At former Top Chef contestant Carl Dooley's new restaurant The Table in Cambridge, The Boston Globe's Sacha Pfeiffer dug into a $65 prix fixe menu, an experience she likened to "being a research assistant in Dooley's personal food laboratory." His food is high-minded but not too pretentious, she wrote, with two choices and a vegetarian option per course. "This is big-tasting food," she wrote, praising the amuse bouche of duck consomme, the beef tartare, and especially the "sumptuous pork ragu with roasted cauliflower." The hake and scallops were "a model of how to cook seafood," while the vegetarian options (usually meatless versions of other menu items) "often lack the oomph of the original." The desserts from Mary Edinger (formerly No. 9 Park) "are ethereal," Pfeiffer wrote.
In the South End, the Improper Bostonian's MC Slim JB visited SRV for a taste of Venice. He found the cicchetti, or small plates, were "mostly terrific, with many dishes boasting whiffs of the ocean." He praised the soft-boiled quail egg, a heavenly nervetti fritti, and a crowd-pleasing polpette. For the appetizers (piatti), Slim had a smoked sea trout with "gorgeous chunks of smoky pink flesh" and a vitello tonnato, which he described as under-seasoned. The vongole alla pescatora was sensational, Slim wrote. As for the pasta, he praised the "fabulous" casunziei, which are beet-stuffed crescent-shaped ravioli, but noted that the spaghetti alla busara underwhelmed. "In the end, SRV gets tantalizingly close to the soul of the bacaro, even if its broader ambition finds it fumbling some of the details," Slim wrote.
At La Rana Rossa in Jamaica Plain, the Globe's James Reed sampled some "inspired" pizzas. (It's a bakery by day and pizzeria by night.) He praised the Cheeburger Cheeburger Cheeburger pizza, layered with beef, shredded lettuce, and a burger-like secret sauce. In the Puttanesca pizza, Reed found "a melange of intense flavors," and the four cheese pizza disappeared within minutes. He wrote that the Caesar salad was delectable and enough for a meal, and while there's no dessert at the restaurant yet, "try to snag one of the chocolate chip cookies" — there are usually some leftovers from bakery hours.