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2023 Most Innovative

Editors’ Choice (tie)

Nightshade Noodle Bar, Lynn

James Beard Foundation Finalist for Outstanding Chef Rachel Miller is admired nearly as much for the way she manages her restaurant as for her gorgeously creative blend of French and Vietnamese cuisines. This moody, exotic spot pays kitchen staff and waitstaff equitably through an administrative fee in lieu of tips. And the food is spectacular—choose from a seven-to-fourteen course seasonally driven tasting menu that might include popular favorites like bone marrow fried rice and Viet-Cajun crawfish, alongside unusual delicacies like caramel foie gras and Portuguese percebes. 73 Exchange St., Lynn, 781-780-9470,

Njord HavenSwampscott

Chef/owner Don Golden has created an unlikely, but totally delightful, mash-up of two cuisines—one he grew up on and one he is fascinated by. Thus, one side of Njord Haven’s menu is rife with the hearty dishes of far Northern Europe from his youth—Swedish Meatballs, stews, and grilled lamb—while the other is an homage to the Asian cuisines he has come to love over a decade of travels, with noodles, fried rice, and delicious ribs. There’s a cross-pollination of flavors and techniques between the two sides, bringing the menu together so that ordering dishes from both parts is a harmonious experience. 408 Humphrey St., Swampscott, 781-910-4516,
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