Perhaps it’s a movement toward international street food in an era
of globalization. Or maybe it’s a yearning for the nostalgia of the concession stands that populated our youth. It could even be a sign that we’re all too busy to eat a full meal—let alone pick up a utensil to consume it. Whatever the reason, however, the trend toward finger foods is spreading across Boston. So leave your forks in the drawers and dig in to this handful of standout dishes.
Longfellow Bar at Alden & Harlow
When chef/owner Michael Scelfo was putting together the menu at the Longfellow Bar at Alden & Harlow, he aimed to steer clear of typical bar snack staples, such as nachos and crab Rangoon, instead combining the dishes to create a dynamic hybrid. The result is the crab Rangoon “nachos” ($9)—oversized tortilla chips topped with a generous helping of shredded blue crab, Tillamook cheddar, cream cheese, scallions and jalapenos. “Longfellow is designed from the ground up to be utensil free and has been since day one,” Scelfo says. “This dish really encapsulates the joy of eating with your hands, with texture and temperature at the forefront.”
40 Brattle St. #3, Cambridge. longfellowharvard.com
Chef Maxime Fanton of Alcove dishes out a melty melding of cultures with his La Quercia prosciutto ($13), which deconstructs the classic ham and cheese sandwich thanks to a traditional preparation from the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy. A star of the charcuterie and cheese menu since the waterfront eatery opened in the fall, the dish pairs warm pillows of whole wheat fried dough with stracciatella created daily at Mozzarella House in Peabody and sliced prosciutto made of Heritage Berkshire pork, which Fanton describes as “salty and sweet, silky, nutty and with a caramel finish.” As for how to dig in, take his cue: “Get your gnocco fritto, open it up, put some stracciatella and prosciutto inside, bite it and get your hands dirty!”
50 Lovejoy Wharf, Boston (617-248-0050) alcoveboston.com
A take on the humble grilled cheese, the Butter & Gruyere Fancy Finger Sammie ($6) at sophisticated snack bar Fool’s Errand upgrades the classic with premium ingredients and aesthetic flare. Gooey Gruyere and butter are melted between crispy slices of sourdough before the bite is topped with a mountain of freshly shaved cheese for a salty kick. According to chef/owner Tiffani Faison, the secret to the sandwich’s decadence is to double down on the dairy. “Butter and cheese is magic,” Faison says. “People rarely pair the two because it seems overindulgent—and it is, in all the right ways!”
1377 Boylston St., Boston. foolserrandboston.com
Citizen’s Public House
Dave DuBois, co-owner of the Franklin Restaurant Group with Maureen McLaughlin,
knows about experimenting with different concepts, and Citizen Public House & Oyster Bar’s salmon jerky ($5) is no different. “It has a rich flavor that is both sweet and salty with strong umami, yet tender and savory,” DuBois says of the snack, which launched in March and is served at the bar until the nightly nosh runs out. The team marinates the salmon in a mixture of soy sauce, yellow curry powder, kosher salt, black pepper and sugar for 4 to 15 hours before it hits the dehydrator, where it takes on a steak-like texture. Future jerky experiments will include pollock, turkey and more, so gobble this one up while the savory supply lasts.
1310 Boylston St., Boston (617-450-9000) citizenpub.com
Downtown newcomer Bar Mercato is serving finger-lickin’-good bites inspired by European food halls, including fried chicken oysters ($10). “They’re the little nugget of dark meat on the back side of the bird, down past the thighs,” explains chef Casey Lovell, who says that the knife stroke for removing it is similar to shucking an oyster—and remove it, you must. “The French call it ‘sot-l’y-laisse,’ which translates roughly to, ‘The fool leaves it there.’ ” Soaked in buttermilk and dredged in chicken flour, the deep-fried morsels are garnished with baby watercress and pickled shallots to dip in a spicy yogurt. And from 3 to 5 pm at the bar, sample more meriendas like an open-faced herring BLT on sourdough.
54 Devonshire St., Boston (857-449-0550) barmercato.com