Boston, MA - There was a time in which the legend “The Greatest Neighborhood This Side of Heaven” carved into the side of West End on-ramp leading up to I-93 was nothing more than an ironic—if morbid—afterthought. The West End, once a bustling center of both commercial and industrial sites as well as some of Boston’s oldest tenement homes, had been effectively razed in the late 1950s for failed urban renewal projects that neither renewed nor developed anything in their stead. Instead thousands of Boston’s immigrant families had been displaced to make way for… well, even urban architecture historians can’t exactly explain what. Even as recently as ten years ago, the neighborhood resembled nothing more than the city planning equivalent of a demilitarized zone.
These days, the West End may thrive with luxury condos, neighborhood watering holes, government buildings and local museums, but it still remains an anomaly. Chiefly because no one can agree on what landmarks constitute the West End anymore. The endlessly renovating TD Bank Garden? The walkway between Mass General and the old Charles Street Jail (now the egregiously trendy Clink?) Haymarket?
It’s in this spirit that Tom Schlesinger-Guidelli debuted his premier venture, Alcove, this month at the Lovejoy Wharf condominium building overlooking the waterfront.
“It’s been sort of a long process to get here... The neighborhood just has an electric energy to it,” Sclesinger-Guidelli said. “It’s really meant to be this meeting point of the location of this alcove of the city, if you will, that I don’t think a lot of people are familiar with. As I leave the space at night and realize how amazing the architecture of the Zakim Bridge is, I just feel very lucky to have encountered this piece of land.”
While this may be Schlesinger-Guidelli’s first venue as an owner, he’s far from a newcomer to restaurants in the area. His resume includes East Coast Grill, Island Creek Oyster Bar, Craigie on Main and Eastern Standard. And with that sort of c.v., you can imagine that the menu will showcase both diversity—as well as a nod to a seafood-centric background.
“There’s intentional versatility to the menu because I love places that feel like home,” he said. “It’s intended to be able to offer a diversity of experiences. I don’t think that people dine in one particular way anymore.”
The thirty-odd page menu (and for those of you who who hear that only to fear a cuisine style lacking in direction, fret not; more than three quarters of those pages are devoted to one of the most impressive lists of beer, wine and cordials we’ve seen in recent years) includes a farm sourced charcuterie plate, pumpkin sage soup, Texas grown wagyu carpaccio, charred Maitake mushroom over grilled polenta, prosciutto wrapped branzino and a limited but moderately priced raw bar selection.
No less impressive is the design of Alcove. Nestled between the Charlestown and Leonard Zakim bridges, diners pass through a limestone breezeway of limestone in order to even reach the restaurant, where they’re met with a view not only of the waterfront but the aforementioned landmark bridges.
“We’re just a little off the beaten path in terms of our exact location,” said Schlesinger-Guidelli. “Don’t be shy to seek us out.”
Alcove is located at 50 Lovejoy Wharf in Boston and is open Monday - Thursday from 5:00 pm - 11:00 pm, Friday - Saturday from 5:00 pm - 12:00 am and Sundays from 4:30 pm - 10:30 pm. For more information, visit alcoveboston.com