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The Critics Ate Deli Dishes, Tacos, and Smoked Short Rib This Week

At Mamaleh’s, Casa Verde, and Little Donkey

A donkey mural on painted brick appears above high-top seating in the foreground at Little Donkey
Little Donkey
Rachel Leah Blumenthal for Eater

The Improper Bostonian’s MC Slim JB visits Mamaleh’s this week for some traditional Jewish deli fare. Slim writes that the matzoh ball soup "sounds a very promising opening note" with deeply flavored broth, and the mushroom barley soup "similarly wows." He recommends the fist-sized pastrami knish, the "delightfully eggy" blintzes, and the potato latkes that are "outwardly crisp and tender within." Slim also praises the gribenes, which are "like the best parts of well-fried chicken wings." The chicken liver "is fabulous" and the sliced salmon lox is "gorgeous, delicately brined." On the pastry side, Slim calls the desserts "nostalgically note-perfect," including the eggy babka and "sublime rugelach."

In Jamaica Plain, Casa Verde gets a visit from The Boston Globe’s Catherine Smart, who finds a "deliciously smoky" shrimp taco and a lamb al pastor version that is gamey, "but in a good way," complemented with sweet pineapple, onion, and fresh cilantro. While the chorizo taco is "surprisingly bland," Smart writes that the house-made torta rolls are hearty, with plenty of toppings. She recommends the breakfast nachos on the sprawling brunch menu, along with the huevos motulenos.

The Globe’s Sacha Pfeiffer stops in at Central Square’s Little Donkey to find two chefs ditching the rulebook. Jamie Bissonnette and Ken Oringer have an adventurous menu, Pfeiffer writes, which includes a toast and schmear of swordfish confit, along with beef- and lamb-filled Istanbul ravioli, which "taste like a delicious variant of pierogi." The octopus is tender, the tuna poke "explodes with flavor," and the hummus is exceptional, Pfeiffer writes. She recommends the smoked short ribs, along with the chilaquiles with a fried egg, and she adds that the chocolate chip cookie dough served on an actual mixer beater is a "guaranteed crowd pleaser."

Fress to the Nines [IB]
Casa Verde: A Mexican restaurant for all of JP [BG]
At exhilarating Little Donkey, Bissonnette and Oringer ditch the rulebook [BG]

Little Donkey

505 Massachusetts Avenue, , MA 02139 (617) 945-1008 Visit Website

Mamaleh's Delicatessen

One Kendall Square, Building 300, Cambridge, MA 02139 Visit Website

Casa Verde

711 Centre St., Jamaica Plain, MA 02130 (617) 477-9977