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Live Noodles, Manow Thai Kitchen, and More: Reviewed

Here's what the critics are saying this week.

Live Noodles
Live Noodles
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Anyone with a noodle craving should stop by Live Noodles on Commonwealth Ave., according to The Boston Globe's Catherine Smart. "Bring a big appetite," she said, as "the soup pot-size serving bowls many dishes arrive in are no joke."

Smart sampled a selection of appetizers, including the chicken with chile oil and the flatbread beef wrap. Though the chicken was "a little unwieldy to eat," Smart said she would "eat cardboard if it was swimming in the three-alarm red oil pooled generously around the poultry." The flatbread, she said, "is essentially one of the tastiest, flakiest scallion pancakes" she has ever eaten.

From her place in the restaurant, Smart was able to see the chef stretching and shaping the dough for the noodles, which "soak up whatever broth or sauce they are bathed in, and they're delightfully chewy." The mala beef hot-pot thin noodle dish has linguine-style strands, tender beef, and greens, and is "as soothing as Vietnamese pho, but a bit more substantial," Smart said.

The pork soup dumplings were "a fine rendition," that could have used more of their sticky umami broth, Smart said, noting that the dumplings were slightly deflated.

In addition to the meat-heavy dining, Smart ordered a platter of pea sprouts that were "full of grassy, garlicky flavor." Overall, "Live Noodles may not be the first in town offering hand-pulled noodles, but it's one of the finest," Smart said.

The Boston Globe's Raul Zelaya stopped by Tres Gatos in Jamaica Plain to sample some items from the recently updated beverage program. The new take on cocktails includes a selection of sherry, plus a range of Mexican and Spanish spirits. Zelaya said "a stellar drink" was the El Otono, which offers "autumn seasonality" while "keeping its smoky Mexican roots." The drink incorporates mescal, tequila, and fresh apple cider, plus muddled jalapeño and mint.

Manow Thai Kitchen in Newton "is cute as a button," per the Globe's Catherine Smart. The food served matches the cheery interior of the restaurant, she said. Manow, which is run by a married couple, chef "PJ" Unseethaharuthai and his wife, Waree Yimsiriwatthana, has an "addictive chicken larb" that is spicy with a pungent kick.

The crab rangoon's "crispy golden pouches, fried to perfection," are "pretty darned tasty," Smart said. As for main dishes, panang crispy duck is succulent, cashew-nut pork is satisfying, and barbecue chicken comes with a spicy chile tamarind sauce that will "make the dish pop," according to Smart.

Manow's khao soi has both breaded and braised chicken and is served with pickled mustard greens that "cut through any richness." The dessert of fried bananas with ice cream is a little bland, Smart said, but overall the restaurant is a "cheery, fresh, bright spot."

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