Fox & the Knife is the first solo endeavor of Chef Karen Akunowicz. The restaurant is located directly across the street from the Broadway T stop in South Boston, in the space formerly occupied by The Maiden.
I have admired Chef Karen for a long time. First, as the powerhouse leading the open kitchen at Myers + Chang in the South End (for which she won a James Beard Award), and then on television as a contestant on Bravo TV's Top Chef. On the show, she set an incredible example for women all over the world, succeeding in a high-pressure, male-dominated environment.
She continues to be that shining star for women at Fox & the Knife, where almost every single member of the team is female - the hostesses, the bartenders, the servers and the kitchen staff.
The restaurant opened in February, but I made my first visit last week. I was able to make a reservation through the website (which kicks you to the Resy app) and when we arrived, the hostess let us know we'd be sitting at the chef's counter. I have no idea how that happened, but I am so glad it did. We had two seats right in front of all the action in the open kitchen. Unfortunately, Chef Karen wasn't there that evening, but it was for a very good reason. She was at the Food & Wine Classic in Aspen, CO, celebrating Fox & the Knife's win for Best New Restaurant.
My dinner date and I were absolutely giddy about our good fortune and couldn't wait to start making some food and drink choices.
At the top of the beverage menu is a make-your-own spritz bar. How fun is that?
While the Aperol spritz is the most popular, I decided to go with the Maley Pommerbe Cidre, which tasted like a light, fizzy apple cider. It was so refreshing!
With drink in hand, we made our food selections, beginning with the foccacia with taleggio cheese. This dish has been making the rounds on Instagram, and I couldn't wait to try it.
The foccacia comes cut into three triangle sections and as you pull a piece away the cheese pulls with you. I took one bite and said, "Honestly, you can only share this with two people, because otherwise there wouldn't be enough!" My friend replied, "I am already sad because I don't want this to end."
The bread is perfect - soft on the inside, a slight crisp on the outside, the cheese gives it this wonderfully decadent, gooey center, and the fresh rosemary sprinkled on top is heavenly. I felt like I was in Italy.
We were so obsessed with the focaccia that we ordered a second one.
Next up were the cavoletti agrodolce, brussels sprouts with mint and shallots.
For me, this dish was a bit one note, but my dinner date said, "You're nuts! This balsamic glaze is amazing and makes each sprout taste delightfully sweet."
The broccoli alla grillia Caesar arrived next and it was everything I was hoping for and more. It's basically a Caesar salad with broccoli in place of the romaine lettuce. It uses all parts of the broccoli - the tree, the stalk and the stem - which gives each bite a super satisfying crunch. It was perfectly dressed, and the croutons added another level of texture.
For the pasta course, we decided to share two dishes, starting with mafaldine ai funghi, pasta with toasted farro, spring mushrooms and truffle butter. Our waitress told us the pasta looks like someone cut the side of lasagna sheets, and that is such an accurate description!
This was one of my favorite dishes of the night. The mushrooms gave each bite a very concentrated, woodsy flavor and the truffle butter was subtle (I hate it when chefs overdo it on the truffle).
We also went for the zafferano spaghetti, with saffron, fennel and tomato butter. Normally this dish is made with clams, but the kitchen was very happy to make it for us without the seafood.
The spaghetti was cooked al dente and had this fantastic, bright yellow color. The fennel was sprinkled very delicately over the top.
Now, you know I love dessert. All night we had seen slices of the chocolate olive oil torta come out of the kitchen and I was excited to order one for us to share. However, by the time we ate the foccacia (times two!), the brussels sprouts, the broccoli Caesar and two pastas, we were completely and totally stuffed. Next time we'll skip the second order of bread so we have room for cake!
In addition to our spectacular meal, we also had a celebrity chef sighting during our time at Fox & the Knife. Somewhere between the broccoli Caesar and the mushroom pasta Chef Ken Oringer walked right by us! I think I stopped breathing for a second. If you live in Boston, then you know Chef Oringer is a James Beard Award winner who currently owns Coppa, Little Donkey, Toro and Uni. Casual.
As we walked out of Fox & the Knife, we were already chatting about when we can come back. We loved sitting at the chef's counter (I will request that for all future visits), that focaccia is an absolute dream, and it was truly awesome to see a bustling, packed restaurant run by women. Cue the Beyonce, "Who run the world? GIRLS."