Close your eyes, and you can imagine Fan Pier after the final construction crane has rested: more condos, an expanded ICA, a park and even a movie theater across the street. It’s a vision that’s more than a decade in the making.
It took far less time for George Aboujaoude and Demetri Tsolakis to dream up Committee, which opened late last month on Fan Pier. In fact, the guys behind Cafeteria and Bijou both say the concept for the Mediterranean meze restaurant came together quite naturally. “We’re really just doing our background. I’m Lebanese, and he’s Greek,” Aboujaoude says. Tsolakis agrees: “When we go to dinner, everything turns into meze anyway. All the entrees go into the middle of the table, and we share with each other.”
Committee gained an extra lift when celebrity chef Diane Kochilas—“kind of the mother of Mediterranean cuisine,” says Tsolakis—signed on as a consulting chef. Her influence can be found throughout the dinner menu, which is split into two sections. The cold meze ($6-$11) include dishes such as sardine plaki, served with grilled bread to soak up the tomato-based sauce, and okra horiatiki, an update on the traditional Greek salad. The warm meze ($9-$16) range from the savory batata mahshi, a potato stuffed with pork, to the simple grilled haloumi with grapes to the seasonal zucchini crisps.
Similarly Mediterranean-focused is the beverage program under the direction of Peter Szigeti, who worked at the world-renowned Boutiq’ Bar in Budapest. He’s highlighting wines from Southern Italy, Greece and Lebanon, along with a number of sparkling and Tiki cocktails. The bar, which seats 28, splits the space between the lounge area and the more formal dining area.
“We kind of wanted to capture a very convivial atmosphere,” Tsolakis says. “The bar takes center stage. And Peter’s very good on the art form of presenting cocktails. We want all eyes on the cocktails.”
Any eyes wandering from the cocktails are likely to spot a number of handsome design and decor touches. Wine crates hang from the ceiling, and saucepans serve as sinks in the penny-tiled bathrooms. In a nod to history, some of the banquettes are made with wood from Anthony’s Pier 4, which once drew crowds to the sparse waterfront. Now, with the neighborhood nearly filled out with towering buildings, the crew behind Committee wants the restaurant to be the destination spot for waterfront diners.
“There’s a lot of chains with steak houses and seafood and Mexican. But we have a little niche, especially in this area, where we’re food-focused,” Tsolakis says. “We’re offering a lot of flavor.”
Committee 50 Northern Ave., Boston (617-737-5051) committeeboston.com