Boston, MA– Few local chefs could maintain the public profile and high visibility that Karen Akunowicz has commanded over the past year. From a 2018 James Beard award for “Best Chef: Northeast” to the launch of her lauded debut venture, Fox & the Knife, earlier this year, it seems the culinary accolades are endless for her these days. Which isn’t too bad for someone who once claimed she only started cooking to impress a girl.
When Fox & the Knife opened in February, local reviews were uniformly positive, drenched in hyperbole and the sort of toe-tapping giddiness which made you wonder if Akunowicz hadn’t accidentally partnered with the pharmaceutical industry. The Improper Bostonian referred to it as “an enjoyable take on northern Italian cuisine that is at once firmly grounded in tradition but not averse to occasional flights of American whimsy,” and while it's still only May and there's plenty of time for Akunowicz to reel in further applause, it seemed only a matter of time before the Fox & the Knife would receive national exposure.
And it has. On Tuesday morning, Food and Wine magazine revealed their “10 Best New Restaurants of 2019” list, awarding the Fox & the Knife not only the number 7 slot, but the distinction of being the youngest restaurant to make the cut.
“Karen Akunowicz’s love letter to Italy’s Emilia-Romagna region is an instant classic,” Jordana Rothman writes in the review, also noting that her “wild-boar Bolognese is sticky perfection with its rumble of herbs and Parmesan,” and that the restaurant itself is not “the kind of thing you’d stumble across around Piazza della Pomposa. But here in Boston, in the care of Akunowicz with her shock of pink hair, and in the light of a neon “stay foxy” sign, and with the din of Bostonians turning up with spritzes and Americanos, it all feels exactly right.”
Yes, Jordana. Because Southie has historically been known for spritzes and Americanos. And for Karen to wear pink hair in 2019 is an incredibly bold statement.
“We were only open a few weeks when I got the call about Best New Restaurant,” Akunowicz told Boston.com. “When [Rothman] called me, I thought maybe she wanted a reservation. She shared the news with me, and I just started crying... To have only been open a few weeks and to have her understand us so completely was a gift.”
They like you, Karen. They really, really do. So does Boston.
Fox & the Knife is located at 28 W Broadway in South Boston and is open Sunday - Thursday from 5:30 - 10:00 pm and Friday - Saturday from 5:30 - 11:00 pm. For more information, visit foxandtheknife.com/
Image via Instagram / FoxandKnife