Devra First visited the recently-updated Meritage on the second floor of the Boston Harbor Hotel. With that location, and waterfront views around the restaurant, it falls into the category of "the duck boats of the restaurant world," the Boston Globe critic writes. "But take a seat on a golden evening, take in the view, and get on board with the tourists. This is a beautiful spot."
With chef Daniel Bruce also behind the Boston Wine Festival, there's an extensive and well-curated wine list, and the staff has "an encyclopedic knowledge of the list and a knack for interesting pairings." The crab cake, served as half the duet of crab, "tastes like pure crab, no filler." A cod loin dish with curry is "very good; a server-suggested Alsatian pinot gris makes it excellent." But some nights, First finds the restaurant off its game: A lemon-roasted Cornish hen "appears to have been mauled," and its accompanying vegetable side "just looks sad." When it's good, Meritage is "excellent," but "at its worst, dishes are hotel-fancy, clearly imagined yet muddily executed."
For the newspaper's Cheap Eats column, Globe reviewer Catherine Smart tries MDM Noodles, which opened in March in Brighton Center. The long, thick, hand-pulled noodles that provide the backbone for the menu are chewy, but not very hot in their "purest form," with spicy hot oil. Ordering the dish extra spicy still isn't "mouth-searing," but they do have a "fuller flavor," Smart writes. Barbecued lamb kebabs ordered with extra spice "arrive coated in a taste-bud tingling blend of crushed chiles and cumin." The meat ordered in burger form, though, is a "waste of valuable carb-space in the noodle haven."
The eatery's signature dish, mala, is a Sichuan soup that translates to "searing hot." "We miss the electrical jolt of the peppercorns, which seem to be used sparingly. But the dish isn’t short on flavor, with an addictively spicy broth" and more. Pro tip: The house chile oil is "really a magical elixir, improving the flavor of everything it touches." For the price especially (Smart says paying the bill here can feel like "thievery"), MDM Noodles "can't lose."