Have you ever wondered about the name of the wine bar where the Yoko Miwa Trio plays Saturdays, and Yoko plays solo piano many Tuesdays? “Les Zygomates” (Lay ZEEG-oh-MAHTS) is French for some of the facial muscles you use to smile. In English, they are called the zygomaticus major and minor, but that just doesn’t roll off the tongue. “Smile Muscles” makes sense, because the staff are all genuinely very friendly, and the swanky atmosphere doesn’t stop the place from feeling like a home. The French name is not just for show, of course, because the restaurant itself features fine French cuisine, from pork and duck cassoulet to chicken crepinette. They were the first wine bar in Boston, and while their extensive wine list focuses on France, is truly international. When next you visit, whatever you do, don’t forget to try their desserts – I recommend the pain perdu with poached pears and walnut ice cream.
Les Zygomates will turn you into a foodie if you aren’t one already, but you are here because you’re a jazz fan, so you must want to hear about the music. There’s an elevated stage in the corner – the setting for last week’s Facebook photo of Yoko and the piano that seemed to be floating.
The Trio plays there so often not just because it’s a great venue, but because they are musicians-in-residence there, so visit often. Les Zygomates (maybe Les Zyg for short?) is conveniently located in the Leather District, near Chinatown, South Station, and Downtown Crossing, so you can stop in and unwinds after work on a Tuesday, or make it the main event of your Saturday evening.