In Devra First's final review for The Boston Globe, she visited The Baldwin Bar at Sichuan Garden II in Woburn. Ran Duan oversees the bar program there and has plans in the works to remodel his parents' Sichuan Garden in Brookline. At the Baldwin and its new upstairs lounge (Baldwin & Sons Trading Company), bartenders "win awards like other people eat chips, not just stopping at one," First said, noting they're taking things up a notch.
Where the Baldwin has drinks like Out of All the Gin Joints and El Presidente (Duan's Bacardi Legacy competition winner), Baldwin & Sons carries the library-style space into its drinks, which highlights the spirits and focuses on presentation alongside polished service.
"The rye drinker should not miss the World's Fair, featuring Willett 2-year rye, Punt e Mes vermouth, walnut liqueur, amaro, and aged bitters," First said, advising the drink be consumed "in appreciative silence, blinking occasionally, a la Nick Offerman."
Food-wise, the bar serves an abbreviated Sichuan Garden menu. First cheered the Sichuan pickled vegetables (and took an order to go), got hooked on the tofu crepes, and was hung up on the Chengdu dry hot chicken wings, which were "crisp, juicy, spicy pieces."
Overall, the place is "a world-class cocktail bar inside a Sichuan restaurant" that is unlikely and wonderful.
Boston Restaurant Talk's Marc Hurwitz visited the original Sichuan Garden in Brookline, delving into the full menu for Dig Boston. The menus at the two Sichuan Gardens are "almost identical," Hurwitz said, and the original is "a dream come true" for spice lovers.
"Sweat-inducing takes on pork dumplings, dan dan noodles, and glass noodles with minced pork," abound in Brookline alongside items like the sautéed beef filets and shredded pork. "The food is marvelous," Hurwitz said, and the restaurant is a "nearly ideal spot for those who love good Chinese food."
Frank Pepe Pizzeria opened this week in Chestnut Hill and the Boston Herald's Kerry J. Byrne stopped by for some of the first pies out of the oven. "Pizza making at Frank Pepe's is a spectacle" in an oven that is an exact replica of the original restaurant's oven, Byrne said. The pizzas cook for about 10 minutes and come out with a "crust pocked by black char from the intense coal-fired heat."
Byrne, who has eaten at the original New Haven Frank Pepe's said, "the pizza was perfect, as delicious as I remember." Though the ingredients — the cheese blend, tomato sauce, oil, flour, and shellfish (for the clam pizza) — are proprietary and shrouded in secrecy, the pizza delivers.