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Sri Lankan Cuisine at Suvaai; Classic French Fare at Ma Maison

Here's what the critics had to say this week.

Ma Maison
Ma Maison
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Boston Globe critic Ellen Bhang gave Sri Lankan restautant Suvaai a try. Prepare for a wait at this North Cambridge restaurant; "it operates with a skeleton crew," though its cuisine "is full of dishes that are unique."

While combinations of 15 spices are used for one dish, "most flavors here are deeply savory rather than spicy with chili heat." The curry that coats Sri Lankan masala lamb includes ginger, cardamom, and cinnamon, among a dozen others. Onion rava semolina masala dosa is "lacy in texture" and is served with a "saucy" curry, which Bhang recommends using as a dip for the crepe and its filling.

South Indian items on the menu, like "mixed vegetable pakoda ... are fine, but less interesting to our tablemates than the Sri Lankan selections." Exceptions are "tart" rasam and "fragrant" attukal, two soups.

Improper Bostonian critic MC Slim JB finds Jacky Robert's new home, Ma Maison, "gratifying." "He continues to hoe the familiar furrow of everyday French bistro fare."

Starters are comfortable: a slice of country pate is "generous," and house-smoked salmon is "excellent." On one visit, the chicken du jour features "lovely, well-seasoned," crispy skin, but its breast meat is dry. Good thing it comes with "excellent pan gravy." The steak frites accompaniments are good, but the meat itself would benefit from being a smaller cut of better meat, Slim assesses.

Offal specials are consistently good: Tripes a la provencal is a "smashing bargain" at $14, and veal kidneys "à l'ancienne" is "a surprising medium-rare, topped with a creamy, vividly tangy, mushroom-rich sauce." Desserts are another high note.

The list of wines-by-the-glass is "occasionally plonky," but Ma Maison offers something different from most other restaurants on the scene: A quiet, classic experience.

Ma Maison

, 1, Aichi 464-0804 052-781-6562 Visit Website

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