Boston is steeped (pun intended because of the Boston Tea Party) in history. The location of the Boston Massacre. Love that Dirty Water. R2D2. Memories of the genius of Yo Yo Ma and the BSO. The Map Room. Christian Science Center and reflecting pond.
In the past decade, The Fenway’s continued gentrification has brought substantial dining options for baseball fans and Fenway residents. Happy’s neighbors include our Fenway favorites El Pelon Taqueria and Sweet Cheeks BBQ. Let’s not forget Basho and Tasty Burger.
Happy’s vibe is unique and light-hearted with the nostalgic decor, fun chair fabric and framed childhood icons.
Happy’s has a lovely gray molding, detailed ceilings and glam chandeliers. Already, two weeks post opening, the bar area was packed for a weekday evening. Immediately, we noticed the kitsch and pop culture references. It is reported that the graffiti murals was overseen by street chic and footwear retailer Bodega.
The menu features a mish-mash of dishes which include Schlow priced American classics and comfort food. The ramen noodles maybe on the menu due to the strong demand for coveted Guchi Ramen tickets.
There is a daily Blue Plate Special including a turkey meatloaf with green bean casserole and a one pound meatball with spaghetti and garlic bread. We know we will be back on a Monday to try the All-You-Can-Eat Fried Chicken.
Currently, there isn’t a printed cocktail menu, so we got suggestions from our friendly server who referenced his notes for accuracy. We kicked off with a Sam Summer with a twist of orange and a not to sweet and refreshing Shifty, a whiskey and lime based cocktail ($13).
The friendly staff brought out a large slice of crusty, but tender bread, olive oil and ramekins of salt and pepper. This bread was perfect to sop up sauces and sauce.
The soft shell crab appetizer was nicely breaded and perfectly fried, accompanied by a zesty sauce. The corn succotash with bacon and lime had a nice texture and little kick of heat. Definitely a tasty starter for $12.99. This dish reminded me of the soft shell crab at Irene’s Cusine in NOLA.
My friend enjoyed a Fall River-style Portuguese Fisherman’s stew ($21.99). She told me Fall River style meant, nice and spicy and it indeed had a nice kick, Emeril style. My friend even suggested suggested to personally try Turner’s Seafood Grill & Market in Melrose for more seafood and taste their rendition of Fisherman’s stew.
The crust on the fish was unreal and the clams were nicely cooked. The bread was good to sop up the stew, however a few crisp, buttered crostini would have been even better.
On my visit to Radius and my sister’s visit to Radius we could not help but try ”The Burger” with Vermont cheddar, crispy onions, horseradish sauce for $19. The Wowburger! ($13.99) on Happy’s menu, really wowed us.
The delectable burger was sizable, juicy, full of crispy onion and horseradish black pepper flavor. The fries were nicely seasoned and a bit thicker than I remember at Radius, but equally tasty. We would definitely suggest folks order this.
Our server described the desserts since they were not added to the menu yet. There is strawberry shortcake, blueberry cheesecake and two items from Via Matta’s dessert menu, Mascarporeos ($9) and Nutella Tart. They all sounded tantalizing. We went for Via Matta‘s Pastry chef’s Marscaporeos since we love all oreos including Blood Orange Oreos and Birthday Oreo cheesecake brownies.
The Mascarporeo filling was airy, lightly sweet and the cookies had an intense chocolatey flavor. Must try.
We loved that the bill came with Mary Janes, our mother’s favorite chewy peanut candy. The bill came to $80 for two people, which is a bit steep for spins on American classics and updated diner food. The ambiance is definitely cool. We would definitely come back to try the breakfast and for the in-house made desserts and cocktails. However, for comparative purposes, there are a lot of items on Happy which have great substitutes at half the price.
The one restaurant in the neighborhood we have yet to try is the tavern-like Citizen’s Public House and Oyster Bar. We have heard such positive feedback about Citizen’s. They have over 150 whiskeys, great cocktails 9ginger beer based ones) and moderate priced dishes. we would love to sample Citizen’s fried pickles, mussels or even a family style whole roast pig.
We were itching for some crab cakes (BMH’s crab cakes) and lobster (BMH’s lobster roll) so we headed over to Island Creek Oyster Bar. After an unbelievable brunch at Island Creek Oyster Bar, we knew we would be back to try the late night menu, when the popular bar and restaurant was less busy.
The two design elements I enjoy about Island Creek is the lighting fixtures and the back wall of oyster shells.
