photo credit: Natalie Schaefer
Where do you go when you get hungry while down on the docks producing a shot-for-shot remake of season two of The Wire for your YouTube channel? Until now, your choices have been limited to either a few counter service places catering to longshoremen, or some really raw seafood. But now there’s Chickadee, an Italian restaurant with a lively bar where you’ll find some great pasta. Keep it in mind the next time you’re down there scavenging for a shipment of those cancer-curing supreme greens headed for Tom Brady’s house.
Chickadee is a restaurant in the Innovation and Design Building on Drydock Ave, which is technically in the Seaport, but is really in the middle of nowhere. You’ll probably think you’re in the wrong place when you initially get here. But after you walk past the janitorial staff vacuuming the empty halls of the humungous office building, you’ll see a space that looks more like a film set of a restaurant than an actual restaurant. The lights are bright, the restaurant is cordoned off from the rest of the building with curtain walls, and the interior gleams like an ad for Pottery Barn. But Chickadee is packed almost every night and you’ll have fun, especially if you sit at the bar with everyone else who didn’t plan far enough ahead to get a reservation in the dining room.
Chickadee is open for lunch, when the restaurant is filled with people who work in the building and the menu consists mostly of pita sandwiches. But you really want to be here for dinner, when menu shifts to a couple of snack and appetizer sections, five pastas, and five meaty entrees. While the porchetta is a legitimately great dish (it’s kind of like the thickest, most tender piece of bacon you’ve ever had), it’s the pastas that you want to focus on. They’re all vaguely Mediterranean, and with ingredients like green harissa, barbecued rabbit, and smoked chestnut, you’d never confuse Chickadee for a Hanover Street red sauce place. The squid ink fusilli with toasted breadcrumbs was our favorite.
Chickadee isn’t a place you absolutely need to hit up, mostly because it’s hard to get in, hard to get to, and there isn’t anything else to do when you get there. But it’s a decent bet for some really good pasta, fun at the bar, and interesting cocktails. And if nothing else, it’s good to know that the area now has a food option that beats the microwave goulash served in the galley of a ship that just came in from Odessa.
If you’ve never had an olive baked inside of a sausage, here’s your chance. It’s not bad, and the whipped feta is the best part.
Squid Ink Fusilli
The crunchy olive bread crumb is the star of this pasta dish, proving that the only thing better than one carb is two carbs.
Gnocchi is almost always good, and adding a little smoked chestnut doesn’t hurt.
Radiatore Di Grano Arso
You don’t see too many rabbits on menus (maybe because they’re so damn cute), but it’s really well done here.
Crispy, tender, moist, and a little sweet - this is how pork should be done.
Featherbrook Farm Chicken
This dish consists of roasted chicken pieces served atop a chicken burger-type patty, so Chickadee is a great spot for your next chicken tasting with the guys.
Grilled Lamb Harira
The chunks of lamb themselves don’t have much to them, but mix them all up with the feta and the lentils and you’ll be getting somewhere.