmont Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
(617) 661-3161
www.sofrabakery.com
Hours: Mon-Fri 8am-8pm; Sat 8am-6pm; Sun: 8am-3pm

Inspired by the cuisine of Turkey, Lebanon, and Greece, Ana Sortun, Gary Griffin, and 2009 Rising Star Concept Award Winner Maura Kilpatrick teamed up to create Sofra. It's the neighborhood bakery everyone wishes was right around the corner from them. From savory to sweet there’s something on the menu for everyone—from people who want to experiment with Middle Eastern cuisine to those who want shortbread and coffee. The Turkish Breakfast centers around a soft-boiled egg that's breaded in shredded phyllo and deep fried. It’s served with sliced cucumbers, dry-cured black olives, cubes of fried breaded feta, labne, tomato jam, and orange jam. A pastry chef by training, don’t miss Kilpatrick’s sweet creations as well, like the Kunefe with Champagne-Cardomom Syrup, which illustrates her masterful integration of spices into her pastry.

Recommended Dishes:

  • Turkish Breakfast
  • Lamb Shwarma
  • Mezze Platter
  • Kunefe
Mezze Platter
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Sorellina
1 Huntington Avenue
Boston, MA 02116
(617) 412-4600
www.sorellinaboston.com
Hours: Mon-Thu: 5:30pm-10:30pm Fri-Sat: 5:30pm-11pm Sun: 5:30pm-10pm

At Chef Jamie Mammano’s Sorrelina, veteran Chef Robert Jean cooks elegant, comforting regional Italian food in a sophisticated environment. The 126-seat restaurant has dark walls with white tablecloths, chairs, and baquets. Chef Jean wowed us with dish after elegant dish. Purple beets shine through the thin skin of ravioli for a stunning visual effect; topped with toasted almonds and green onions the dish is subtly sweet and luxurious.

Recommended Dishes:

  • Crudo: Raw Sliced Yellowtail, Veal Carpaccio, Torpedo Radish, Citrus, and Chilies
  • Beet Ravioli with Toasted Almonds and Green Onion
Beet Ravioli with Toasted Almonds and Green Onion
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Straight Wharf
6 Harbor Square
Nantucket, MA 02554
(508) 228-4499
www.straightwharfrestaurant.com
Hours: Daily 11am-2pm and 5:30pm-10pm (closed during winter)

2006 Boston Rising Star Chefs Gabriel Frasca and Amanda Lydon are doing great things at Straight Wharf, the 30 year old Nantucket dining landmark they took over three years ago. The dining room has barnyard ceilings, shingled walls, and butcher paper over white tablecloth-laden tables; the beautiful open air patio looks out on the water. The food is bright, homey, and inspired by the seasons and the sea—exactly what you want to eat as you overlook the bay, be it morning or night. Frasca and Lydon’s menu changes seasonally and they source the majority of their herbs from the adjoining herb garden. As with most restaurants in Nantucket, Straight Wharfis only open spring through fall.

Recommended Dishes:

  • Watermelon Gazpacho with Cucumber, Red Onion, Jalapeño, and Smashed Avocado
  • Wood-Grilled Swordfish with Baby Beets and Greens, Caper Aioli, and Lemon
Watermelon Gazpacho with Cucumber, Red Onion, Jalapeño, and Smashed Avocado
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Tastings Wine Bar & Bistro
201 Patriot Place
Foxboro, MA 02035
(508) 203-9463
www.tastingswinebarandbistro.com
Hours: Mon-Thu 5pm-10pm; Fri 5pm-12am; Sat 11:30am-12am; Sun 11:30am-10pm

Situated in a mall in the shadow of Gillette Stadium (home to the New England Patriots) is not where you’d expect to find a cozy wine bar, let alone the winner of the 2009 StarChefs Rising Star Sustainability Award. But Chef Richard Garcia surprised us at every turn, not only with his Spanish-inflected food (his family owns restaurants in Rioja, Spain) and commitment to sustainability, but also with his sensual plating presentation. Sommelier Dave Cicciarella selects funky pairings to accompany Chef Garcia's elegant food. And, as if that wasn't enough, 95% of the products in their kitchen are local, sustainable, and/or organic; all the equipment is energy efficient; all the water is recycled; they don't use linens (to cut down on water usage); the take out containers are biodegradable; their biodynamic wine list is growing. The cocktail list, compiled by Mixologist Todd Schroer, is focused on fresh, local produce.