There were several oysters that were out that evening and the bartender crossed them off for us. We chose our favorites, the Duxbury based Island Creek ($2.25 each), Misty Point, Sunken Meadow and Riptide (all $2.50 each).
We enjoyed Anchor Liberty Ale, a San Francisco based pale ale. The hops and champagne-like bubbles was a nice counterpoint for all our seafood items ($6).
While waiting, our server provided us with some in-house baked honey wheat bread. The tender bread had a nice crust and was even more enjoyable with the soft butter.
My favorite was the Misty Point oyster and my dining companions loved the Island Creeks. They both had a nice ocean flavor and were super fresh. All of the oysters had a nice chilled temperature and were perfect with a twist of bright lemon.
We were pleasantly surprised that ICOB had Sriracha originates from Thailand, but was popularized in the States by a Vietnamese businessman. We love Rooster sauce on practically everything (NPR’s Ode to Sriracha). For a touch of heat, we added a dot of sriracha to one of our oysters. ICOB also has Sriracha fries ($4), which we will definitely try next time.
We shared a bite of the lobster slider ($5) and crab cake slider ($4). we had a choice of sauces and our friendly bartender suggested the lime and chili aïoli versus the other sauces (tartar sauce, horseradish mayo or meyer lemon aïoli). I loved the butteriness of the fresh Brioche roll. The lime & chili aïoli had a nice zesty flavor and really went well with the warm crab cake and fresh lobster meat.
We will have to return to ICOB finally for dinner. The service, kitchen and bar have executed in every facet every time and we know it will continue to deliver.
After our afternoon snack at Eastern Standard, we popped over to the at the old Foundation Lounge in The Hotel Commonwealth. We have been meaning to go to The Hawthorne for sometime now because of the talented mixologist, Jackson Cannon.
The zebra club chairs and long high top tables offer the perfect ambiance for after work drinks. There is a lovely back room, open to the public Thursday through Saturday evenings, where a separate bartender utilizes vintage bar ware.
Patrons can rent certain areas and seating in the back room for events from approximately $200 an hour. I would definitely suggest The Hawthorne as a potential location for my friend’s bachelorette.
My friend started off with one of my all time favorite cocktails, a Dark and Stormy. The silver dual stirrer-and-straw was perfect to mix the various layers of the cocktail. I always have several limes, Goslings’ and ginger beer always on hand in the fridge at home.
In honor of M.I.A.and her hit song, I ordered and sipped Paper Plane, texture aperitif by Sam Ross bourbon, bitter and lemon. My friend ordered a Latin inspired drink (the name escapes me). Both were light pink and delicious.
The staff was very attentive, constantly filling our water glasses and frequently checking in. They wore smart-looking outfits and dapper vests. One of the guys had really sleek top rimmed Raybans, which we couldn’t help but compliment him on. I thought it was really smart design that the mirrors have glassware and the drawers have the POS systems.
The bar was comfortable yet busy enough not to be distracting and we inquired with one of our servers when The Hawthorne was busiest in the week. She told us that the bar is packed on Saturday evenings and during that time it is difficult to walk around freely.
After inquiring about champagne cocktail suggestions and mentioning that one of my favorite drinks is the Dark and Stormy, the server suggest an Air Mail, champagne, rum, fresh lemon and honey ($13). This was a lovely drink and is highly recommended.
I also loved the Phil Collins cocktail with vodka, chartruese (which we first tried chartruese in dessert from courtesy of Staff Meal), lime and it tastes like a sophisticated and refreshing vodka lemonade ($12). I would definitely say this drink is another must try. It’s truly original.
Our very knowledgable and attentive server mentioned the menu has been updated and there are new items on the menu (served until 11pm). There still is the olives, spicy cashews, deviled eggs, cheese plates and eclairs, however there are some new items that captured our eyes.
We ordered the lightly green colored onion dip with homemade kettle chips in honor of our friend and it was nice and smooth. We went through the chips so quickly, that we needed a side bowl.
Another new item on the menu are the macarons. It is no secret we are obsessed with macarons and had to try the meringue treats. The Island Creek Oyster bakery team makes these macarons in house and for $6, you get six macarons, which is some of the best prices I have seen. The flavors were caramel, chocolate and strawberry. My favorite was the chocolate, which had a nice flavor. I wish the caramel and strawberry were more intensely flavored.
We would definitely be back again to try more of the snacks on the menu and the other thoughtful and creative cocktails.