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The Critics Ate Makimono, Squid Ink Noodles, and Tater Tot Poutine This Week

At Ruka, Porto, and Roxy’s Central / A4cade

Melissa Ostrow for Ruka

A Sexy, Noodly Jewel

“Just a few short years ago, you’d be justified in viewing any Boston restaurant that sported nightclub-like decor with suspicion,” writes MC Slim JB in his review of Ruka for The Improper Bostonian. Fortunately, Ruka’s big sister Yvonne’s “smashed that mold” a couple years ago, showing that serious food and drinks could exist in a “shiny, dramatic and sexy as all get-out space” — and Ruka follows suit with “colorful, beautifully plated makimono,” a “complex stunner” green noodle dish, “frequently picture-pretty” desserts, and a “hilarious, elaborate” menu of “winning” cocktails. Prepare to put a “dent in your wallet” at this “jewel” in “Downtown Crossing’s increasingly gaudy crown of pricey, high-style restaurants.”

Small Plates > Large Plates

Reviewing Porto for the Globe, Nestor Ramos recounts a few missteps from his first visit a few months after the restaurant opened, but happily the crew (including new chef de cuisine Andrew Hebert) has “steadied the ship somewhat” since then. The key, Ramos writes, is to stick with “the wonderful small plates,” which “are more exciting and better executed than the main courses” — “the same disease that plagues so many otherwise excellent restaurants.” Highlights: “perfectly tender, lightly charred” octopus with chickpeas, eggplant, and harissa; pasta dishes, such as the squid ink noodles, which “redeem the whole black-pasta genre”; clams and guanciale “in a rich, fennel-seasoned broth that will have you searching for a spoon once the bread has run out.”

One (Hyphenated) Word: Speak-Cheesy

In a “Quick Bite” overview for the Globe, Kara Baskin ventures into the crowded new Roxy’s Central and A4cade, an “emporium of wholesome fun” with grilled cheese and arcade games galore. “Just call it a speak-cheesy,” she writes, noting that the arcade and bar entrance is through a door that looks like a walk-in fridge. The scene is “Studio 54 for gamers” with Michael Jackson playing on the speakers, a guy “murmuring to [the shuffleboard table] like a lost love,” and a slushie machine. The menu is “designed for young metabolisms,” with “husky” grilled cheese sandwiches and tater tot poutine.

Nikkei Time [IB]
Riding the Waves at New Jody Adams Restaurant Porto [BG]
Cheesy Snacks and Vintage Arcade Games at Roxy’s Central & A4cade [BG]

Roxy's Central

292 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02139 Visit Website


505 Washington Street, , MA 02111 (617) 266-0102 Visit Website


292 Massachusetts Avenue, , MA 02139 (617) 714-3960 Visit Website


Ring Road, , MA 02199 (617) 536-1234 Visit Website