I drive straight to Legal Seafoods from the airport and in minutes, I am digging in to a platter of fried clams and a veritable oceanic feast of lobster, Maryland lump crab cakes, day boat Boston scrod, oysters and cherry stone clams from PEI and Cape Cod. “It’s the seafood that really captures the essence of what Boston cuisine is all about,” says Roger Berkowitz, president of this 50-year-old, family owned restaurant chain. “We buy directly from the boats and at auction. We’re involved on behalf of the fishermen to try to get more of the day boats into the water because they are less damaging to the environment.”
Later, ensconced at the Ames Hotel in the historic One Court Street building, I note that they have taken minimalist décor to a new level. The fireplace is painted on the wall, the roaring fire is a photograph pasted on the wall in a fireplace appropriate spot.
Out on the town, late night, we stop at the Intercontinental Hotel, and have a sushi and tequila experience—strange but true. LED lights sweep Sushi-Teq with red/green/blue and the music and the cocktails are high octane. Tequila buffs come for the flights—a tasting of three tequilas. We let the chef and mixologist have free reign. They enthrall us with Tuna Mozzarella and Oro Azul Anejo, and Mexicanda Milkshake is a tribute to Canada and Mexico.
We must visit Cambridge, and Henrietta’s Table in Harvard Square. Chef Peter Davis has created a microcosm of American cuisine. A favorite show-off dining spot to visiting academia, this is abundant, New England food at its best: rotisserie roasted chicken, Yankee pot roast, red flannel hash, and yes, there really is a Henrietta—the restaurant was named after the farmer’s pig.
Over to the Beehive at the Boston Centre for the Arts. Exotic, Bohemian, underground splendour where the world’s best jazz musicians play every night in a cavernous space. The Beehive was created by an ex-Montrealer who came to Boston “because of Love.” An ice bucket on each table holds a bottle of Champagne, which becomes dwarfed by the largest fresh seafood platters I have ever seen. By 10 o’clock the place is packed with people enjoying huge seafood platters, bistro style food and many bottles of wine. Time passes unnoticed. Tonight: Group Saloum is Boston’s hot new Afro-pop band founded by world-renowned Grio percussionist and MIT artist-in-residence Lamine Toure. Nights like this don’t come along every day.
Sara Waxman is an award-winning restaurant critic, best-selling cookbook author, food and travel journalist and has eaten her way through much of the free world for four decades, while writing about it in books, newspapers and magazines. She is the Publisher/Editor in Chief of DINE and Destinations magazine.