When chef Nuno Alves made his move to Hawaii, he left some big clogs to fill at Tavolo in Dorchester. Hitting the ground running is newly named chef de cuisine Alex Horowitz, according to manager Colleen Harrison. She first met Horowitz while she was a manager at the Biltmore Bar & Grille in Newton and he was a regular at the local industry favorite. After being hired in September to run the front of the house at Tavolo, Harrison heard Alves was leaving and immediately contacted Horowitz.
Fresh off a five-year stint at Blue Ginger, where he worked his way up to executive sous chef, Horowitz “has had a huge impact, and it’s only been a week,” Harrison gushes. The red sauce is a little chunkier now, “truer to the tomato,” Horowitz explains. His plan is to review the menu with owner Chris Douglass and then overhaul Tavolo’s offerings to reflect a “more modern” sensibility. That will include a new charcuterie program, an emphasis on small plates and a renewed focus on local and seasonal ingredients. “I’m no stranger to New England flavors,” says the Wellfleet native.
Where there’s smoke, there’s not always fire. Sometimes, there’s just dessert. Consider S’mores in a Jar, a sweet standout from Menotomy Grill & Tavern pastry chef Jessica Pelletier. When you open the lid, campfire-scented smoke wafts from the short, squat Mason jar, which is filled with brown-butter brownie chunks, shards of Heath bar and toasted, gooey house-made marshmallows, all on a fluffy graham-cracker mousse. And when the smoke clears, a hint of its flavor remains to balance the summery treat. It’s not what you might expect to find at Menotomy in Arlington, which is better known for its beer list. But Pelletier, who launched her career at the Ritz-Carlton Boston, brings a finesse to the finishing touches of a dinner that might start with a beautifully made Jerusalem artichoke bisque swirled with tahini from chef Mark Thompson, former chef de cuisine at Chez Henri. A final surprise: The big-enough-to-share s’mores dessert is just $7, so it won’t cost you much more than a box of Girl Scout cookies.