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Devra First Gives A Tavola One and a Half Stars

Photo: Official Site

Boston Globe food critic Devra First seemed to have had high hopes for A Tavola, chef Vittorio Ettore's follow-up to Bistro 5 in Medford. The headline for her preview piece back in December announced "A Tavola brings Winchester to the table." But after further experience she finds the small plates so small as to be "Lilliputian," lovely as they are. Dishes like cocoa pasta with braised rabbit and goat cheese are "well conceived" but inconsistent, as is service. It seems First feels that the restaurant, with its table-side smoking and sashimi-like charcuterie, has overlooked some of the basics. In other words, Winchester isn't quite at the table yet. [BG]

MC Slim JB reviews Kika Tapas for STUFF Magazine. One look at the lavish Kika and you could assume that the decor outpaces the kitchen, and while Slim considers the execution on classics to be performed merely "well enough," there are hits. The cocktail department reveals "some beauties" and the lomito al Cabrales arrives with a sauce of "nearly hypnotic richness" thanks to the queso de Cabrales: "a blue cheese so intense it can make you dizzy." The verdict: "a package perfectly engineered for date night." [STUFF]

For the Boston Phoenix, Robert Nadeau dines at Papagãyo Mexican Kitchen and Tequila Bar, which he gives two stars. For a restaurant with a tilde in the wrong place, it could be worse. Making no bones about this being "fake" Mexican, Nadeau still manages to rave about the fish tacos. Fake isn't necessarily bad, it's just fake. "If fake Mexican leans to Japanese, I'm all right with that." [BP]

For the Globe's Cheap Eats column, Glenn Yoder reports on the nearly two and a half year old Larry J’s House of Q in Chelsea. If nothing else, the little Larry J’s makes for an interesting counterpoint to the highly publicized monster hit that is Sweet Cheeks. In terms of atmosphere, the restaurant has "the requisite shtick of a barbecue joint" and though chicken is "rough" and ribs are "tough" (the last word you want associated with barbecue), appetizers like wings and burnt ends "certainly measure up to local rivals." [BG]

PigTrip takes a break from BBQ to assess Griddler's Burgers and Dogs, but based on the findings, PT may be eager to return to its beat. There are "no problems and no real standouts" with the dogs and the fries are all right, but burgers "are too thin and too dry." [PigTrip]

Free Food Boston takes a trip to Blue Tierra Chocolate Cafe and enjoys a turtle that is actually shaped like a turtle and that bleeds "buttery... velvety and smooth" caramel. "Southie is lucky to have this spot to call its own." [FFB]

Boy does the Small Boston Kitchen not like Estragon. The tortilla is "a far cry" from what it should be and paella is "under-cooked and over-salted." [SBK]

BU Today is largely uncritical of The Friendly Toast in Kendall except to say that "the biggest drawback is the restaurant’s popularity," noting long weekend lines. Also, homemade breads are similar to Wonderbread in texture, though superior in taste. [BU Today]

The Friendly Toast (Kendall Square)

1 Hampshire St, Cambridge, MA 02139 (617) 621-1200 Visit Website


700 Harrison Ave, , MA 02118 (617) 266-0443 Visit Website


283 Summer Street, Boston, MA 02111 617 423 1000 Visit Website