Recommended Dishes:

  • Shaved Asparagus Salad with Caper Vinaigrette
  • White Vanilla Gazpacho with Almonds, Roasted Garlic, Grapes, Chanterelles, and Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Recommended Cocktails:

  • Cucumber Cosmopolitan with Hendrick's Gin, Fresh-Pressed Cucumber, and Lime
  • Ghost of Mary
White Vanilla Gazpacho with Almonds, Roasted Garlic, Grapes, Chanterelles, and Extra Virgin Olive Oil
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Cucumber Cosmopolitan with Hendrick's Gin, Fresh-Pressed Cucumber, and Lime
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Temple Bar
1688 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
(617) 547-5055
www.templebarcambridge.com
Hours: Open Mon-Sat 5pm-11pm

Temple Bar is a comfortable, casual neighborhood restaurant and bar in Cambridge with outdoor seating for the warmer months and dark leather banquets for getting cozy. Chef Michael Scelfo cooks American bistro food with familiar flavor combinations and unusual twists, like cider-braised pork belly with malt vinegar aioli, pear, and cider syrup. Chef Scelfo sources the Berkshire pig from an Ozark coop and tries to get as much of his meat and produce from local, family-run producers.

Recommended Dishes:

  • Cider Braised "Ozark Berkshire" Pork Belly with Malt Vinegar Aioli, Shaved Pear Salad, and Cider Syrup
  • Seared "Lapsong Souchong" Duck Breast with Sour Cherry and Farro "Latke" and Summer Vegetables
Cider Braised "Ozark Berkshire" Pork Belly with Malt Vinegar Aioli, Shaved Pear Salad, and Cider Syrup
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Toro
1704 Washington Street
Boston, MA 02118
(617) 536-4300
www.toro-restaurant.com
Hours: Mon-Fr: 12pm-2pm, 5:30pm-10:15pm; Fri 5:30pm-11:45pm; Sat 5pm-11:45pm; Sun 5pm-10:15pm; Sun 10:30am-2pm

Toro is a neighborhood tapas bar with a devoted following—including a serious chef clientele. 2009 Rising Star Chef Jamie Bissonnette offers expertly prepared house-made charcuterie that bursts with flavor and has all the right textures. He draws heavily on his arsenal of Spanish techniques, exemplified in simple dishes like Navajas a la Plancha and elegant ones like Ostras en Escabeche composed of four oysters each with a slightly different presentation and taste. Courtney Bissonnette heads up the beverage program, mixing up refreshing cocktails that incorporate fresh ingredients and work in harmony with the food.

Recommended Dishes:

  • Ostras en Escabeche
  • Tablito de Charcuteria with Petite Bayon, Guanciale, Jamon de Pato, Pate Campagna, Pig Ear Terrine, and Carrot and Mustard Seed Marmalade
  • Navajas a la Plancha - seared island creek razor clams with garlic, lemon and piquillo peppers

Recommended Cocktails:

  • Fresita Cocktail
  • Sanguinello Hi-Ball
Navajas a la Plancha - seared island creek razor clams with garlic, lemon and piquillo peppers
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Sanguinello Hi-Ball
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Tremont 647
647 Tremont Street
Boston, MA 02118
(617) 266-4600
www.tremont647.com
Hours: Sat 10:30am- 2:00pm; Sun 10:30am-3:00pm; Sun-Thur 5:30pm-10:00pm; Fri, Sat: 5:30pm-10:30pm

