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The Critics Ate Braised Octopus, Vietnamese Dishes, and Pheasant This Week

At Bambara Kitchen & Bar, Pho Countryside, and Oak + Rowan

Oak + Rowan
Oak + Rowan
Rachel Leah Blumenthal for Eater

The Boston Globe’s Ted Weesner visits Bambara Kitchen & Bar in Cambridge this week for a taste of chef David Bazirgan’s cooking. He calls the wagyu beef tartare “one in a string of revelations” that is a “powerful yet expertly restrained confluence of flavor.” The octopus is braised for five hours and has a crisp exterior and soft interior and an accompanying charred eggplant puree. Weesner writes that the charcuterie plate is “a meal unto itself and reason enough to visit Bambara,” and the roasted sunchokes are “stunning” with a house-made ‘nduja sausage. Weesner also recommends the triple-cream tortelli, the “tremendous dry-aged rib eye,” and the chicken breast, and he notes that the burger “will be among the best you’ve ever eaten.”

Catherine Smart stops in at Pho Countryside in Kenmore Square in her latest for the Globe. A month after opening, the restaurant already has regulars, she writes, noting that “you can’t visit Pho Countryside without ordering a steaming bowl of the dish it’s named for.” She has the fully loaded pho dac biet, an earthy broth full of rice noodles, brisket, and flank steak. The fresh spring rolls are a great way to start, Smart writes, and the ban hoi Countryside “is a beautiful introduction” to the flavors of Vietnamese fare. On the seafood side, she writes that the ca kho to is “a pot of rich caramelized catfish” that is tender with a salty-sweet sauce that makes for the perfect bite when paired with a bit of chewy sticky rice.

The Improper Bostonian’s MC Slim JB pays a visit to Oak + Rowan in Fort Point to see how Nancy Batista-Caswell’s North Shore acclaim carries into the new metro restaurant. The New American menu includes dishes like baby octopus, which is well-charred with a “nice richness,” Slim writes. The pheasant Kotschoubey “is moist, rich and delectable,” and the doppio ravioli features fillings of smoked scallop and pumpkin. Slim also recommends the beef sirloin with a coffee rub that comes with “a gorgeously unctuous, chunky tallow bread pudding.” He also praises both the breads and desserts from pastry chef Brian Mercury, recommending the cranberry swirl fro-yo, of which he ordered seconds.

At Cambridge’s Bambara Kitchen & Bar, a Secret Far Too Good to Keep [BG]
City Style at Pho Countryside [BG]
Exurban Cosmo [IB]


25 Edwin H Land Boulevard, , MA 02141 (617) 868-4444 Visit Website

Oak + Rowan

321 A Street, , MA 02210 (857) 284-7742 Visit Website

Pho Countryside (Boston)

468 Commonwealth Ave., Boston, MA 02215 Visit Website