Imperial Editor’s Pick
Photography by Karen Brooks
At last, Vitaly Paley’s Imperial has found some swagger thanks to a surge of energy from newly promoted chef de cuisine Doug Adams, who emerged out of nowhere this fall as one of Portland’s hometown heroes on Top Chef: Boston. With Adams at his side, Paley’s kitchen now nails the things you’d hope for in a rustic downtown hotel dining room, from lunchtime pastas to happy hour steak frites, each sear, crust, and fry perfect. The house now also boasts a cult-worthy signature: Adam’s moist-meets-crunchy fried chicken, sided by Texas-sized watermelon chunks, pickled onions, jalapenos, roof-top honey, and the kitchen’s barrel-aged hot sauce. Even Top Chef judges, who typically act as if each dish was on trial at Nuremberg, swooned over this one.