James Beard 2017 semifinalists Boston Area

I didn’t see a post about these - but here are some of the Boston area semifinalists. Some of these don’t get a lot of chatter on the food blogs. Any thoughts? Should I add any of these to my already extensive list of places to try? (I kept in some that are a bit of drive from Boston just since I drive through these areas now and again)

Best New Restaurant
Drifters Wife, Portland, ME
SRV, Boston

Outstanding Baker
Alison Pray, Standard Baking Co., Portland, ME

Outstanding Bar Program
The Baldwin Bar, Woburn, MA
The Portland Hunt + Alpine Club, Portland, ME

Outstanding Chef
None in our area

Outstanding Pastry Chef
Maura Kilpatrick, Oleana, Cambridge, MA
Ilma Lopez, Piccolo, Portland, ME

Outstanding Restaurant
Chase’s Daily, Belfast, ME
Fore Street, Portland, ME

Outstanding Restaurateur
Garrett Harker, Boston (Eastern Standard Kitchen & Drinks, Island Creek Oyster Bar, Row 34, and others)
Ken Oringer, Boston (Uni, Toro, Coppa, and others)

Outstanding Service
Eastern Standard Kitchen & Drinks, Boston

Outstanding Wine Program
O Ya, Boston

Outstanding Wine, Beer, or Spirits Professional
Rob Tod, Allagash Brewing Company, Portland, ME
Chris Weld, Berkshire Mountain Distillers, Sheffield, MA

Rising Star Chef of the Year
Irene Li, Mei Mei, Boston
Juan Pedrosa, Yvonne’s, Boston
Cara Stadler, Tao Yuan, Brunswick, ME

Best Chef: Northeast

Unmi Abkin, Coco & The Cellar Bar, Easthampton, MA
Karen Akunowicz, Myers + Chang, Boston
Tyler Anderson, Millwright’s, Simsbury, CT
Mucuy Bolles and Christian Makay, Three Stones, Brattleboro, VT
Alex Crabb, Asta, Boston
Steve and Ellen Gedra, The Black Sheep, Buffalo, NY
Brian Hill, Francine Bistro, Camden, ME
Jeffrey Lizotte, Present Company, Simsbury, CT
Matt Louis, Moxy, Portsmouth, NH
Evan Mallett, Black Trumpet, Portsmouth, NH
Tony Messina, Uni, Boston
Ravin Nakjaroen, Long Grain, Camden, ME
Cassie Piuma, Sarma, Somerville, MA
Susan Regis, Shepard, Cambridge, MA
Marc Sheehan, Loyal Nine, Cambridge, MA
Keiko Suzuki Steinberger, Suzuki’s Sushi Bar, Rockland, ME
Benjamin Sukle, Birch, Providence, RI
Andrew Taylor and Mike Wiley, Eventide Oyster Co., Portland, ME
Derek Wagner, Nick’s on Broadway, Providence, RI
Jordan Ware and Eric Warnstedt, Hen of the Wood, Burlington, VT

Full list:

I’ve really only eaten at Mei Mei’s (which I liked) and Nick’s on Broadway in Providence which was quite good though not really worth a road trip on its own. A bunch of these other places are going on my extensive must try list, especially SRV and Yvonne’s.

Ana Sortun at Oleana Cambridge Ma was nominated for outstanding chef.

Thanks for catching that! Sorry Ana! - and too late to edit my original post. . . . . shoot.

I really like Uni and Oleana, and the one meal I had at Shepard was quite good. My experiences at Sarma have been more uneven, with some really outstanding dishes and some disappointments (over-dressed fattoush, some dishes I found over-salted); I love the menu but find the execution inconsistent.

As far as your out of town options, I’ve had excellent meals at Moxy in Portsmouth. I was somewhat disappointed by Fore Street in Portland and Black Trumpet in Portsmouth. Everything tasted good at both places, just felt they did not live up to the hype/price.

I don’t know if you’ve tried any of the Boston area ones, but Sarma, Oleana, O Ya, and Uni I can heartily vouch for.

Eventide in Portland was one of our favorite stops on our trip through Maine this past fall.
Really fresh, well thought out offerings.
I would second Sarma, sitting at the bar is a must.

With the chefs at Eventide winning the Best Chef Northeast James Beard award, I imagine it’s not going to get any easier to get in. Any recommendations on a strategy for best times to avoid a long wait on a Saturday? With our 13-year old early/late lunch, early dinner are options, but not late dinner.

If you can eat early, get there as early as they open for lunch, you should be able to step right in. They will be opening a place in the Fenway near Tasty Burger soon, if you want to wait.

We are heading to Portland this Sunday/Monday for a birthday celebration and hope to brunch
or lunch at Eventide. Will report back on our success.
Dinner reservations Sunday night at Fore St, our first time.
The last time we were at Eventide we walked in on a Monday night at 5:00/5:15 and sat at the bar. No problem
But it was a Monday and it was early October. Not sure what July and August might be like.

My wife has family in Portland, and we go up there once a month or so. We generally only eat at Eventide from October to May due to the ridiculous crowds in the summer months. We were in downtown Portland last August and there were people lined up at 10 am for their 11 am opening. We generally stick to places outside of downtown in the summer.

We arrived in Portland today around 11:30. Really nice day, warm (60) and sunny. Lots of people waiting outside of some of the downtown spots so we were not hopeful about Eventide.
But it was not too bad. We waited about 5 minutes while some one settled their bill and sat at the window. Service was great
Had stuffed mahogany clams. Very good, a nice bit of heat on the top, lobster Benedict on a steamed roll. which was as good as it sounds and a Bubbly Mary which is cava with a dash of bloody mary mix. It was good but not something I would order again.

The birthday boy had 6 NE oysters, 4 from MA and 2 from ME. He had 2 of the ices they offer, horseradish and Tabasco, which was really hot. And the lobster stew. The oysters were gone in an instant. The stew was kind of beefy/kitchen bouquet-ish tasting. Hard to explain. He’s ordered it before and really enjoyed it. Less so this time.
The place was busy once were were seated, so noon might be the witching hour for brunch.
I would wait in line for that lobster benedict!
Looking forward to the Boston outpost when that spot opens