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The Critics Ate Octopus, the 'Best Pasta Primavera,' and More This Week

The critics dined at Kava Neo-Taverna, the Outlook at the Envoy Hotel, Village Sushi & Grill, and J. Dee Asian Bistro this week

J. Dee Asian Bistro
J. Dee Asian Bistro

Mat Schaffer visited the Envoy Hotel’s Outlook restaurant for his latest Boston Globe review. For certain entrees, he found that "less is more," and that classics should "remain true to their roots." He noted that the Margherita flatbread without basil was not a Margherita pizza, and that the smoked gouda and pickled shiitake mushrooms trampled "the raw beefiness" in steak tartare. Otherwise, the ceviche was excellent and featured clean flavors, while the sweet gem lettuce salad was delicious. Schaffer also praised the PEI mussels in Thai curry broth, the spice-rubbed Moulard duck breast, as well as the tagliatelle pasta, which he said "may be the best pasta primavera ever."

The Globe’s Sheryl Julian went to Watertown for a taste of J. Dee Asian Bistro, which features Thai dishes, sushi, and more. She found the crab rangoon to be fresh and crisp and the steamed shumai juicy. Julian wrote that the papaya salad "has a delightful crunch but needs more flavor," and the larb kai is addictive. She also noted that the egg-noodle soup with chicken featured "an intense curried broth, pickled mustard greens to add to the bowl, and a pile of fried noodles on top," and it would make a fine dinner with a Singha beer. On the sushi side of things, the tuna makimono provides "lovely little bites" and the cream cheese in the J. Dee roll makes the sushi delicious, "adding creaminess to the very crisp shrimp."

Marc Hurwitz reviewed Village Sushi & Grill for Dig Boston, digging into a lesser-known sushi spot in Roslindale Village. With Japanese appetizers, noodle dishes, and more, Village Sushi also offers some Korean options. Hurwitz wrote that there were many non-sushi highlights, including juicy steamed pork gyoza and wasabi shumai, as well as sizzling bibimbop served with meat, veggies, and a fried egg. For the sushi menu, Hurwitz wrote that the Las Vegas maki was tremendous, and the crazy maki with shrimp tempura, spicy tuna, and tempura flakes was equally impressive. Overall, he concluded that Village Sushi is "consistently a very pleasant option for Asian fare."

And for The Improper Bostonian, MC Slim JB reviewed the recently opened Kava Neo-Taverna in the South End, which he described as an "immediate hit" despite (and probably contributing to) its "aggressive (bordering on painful) noise levels." The drink menu succeeds, even with just a cordials license, but what really shines is the food — "the almost primordial pleasures of traditional Greek fare, here done in very straightforward fashion." Slim found "nearly unadorned, delectable proteins," including smelts and octopus; a "not-too-sweet baklava" on the dessert menu; and "an especially chunky, vivid version of the classic village salad." His top picks include maritha, lavraki, and bamias laderes.

KAVA Neo-Taverna

315 Shawmut Avenue, , MA 02118 (617) 356-1100 Visit Website

Village Sushi & Grill

14 Corinth St, Roslindale, MA 02131 (617) 363-7874 Visit Website

Outlook Kitchen and Bar

70 Sleeper Street, Boston, MA 02210 (617) 530-1559

JDee Asian Bistro

98 Main Street, Watertown, MA (617) 924-1804