In the present day, we’re excited to announce the winners of the 2021 Eater Awards, celebrating just some of the brand new eating places which have made a serious impression on the Boston-area eating scene during the last two years. (Eater didn’t announce awards in 2020 given the circumstances, so eating places that opened in each 2020 and most of 2021 had been thought of for this 12 months’s awards. Openings within the ultimate couple of months of 2021 shall be eligible subsequent 12 months.)
Whereas pandemic-related challenges proceed to plague the business — from staffing shortages to provide chain points to the easy incontrovertible fact that New England climate isn’t pleasant to year-round out of doors eating — native eating places and business staff have proven unbelievable resilience and creativity during the last two years. Towards all odds, there’s been an explosion of Boston-area restaurant openings in latest months (over 70 already just this season), every particular in its personal approach.
This 12 months’s Eater Awards spotlight six standouts that transported us to a different place: a bustling late-night eatery in Bangkok or an intimate Mexico Metropolis bar or an brisk espresso store in Hanoi. They nimbly navigated ever-changing mandates and located methods to optimize enterprise even when clients couldn’t go inside and at the same time as many nonetheless desire out of doors eating, takeout, and supply. They introduced us international tastes once we couldn’t journey; they introduced us uncomplicated consolation as we emerged from isolation.
Please be part of us in celebrating the unbelievable winners of the 2021 Eater Awards.
236 Washington St., Brookline Village
Opening just a few weeks before the world shut down, Mahaniyom has thankfully weathered the storm: The Thai tapas bar is without doubt one of the most fun openings in latest reminiscence. The Boston space is fortunate to have a pretty excellent Thai food scene that retains getting higher, and Mahaniyom manages to distinguish itself with a menu you gained’t discover wherever else on the town. This isn’t a kind of 100-item pick-your-curry/pick-your-protein menus, however on the opposite finish of the spectrum, it’s additionally not meant to be strictly consultant of a single area. As a substitute, the staff is serving “flavors we miss, the flavors of residence,” as they beforehand advised Eater, and drawing inspiration from ran lao, informal Thai bars the place folks share some bites and seize some drinks.
As such, the menu is full of small plates that pair properly with booze: crab fried rice, rice-and-pork sausage, crispy rooster pores and skin. And the booze isn’t an afterthought; co-owner Chompon (Boong) Boonnak is a longtime alum of Chinatown vacation spot Shojo, which boasts a wonderful bar. At Mahaniyom, he and the staff are embellishing basic cocktails with Thai flavors — assume Sazeracs with Thai tea-infused rye and daiquiris with pandan syrup. The black-light-responsive lavatory mural doesn’t damage the vibe.
Numerous places, together with a protracted residency at Little Dipper, 669A Centre St., Jamaica Plain, Boston; anticipated to open in its everlasting location — 611 Columbia Rd, Dorchester, Boston — early subsequent 12 months
Subsequent 12 months, Consolation Kitchen will lastly open in its personal house, a historic comfort station within the Upham’s Nook part of Boston’s Dorchester neighborhood. The constructing dates again to 1912 and hasn’t been used because the late Seventies; add pandemic challenges on high of that, and it’s comprehensible that the restaurant, first introduced in mid-2019, isn’t up and working but. However that’s not fully true: The Consolation Kitchen staff has truly been popping up round city extensively since early 2020, introducing keen diners to its international consolation meals, meant to have a good time the flavors and components of the African diaspora, touching cuisines from Asia to the Americas.
Most lately, Consolation Kitchen has settled in for a residency in Jamaica Plain, serving a menu impressed by the connections between Caribbean and South Asian cuisines due to the spice commerce. Chef and accomplice Kwasi Kwaa’s dishes inform tales of sherry barrels fortified by sizzling peppers on Caribbean ships centuries in the past, of curries spreading all through Asia, of the expansion of espresso as a Caribbean export. The Consolation Kitchen staff has already achieved quite a bit understanding of different folks’s areas; it will likely be thrilling to see what they’ll do as soon as they put down roots in Dorchester.
106 Prospect St., Central Sq., Cambridge
“Finest new cafe” is probably deceptive, as a result of a restaurant within the sense of a daytime espresso store is simply half the id of this sensible Cambridge newcomer. However espresso is at its root — an immense appreciation of Vietnamese espresso tradition and the intention of providing a place where people can live in the moment, free from Wi-Fi and different distractions, probably within the peaceable again backyard and having fun with a noodle bowl or banh mi.