2006 Rising Star Chef Andy Husbands’ restaurant, Tremont 647 is the ultimate neighborhood spot. It's also the place where all the chefs in town come together to party and cook. That's because Husbands is one of the driving forces behind the tight-knit Boston culinary community, the one who started it all. And he's put together a great team to hold down the kitchen while he's off rallying chefs, volunteering for charities, and making television appearances. Chef de Cuisine Izzy Sarto’s repertoire is eclectic and includes everything from Greek-style lamb skewers with tzatziki to porcini-crusted scallops with house-made gnocchi. Pastry Chef Kat Craddock prepares nostalgic, homey desserts that are elegant in presentation and flavor. Rice pudding is flavored with ricotta and wildflower honey and dotted with bright bruleed grapefruit slices and cheerful chamomile flowers.

Recommended Dishes:

  • Organic Spring Pea and Mint Soup with Jamon Serrano, Garlic Croutons, and Crème Fraiche
  • Seared Diver Scallops with Porcini Mushroom Crust over House-Made Potato Gnocchi with Morel Cream Sauce
  • Spanish Style Rice Pudding with Ricotta, Local Wildflower Honey, Bruleed Oloroso Grapefruit, Toasted Pistachios, Dates, and Chamomile Flowers
  • Peach Tart with Oolong Tea Crème Anglais
Peach Tart with Oolong Tea Crème Anglais
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Troquet
140 Boylston Street
Boston, MA 02116
(617) 695-9463
www.troquetboston.com
Hours: Tues.-Sat 5-10:30 pm

Overlooking the Boston Common, Troquet is a bright and airy bistro with French-inspired cuisine. Chef Scott Herbert is a talented young chef cooking rich food with complex flavors. He sources his ducks from a farmer in Pennsylvania who only raises them to 3 ½ pounds, which makes them super tender. Herbert then treats the duck Peking style and pairs it with cherries, lentils, and bok choy for a combination of sweet, sour, earthy, and bright flavors. Pastry Chef Sarah Abbott makes homey desserts like a super citrusy Lemon Trio with Steamed Lemon Pudding, Lemon Ginger Sorbet, and Lemon Meringue Cheesecake.

Recommended Dishes:

  • John Dory with Squash Blossoms, Confit Heirloom Tomatoes, and Fava bean Pistou
  • Peking Style Jurgielewicz Cuck with Puy Lentils, Bok Choy, and Bing Cherry Aigre-Doux
  • Lemon Trio: Steamed Lemon Pudding, Lemon Ginger Sorbet, and Lemon Merengue Cheesecake
Lemon Trio: Steamed Lemon Pudding, Lemon Ginger Sorbet, and Lemon Merengue Cheesecake
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T.W. Foods
377 Walden Street # A
Cambridge, MA 02138
(617) 864-4745
www.twfoodrestaurant.com
Hours: Mon-Sat 5pm-10pm

Chef Tim Weichmann of TW Foods in Cambridge is deeply committed to working with local farmers and growers. He’s a member of community agriculture groups and would eventually like to raise his own animals and vegetables. This relationship with the farmers comes through in his food, which highlights local, seasonal ingredients. A simple farm egg is elevated to a sophisticated dish with local wild mushrooms and scallion puree. Foie gras is presented like crème brulee with a crisp top and silky interior sweetened with local apples.

Recommended Dishes:

  • Creamy Scrambled Farm Egg with Wild Local Mushrooms and Scallion Puree
  • Crème Brulee Foie Gras with Local Apple
Creamy Scrambled Farm Egg with Wild Local Mushrooms and Scallion Puree
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Uni
370 Commonwealth Avenue
Boston, MA 02118
(617) 536-7200
www.cliorestaurant.com
Hours: Mon 6:30am-10:30am; Tue-Thu 6:30am-10:30am, 5:30pm-10pm; Fri 6:30am-10:30am, 5:30pm-10:30pm; Sat 7am-11am, 3pm-10:30pm; Sun 6:30am-12pm, 5:30pm-10pm

At Ken Oringer’s tiny Back Bay sashimi bar, Uni, 2009 Rising Star Chef Chris Chung prepares classic Japanese sashimi dishes that are elegant and well-balanced. Although Chung serves sashimi in a traditional style, he applies unusual ingredients and adventurous flavor combinations. One example: Spicy Tuna Tataki with Foie Gras, Aji Amarillo, Spiced Strawberries, and Cumin Cilantro, a dish that twists Spanish and Japanese flavors and techniques with foie gras. We don’t often think about the use of spice in sashimi, but Chung has mastered the delicate balance of flavors through the careful combination of ingredients, like kalamansi, garlic, ginger, and onion with scallop.

