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The Best Dishes Eater Boston’s Team Ate This Month

Bouncy rice noodle rolls with beef brisket, a snappy hot dog on a perfectly toasted and buttered bun, and more

A hand holds up a half of a sandwich with fillings exposed against a wall with “Shirley Eat More Sunshine” in the background.
The herby smoked chicken salad sandwich from Shirley’s.
Valerie Li Stack/Eater Boston
Erika Adams is the editor of Eater Boston.

Welcome to Eater Boston’s best dishes column, where the team shares the dishes that they couldn’t stop thinking about each month. See past installments here.


A white bowl filled with white rice noodle rolls, beef brisket, and a dark broth.
A standout bowl of beef brisket cheung fun at Rubato.
Erika Adams/Eater Boston

Beef brisket cheung fun at Rubato

If you’ve had dinner with me in the past month, I have likely, at some point, brought up Rubato. I cannot stop talking about this restaurant. It’s a modern, Hong Kong-style daytime cafe that opened last August from a chef with Boston roots and a London fine dining resume — and every single thing on the menu is a hit. On my most recent visit, I ordered the rice noodle rolls with brisket and got a ceramic bowl of chopped-up rice rolls and thick cubes of fall-apart, fatty brisket sinking into a rich, meaty broth. Just thinking about it now makes me wish I had another bowl right in front of me. (Oh, and to be clear: Yes, it’s in Quincy. No, it’s really not that far away.) 412 Hancock Street, Quincy — Erika Adams, Eater Boston editor

A poached salmon with fried skin sticking up on top, set in a bed of pureed orange squash.
Poached salmon a la mariniere at the Essex.
Stasia Brewczynski/Eater Boston

Poached salmon a la mariniere at the Essex

The Essex in Old Saybrook, Connecticut provides a day trip-worthy dining experience that can be paired with a visit to the Florence Griswold Museum or a performance at the Kate cultural arts center. Chef Colt Taylor’s menu highlights seasonal seafood dishes like Meyer lemon-cured fluke and bluefin tuna tartare topped with crispy leeks and garnished with a smokey pumpkin bechamel. One late winter gem is the salmon — adorned with its own crackling, togarashi-crusted skin, the fish is delicately poached and served atop a sweet and earthy root vegetable butter, brightened by notes of ginger and dill. Enjoy with a well-balanced Burgundy, like one of Michel Magnien’s biodynamic pinot noirs, from the list curated by wine director Katharine Taylor. 247 Main Street, Old Saybrook, Connecticut — Stasia Brewczynski, Eater Boston contributor

The “Simple Dog” at the Quiet Few

TQF is my neighborhood spot in East Boston. It’s my current go-to for a glass of whiskey (or two) and dinner — what the chef is doing there is bar food at its best. The one menu item that I usually crave after a long work week is the “Simple Dog.” Nothing crazy here, just a perfectly toasted (and buttered) roll, and a snappy all-beef dog. So, if you like a glizzy once in a while, do yourself a favor and get this one. Also worth mentioning: The waffle fries are back. 331 Sumner Street, East Boston — Malakhai Pearson, Eater Boston contributor

A hot dog drizzled with mustard and ketchup sits in a basked with red and white checkered wax paper.
The tried-and-true “Simple Dog” at the Quiet Few.
Malakhai Pearson/Eater Boston

Sandwiches at Shirley Eat More Sunshine

Shirley’s been on my list since I first heard of it through word of mouth: Some couldn’t stop raving about Shirley’s banh mi at its Bow Market pop-up a year ago and others were obsessed with its freshly made focaccia with honey butter dip. Its name resonates with me, as “Eat More Sunshine” sounds exactly like what I need in the middle of this long, dreary, and oftentimes gloomy New England winter. Unsurprisingly, the herby smoked chicken salad sandwich was the highlight, as the creamy aioli, cheddar, tender chicken meat, and warmly toasted focaccia worked harmoniously together, aided by a touch of textural contrast from the pickled shallots and crunchy apple slices. Then there’s the bacon-y grilled cheese, which consisted of local bacon and Cabot cheddar sandwiched between two chunky slices of the griddled Shirley bread, which was fresh, satisfying, and overall a lovely lunch that brought me warmth and a delightful “taste” of sunshine. 22A College Avenue, Somerville — Valerie Li Stack, Eater Boston contributor

Shirley

22A College Avenue, Somerville, MA 02144 Visit Website

Rubato HK Café

412 Hancock Street, , MA 02171 (617) 481-2049 Visit Website

The Quiet Few

331 Sumner Street, , MA 02128 (617) 561-1061 Visit Website