Dates & Olives, from Chopped alum Renita Mendonca, opened in Brighton at the end of August. The Boston Globe's Sheryl Julian reviewed the fast-casual, Mediterranean-style restaurant, which follows the build-your-own bowl model common among quick-dining restaurants today. Julian found a pita unlike "anything you've seen before," more like "small, dark, thick rounds, made in Israel, with lots of flavor."
Julian said the chicken was "nicely flavored with warm Moroccan spices," and the falafel seemed baked, even though it was deep-fried.
A stack of falafel with pita, hummus, and toppings creates "a very satisfying meal," she said, and she praised the "zhoug" sauce, which is made from parsley, garlic, olive oil, and Serrano chiles.
Julain said "some dishes at Dates & Olives aren't quite right," including the Yufka chips and a "gummy" millet tabbouleh, and she noted that some items were seasoned too cautiously. "Mendonca understands seasoning. She should be less timid," Julian said.
Worden Hall (the name an homage to Saratoga, NY) has a cozy, brick-walled interior and a menu "that seems inspired more by Chicago than upstate New York," First said, though its Kobe beef Chi Town Dog, while a decadent snack, is "not the sort of thing you'd eat if you were a homesick Chicagoan." The restaurant also offers deep-dish pies, which First said could alone keep Worden Hall operating. Beyond pizza, First said, the restaurant impresses with polenta fries, "tender and succulent" smoked lamb ribs, and "spuckies."
There is also a selection of "upscale bistro fare," complete with grilled swordfish and roasted beef shoulder tender, which could use more horseradish, but is "still pretty grand," First said. Dessert — a strawberry-rhubarb ice cream sandwich — also delivers.
At Coppersmith, "the space is stunning," the staff is sweet, and the atmosphere is loud, to a point where "it's hard for anything to feel coherent amid the festivities," First said. "The menu has creative touches," from its Buffalo-style cauliflower to paella turned into arancini, but "things fall apart in the delivery."
According to First, the buttermilk fried chicken sandwich is the best option, with pimento cheese and corn chow-chow. She said the burger came well done and "tasting like old grease."
Overall, First said, "Coppersmith wants to be a neighborhood restaurant...It succeeds on the social front. Come here for a party. For dinner, head to Worden Hall."
The Improper Bostonian's MC Slim JB also visited Worden Hall and praised the restaurant's deep-dish pizza. "Worden's version is canonical and truly fine, especially the soppressata and garlic sausage pie with broccoli rabe, a slightly sweet, chunky tomato sauce and three quality cheeses," he said.
The house-smoked pastrami spuckie is "superb, layered with beer cheese, whole-grain mustard and pickles between Iggy's excellent dark rye." Also a hit for Slim: the smoked lamb ribs, Parisienne gnocchi, and seared scallops, not to mention the "serious cocktails" and selection of spirits and beers.