BEST NEW RESTAURANT - 2005
More than a restaurant, brand-new 112 Eatery is the flower of a restaurant community coming of age. Listen up: Appetizers aren't the typical calamari and bruschetta food-cost boosters. Instead, they skip that and go straight for the good stuff: lamb chops seared to a perfection of fire and meadow. A Boston Bibb lettuce salad in a dressing of the fattest olive oil and the freshest herbs. Entrées aren't the expected $23 salmon and $19 chicken quarter; in fact, you're encouraged to skip the whole entrée thing altogether and just load up on $8 plates of pasta that could be straight from the Ligurian hills. Or buoyant poofs of fried bread and prosciutto. Or short rib chili. Wines are priced to drink, not to shock and awe. The whole shebang is served until 1:00 in the morning, so that you can lead your actual life, with its theater tickets, rock shows, or heaven forbid, kids or work crises that don't let you get out the door until 9:00--you can lead your actual life and still enjoy a life with foods of great ambition and accomplishment. Who would even think to offer all of these perks of fine dining stripped of all the pomp and nonsense that usually accompany it? Two restaurant lifers, of course: Chef Isaac Becker and front-of-the-house spouse Nancy St. Pierre. Only people who personally know hundreds of restaurant insiders would ever make a great leap forward like this, assuming that there's enough of a community of folks who think like chefs and servers to support a restaurant that does, too.