New in Boston: M3

M3, davis square

Meat n’ three. Meat and three sides. Emphasis on the meat. That’s the inspiration behind M3, Jason Owens’ (Local 149) casual new Southern-style restaurant right on Highland Ave. in Davis Square. Meat n’ three. Two little content words somehow have the power to incite so much fear. It’s not that I don’t eat meat. I love (good) barbeque and the long, charred kabab skewers that I grew up with. I love spending a winter evening in, softly singing to a slowly simmering braise or a summer one grilling a chicken over a charcoal flame. I classify my dishes by protein. But I’ll admit that the idea of eating large quantities of meat at every course of a meal — apps, snacks, mains — is a tad overwhelming.

Comforting, though, was the adorable space; it was playfully kitschy without being corny (think hanging ball jar lights; chalkboard tables and walls and, um, bathrooms; and a decorative, blue tin ceiling). To avoid an hour wait, our party of four sat at the diner-style counter, something I would recommend but only to twosomes in the future. Sitting so close to the open kitchen, though, I was ready to take on my meat. I was fearless.

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A Place for Sharing

the gallows

I grew up in a family of “sharers.” Dinner was a battlefield; no one’s dish was his own. Ok, that’s a tad dramatic. But in an effort to taste “a little bit of everything,” as my mom would say, we readily employed our bread dishes to share bites of each other’s orders. Sure, I appreciate having something that is “mine” and experiencing a composed dish as the chef intended it. But I still have acquired this neurotic compulsion to experience as many tastes off a menu as possible.

It really wasn’t until college that I found out that normal people don’t always follow this dining code. Even since then, I have occasionally found myself encouraging others to taste my dishes when they’re good and getting no such offers in return. I have dear friends who are strict “non-sharers,” and I respect that. But I certainly won’t take them to The Gallows.


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A Night of Simple Indulgence

craigie on main


For many, Craigie on Main is a “once in a while” kind of restaurant. For me, it’s more like a “once in a year” kind of restaurant. Every time I pass the always-busy corner bistro on my way to snag a scoop at Toscanini’s (which is more often than I wish to admit), it takes a few moments of realist banter between me and myself to stop me from stepping inside sans reservation and taking part in the full sensory experience that Tony Maws provides his mesmerized patrons. Luckily for my wallet, I never cross the threshold and, instead, soak in that moment of passing, feel the warmth radiating from smiling diners and drown my sorrows in a cup of ice cream.

Well, last Thursday, my kettle had blown, my time was up and I was ready to suffer the monetary consequences of what is always a delightful meal at Craigie. In a different context, I’ve talked about my penchant for simplicity. Craigie on Main, with its fine-dining reputation, may not scream simplicity; however, I think that the restaurant actually embodies the term in many ways. Maws cares deeply about his product, whether produce or protein, and wants to do anything to enhance it in ways that are inventive and interesting but that protect the integrity of its natural, unfussed flavor. His dishes can be simultaneously epiphany-inducing and familiar, because they gently remind the diner how a food-item tastes when at the peak of freshness.

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Finally Fore Street: A Story & Review

Hype is a dangerous thing. Hype can lead to elevated disappointment. And, in the case of my family, it can cause heads to butt and food tantrums to spontaneously occur. Fore Street is probably the most well-known restaurant in a sea of fine establishments in the farm-to-table-loving town of Portland, ME. There is some serious hype here, but it’s backed up by a wealth of accolades, including chef/partner Sam Hayward’s 2004 James Beard Award. With an ever-changing menu of seasonal selections, noteworthy desserts and housemade chocolates, three flavor-making heating elements (wood grill, wood oven and turnspit) and a shed-sized in-house vegetable crisper to boot, Fore Street is a restaurant I have wanted to experience for several years now. I have been hilariously unsuccessful in making this happen.

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Area Four: A Lesson in Innovation


I had been anxiously awaiting the opening of Lumière Chef Michael Levitan’s new restaurant “concept,” Area Four. Never having ventured to the Chef’s “project”, Persephone, during its single year of service to hungry hipsters and haute-couturists, I had nothing to gauge the potential success of the Leviton-Krupps partnership. Taking its name from that technological epicenter between Kendall and Central Squares in which it resides, Area Four strives to be all things to all people. On paper, the idea of basing a restaurant around both a bakery/café and a bar/oven seemed intriguing, like a high bow, new-age Cheers for Cambridge denizens and the scientific intelligentsia.

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A Tail of Two Lobster Rolls

“Tail”, get it?

Typically, I avoid the North End like the plague.
Well, perhaps not the plague. Maybe I avoid the North End like the flu, as I do head there occasionally for a less than perfect, but satisfactory cannolo from Modern, a sandwich from Volle Nolle, or for the adorable individual packages of imported Nutella from Salumeria Italiana
Ok, so maybe I avoid the North End like the common cold, but the point is that the hordes of tourists and the restaurants that get by serving their unknowing patrons lackluster, and often, inauthentic cuisine, prevent me from staying too long. In fact, my favorite places in the North End aren’t even 100% Italian: Taranta is an Italian/Peruvian restaurant (must order: the house made antipasto and the saffron butter brushed grilled trout), and my new favorite and the subject of our long-winded post today, Neptune Oyster, is a seafood restaurant with an emphasis on shellfish.

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