At Comedor in Newton, Boston Magazine reviewer Corby Kummer finds plenty Chilean-inspired small plates to enjoy, but some dishes are brought down by overzealous creativity. A brown-butter honey vinaigrette atop the Chilean chopped salad, for example, is "perfectly reasonable, in theory...but the result was jarring."
Bar plates are a highlight, including the thinly-sliced, boldly seasoned pickles and the fries with cotija cheese, a scallion salsa, and the house blend merkén spice. Also, when chef/co-owner Jakob White keeps his dishes simple, "comfort is yours," Kummer writes. The bay scallop empanadas are brilliant, for example. "This friendly and appealingly odd food with liberally applied, unexpected spices will draw people from all over to try one of the first Chilean restaurants around Boston," Kummer writes.
Across the Hub, Improper Bostonian's MC Slim JB tries Loco Taqueria & Oyster Bar. At Southie's new hotspot, he finds an inventive raw bar with "fresh, properly shucked" oysters, "delectable" dressings, and sophisticated plates. The taco plates are unique and not exactly authentic but have complementary flavors and use fresh and flavorful ingredients. He finds "somewhat uneven results" elsewhere on the taqueria side, from "curiously mild" charcoal-grilled street corn to papas bravas with what Slim calls "the Poutine Problem: a crisp fry job made soggy by sauce."
Anchored by a giant, U-shaped bar, beverages are a large part of the Loco experience, though Slim finds the specialty cocktails to be "less-than-strong." Beer and wine options, however, are "cheap and cheerful." Atmospherically, Slim notes that Loco is not a place conducive to conversation, but the "currently fashionable cacophony" works for the restaurant's targeted demographic: Southie's young professionals.
Elsewhere in the South End, the Boston Globe's Devra First enjoys a visit to Stella, where one can "just eat." She gives the restaurant 2.5 out of 4 stars. "Stella’s menu ... doesn’t try to be clever. It doesn’t fetishize kale or treat carrots like false gods. It is concerned with serving nice-looking, tasty things to people out for a fun night with friends," she says. And it works. Platters of any of the restaurant's fried snacks, like the Parmesan arancini, are "dangerously easily to nibble through."
She finds a dud in the entrees with the "dry, flavorless, tough expanses of breaded meat" that is the pork Milanese, and she is also not impressed with the dessert menu. But in all, Stella is a welcome mainstay in the newly-hip South End.
For Cheap Eats, the Globe heads to Assembly Row this week for pizza at the new Ernesto's Old World Pizzeria, a second location of a North End standby. There, reviewer Catherine Smart finds huge pizza slices featuring fresh ingredients atop a "crisp, foldable crust." Some of the slices appeal to Smart's nostalgic flavor receptors, like the Hawaiian pizza and a cheeseburger slice, which tastes like a Big Mac "in the best way possible," whatever that means.
Located nearby the new LEGOLAND and a JP Licks, Ernesto's new location loses some of its old-world charm, but it adds a nice place for families in Assembly Row.