Recommended Dishes:

  • Live Scallop with Kalamansi Ceviche with Lily Whites and Fresh Lychee
  • Taragai and Uni (Japanese Pan Shell and Sea Urchin) with Garlic, Soy, XO Sauce, and Myoga
  • Abalone and Porcini with Aka Curry and Pickled Ramps
Live Scallop with Kalamansi Ceviche with Lily Whites and Fresh Lychee
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Union Bar and Grille
1357 Washington Street
Boston, MA 02118
(617) 423-0555
www.unionrestaurant.com
Hours: Sun-Wed 5:30am to 11:00pm; Thurs, Fri, Sat 5:30pm-12am

Union Bar and Grille is an unassuming, comfortable restaurant in the South End. Chef Steve Sherman cooks nostalgic dishes that are reminiscent of childhood summers. From playful mini-corndogs to a super home-style haddock with house-made tartar sauce, Sherman has Americana down. And don’t leave without having dessert—Sherman’s Buttermilk Pie with Grilled Peaches and Cream was one of the best sweets we had in Boston.

Recommended Dishes:

  • Pan-Roasted Haddock with Chantarelle Mushrooms, Asparagus, and New Potatoes with Classic Tartar Sauce
  • Buttermilk Pie with Grilled Peaches and Cream
Pan-Roasted Haddock with Chantarelle Mushrooms, Asparagus, and New Potatoes with Classic Tartar Sauce
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Upstairs on the Square
91 Winthrop Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
(617) 864-1933
www.upstairsonthesquare.com
Hours: Mon-Sat 11am-11pm; Sun 10am-10pm

Upstairs at the Square is a funky restaurant in the heart of Harvard Square in Cambridge. With bubblegum pink walls, gold light fixtures and chairs, and white tablecloths the effect is like being in a jewelry box. Catch up with Chef Susan Regis downstairs in the casual Monday Club Bar, or check out Chef Steven Brand upstairs in the Soiree Dining Room. Brand’s food is elegant and decadent, like his Duet of Foie Gras that features foie two ways (seared and bruleed) and with a variety of summer fruits.

Recommended Dishes:

  • Duet of Foie Gras with Sauteed Foie Gras, White Peach Puree, and Gingerbread; Strawberry Rhubarb Gelee, Raw Rhubarb, Lime Salt, Prosciutto; Bruleed Foie Gras Terrine with Native Strawberries, Balsamic Reduction, Sezchuan Peppercorns
  • Sauteed Cod with Crushed Peas and Crispy Fingerling Potatoes, cod, quail egg, black truffle vinaigrette
  • Susan Regis' Lobster Roll
Duet of Foie Gras with Sauteed Foie Gras, White Peach Puree, and Gingerbread; Strawberry Rhubarb Gelee, Raw Rhubarb, Lime Salt, Prosciutto; Bruleed Foie Gras Terrine with Native Strawberries, Balsamic Reduction, Sezchuan Peppercorns
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Via Matta
79 Park Plaza
Boston, MA 02116
617.422.0008
www.viamattarestaurant.com
Hours: Mon-Fri 11:30am-2:30pm; Mon-Thu 5:30pm-10pm; Fri-Sat 5:30pm-11pm

Hailing from a family of Umbrian lentil farmers, Mike Pagliarini’s food is as unassuming as his character. As chef de cuisine at Michael Schlow’s Via Matta, Pagliarini serves refined rustic Italian cuisine with personal touches. Scottish Salmon crudo is served with Umbrian lentils, offering a direct link to his heritage. Other dishes, like the Grilled Branzino alla Ligure, are the result of meticulous research into Ligurian ingredients—and, in this case, a search for Ligurian celery leaves, which turned out to be lovage.