However when night time falls and the lights dim, this cozy house — stuffed with greenery and furnishings that cofounder and chef Vinh Le refurbished by hand — turns into one thing much more particular. Dinner service at Cicada, launched in late 2021, is without doubt one of the most electrifying new meals on the town, and with restricted hours and seats, it’s certain to be one of many hardest reservations in 2022. The compact menu pairs Vietnamese flavors with a daring number of pure wines. The spicy duck tartare and the oxtail with lemongrass broth are absolute must-tries.
23A Bow St., Union Sq., Somerville
It was very unfortunate timing for Barra to open: This tiny Mexico Metropolis-inspired bar, situated in a former juice store house, debuted right at the end of February 2020, so pandemic mandates shortly put a damper on the vibe of what ought to have been a spirited new piece of Somerville nightlife, a spot to drink sotol and different regional Latin American liquors shoulder to shoulder with neighbors. However founders Paola Ibarra and Yhadira Guzmán persevered, driving out months with out indoor seating by discovering a keen viewers for to-go mezcal cocktails, guacamoles and salsas, and a concise menu created by Mexico Metropolis chef Sofía García Osorio. Later, the staff was ready so as to add a magical hidden patio nestled behind the constructing. In the present day, takeout and heated patio seating stay out there, however indoor seating has reopened as properly, permitting Barra to start out constructing again up that ambiance from its earliest days.
Don’t go to Barra on the lookout for an enormous menu of generic tacos, burritos, enchiladas, and many others.; that is the place to go for up to date Mexico Metropolis delicacies and a deep record of distinctive spirits, from Mayan pox to Aztec pulque. Keen diners will discover dishes like aguachile, that includes a uncooked fish of the day; tetela, triangular corn pockets filled with Oaxaca cheese and beans and served with a cactus salad and grasshoppers; and a banana-leaf tamal full of untamed mushrooms and flying ant salsa.
407 Harmony Ave., Cambridge
Co-owner Soheil Fathi’s inimitable sourdough bread alone can be sufficient to win an award (place an order forward of time or it’s unlikely you’ll get your arms on a loaf), however the truth is that all the things at this Cambridge bakery is sheer perfection, and the hospitality of Fathi and co-owner Sarah Moridpour is unmatched.
Whereas La Saison Bakery has its roots in Fathi’s hometown of Tehran, Iran, it’s truly American-style baking that influences a lot of his work; as a teen, he helped his mom ship her brownies, muffins, and extra to native pastry retailers. She drew inspiration from baked items of the USA, the place she had household — they had been a novelty in Tehran, significantly the brownies. Now, La Saison clients can style treats like Fathi’s wealthy marbled brownies and fudge cookies, throwbacks to these early days. Family members used to convey Fathi’s household Mrs. Fields cookies: “That’s the odor and style of America to me, that brown butter,” he previously told Eater. It’s not all about American classics by the use of Tehran, although: Fathi additionally attracts from his expertise as a high-end chocolatier. The luxurious chocolate cake is a necessary addition to any special day gathering.
1024 Commonwealth Ave., Allston, Boston
Difficult instances name for consolation meals, and many new eating places have actually delivered over the previous two years. Allston’s Fiya Rooster, which opened in fall 2020, is on the high of the record, including distinctive Korean fried rooster to a neighborhood that, to be truthful, already has quite a bit of exceptional Korean fried chicken. However Fiya Rooster has shortly gained a repute as one of many very best locations citywide for Korean fried rooster. Double-fried, the rooster is ultra-crispy and ultra-satisfying. The buttermilk and kimchi brined fried rooster sandwich, specifically, is one of the best sandwiches in the city; it comes glazed with a alternative of soy garlic, spicy garlic, spicy Fiya sauce, or cider honey mustard. (Attempt the candy and salty soy garlic, which enhances the sandwich’s kimchi and pickle topping properly.)
Fiya Rooster doubles down on consolation meals and in addition provides pancake batter corn canine filled with mozzarella, sizzling canine, or each, and coated with panko, potato, or ramen. What extra may we’d like in 2020-2021?