Where to: Fox & the Knife, a hopping, neighborhood-y Italian restaurant right near the Broadway T in South Boston.
Why: It’s a chance to see what a James Beard award-winning chef does at her first solo restaurant. Karen Akunowicz left her longtime post at Myers + Chang last summer to open her own place.
The Back Story: Although Akunowicz became known for cooking inspired by China and Southeast Asia, Fox & the Knife isn’t the departure it might seem. Italian food is near to her heart: She previously lived in Modena, learning to make pasta, staging at a trattoria, and becoming the chef at a little enoteca. She also worked at Michael Schlow’s now-closed, long-beloved Via Matta.
What to Eat: Carbs, glorious carbs (and a few other things, too). There’s the everybody’s-ordering-it focaccia stuffed with taleggio, a grown-up’s grilled cheese, along with parsnip tortelli; campanelle with pistachio pesto, feta, and mint; ochre-hued saffron spaghetti with clams. Follow up with secondi such as pollo al mattone and harissa-braised lamb. Although pasta is the heart of the menu, that shouldn’t overshadow the vegetable dishes, from Brussels sprouts with mint and shallots to a broccoli Caesar. A bright take on panzanella, with fennel, pomegranate, and mint, is one of the best dishes of the night.
What to Drink: Start with an aperitivo, prosecco (add on a side of potato chips for $1), or one of the cocktails that make clever use of vermouths, bitter liqueurs, and herbs. The bulk of the wine list is Italian, and by-the-glass offerings come with evocative descriptions such as: “sweet cherry, volcanic soil, a walk in the forest.” Peroni, Hermit Thrush Party Guy sour, Wolffer rose cider, and more are on tap.
The Takeaway: South Boston’s hottest new restaurant is just getting on its feet, but it’s already full of energy. Come for a good, loud time and plenty of pasta.
28 West Broadway, South Boston, 617-766-8630, www.foxandtheknife.comDevra First can be reached at email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter @devrafirst.