Recommended Dishes:

  • Grilled Branzino alla Ligure with Local Potatoes, Tomatoes, Oregano, Olives, Pine Nuts, and Ligurian Celery
  • Muscovy Hen Breast with Turnips, Rhubarb, Swiss Chard, and Spiced Pistachios
Grilled Branzino alla Ligure with Local Potatoes, Tomatoes, Oregano, Olives, Pine Nuts, and Ligurian Celery
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Back Bay Hotel
350 Stuart Street
Boston, MA 02116
(617) 266-7200
www.doylecollection.com
Rooms start at $182

Housed in the former Boston Police Headquarters, the Back Bay Hotel is conveniently located right at the intersection of Back Bay and South End, near Beacon Hill, making it an ideal starting point. Little touches like heated towel racks, and turn down service make your stay extra memorable. Between that, the historic 1920s architecture and an extremely friendly and accommodating staff, the Back Bay Hotel is a wonderful place to be able to call home for a few days.

 

Back Bay Hotel
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Beacon Hill Hotel
25 Charles Street
Boston, MA 02114
(617) 723-7575
www.beaconhillhotel.com
Rooms start at $199

The Beacon Hill Hotel is a quaint inn right in the center of posh Beacon Hill, and just a block away from the Commons. It’s ideally situated to act as the headquarters for your Boston food adventures with plenty of great restaurants just a hop skip and a jump away—including the hotel’s own Beacon Hill Bistro helmed by Chef Jason Bond. The understated rooms are decorated in cool tones with black and white photography on the walls and louvered shutters on the windows. Each of the 12 guest rooms are charming and have modern conveniences with historical character. The roof deck, which overlooks gas lamp and cobblestone and lined Charles Street, is an ideal place to unwind on a sunny day.

 

Beacon Hill Hotel
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Camden Harbor Inn
83 Bayview Street
Camden, Maine 04843
www.camdenharbourinn.com
Rooms start at $175

Situated on a hilltop with views of Camden, the Camden Harbor, mountains, and Penobscot Bay is the romantic, Victorian Camden Harbor Inn. From standard rooms to a grand suite with two decks, a fireplace, and a steam and rain shower, the Camden Inn has something for everyone. Visit the spa to pamper yourself and relieve the stress of hours on your feet, or check out what Chef Lawrence Klang is cooking up at the inn’s AAA four-diamond restaurant Natalie’s. If you’re looking for a Boston getaway, this idyllic inn is the place to get away from it all.

 

Camden Harbor Inn
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Chandler Inn
26 Chandler Street
Boston, MA 02116
(617) 482-3450
www.chandlerinn.com
Rooms start at $85

Set back on a tree-lined street in the historic South End, the Chandler Inn is a great wallet-conscious hotel. With 55 clean rooms and a super friendly, helpful staff, this is conveniently located hotel is a steal. The hotel is blocks away from the Back Bay “T” stop, and a short walk to Newbury Street, the Hynes Convention Center, Copley Place Mall, the Prudential Center, Beacon Hill, the Back Bay, and the Public Garden.

 


 

The Eliot
370 Commonwealth Avenue
Boston, MA 02215
(617) 267.1607
www.eliothotel.com
Room start at $195

This chic luxury boutique hotel is located in Back Bay, close to Newbury Street Shopping, Copley Place, and a number of great shops, restaurants, and cultural attractions. The Eliot’s 79 suites and 16 guestrooms include down comforters, wireless internet, flat panel hi-def televisions, and many more amenities. The hotel offers passes to the nearby Boston Sports Club in lieu of having their own fitness center. And you won’t find better restaurants in any hotel than Ken Oringer’s Clio and Uni.

