In Dig Boston, Boston Restaurant Talk's Marc Hurwitz weighed in on The Village Manor in Dedham, which " has a definite roadhouse feel to it." Here, he said, the "pub grub and classic American fare is a cut above what you might normally find at such a place," with top dishes including beef and cheese chili, wings, and "a colossal burger topped with onion rings." The steak tips are tender and the pastrami sandwich is a reasonable amount of greasy in this "laid-back local joint where everyone is made to feel right at home."
Over at Little Big Diner in Newton, The Boston Globe's Kara Baskin found out just how spicy things can get at this new restaurant that serves Instagram-worth bowls of "white or brown rice, bright herbs, tart house-pressed pickles, and glistening protein." She recommends asking for "a dab of house-made hot sauce, dip your chopsticks into the bowl, and swirl, Bob Ross style." Little Big Diner also offers chalkboard specials, Baskin noted, like Vietnamese banh mi.
The Globe's Ellen Bhang found tables teeming with bibimbap at Kimchi Kitchen in Cambridge, writing that "this version of the Korean classic hits all the right notes." According to Bhang, the restaurant "excels at simple, homey fare, the kind you might eat at your grandmother's house if your grandmother made bulgogi and fermented her own kimchi." She said the soondubu jigae stew is satisfying, the beef bulgogi is eye-catching, and "the colorful array of zucchini, carrots, daikon, and bean sprouts — each item tucked around the egg on hot rice — is so pretty that we have to pause."
Sheryl Julian wrote in The Boston Globe about Phinix Mediterranean Fusion, a place in Belmont that "takes bread seriously." The cuisine leans heavily on the Caucasus, Julian said, which translates to "kebabs, shawarma wrapped in the tissue-paper lavash, and impressive vegetables." The pork shish kebab is "tender with just enough fat to make it delicious," and the vegetables "are better than you're expecting." The restaurant is still settling in, Julian said, but it takes all its cooking seriously.
Ted Weesner visited Doretta Taverna & Raw Bar for The Boston Globe, noting "it is possible my hopes ran unrealistically high" when he went. Doretta's bar, he said, makes you want to linger, and the cocktails are hard to pass up. On the food front, "small plates hit the table in a wonderful pitter-patter...but their success rate is an erratic series of peaks and valleys." The cauliflower spread and whipped feta fall flat, in his eyes, whereas the yellowtail dish and roasted eggplant are "radiant" peaks, and the lamb chops evoke a "eureka."
And for The Improper Bostonian, MC Slim JB heads out to Watertown to Branch Line, a "truly handsome space" and a "hardcore beer nerd's bar." (For those who prefer wine, the list is "thoughtful" and "cleverly organized.") The food offerings include a "brilliantly crisp" sugar snap pea salad, "superb" grilled oysters, "fantastic" rotisserie chicken, and "swoony" porchetta. As expected from a place with ties to Eastern Standard, the service has "affable polish and menu knowledge."