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A Sizzling Review of Shepard; Friendly South Indian Fare at Godavari

Plus, a delicious — but too ambitious — menu at Moody's Backroom.

Moody’s Backroom
Moody's Backroom
Katie Chudy for Eater Boston

For Susan Regis and Rene Becker, "two of Cambridge's most abiding culinary talents," making their home at the former Henri in Cambridge "just feels right," Devra First writes in the Boston Globe's 3.5-star review of Shepard this week.

"Sometimes beautifully simple, sometimes carefully whimsical" dishes are smoke-infused, thanks to the focal point hearth. (Though, the communal table in front of it is "the only bad seat in the house.") The "Francophile if not French" menu begins with "elemental and satisfying" small plates, like a pinwheeled grilled sausage; or "the loveliest tomato salad around." Certain combinations of orders can yield a table full of burned food, but the constantly changing menu is the solution for that issue.

Main plates are made for the wood-fired hearth, particularly Shepard's half-chicken. "Juicy, crisp-skinned ... It is so good, so simple." Bavette steak is also "perfectly grilled." Desserts need work (and/or more sweetener), but overall, Shepard is on fire, First writes.

In Woburn, Globe Cheap Eats critic Catherine Smart visits the kid-friendly, South Indian restaurant Godavari. For the adults at her table, paneer dosa is "as comforting as a grilled cheese sandwich." The server obliges a request for spice: The Gobi Manchurian starter is "a big pile of fried cauliflower in an addictive salty-sweet sauce with a slow burn." The children's menu is notably mild, and adult dining companions who can't take the heat are also accommodated, albeit with a good-natured ribbing.

Large portions of Indo-Chinese cuisine are a highlight, like the chicken bezawada street noodles, which "combine[s] the best of fried rice and lo mein." Malai kofta, brown vegetarian dumplings, are "divine ... [ingredients] swimming in a rich and creamy, khaki-colored curry sauce that has a lingering heat." The restaurant's lunch buffet is beckoning Smart back soon, too.

Boston Magazine critic Corby Kummer found an overly-ambitious menu at Moody's Backroom, the wine bar attached to chef Josh Smith's masterful deli in Waltham. Charcuterie "has the inventiveness and whimsy you’d find at a sushi bar," and plates succeed when Smith eases on the gas pedal of spices and accents. Tartufo salami, with truffles, is "impeccably clean-flavored" with a "subtly salty, earthy undertone." But Lebanon bologna has a "pumpkin-pie sweetness," thanks to too much cinnamon.

Beyond the main-event menu section, "dishes can feel haphazard, with too many elements and out-of-whack seasoning." The Backroom's copper-domed oven is "misused" on underbaked, over-topped flatbreads. Simple dishes are better, such as a striped bass fish of the day. Wagyu brisket, smoked, slow-cooked for 48 hours, and charred, is "extraordinary." Desserts, particularly a "startlingly delicate" panna cotta, are also enjoyable. But the whole menu at Moody's "feels like it took on too much in too little time."

Godavari

, Woburn, MA

The Backroom

468 Moody St, Waltham, MA 02453

Shepard

1 Shepard Street, Cambridge, MA 02138

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