You know those bold flavors you loved from Karen Akunowicz back when she was executive chef at Myers + Chang—the crunchy papaya salads, smoky spareribs, and juicy dumplings? Well, they are clearly present and just as boisterous in their glorious Italian garb over at Fox & the Knife. The profile might look different, but the bright, well-seasoned stamp of chef Akunowicz is definitely there.
This is the former Top Chef contestant’s first restaurant of her own, and clearly, it is Akunowicz’s house. There are sexy velvet banquettes and barstools, a pink neon sign that reads “stay foxy,” and a generous proportion of Aperol in that spritz. Everything feels just a little bit luxe and sassy, even on the makeshift COVID-era patio perched on a busy street corner in Southie.
Start with the gooey Focaccia, because nothing makes fresh, olive-oil imbued bread better than deeply savory Taleggio cheese. The Broccoli alla Griglia “Caesar” is our new favorite way to eat our veggies: charred and topped with parm and extra-crispy croutons. The homemade pastas are tender and silky, whether it’s the delicate filled Tortelli di Ricotta, or golden Zafferano Spaghetti con Vongole, or the buttered pasta with parm for kids—which was actually kind of the world’s most perfect Fettucine Alfredo. And for secondi? You’re getting Pollo al Mattone, the most tender amalgam of white and dark chicken meat with luscious brown butter and rosemary over a bed of escarole.
Wash it all down with a Peroni, or a bottle of pink pet nat, and do not, we repeat, do not, sleep on dessert. The gelato is made in-house and the pistachio version is an actually-found-in-nature green that tastes like tediously shelled nuts mixed with pure cream and sugar. This is Akunowicz’s place, and it’s Southie, after all.
Step up your weeknight dinner game with fresh pasta by the pound and homemade sauces like Amatriciana and Bolognese.
Go early, sit with your kid on the patio, and eat half their kid’s pasta because it’s secretly one of our favorite things on the menu.
Be prepared for the next socially distant hang with wine to-go, homemade ricotta, prosciutto, and all the fixings for antipasti.
Karen Akunowicz lived and cooked in Italy for a year and was the chef at L’Avian Blu in Modena. She knows her stuff.