Restaurants

Lunch with class and style on Trieste’s Piazza della Borsa

Lunch with class and style on Trieste’s Piazza della Borsa

Certain dishes taste their best in special surroundings—prosecco and potato chips on Venice's Piazza San Marco, for example. Our latest pairing of plate and place is pumpkin and sausage risotto on the glorious Piazza della Borsa in Trieste. In case you don't know the city, it's just barely in Italy, sitting on the Slovenian border a few kilometers from Croatia. In fact, it's only been Italian since 1919. For hundreds of years, it was the chief shipping port for the Austrian empire. Most significantly, it was the chief importer of coffee for all of Mitteleuropa. Without Trieste, there would be no such thing as “Vienna roast.” To this day, its citizens drink nearly twice as much coffee as the average Italian. But we digress. The...Read More
Da Caino Ristorante celebrates rich tastes of Maremma

Da Caino Ristorante celebrates rich tastes of Maremma

Finding the minuscule mountain hamlet of Montemerano is no mean feat—although the front desk staff of the nearby luxurious Saturnia spa resort can literally draw you a map. Once you get there over a series of winding country roads, you'll have to park in the flat space below the village. Walk up the narrow stone streets to find the glowing open door of Da Caino Ristorante (Via Canonica, 3; +39 0564 692 817; dacaino.it). It's worth every scintilla of the effort. Chef Valeria Piccini (left) is a tireless and inventive champion of Maremma cuisine, which she interprets in an elegant modern style. A chemist by training, she is a self-taught chef who took over the kitchen of Da Caino family restaurant from her mother-in-law in...Read More
Chefs and growers jointly hail the versatile cranberry

Chefs and growers jointly hail the versatile cranberry

The motto of HungryTravelers is “bringing the taste of travel back home,” but sometimes we don't have to go very far for extraordinary flavor. The Ocean Spray Cooperative (oceanspray.com) is headquartered just 50 miles south-southeast from our home in Cambridge, Mass., but its 700-plus members in North and South America represent a world of flavor. They grow 80 percent of the globe's cranberries. Similarly, Puritan & Company restaurant is a 13-minute walk from home. Chef-owner Will Gilson champions New England cuisine, so it was logical that the restaurant host a debut dinner by the Cranberry Chef Collective last week. The CCC connects chefs to the member farmers of the cranberry cooperative. Ocean Spray estimates that more than 100 billion cranberries will be consumed this holiday...Read More
Commonwealth Bistro explores rich edges of Kentucky

Commonwealth Bistro explores rich edges of Kentucky

Chef Chris Burns of Commonwealth Bistro (621 Main St., Covington, KY; 859-916-6719; commonwealthbistro.com) refers to the Mainstrasse neighborhood of Covington, Kentucky, as “the Brooklyn of Cincinnati.” And though he worked for a number of years in Jean-Robert Cavel's Cincinnati restaurants (see previous post), he and his wife Tess self-identify as Kentuckians. “I came out of a classical French kitchen and wanted to get away from all that,” he explains. “We're in an agriculturally rich region. I wanted to explore what Kentucky cuisine meant without resorting to stereotypical Southern dishes.” Open three years this month, Commonwealth Bistro is the realization of that vision. Burns jokes that it only took seven years to open, three of them devoted to construction after shifts and on his days off....Read More
Restaurant L: approachable French haute cuisine

Restaurant L: approachable French haute cuisine

Restaurant L in Cincinnati is the kind of dining treasure we always hope to find in a mid-sized city but rarely do. The most formal of chef Jean-Robert de Cavel's empire of French eateries in the Queen City region, L bills itself as a “Parisian-style restaurant, with a little New York attitude and an abundance of Cincinnati charm.” That pretty much nails it. The elegant dining room in the rather new Queen City Tower is the culmination of de Cavel's decades-long saga as Cincinnati's leading proponent of French cuisine. If we lived in Cincinnati, we'd probably eat more often at Frenchie Fresh (his casual bistro) or Le Bar au Boeuf (his beef-oriented bistro), and treat ourselves to lunch at the bar at the swanky Jean-Robert's...Read More
Getting a well-designed sandwich at Cheapside Cafe

