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Corby Kummer Charmed by Asta; More Reviews

Photo: Melissa Ostrow/UrbanDaddy

Corby Kummer, "on record as loathing" the "pernicious trend" of tasting menus, reviews tasting menu-only Asta. Even so, the Boston Magazine scribe falls for the Back Bay restaurant, calling chef/owner Alex Crabb "talented, genial, and modestly but unmistakably ambitious." The menu has many "New England reinterpretations" (an intricately cut diver scallop) as well as "old-fashioned good" (a mixed green salad). Wines are "original, quirky, and carefully chosen." "I haven't been this impressed by a new chef since Jason Bond opened Bondir and Tim Maslow ... revolutionized Strip-T's." [BM]

The Financial District's Society on High receives a poor review from Donna Garlough. The former Boston Magazine editor has joined the Improper and finds chef/owner Ian Just's third restaurant "lacking its older siblings' sparkle." "So many dishes fall flat that it feels uninspired." "Smiling" servers are "largely unhelpful with menu navigation." Even potential "outstanding plates" like an "impressive-looking" pork chop are derailed by "dull under-salted sides of black-eyed peas and collard greens." [Improper]

The Financial District's Sterling's has a "pretty" patio, and that seems to be the only reason the Globe's Devra First gave it the lone star she did. Despite some "better" dishes like a "nicely done" roast chicken, items like pork belly sliders with Dr. Pepper barbecue sauce ("dry meat and no discernible Dr. Pepper ... flavor") leave First largely unimpressed. "At Sterling's, the food is sometimes insultingly bad." Don't ask her about the burger, as it was so forgettable, she "literally, can't remember it." [BG]

Globe food editor Sheryl Julian discovers and enjoys New Dong Khan in Chinatown. Items at the Vietnamese restaurant include pho (skipped by Julian because of the season) and "delectable" bun — rice vermicelli salads. The menu and decor also express a Cantonese influence: chow foon with beef and bean sprouts is "an outstanding dish." A bubble tea bar in the front has frozen yogurt that "tasted fine" despite most menu-listed toppings being unavailable. [BG]

Thanks to a "byzantine conflation of ... bureaucracy and ... Puritanism," Jamaica Plain's Centre Street Sanctuary has a cordials — but not full-liquor — license, and that's apparently enough to fool Luke O'Neil. The author of the Metro's Thursty column, didn't notice that fact until his second cocktail at the "creative" bar that also has a "fine beer selection." All spirits must contain at least 2.5% sugar, so the menu is heavy on chartreuse and amaros. Also, "the soda bread is close to heavenly." [Metro]


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47 Massachusetts Ave Boston, MA