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Devra First Gives Back Deck One Star

Photo: Yelp/Christopher P.

Number of times the word "dry" shows up in Globe restaurant critic Devra First's review of Back Deck in Downtown crossing: four. Number of stars she gives it: one. The salmon in "apparently dressing-free Cobb salad is dry, overcooked, and fishy-smelling." Hmm, that's not good. Well what about the grilled squid? "Chewy and bland." Perhaps something on the mixed grill plate? Nope, it's "all dry, overcooked, and lacking flavor." Some successes: aspects of the muffuletta burger (but not the fries), the bone-in rib eye, the tacos with grilled scallops, and the drinks, including the fizzy (nonalcoholic) lemonade. [BG]

Bánh Mì Ngon in West Roxbury is a worthwhile addition to existing Vietnamese sandwich offerings in the area, says MC Slim JB in the Boston Phoenix's latest On the Cheap column. The new shop "pulls no punches, topping the classic bánh mì foundation... with unmistakable, unapologetic Vietnamese flavors." For instance, the meatball option "which takes juicy pork meatballs, pale as milk-fed veal, and crushes them to near sloppy-joe softness — a beautiful flavor with some textural novelty." What's more, in-house desserts like vanilla-coconut pudding and a "loose, almost-drinkable coconut custard" are "terrific." [BP]

"Some of the cocktails are on the wrong side of $13" says Luke O'Neil in his review of the newish Alley Bar at Rowes Wharf in the Metro. The Boston Harbor Hotel affiliate "takes on something of a touristy aesthetic" and yet despite the fact that it "could very easily have been a touristy joke," he reports that "It's mostly not." Emphasis on the mostly. Missing ingredients prevent signature drinks from happening, but the fact that they even stock stuff like Cherry Heering and serrano and mint syrup scores some non-touristy points. "This is the type of bar you would take for granted if you were staying in a hotel in another city." [Metro]

"An open kitchen, exposed ceilings, and wooden floors create a welcoming space" at Brian Poe's Tip Tap Room in Beacon Hill, says Liz Casey of DigBoston. And what of the restaurant's much-hyped game animal tips (like steak tips)? "The yak and ostrich meat were both tender and definitely did not taste like chicken. Or even cow." And surely one of the 36 beers on tap is bound to please, like the Heavy Seas Loose Canon IPA. Oh, and the staff are apparently easy on the eyes, should that affect your palate. [DB]

Tiny Urban Kitchen largely enjoys Park in Harvard Square, part of the recent movement that has filled the "gaping hole for nice gastropubs that offered excellent food, a great drink list, and reasonable prices." Park is certainly an improvement over the Redline, which previously occupied the same space, and which was "a tired, American pub/nightclub whose dated presence just wasn't working anymore." Most dishes are appreciated but little wows, and the best thing on the menu appears to be the succotash that comes with grilled lamb belly. "Nevertheless, the food is solid... and it's fun going there." [TUK]

Park

378 Avenue Victoria, , QC H3Z 2N4 (514) 750-7534 Visit Website

The Tip Tap Room

138 Cambridge Street, Boston, MA 02114 857 263 7614 Visit Website

Back Deck

2 West Street, Boston, MA

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