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Corby Kummer on Hamersley's Bistro and More, This Week in Reviews

This week in reviews, here's what the critics think of Hamersley's Bistro, Bastille Kitchen, and Old School House.

Bastille Kitchen
Bastille Kitchen
Katie Chudy

For his monthly Boston Magazine review, Corby Kummer revisits the soon-to-close South End classic, Hamersley's Bistro, writing a beautiful retrospective on the icon and the people behind it. "Because Gordon Hamersley is a low-key guy, it wasn’t always obvious that he was our very own Alice Waters or Wolfgang Puck," writes Kummer. "Yet Hamersley (who had worked for Puck at one of his first jobs) was as influential within Boston’s restaurant culture as they were in theirs." He veered away from what some would call "fusion" cuisine, instead exploring French cuisine but with a "very American" approach. "He forged his own unique style: American bourgeois cuisine." And there's a long line of talented chefs who have come through Hamersley's. "The Hamersley’s diaspora will be felt for years," writes Kummer. "Every person who passed through Gordon Hamersley’s kitchen benefited from his approach of chef as teacher and, with luck, will pass along these lessons to the next crop of young chefs." [BM]

In other French restaurant news, Devra First heads to Bastille Kitchen (the name is a "clunker," she writes) in Fort Point for this week's Globe review. The restaurant "serves modernized French fare, for better and worse." One problem: the fries are "weak, wrinkled and limp" (an "aside" when they're served with chicken but "unforgivable" with steak frites, where they're supposed to be half of the main attraction). "No frillification of bistro fare, fusty but fabulous, can succeed when the basics are overlooked." Overall, it's "the kind of place Derek Jeter brings his girlfriend when in town, where Thursdays draw a neighborhood crowd but also international-playboy types and model-tall women in outfits that aren’t designed to accommodate croissants and compound butter." Two stars out of four ("good"). She suggests the seafood sausage agnolotti, octopus ceviche, or pork chop au poivre. [BG]

And for the Globe's "Cheap Eats" column, Ellen Bhang heads out to Hudson for Old School House Pub & Restaurant, which serves "hearty comfort food from Portugal and the Azores." Bring a big appetite: "You learn quickly that when a dish is described as serving one, it really serves two. Portions are that generous. Most are fragrant with garlic, and a dizzying array of seafood is on offer, including some shellfish that may be new to you." [BG]

Bastille Kitchen

49 Melcher Street, , MA 02210 (617) 556-8000 Visit Website

Hamersley's Bistro

553 Tremont Street, Boston, MA 02116 617 423 2700 Visit Website