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Devra First Goes to Salem for Two Reviews

Photo: Naumkeag Ordinary/Yelp

With October being "the month when people who don't live in Salem think about visiting Salem," Devra First visits Salem this week. The Globe critic's first stop, gastropub Naumkeag Ordinary, is "a fine place for beer and snacks" though "it has the potential to be more," and gets 1.5 stars. "Snacks are the best part" of the "appealing" menu, and the beer lineup "shines," but "entrees aren't as strong" as the bar snacks. Both a pork chop and meatballs are "dry as cotton." [BG]

First continues her Salem tour at Opus ,which is "both quirkier and more fully realized" than Naumkeag and gets 2 Globe stars. The kimchi is some of the "best ... I've had in ages." The "samosa-esque" turnovers and a squash-based sushi roll special one night prove "one can eat well here without going near the meat." Praise also for the beer list and house cocktails served in the "whimsical," though "oddly bright" establishment. Not all is a success, desserts aren't "interesting," and pork belly in a taco dish is "shriveled and dry." [BG]

Shanghai Social Club manages to "stand out from the glut of standard, fratty bar options" nearby it in Allston, says Luke O'Neil. Though not a "top of the line craft tiki joint" it marks the start of an "ascending journey" for the neighborhood. One cocktail the Metro columnist recommends is "Foo Dogs Barking," a bourbon-based drink that is "boozy, spicy fun, like tike should be." [Metro]

Simpli Bar & Bites, new to Jamaica Plain as of July, is the subject of this week's Globe Cheap Eats column and is "positioned to become a new fixture" in the changing neighborhood. Glenn Yoder's favorite dish is the restaurant's most popular one, an "excellent and filling" pork belly pizza. The drinks menu is a "revolving list of mostly local craft brews, spirits, and wines" that should serve to be one of Simpli's "biggest draws." [BG]

Shanghai Social Club

1277 Comm Ave., Boston, MA 02134

Opus

87 Washington, Salem, MA 01970 (978) 744-1100 Visit Website

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