 


 

Hotel Marlowe
25 Edwin H. Land Blvd.
Cambridge, MA 02141
(617) 868-8000
www.hotelmarlowe.com
Rooms start at $179

Just across from downtown Boston in Cambridge is Hotel Marlowe, a large boutique hotel with an individualized feel. We’ve been longtime fans of this hotel—they hosted the first ever StarChefs Rising Star Gala back in 2003! The 236 guestrooms are bright and stylish with four-star amenities. The hotel décor is hip and splashy with a mix of animal prints and bold, vibrant hues. Every evening guests are invited to gather in the plush lobby and unwind with a complimentary glass of wine, and every morning complimentary tea and coffee is available. If you want to grab a bite to eat on the way to kayak down the Charles (the hotel offers complementary kayak and bike rentals), then be sure to stop at the hotel’s restaurant Bambara, where Chef Jay Silva is known for his classic New England lobster rolls.

 

Hotel Marlowe
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The Liberty
215 Charles Street
Boston MA, 02114
(617) 224 4000
www.libertyhotel.com
Rooms start at $374

Staying in a former prison has never been so stylish. Housed in the former Charles Street Jail in Beacon Hill, the Liberty is a chic luxury hotel. The stylized prison theme carries through the lobby with ornate ironwork, large brick walls, and the original 90-foot central rotunda and cupola that was built in 1851. With the usual four-star amenities like evening turndown and luxury linens in the 298 rooms, as well as some unusual amenities like complimentary bicycles and free Saturday yoga, The Liberty is a lavish place to stay. And be sure to make Clink a stop on your itinerary so you can sample Chef Joseph Margate’s food.

 

The Liberty
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Mandarin_Oriental
776 Boylston Street
Boston, MA 02199
(617) 531-0888
www.mandarinoriental.com/boston/
Rooms start at $445

The Mandarin Oriental recently opened in Boston, and the city couldn’t be more excited. The sleek luxury hotel fits right in on posh Boylston Street. The stylish lobby is outfitted with leather sofas, high ceilings, and large pieces of modern art decorating the walls. With direct access to the Prudential Center and close proximity to great restaurants and shopping, The Mandarin Oriental is ideally located. Relax in the world-class spa or grab a bite at the hotel’s upscale restaurant, Asana, helmed by Chef Nicolas Boutin who recently arrived stateside from Hong Kong.

 

Mandarin Oriental
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Royal Sonesta
40 Edwin Land Blvd.
Cambridge, MA 02142
(617) 806-4200
www.sonesta.com/Boston/
Rooms start at $199

Situated right on the Charles River, each of the 400 guest rooms at the Royal Sonesta Hotel have views of the Charles, Cambridge, or the Boston skyline. Amenities include luxury linens, complimentary high-speed internet, and shuttle service to convenient stops around Boston. A world-renowned art collection is on view throughout the hotel, including works by Andy Warhol, Sol LeWitt, Richard Serra, and Frank Stella. Guests can swim laps in the atrium-style pool with a retractable roof, work out in the hotel’s full-service 24-hour heath club, or bask on the sun deck in warm weather. Chef Dante de Magistris, our 2003 Rising Star, serves authentic Mediterranean cuisine below at Restaurant Dante.

 


 

Seaport Hotel
One Seaport Ln.
Boston, MA 02210
(617) 385-4000
www.seaportboston.com
Rooms start at $169

Located on Boston’s historic waterfront, the hotel is within walking distance of the new Institute of Contemporary Art, the Boston Children’s Museum, the New England Aquarium and the historic Freedom Trail. Rooms have been recently renovated and feature new linens, restored cherry furniture, large work desks, and Bose Wave radios compatible with MP3 players and iPods. A nice feature: choose what pillow suits you from the selection of hypoallergenic, down and memory foam pillows available from their “Pillow Library.” With an indoor lap pool and state of the art fitness center, there are plenty of options to burn those calories after eating your way through Boston. Or, if you want to continue eating, stop by the hotel’s restaurant, Aura, to see what 2009 Rising Star Hotel Chef Rachel Klein is cooking up.

 

Seaport Hotel
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  • Boston Rising Stars 2009
  • Boston Why They Shine

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