Something about summer just calls for New England cuisine, from lobster rolls with generous portions of meat to piles of fried clams, preferably eaten with an ocean view.
For Stacy Cogswell, the cuisine is the “heart and soul” of the chef. The Quincy, Massachusetts native grew up eating fried clams and lobster fresh off the boat. She even wrote a cookbook — “The New New England Cookbook” — published in 2015 after her stint on season 12 of Bravo’s “Top Chef.”
In her brand new post as executive chef of Artistry on the Green, located at The Inn at Hastings Park in Lexington, Massachusetts, she’s reimagining traditional New England dishes and making them more refined. But some things you can’t change.
“There are a few dishes that can never leave the menu — they do a clam chowder that’s really great, and it’s very traditional,” Cogswell said. “It’s your straight-forward, salt pork clam chowder.”
When she’s not in the kitchen, Cogswell seeks out a few favorites for traditional New England cuisine, all in Massachuetts:
The Barking Crab
88 Sleeper St., Boston
“It’s literally right on the harbor, and they do all the traditional stuff,” Cogswell said. That means your whole clam bake, your streamed lobster with steamed potatoes and corn. “It’s very traditional and I love that about it. I love that it’s not pretentious. They give you a bib.”
Island Creek Oyster Bar
500 Commonwealth Ave., Boston
Cogswell likes the vibe of this oyster bar, near Fenway Park. She doesn’t eat oysters, but will happily drink a glass of wine while her friends do. “They do these biscuits — they’re so good,” she said.
Kream ’N Kone
961 Main St., West Dennis
Cogswell will head to this Cape Cod joint during the summer and get the fried clam strip and a vanilla milkshake — and a sundae to go. “That’s the quintessential New England to me right there — to me, it’s like beach food,” Cogswell said. “It’s salty, it’s fried, it’s crunchy.”
374 Marion Rd., Wareham
Cogswell grew up going to this fried seafood shack, where the clam cakes are the star. “They’re just fried balls of batter with a bunch of clams in it, but it’s so good,” she said. “It’s always busy, but you get your food fast and it’s always just that crispy, salty deliciousness that you want in the summer.”
Any Gloucester mom and pop
On your way to the beach in the coastal town on Cape Ann, you’ll likely pass a few mom and pop restaurants — and you can’t go wrong with any of them, Cogswell said. “They are really just doing outstanding seafood. Stop anywhere and get some fish and chips and you will be happy.”