Boston Magazine’s Jolyon Helterman visits Little Big Diner in Newton, finding a place that draws upon a "Tokyo-soul, urban cool" vibe and "lands it — in an effortless and pitch-perfect way." With a small menu of 14 dishes, Helterman writes, "knockouts mingle with wobblier offerings." In the knockout category: the LBD flat patty served on a Hawaiian bun, a "stunning" green papaya salad, and steamed pork dumplings with "terrific flavor." Meanwhile, the grilled chicken wings have flabby skin one meal but have "underbrowned and spotty" skin the next, he writes. As for the ramen, the chicken paitan shows off with a complex broth and tender meat, and the miso ramen is "an umami showcase." Overall, Helterman writes, "Little Big Diner is more than an oasis in a culinary desert; it’s the first rumblings of a David Punch mini universe in Newton Centre—making it destination-worthy in ways beyond the opening menu’s highs and lows."
Sacha Pfeiffer dines at Scopa in the North End in her latest review for The Boston Globe. The restaurant’s "food is lighter, healthier, and more modern than at many of its North End counterparts," she writes, and the varied fare is sometimes a delight, other times going awry. Pfeiffer praises the tuna tartare with sesame dressing, the "simple and well prepared" pan-roasted salmon, and the cod tempura (though over-salted). Alternatively, the spaghetti carbonara is under-salted, as is the gnocchi, but the pappardelle bolognese "is perfect, a classic beef ragu." The restaurant is unpredictable, Pfeiffer writes, "but it doesn’t simply play it safe."
Marc Hurwitz takes a look at First House Pub in Winchester for Dig Boston this week; it's a place for affordable pub food and drinks. "This is really more of a basic meat-and-potatoes type place," Hurwitz writes, calling out the restaurant’s outstanding thin-crust pizza along with its fish tacos, steak tips, wings, and nachos. The place gets creative with specials, Hurwitz notes, and he praises the "tremendously delicious" Buffalo potato skins, the charbroiled marinated swordfish tips, and lobster rolls.
Devra First popped in at Il Molo for some seafood, providing a quick overview for the Globe this week. The raw bar includes shellfish towers, oysters, and a crudo of the day, and the appetizers ranged from charred octopus tendrils to mussels. There’s also lobster fra diavolo, cod with clams and chorizo, and veal chop. The desserts are "just enough to satisfy the sweet tooth," First writes.