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Devra First Gives Tonic One and Half Stars

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Photo: Facebook/Tonic Boston

Tonic in JP earns one and a half stars out of a possible four from Globe restaurant critic Devra First. "How much credit should one get for ambition?" she wonders. First concedes that Tonic has "tons" but finds that "the kitchen reaches for heights it often can’t attain." A sausage-like salmon ballotine lacks salt, and roast chicken is "a beautifully cooked half-bird with a bright salad of watercress and citrus" though "the accompanying purple potato salad is dry and bland." Despite many innovative presentations, most diners appear to order burgers. [BG]

It's two stars for Carmelina's in the North End from Boston Phoenix restaurant critic Robert Nadeau. The restaurant had been Ristorante Damiano until January, and much of the review pits the two concepts against each other. A baby eggplant appetizer from the old menu is "now yuppified into a three-mount presentation" and "Mimmo's baked meatballs" ($9) aren't as clever as the tuna meatballs at Damiano, but they are exactly what you want." Nadeau seems largely pleased, but the changeover results in somewhat mixed bag: "what I found on two visits was an uneven mix of old North End thinking and trained-chef skill." [BO]

Brittney McNamara pens the latest On the Cheap column for the Phoenix, which deals with Southie classic Sullivan's. Despite the somewhat alarming price tag of only $1.90, burgers "still packed plenty of flavor" and the under $10 lobster roll is "overflowing with quality lobster meat, lightly dressed in mayonnaise." Overall, it's delightful in its own way. "Sullivan's is charming in that peculiar Boston way that is somehow really unwelcoming while still making you feel right at home." [BP]

The local blog In and Around Town has no problem with the amount of butter involved in the mussels "escargot" at Cognac Bistro in Brookline. That said, the haricot vert were "too oily," but the table "all kind of stared at it in awe" when the onion soup appeared. Cappuccinos have "the perfect amount of foam" and all in all this is "a great little restaurant in Brookline with friendly service and delicious food." [In and Around Town]

Cognac Bistro

456 Harvard Street, Brookline, MA 02446 617 232 5800


3698 Washington Street, Jamaica Plain, MA