Arts

Quick Bite

At Cunard Tavern, octopus dumplings and Nutella Fluffernutters are both at home

Jim Davis/Globe Staff

Where to Cunard Tavern in East Boston’s Jeffries Point, the latest from Phil and Filippo Frattaroli. They run several North End restaurants, including Ducali Pizzeria and Lucia Ristorante. This is the site of the family’s old cabinet-making business, and personal touches abound, including a host stand constructed from Phil’s grandfather’s woodworking machinery.

What for Offbeat pub grub prepared by Eastie native Anthony Pino, people-watching, and maybe even some tickling.

The scene A hive of bonhomie on an otherwise ordinary weeknight. Windows open onto the street, and they seem to have a magnetic pull — all manner of people climb through them to greet friends, hoist babies, and chatter with the cheery hostess, who has the unfortunate task of disclosing a 30-minute wait. Inside, women in Emmanuel College tank tops sip drinks at the bar; an older lady sucks a frosty beverage through a straw and, thus fortified, massages her companion’s shoulders. Guys in suits, luggage propped against a table, talk turkey. (We’re not far from Logan, after all.) Outside, a woman in patterned spandex hops over the windowsill to tickle a man in a suit, clearly a long-lost pal. He doesn’t seem to mind.

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What you’re eating Hot and cold appetizers, entrees, and popovers. Nearly everyone appears to be eating grilled lime shrimp atop a creamy pink chipotle avocado mac-and-cheese, or else Cuban spring rolls, crispy missiles piped with smoked ham, Swiss cheese, pork, and pickles. For the adventurous, there are octopus dumplings; for the tame, pan-seared scallops and steak frites; and for the gluttonous, a burger showered with fried whole belly clams. For the tykes? A kids’ menu that includes a Nutella Fluffernutter.

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Care for a drink? Pick your poison from a diner-style menu above the bar, including a lemonade slushie and several local beers, like Lord Hobo and Night Shift.

Overheard Desperation, contemplation, revelations. A woman with a stroller leans through the window to confront a lingering duo occupying a four-top. “I know this is rude, but are you leaving soon? My child is about to freak out,” she says. “I don’t think my octopus is as pretty as yours,” muses a man to his companion, pouring a mount of salt on his sweet potato fries. A young woman walks through the door and looks around, wide-eyed, and approaches the hostess. “Wow, when did all this happen?” she wonders. “Just last week!” the hostess replies.

24 Orleans St., East Boston, 617-567-7609, www.cunardtavern.com

Kara Baskin can be reached at kara.baskin@
globe.com
.