With so much coastline, the North Shore has surprisingly few beachfront dining options beyond pizza. Until recently, there were only a handful of upscale places where you could easily stick your toes in the sand before or after dinner to take a leisurely stroll.
Restaurateur Michael Aldi has been changing that with a collection of spots just across the street from Revere Beach. Sleek Dryft, one of a trifecta of places Aldi has opened in new apartment towers along Ocean Ave., embraces its urban waterfront setting with stylish lighting and décor in a palette of blues and grays that complement the seafood and ocean breezes.
Executive chef Adriano Silva’s menu is heavy on sharables, in support of the restaurant’s Miami Beach vibe. Silva, who came up in Barbara Lynch’s Boston empire, with stops at B&G Oysters, Sportello, and The Butcher Shop, brings all that knowledge to bear on his cuisine, which ranges from raw bar to handmade pasta and steaks.
Start with the calamari—fried up light and crisp, it comes tossed with pickled cherry peppers and a side of Calabrian chili aioli to bring refreshing heat. If you prefer your cephalopods grilled, by all means order the octopus. The single thick and tender tentacle is plated with style, curled around sautéed spinach set upon a bed of creamy mashed potatoes. Pair it with a salad and it could be a light meal in itself.
But with October’s chill blowing in off the Atlantic, you might prefer a more substantial main course—and Dryft doesn’t disappoint. All the pasta is made in house, paired up with classic preparations like Bolognese or chicken pesto. The Sausage Macaroni tastes like something nonna would have cooked up—giant ribbed elbows catch the fresh vodka sauce dotted with crumbled Italian sausage, dusted with plenty of parmesan and a dollop of ricotta. Pastas are available in half or full portions, which is a nice touch if you’re also craving an entrée.
If you’re not getting an entrée, add a side of brussels sprouts—a clear winner headed into fall, topped with a meaty, crispy chorizo vinaigrette. Other sides include mashed potatoes or fries—we wouldn’t recommend those with pasta, unless you really need comfort. We won’t judge.
Mains skew toward seafood. While you can get a ribeye or chicken parm, the scallops and haddock showcase Silva’s talents, as does the swordfish. Moist and perfectly cooked, the thick filet of swordfish is served in a tower, balanced on sautéed spinach and a slab of cauliflower, then topped with mint tzatziki. Sounds virtuous, but really the dish is anything but.
If virtue is top of mind, don’t even peek at the cocktail list or the dessert menu. Cocktails are well prepared, with house-made syrups and tinctures. The easy-breezy Love Potion, which combines tequila, lime juice, passionfruit syrup, and prosecco, will transport you to warmer climes. A festive option to enjoy sitting out on Dryft’s stylish patio, admiring the water views. The menu also boasts a well-curated beer selection, with local options, and a thoughtful wine list.
Desserts are made in house and change nightly—could be anything from tiramisu to a brownie topped with ice cream. If the Oreo tart—a mini chocolate lava cake with a crushed Oreo bottom, vanilla ice cream, and Oreo crumbles—is on offer, word is you won’t be disappointed.
Dryft’s narrow space, decorated with antiqued glass, a herringbone-tiled floor, and a long concrete bar, unabashedly courts a lively scene. There’s even a warning on the restaurant’s home page that basically says, if you’re seeking a quiet meal, Dryft may not be for you. From the conversational seating on the patio to the energetic dining room, the overall effect is more Miami Beach than North Shore, so look elsewhere if you don’t want your food with a side of revelry.
However, a little post-dinner peace is just steps away, across the bridge to Revere Beach for an evening walk where you can admire the city’s sparkling apartment towers and listen to the waves lap.
CONTACT: 500 Ocean Ave., Revere, 781-629-1842, dryftrevere.com