Local Boy Makes Good! This was the e-mail heading that I received from a longtime friend about a local son of Norwich who is making significant culinary waves in Boston. This friend sent along an article generated by Bostinno, a hot communication product serving the residents of Boston, and the title of the article was “7 Budding Boston Chefs Cooking Their Way Into The Spotlight”.
It’s an excellent article written by their feature writer Abagail Sullivan, and among the 7 Boston Chefs highlighted was John Tubolino, Chef de Cuisine at Row 34 and a 2004 graduate of Norwich High School. Row 34 is a very successful restaurant and bar located in the South Boston Waterfront District near the Boston Convention Center.
Here is the feature on John as presented by Ms. Sullivan.
John Tubolino, Chef de Cuisine, Row 34
Although chef John Tubolino didn’t start cooking until college – and would apparently “screw up” when attempting to recreate his mom’s recipes – he kept at it and became a force to be reckoned with in the kitchen. “I ended up getting hooked,” he said, “and started thinking about food all the time.”
He eventually dropped his college courses, got a job in a restaurant, and enrolled in culinary school. Today, he’s perfecting those skills at one of Boston’s finest restaurants, Row 34, overseeing daily functions of the kitchen, from ordering to prep, service to menu development. And as any successful chef can attest to, Tubolino also recognizes how essential it is to have a group mentality behind the scenes.
“Happy people really do make better food,” he said. “No one starts cooking because they love long hours and working on weekends; they start because they love it.” Abagail Sullivan
With article in hand, and the need to be in Boston for work last month, I was able to visit Row 34 for a wonderful dinner with an associate and a client. The three of us had an absolutely marvelous dinner in this wonderful, and a very busy, restaurant and bar. Just as I’m not really a writer, I’m certainly not a food critic either, but we all proclaimed that what we enjoyed was among the finest meals we had ever had.
What we ate and shared was a Shrimp cocktail, Tuna Tartare, Crispy Oysters, Bigoli (a pasta) & Shrimp and I had a Seared Cod with corn, snap peas, & tasso. I never order fish, but I would order this 7 days a week if I could, it was that good. Also on the menu were Steaks, Chicken, and even a fantastic looking Bacon Cheddar Burger. Plus an extensive list of choices listed as their Raw Bar Selections.
I went up to John to introduce myself and to congratulate him on our wonderful culinary experience. While we talked he continued to monitor each and every dinner that was leaving his kitchen, making sure it was correct and that it met his standards for quality and preparation.
John appears to be a very quiet and modest young man who is climbing to the top of Boston’s food scene and I for one am very proud he once called Norwich his home. If you are heading to Boston, please stop in to Row 34, (you will need a reservation for dinner), and I’m sure you will be very impressed with the restaurant and Chef de Cuisine, John Tubolino.
Chef de Cuisine, John Tubolino photo by Michael Harlan Turkell