IN THE KITCHEN
If talent’s in the blood, 16C owner Kerri Lynch Delaney’s got it. A pastry chef who recently sold her wonderful Babycakes cupcake shop in Quincy, Lynch Delaney is a niece of chef Barbara Lynch, the nationally acclaimed, Boston-based restaurateur behind Beacon Hill’s No. 9 Park, the rarified Menton, and Sportello, to name a few. After growing up in Quincy around the industry — her father owned the Southie favorite Quiet Man Pub — Lynch Delaney honed her craft at culinary school and as the pastry chef and assistant pastry chef at the Quincy Marriott and No. 9 Park, respectively. She developed 16C’s menu with her aunt and has created a great place that’s part Boston, part Quincy, and a heavy-hitting addition to the South Shore restaurant scene.
The 78-seat spot, which opened in early April, takes its name from its address at 16 Cottage St., a short alley just off Hancock Street, steps from The Fours and an enormous municipal parking lot. Sited where the old Granite Rail Tavern used to be, 16C is a pristine space with upmarket finishes: big front windows, wooden floors, hanging pendant lights, crisp white walls, gray wainscoting, a sparkling bar. A half wall delineates the place, and the open kitchen has a stone countertop and stools where diners can sit close to the action.
ON THE MENU
On a crowded first weeknight visit, we start with appetizers: meatballs in marinara ($12) and the cannellini bean, ricotta crostini ($5). I’m expecting two small slices of bruschetta, but a savory white bean puree arrives, topped with inch-long pieces of broccoli rabe and hunks of focaccia. The light meatballs are served in the mild acid of a bright red sauce that counters their mellow flavor. On a second visit, another of the crostini apps, the burrata ($5), is a big round of the creamy cheese drizzled with local honey that makes it taste like gelato — until you pop a roasted cherry tomato into your mouth and everything changes.
Just forget about the rock shrimp appetizer ($14): It’s out of this world. Seven large, perfectly cooked shrimp in an ultra-light, crispy batter are served with a garlic aioli and scattered scallion curlicues. The subtle, light parmesan vinaigrette on the Bibb salad ($9) clues you into the fact that the thicker, more commercial-style dressing served with the salad that sides the Quiet Man steak tips ($20) is an exact replica of Lynch Delaney’s father’s well-loved original. These juicy tips are served with a pickled pepper, a hunk of grilled bread, and either rice or what turn out to be world-class French fries.
A mountainous, double patty wagyu cheeseburger ($15) is speared together with a pickle-pierced skewer and layered with special sauce, cheese, tomato, and lettuce. It’s an irresistible Guy Fieri-sized sandwich that delivers a soul-satisfying fast-food flavor with high-quality ingredients.
16C could justify itself on its pizzas alone. I’m thinking they’re the best around: Big rectangular sheet pies served with lots of topping combos. We loved the Margherita.
On a third, Saturday night visit, the grilled salmon ($24) has a nice finish and the farro salad that sides it is fresh and clean-tasting. The only dish on three visits that was merely good was the chicken under a brick ($24).
Desserts at this place? You probably shouldn’t even think about them. I’m guessing there’ll never be a bad one: Lynch Delaney is a pastry chef! Homemade ice cream and gelato ($9) is four little pots, one flavor more delicious than the next: Mexican hot chocolate kicks you on the way down. Homemade cookies kill ($6), and a peach crostata with caramel sauce and homemade vanilla ice cream ($6) takes the cake.
16C Restaurant, 16 Cottage St., Quincy, 617-481-2170, www.16crestaurant.com.