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Commonwealth Is 'Pure & Simple' and Other Reviews

Photo: Commonwealth/Meg Jones Wall

The Improper Bostonian's Donna Garlough reviews Commonwealth this week, praising chef/owner Steve "Nookie" Postal's "passion for cooking people-pleasing, unfussy fare." The menu yields ever-changing "stripped-down preparations," which means that "flavors come through with remarkable clarity." A simple salad, for example, "is barely dressed, but each forkful yields intense texture and flavor." On the downside, "scattered service was a fail point" on several of Garlough's visits, from timing issues with cocktails to a server not explaining an important point about portions — that everything is best eaten family-style. Overall, there's an "unfailingly jovial," "friendly," and "unstuffy" vibe, and "the ingredients get their due." [TIB]

For the Globe's Cheap Eats column, Sheryl Julian looks at the rapidly expanding Tatte Bakery & Cafe, which now has a location in Brookline and a cluster of three others around Kendall Square. Julian supposes that owner Tzurit Or "is positioning herself to be Boston's answer to Yotam Ottolenghi, the Israeli-born London chef who owns popular cafes and restaurants, and whose cookbooks have a cult following." To eat, there's a "satisfying" breakfast sandwich or a vegetable tarte Tatin that's "homely as all get-out" but "quite amazing when you taste it." There's a "plump" meatball sandwich that "will set you up after shoveling out your car," or there's "quite a nice" tuna and egg sandwich. There are some small staff-training issues, "but Or is obviously a perfectionist." [BG]

There's another Cheap Eats review, too — this one from Catherine Smart. She visits Union Square's Bull McCabe's, a "tiny Irish pub" that will soon have a sister restaurant, McCabe's Bar & Grille, in Porter Square. It's "one of the coziest spots to spend a chilly winter evening," she writes. While service is "casual and pleasant," the kitchen is "a little more uneven," but when everything's working, the "classic Irish pub fare" does the trick, from "a satisfying bowl" of beef chili to a po' boy "overflowing with fried shrimp." [BG]

Boston Burger Blog's Richard Chudy takes on an "over the top" special at All Star Sandwich Barthe Elvis Double Grilled Cheese Burger. "This is not one I'm supposed to like, right?" he wonders. But he finds that it's "very balanced when it has virtually no reason to be," and in the end, he grants it an 86 out of a possible score of 100. "Unique and weird don't always add up to burger success, but in this case, it absolutely does." [BBB]

All Star Sandwich Bar

1245 Cambridge Street, , MA 02139 (617) 868-3065 Visit Website

Commonwealth (Cambridge)

11 Broad Canal Way, Cambridge, MA 02142 (617) 945-7030 Visit Website