Adrienne Wright has spent years making an impact on the Boston dining scene—as executive chef for Boston Urban Hospitality, Wright's overseen varied and innovative spots like the contemporary steakhouse Boston Chops and the unique gastropub/gay bar, dbar.
Satisfying the appetites of Bostonians is no easy feat, as the recent Top Chef contestant has learned over her career. "The temperament of the people fluctuate with the weather," Wright confides, when she chatted with Journy recently. "Moody in the winter and so happy and wonderful in the summer." Keeping these temperamental New Englanders happy means Boston is packed with diverse dining spots, if you know where to look.
And while most nights you'll find her in the kitchen, that hasn't stopped Wright from developing a love for her adopted hometown. "I love Boston in the fact that it’s small enough to be really conquered. You can literally walk from end to end and tour throughout and it’s totally manageable."
We were desperate for this chef and Boston conqueror's favorite meals all over town, and she was happy to oblige:
No stranger to holes-in-the-wall, Wright's favorites begin with this unassuming cash-only spot just outside Chinatown. Despite the generic name, Wright insists that Gene's is "so authentic and delicious." As one of the few hand-pulled noodle places in Boston, Gene's is a must for anyone looking for traditional Chinese food. Don't skip Wright's favorite, the Spicy Lamb.
"My husband and I crave the fish soup," Wright raves about another Chinatown favorite, Gourmet Dumpling House. The Dim Sum at this Szechuan spot draws crowds, but their namesake Dumplings are also beloved. The menu is very affordable, so don't worry about breaking the bank when you order your second round.
3. Pho 2000
Dorchester's Vietnamese community in Fields Corner has grown quite a bit in recent years, and along with that the number of delicious Vietnamese options has only expanded. "When you’re in Dorchester, you have to take advantage of all the delicious Vietnamese food," Wright explains, and Pho 2000 is her favorite late-night spot. The dining room might be no-frills, but don't let that fool you—the pho and noodle dishes are absolutely packed with flavor. Be careful when you order—the portions lean toward the huge side.
When you think Boston, you might not be thinking "a haven for great Mexican food" but Lone Star Taco is working to change that. "The tacos at Lone Star are just killer," Wright tells us. Besides the must-order Street Corn, one standout is the Baja Fried Fish Tacos, which come drizzled in a craveable mango-habanero aioli. One of the first chef-y places to open in Allston (the same team runs the excellent bar next door, Deep Ellum), Lone Star stays focused on artisanal ingredients both in the kitchen and behind the bar. Do the tacos taste better because of the top-notch tequila? You'll have to stop in to find out!
Hear what else this Boston local had to say about competing on Top Chef (including making it to Macau!) and why the power is always in the hands of the diners.