How Boston Chefs Keep Up with the Red Sox when They're Busy Cooking Your Dinner
This past weekend I was in Boston for a major sporting event. No, not the Red Sox playoff games. I was there for the Head of the Charles Regatta, the humongous rowing competition, which my nephew Gael and his Wesleyan crew team rocked (they came in second in their race). But I was one of the few people in town who wasn't living, breathing and obsessing over the Sox. Especially at dinner on Saturday night when the make-or-break game 6 against the Cleveland Indians was beginning at the same time that all good Boston chefs would, presumably, be getting slammed at their kitchen stoves. But it turns out that every Boston kitchen has its own formula for following the game. At Rendezvous in Cambridge, it's easy—there's a huge screen tv at one end of the sushi-style bar that doesn't interfere with Steve Johnson's delicious Mediterranean food but keeps the whole dining room updated on the score (one reason the tv doesn't seem so out of place—the space used to be a Burger King). At the handsome brasserie Eastern Standard, which is spitting distance from Fenway Park, it's even easier to keep up with the games—there are televisions in the bar area, which are kept hidden in cabinets except during Sox games—when they're always on. The open kitchen even has a clear view to the screens above the raw bar. Things get a little trickier at the city's more elegant dining rooms. There are no televisions at Barbara Lynch's No. 9 Park, but the kitchen does have a radio that they keep tuned to the game during service. The most unlikely system I heard about was at O Ya, a sublime, serene Japanese-New England restaurant (I know that sounds wierd but it's outstanding. Chef Tim Cushman doesn't keep a radio in his kitchen, but he does have a Japanese fish purveyor—also a baseball fanatic—who calls Cushman every time the Sox score (which was quite a lot that Saturday night; Boston won 12-2). It was a good night to be eating out in Boston.