The Colonnade Hotel, a five-star luxury hotel in Boston's Back Bay neighborhood is loaded with amenities, but onsite restaurant Brasserie Jo is the shining star that first gained prominence in 1998 as the first authentic French brasserie to open in the city.
Styled after a typical 1940s French bistro, the restaurant’s mosaic tile flooring, dark wood furnishings, and a strikingly eclectic mix of vintage art prints and paintings on the walls invite you to gather in one of the dining rooms or at the vintage bar for seasonally changing craft-made oversized martinis, Alsatian-style beers, and an extensive wine list.
Executive chef Nick Calias is in charge here, deftly creating bistro fare like grilled lemon chicken paillard, chicken coq au vin, mussels riesling marinière, and alsace brioche bread pudding — using the freshest local ingredients whenever possible.
Calias’ culinary inspiration began at the early age of 11 in Seabrook, New Hampshire, where he spent evenings after school learning the kitchen in his parents’ restaurant. “I could tell if a steak was cooked medium rare before I could throw a fastball,” says Calias. His first executive chef post was at The Beach House Restaurant in Hampton, New Hampshire. Then it was on to stints as the executive chef at the Westin Stamford Hotel, as well as an executive chef with Starwood Hotels & Resorts.
Perfecting his craft in Brasserie Jo’s kitchen for nearly a decade, Calias is quick to point out that “Boston’s chef community’s strength is rooted in our diverse backgrounds and love of cooking.”
A notable example of just what he's talking about is a guest chef pop-up series, roofTOP Chefs, which debuted this summer at The Colonnade's Rooftop Pool. The lineup of the city’s top chefs (who also happen to be friends of Calias) includes Tiger Mama’s Tiffani Faison, who will be serving delectable bites from Southeast Asian normally only available from her restaurant's open kitchen, such as crispy curried Singapore street noodles and Malaysian short rib rendang.