Chopps American Bar and Grill opened at the Boston Marriott Burlington. Chef Daniel Bruce of Boston's Meritage fame is the consulting chef alongside Chopps chef David Verdo. Starters feature fritto misto cornflour fried scallops, shrimp and calamari, crispy pork belly and sirloin carpaccio. For main dishes, look for a 10-ounce flatiron steak, eight-ounce filet and 14-ounce boneless ribeye. Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner daily. Chopps American Bar and Grill, Boston Marriott Burlington, One Burlington Mall Rd., Burlington, MA 01803, 781-221-6643.
Alden & Harlow has opened in the former Casablanca space in Harvard Square. Chef Michael Scelfo's menu focuses on shared plates like smoked cashews, currants and rosemary as well as chips with a three-onion dip. Main entrées include adventurous dishes like chicken fried local rabbit, wood roasted beef neck, pickled corn pancakes and hickory smoked blood pudding. Dinner nightly. Alden & Harlow, 40 Brattle St., Cambridge, MA 02138, 617-864-2100.
M.C. Spiedo will be taking over the former space of 606 Congress in the Renaissance Boston Waterfront Hotel and is slated for a February 2014 opening. Brought to you by the duo behind Arrows Restaurant and MC Perkins Cove in Maine, this is the first Massachusetts venture for Mark Gaier and Clark Frasier. The venue was initially going to be called MC Medici Ristorante & Bar. M.C. Spiedo, 606 Congress St., Boston, MA 02210, 617-338-4111.
State Park has opened at One Kendall Square in Cambridge by the same folks behind Hungry Mother, focusing on small plates and a fun drink list. Snack on tapas of fried pickled okra, beer nuts and pickled eggs or try the heartier fried chicken, cornmeal catfish or the barbecue smoked pork sandwich. Dinner Tues.-Sun. State Park, 1 Kendall Sq. Lower Level, Cambridge, MA 02139, 617-848-4355.
Highball Lounge has opened in the former KO Prime space at the Nine Zero Hotel, a Kimpton Hotel. Chef Ken Oringer's latest offering at this Kimpton Hotel is a sexy cocktail lounge. Nosh on small bites like grilled oysters, crispy Brussels sprouts and tater tot nachos while sipping on a rose petal fizz or burro loco highball. Highball Lounge, Nine Zero Hotel, 90 Tremont St., Boston, MA 02108, 617-772-0202.
Chef and owner Ana Sortun of Olena and her chef de cuisine Cassie Piuma have opened Sarma in the Winter Hill neighborhood of Somerville. The Turkish-inspired restaurant serves up small plates like seven-layer hummus, spiced jerky with date molasses, fava bean paté and grilled eggplant salad. Heartier dishes include Moroccan fried shrimp, lamb souvlaki with Greek-style potatoes and harissa barbecue duck. There is also a full liquor license here (the first for Sortun). Dinner nightly. Sarma, 249 Pearl St., Somerville, MA 02145, 617-764-4464.
Stephanie Sokolove of Stephanie's on Newbury comfort fare fame has opened her third location in South Boston (the second is in the South End). The menu at Stephi's in Southie features hearty dishess like grilled marinated lamb chops, slow roasted half chicken and creamy baked four-cheese mac and cheese. Lighter fare includes a crunchy veggie salad, chunky chicken salad and seared sea scallops. Lunch Mon.-Fri, Dinner nightly, Brunch Sat. & Sun. Stephi's in Southie, 130 Dorchester Ave., South Boston, MA 02127, 617-345-5495.
You may know Jason Santos as the chef around town with the blue hair, who serves up comfort fare at his other two restaurants Blue Inc. near Faneuil Hall and Abby Lane in the Theater District. He is expanding his name across town, now to the Back Bay, with his third restaurant, Back Bay Harry's, where you can snack on everything from Philly cheesesteak pizzas to veggie gyros. Lunch & Dinner daily. Back Bay Harry's, 142 Berkeley St., Boston, MA 02116, 617-424-6711.
A Taste of Iceland Returns to Harvard Square March 14-18
A Taste of Iceland is a four-day event that celebrates Iceland's food and music from March 14-18, giving Bostonians a taste of what life is like in Iceland. Enjoy the unique tastes of the country at Harvard Square's Rialto restaurant. Chef Hákon Már Örvarsson, winner of Bocuse d'Or and World Culinary Cup, and Rialto chef Jody Adams, a James Beard Award winner and former Top Chef Masters competitor, will offer a menu that features fresh ingredients flown in from Iceland. Rialto, Charles Hotel, 1 Bennett St., Cambridge, MA 02138, 617-661-5050.
Strega Waterfront Now Offers Sunday Brunch
Strega Waterfront is offering a Sunday brunch menu that includes breakfast dishes like Nutella croissants and lemon and ricotta French toast as well as lunch entrées, including a Caesar salad, rolled eggplant with layers of ricotta, spinach, mozzarella and tomatoes and their "famous" meatballs made with beef and veal. Cocktails include bellinis, bloody marys and mimosas. Strega Waterfront, 56 Northern Ave., Boston, MA 02210, 617-345-3992.
Menton's chef de cuisine Kristen Kish is leaving the kitchen on March 8, 2014, to pursue other options. The former winner of Bravo's "Top Chef" Season 10 is handing over the reins to Scott Jones, the current chef de cuisine at Barbara Lynch's No. 9 Park, who will take over in April. Menton, 354 Congress St., Boston, MA 02210, 617-737-0099.
Jaime Davis, previously the pastry chef at No. 9 Park, has joined the team at Deuxave Restaurant & Bar, the upscale neighborhood restaurant that focuses on contemporary French cuisine grounded in American sensibilities. Deuxave Restaurant & Bar, 371 Commonwealth Ave., Boston, MA 02215, 617-517-5915.
After more than 30 years as a Harvard Square staple, UpStairs on the Square closed its doors forever on New Year's Eve, but not without a stylish bash. On December 31, owners Mary-Catherine Deibel and Deborah Hughes hosted a grand finale party complete with tasting menus and an early and late night seating. UpStairs on the Square, 91 Winthrop St., Cambridge, MA 02138, no phone.
Sel de la Terre closed its final location in Natick. The restaurant had two other properties, one in the Back Bay and the other near the Aquarium, that have also closed. Sel de la Terre, Natick Collection, 1245 Worcester St., Natick, MA 02109, no phone.
Market by Jean-Georges Vongerichten at the W Boston hotel closed. A new restaurant will be opening although the hotel hasn't yet announced what will be going in the space after a "refresh" in 2014. The W Lounge will remain open. Market, W Boston, 100 Stuart St., Boston, MA 02116, no phone.
After more than 30 years at The Westin Copley Place, Boston, Turner Fisheries Restaurant & Bar closed on December 21, 2013. The Copley Place restaurant was known for its "hall of fame" clam chowder and seafood dishes with an international flair. A new restaurant will be opening in its place at a later date. Turner Fisheries Restaurant & Bar, The Westin Copley Place, 10 Huntington Ave., Boston, MA 02116, no phone.
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