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B.N. Lee Awards Yakitori Zai Three Stars

B.N. Lee assesses "high-end Japanese grilled-chicken joint" Yakitori Zai for The Improper Bostonian, giving the South End restaurant three stars. Despite several measures taken by the restaurant to ensure its authenticity, Lee describes the value of the experience as "a ludicrous amount of money for a minuscule skewer." But a good one, nonetheless: the chefs "delivered consistent, perfectly cooked results timed to arrive hot, with white meat as juicy as the dark." And yet "it was still grilled chicken. There was no epiphany, no transformative moment." The verdict: "it's best to treat Yakitori Zai as a stop along the way to dinner." [TIB]

MC Slim JB visits the newly opened Farmstead Table in Newton Centre for his latest review in The Phoenix. The review is in part a defense of a competent restaurant that just so happens to be located in the burbs, because of course the best restaurants in the world are all Red Line-accessible. He finds the "charming 48-seat New American restaurant" to be "working beautifully." Appetizers like stuffed clams "reflect a trust in the simplicity and perfection of peak-of-season ingredients" and roasted duck breast and its accompaniments is "gorgeous, finely balanced, splendidly autumnal." [TP]

Sip Wine Bar + Kitchen scores just one star from Globe restaurant critic Devra First (which prompted the chef and owner to respond in a highly unorthodox manner). The first sentences of paragraphs one and two say it all: "It's not hard to spot a serious wine bar" and "Then there's Sip Wine Bar + Kitchen..." First finds the opposite of a wine nerd bar, with "nothing here to make one curious," however the wine list "serves its purpose, as does Sip: to be a reasonably priced, convenient stop for many, after work or on the way to a show or in from out of town." Service is "friendly, eager" but the food leaves something to be desired, meaning "Fried calamari is like eating squid-flavored rubber." [BG, EBOS]

The award for first professional media person to review DooWee & Rice in Somerville's Powderhouse Square goes to Liz Casey of DigBoston. "The charming bistro-like atmosphere was only blighted momentarily by the enormous flat screen TV blasting some terrible Ashton Kutcher movie I couldn't identify." Traditional Vietnames beef noodle soup is "like a game of cilantro bingo, in which every bite is a winner." Her prediction: "this new kid on the block will blossom into a Somerville staple." [DB]

Scene Magazine contributor Marissa Giambelluca realizes "I have never actually had a beet before" as she is presented with the exotic vegetable at Sorellina. Giambellucal declares her bias as "a fiend for meatballs" then finds herself "literally scooping up a clam" before deciding to "mentally take it off my list of things not to eat." If nothing else, this reviewer can now say that she gave beets and clams a chance. [SM]

Gene's Chinese Flatbread Cafe in Chelmsford is rivaled only by Strip-T's as a food nerd destination beyond Boston proper. Tiny Urban Kitchen finds it worth the trip, bemoaning: "Why, oh why does this amazing little find of a restaurant have to be so far away from where I live?" Despite the fact that "The space sort of looks like a gas station," the texture of the bian biang mian "was far better than any noodle in Boston - period." Surprisingly, given the restaurant's name, "The flatbread itself was a bit dense and dry, which the flavorful filling did not quite compensate." [TUK]

[Photo: Thrillist]


1 Huntington Avenue, , MA 02116 (617) 412-4600 Visit Website

Yakitori Zai

315 Shawmut Ave, Boston, MA