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The Frogmore, The Grape Leaf, and Shepard: Reviewed

Lots of warming, homey fare this week in reviews.

Shepard
Shepard
Rachel Leah Blumenthal for Eater Boston

This week, Boston Globe critic Devra First visited Jamaica Plain's new neighborhood spot, The Frogmore, and found a few "homey pleasures" to write about in her one-and-a-half-star review (out of four). In the Hoppin' John, black-eyed peas are "cooked to perfect creaminess." She crab soup is "lovely," rich, aromatic, plentiful, and sweet, she writes.

A few sides, such as a salad and macaroni and cheese, are "bland," and some portions are "skimpy." The namesake Frogmore Stew "ought to spill out" of its dish, but doesn't, and the fish camp plate, "sadly served headless, doesn’t offer much meat."

Beer is a strength at the Frogmore, and "pleasing people is the priority."

Elsewhere in the GlobeSheryl Julian visited a Lebanese spot in Canton called The Grape Leaf. A filling dish of grains, brown lentils, and caramelized onions, mujadara, "is so delicious here." Grape leaves are tender, and a feta cheese spread called shanklish "is divine on pita chips."

Manouchi flat breads, similar to personal pizzas, are good, and a hummus wrap with pickled vegetables has "refreshing acid with the smooth chickpeas." But a few beef dishes miss the mark: Beef kebabs are "too chewy to eat," and kibbe balls have a "reheated quality."

For The Improper Bostonian, critic MC Slim JB reviews the "mostly fantastic" Shepard. The meal starts strong with quality breads, butter, crackers, and spreads, including "fine Melba toast flank[ing] ... smoked bluefish pâté piquantly counterpointed with tiny pickled, sliced hot peppers." Beautifully-plated dishes are also tasty, such as the "wondrous harmony of flavors in an eye-catching bowl" that is basil pici.

Vegetables get their due in "delectable but not overwrought" plates, like the sliced cucumber, kale, and tomato dishes. Eggplant is "a bit chewy and salty," though. For meat entrees, bavette steak is "about as good as a bistro steak gets," but soupe de poisson "doesn't quite add up." Desserts, the wine list, and service are all highlights, and at Shepard, owners Susan Regis and Rene Becker are "routinely achieving sublimity."

The Frogmore

365 Centre St, Jamaica Plain, MA 02130 (857) 203-9462

Shepard

1 Shepard Street, Cambridge, MA 02138

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