Boston: 224 Boston Street

One for the Table - Boston

Let's Eat by Kitty Kaufman, photos by Kim DeVito

224 sangria Last year Boston Magazine named owner Kevin Tyo's 224 Boston Street: "Best Dorchester restaurant, neighborhood casual." Sadly, their website doesn't say when they opened. It's got to be 20 years and right from the start, the talk was good. It's your very own block party in the middle of the city three blocks off Mass Avenue and if it weren't so steamy, we'd be at one of those tables among the flowers on the patio.

You enter the red room with the bar to get to the green room with the chefs. It's an open kitchen that's noisy and friendly. The menu points traditional American: meatloaf, sirloin, mac 'n cheese, risotto, duck, pork chop, lamb along with salmon, cod cakes and scallops along with sangría cold enough to induce brain freeze.

224 porky chops The big eater nearly always chooses pork chops on our food adventures. In her opinion, this one's tops and she easily meets her prediction: "I eat it all." It's a hearty grilled double in a sweet apple glaze with asparagus. She opts for mashed potatoes that were cheerfully swapped for fried yucca. The chop's pink, moist and inspiringly, she finishes it with no trouble. I think she may have been dreaming of it all day or maybe it's the sangría .

224 calamari The purist, obsessed with the quest for ethereal calamari, gets a new variation peppered with arugula, Kalamata olives and tomatoes in lemon vinaigrette all of which, I'm suprised to say, works. It's an appetizer, it's huge, there's half left and there's no way I'll be eating a single thing more. I suspect chefs weep as they watch their creations being boxed to go; it never looks the same after, I know. This one travels well and toasts up great the next night. It is smooshed but really, who cares? With new arugula and sliced tomato, it's a take-home stash I wouldn't dream of calling leftovers.

Romaine salad has a kind of do-it-yourself edge: there's lettuce, chunky croutons and Parmesan that you get to chop and toss with mellow dressing. At the end, I'd like to say we tried dessert: the death by chocolate, cheesecake, crème brûlée, Boston cream pie and the banana split but we can't. It's opening season for tap and we gotta fit into our shoes.

224 Restaurant
224 Boston Street
Dorchester, MA 02125
617. 265. 1217

© September 16, 2013 for One for the Table
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