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Sarma's 'Thrills Far Outweigh Its Flaws' and More

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Photo: Sarma/Rachel Leah Blumenthal

For his monthly Boston Magazine review, Corby Kummer visits Sarma in Somerville's Winter Hill and finds that its "thrills far outweigh its flaws." The restaurant is "like Sofra on rocket fuel," he writes, comparing it to one of co-owner Ana Sortun's other ventures. The menu is large, and because of that, "quality varies." He finds that some things that should be served hot are cold, and there's a "sameness to seasonings and sauces." But executive chef and partner Cassie Piuma has "a strong hand with stews," such as the squid ragout, which somehow tastes both "freshly made" and "long-simmered." And "all can be forgiven with something as good as the grilled octopus," which required a second helping to be ordered. Kummer predicts that soon, the restaurant in "its previously untrod corner of Somerville, will be on every diner's map." [BM]

MC Slim JB reviews the new and already-so-popular Alden & Harlow for The Improper Bostonian this week. The concept (shareable plates; gastropub-ish cuisine) is familiar, but "[chef/owner Michael] Scelfo has clearly decided to challenge his customers with brash, insistent flavors at every turn, including more smokiness than is typically seen outside of a barbecue joint." MC recommends that diners "bring friends, go slow and try a few bites of many things," because every dish "has some flavor knob turned up to 11." [TIB]

Ellen Bhang features the new North End location of Medford favorite Tenoch in the Globe's "Cheap Eats" column this month. When the restaurant was first proposed, one of the neighborhood councils (of which there are several) didn't want a "fast food" place coming in, which disappointed Tenoch co-owners (and brothers) Alvaro and Andres Sandoval, but they've worked hard to prove the council wrong. Sure enough, on opening day, "young professionals and families from the neighborhood poured in throughout the day, filling the 19 seats several times over, and ordering food to go." Bhang especially recommends the tortas, "toasty sandwich[es] made with telera bread generously stuffed with well-seasoned meats, cheese, and avocado," and the garnachas, "chubby corn tortillas." [BG]

Dig Boston's Dan McCarthy pays an early visit to the just-opened Merrill & Co. in the South End, the little sibling to jm Curley. He counts 13 beards around 7:30 p.m., and four of the people wearing said beards are drinking craft beer from cans. There are also seven plaid shirts and four occurrences of people saying "shit this is good," or variations. "The menu is decadent and approachable, very New England seafood and pork heavy," writes McCarthy, praising the "bulging" waffle fries that come with the "sizzling" mussels. The octopus is also a must-try. [DIG]

Merrill & Co.

1 Appleton St, Boston, MA 02116 617-728-0728 Visit Website

Alden & Harlow

40 Brattle Street, , MA 02138 (617) 864-2100 Visit Website


249 Pearl Street, , MA 02145 (617) 764-4464 Visit Website