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When Critics Disagree: Happy's Bar + Kitchen, Gennaro's 5 North Square, Moksa and More

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Photo: diary of a fat kid

When MC Slim JB reviewed Happy's Bar + Kitchen, he chose to be optimistic about what could be a weakness for the restaurant. Slim wrote: "As long as Schlow’s lengthy, wandering, nostalgic menu has enough skillfully executed, deeply flavored dishes like this one, nobody will bother much about the goofy names." In his Phoenix review of the same restaurant, Robert Nadeau sees a glass half-full and a restaurant deserving of half the total possible stars: two. Nadeau writes: "at Happy's, despite lots of thought and effort, the soul of the retro-'50s diner, bar-in-your-basement idea gets lost in the complexities of postmodern montage." For instance, soft poached eggs with spicy duck and green chile hash on an English muffin is a "collision of chefly thinking and diner ideals" and "kind of a train wreck." However the fries are "wonderful," coffee is "excellent" and a salad dubbed "The greatest wedge . . . ever" is actually "pretty close to that." [BP]

When the Phoenix's Robert Nadeau reviewed Gennaro's 5 North Square, he gave it the full four stars. But in her latest Globe review, Devra First gives the North End restaurant just one and a half stars. The restaurant, which recently launched a new Italian-American menu by a new Italian chef, "encapsulates much of what is wonderful and infuriating about the neighborhood." It has its charms, but they don't translate much to the food. "Fried calamari is a dish rarely flubbed. This version is terrible." The veal in an order of veal Parmigiana, a pretty important part of the dish, is "tasteless and dry." Short rib and mozzarella ravioli have "the deep flavors we've been expecting," but there's not enough of them. [BG]

Moksa has been favorably reviewed by Robert Nadeau and MC Slim JB, but B.N. Lee of The Improper Bostonian falls more into the Devra First camp on this one. First gave Moksa one and a half out of four stars, and now Lee gives it two out of five. "Moksa aims to do a lot without doing any one thing consistently well," writes Lee. One consistency is that Lee doesn't like the skewers and roti, which are "dry" and taste as disenfranchised as "mise en place on a plate." Dumplings and wraps are better, but not as good as the cocktails. [TIB]

In his latest review for STUFF, MC Slim JB says "one has to credit the owners of Tonic for going out on a limb." The colorful, modern restaurant whose kitchen is run by a Clio alum contrasts with the "burgers, pizza, and wings and traditional, often gritty Irish-American pubs" nearby. A dish of penne pasta is "like a deconstructed carbonara: hearty and delicious" though pork chops are not cooked precisely to specification and a tempura-fried pork belly atop a pickled bean-sprout salad has temperature issues. But the restaurant nails the Celtic salad. [STUFF]

The blog Delicious Dishings pays a visit to the brand spankin' new Georgetown Cupcake on Newbury Street. Judging from the mini cupcakes served at the venue's preview, the "crunchy, caramelized hazelnuts" were the highlight of a "Chocolate2" cupcake with a chocolate ganache icing, though the salted caramel cupcakes was "just a little too sweet." A red velvet cupcake with vanilla cream cheese was "impressive" and all the cupcakes sampled struck the right moisture content and density. [DD]

Georgetown Cupcake

83 Newbury Street, Boston, MA 02116 617 927 2250 Visit Website

Happy's Bar + Kitchen

1363 Boylston Street, Boston, MA