This week for the Improper Bostonian, MC Slim JB visits Fat Hen in East Somerville for some Italian fare. The semolina rolls are "uncommonly good" and the house-made pastas "frequently stunning," Slim writes. He recommends the tortellini brodo with "exquisitely creamy, mildly sweet acorn squash" and the "superb" spaghetti with Jonah crab. The tagliatelle has "an unexpected North African lilt," and the chicken al mattone is Tuscan-inspired, served with farro and Brussels sprouts. "Ultimately, Fat Hen represents a useful extension of several underserved aesthetics: fine-dining quality sans white-tablecloth pomp at neighborhood prices," Slim writes.
The Boston Globe’s Sacha Pfeiffer reviews Tapestry this week. The two-in-one restaurant is "a quintessential labor of love," Pfeiffer writes, and "on each side, the food is quite good, and often excellent, although better in the Club Room than the Expo Kitchen." In the Club Room, Pfeiffer eats fluke ceviche and a grilled octopus that "is a miniature artwork," along with a "surprisingly light" chicken pot pie and a "perfectly tender" braised beef short rib. On the casual Expo Kitchen side, Pfeiffer has the margherita pizza (with a thin, light, and airy crust), the pork-beef meatballs, and the roasted potatoes.
The newly opened Doña Habana receives a visit from the Globe’s Ellen Bhang, who digs into the Cuban fare. She has the pulled pork sandwich for lunch, which comes with "thick, starchy batons of cassava," and she writes that the soups are excellent, including the caldo de pollo and the cornmeal soup with pork. The shareable items include an appetizer platter with empanadas, croquettes, plantain chips, and more. Bhang recommends the ropa vieja, a flank steak that’s been braised and pulled to shreds, along with the tamal Cubano, which is steamed masa stuffed with pork.
For the Dig, Marc Hurwitz also heads to Medford to eat at Avellino’s. The place is prime for a quick grab-and-go lunch of sub sandwiches but also has room for diners to eat in. The lengthy menu includes breakfast items alongside hot and cold sandwiches, pizza, pasta, and much more. Hurwitz writes that the highlights include Caesar salad, chicken parm, thin-crust pizza, marinated steak tips, and prosciutto and provolone subs. To him, this spot "still feels like a bit of a hidden gem."
• Cock of the Walk [IB]
• At Fenway’s Tapestry, a Lifelong Dream Realized. Now It Just Needs More Customers. [BG]
• At Doña Habana, Cuban Food Worthy of a Party [BG]
• Avellino’s [DigBoston]