Getting a well-designed sandwich at Cheapside Cafe

Selecting the single best sandwich in every state is a pretty tall order. But when People magazine published its list in May of this year, they made a great selection for the state of Ohio. First of all, Cheapside Cafe (326 East 8th St., Cincinnati; 513-345-6618, cheapsidecafe.com) is not an obvious choice. The stylish little place, with a long counter made of wood from an old paper mill, sits a bit off the beaten path in a design-oriented neighborhood. It's open every day, but for breakfast and lunch only. Jon Mouch and his partner Joseph Creighton opened Cheapside in May 2014. “We've been offering the same menu since day one,” Mouch told us when we stopped in for breakfast. Chief among those menu items is...Read More
Cincinnati chows down at Montgomery Inn Boathouse

Cincinnati chows down at Montgomery Inn Boathouse

Not many people noticed when Ted and Matula Gregory opened the homey Montgomery Inn in Montgomery, Ohio, in 1951. But when Matula started serving her barbecued ribs a few years later, people began to pay attention. You might even say that a dynasty was born. Ted and Matula eventually became known as the king and queen of ribs. Those hand-spiced, slow-roasted ribs are still the foundation of the Gregory family's two-restaurant empire. One of those restaurants is in downtown Cincinnati on the banks of the Ohio River. The Montgomery Inn Boathouse (925 Riverside Drive, 513-721-7427, montgomeryinn.com) is an impressive curved building with a wall of windows overlooking the river. The interior walls are covered with sports memorabilia which seems fitting since athletes have been known...Read More
Britt’s Pub & Eatery: good bet to quaff and dine

Britt’s Pub & Eatery: good bet to quaff and dine

We sometimes do a presentation that we call “How to Get a Good Meal Anywhere in the World.” We like to think that we've learned a few things over the years that can help guide folks to good food at a fair price. But we ignored some of our own advice one evening in Saint John, New Brunswick. We selected a restaurant more for its location in a popular, touristy area than we did for the menu. We did have a lovely time sitting by the harbor at sunset and enjoyed the local Idol-like talent contest taking place on an outdoor stage. But the food was disappointing. And we'd missed an opportunity to see what a better kitchen might turn out. Fortunately we were able...Read More
LEON folks bring quick ease to satisfying baking

LEON folks bring quick ease to satisfying baking

We can't imagine how we missed out on the LEON phenomenon for all these years. The company launched its first restaurant in 2004 with a mission to give fish-and-chips-eating Londoners a taste of healthy fast food. We certainly have a penchant for fast food--and we don't mind if it's also good for us. We guess Londoners feel the same way. They certainly embraced LEON's Mediterranean Diet-inspired menu. Only a year after opening, the Observer Food Monthly named LEON the “Best New Restaurant in the UK.” More restaurants followed in London, Amsterdam, Utrecht, Oslo, and most recently in Washington, DC. (1724 L St. NW; (202) 813-3867; leon.com) Along with the restaurants, LEON has created a cottage industry of cookbooks. The latest, LEON Happy Baking (by Claire...Read More
Relaxed luxury: lobster hash at Crazy Beans in Greenport

Relaxed luxury: lobster hash at Crazy Beans in Greenport

Unless we're having wine, one of us (David) could eat breakfast for every meal of the day. That penchant led to a fortuitous discovery. We based our sojourn to Long Island's North Shore at the Greenporter Hotel (326 Front St., Greenport, 631-477-0066; greenporterhotel.com), which is a well-maintained motel within walking distance of everything in the village. Years back, we would have eaten breakfast down the street at the Coronet Luncheonette on the corner of Front and Main streets, a village institution since 1949. In 2016, the place became Crazy Beans (2 Front St., Greenport; 631-333-2436, crazybeansrestaurant.com). It's run by Tim and Callie Brennan Martino, who have two other such breakfast-lunch spots in Miller Place and Stony Brook. The Martinos knew a good thing when they...Read More