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The Critics Ate Sashimi, Pizza, and Pasta This Week

At Pabu (times two), Anthony’s Coal Fired Pizza, Stone L’Oven, and Massimo’s Ristorante

Pabu interior
Pabu
David Varley for Pabu

Artful Array of Sashimi

The Boston Globe’s Ted Weesner visits Pabu (located in the Millennium Tower downtown), sibling to the izakaya-style Michael Mina restaurant by the same name in San Francisco. Weesner starts with sashimi and ends with sushi rolls, per the suggestion of manager Linchul Shin, and he finds “artfully arrayed” and generously portioned sashimi and a “happy spoon” of Duxbury oyster and assorted fish components that he calls “Ocean Incarnate.” Weesner writes that the kinpira lotus root “is a shocker,” with crunchy pieces bathed in umami soy, and he notes that the Tokyo karaage (fried chicken balls) “is hard not to love.” The Wagyu A5 rib “packs remarkable flavor,” he writes, and the “bowl of pan-blistered shishito peppers is all-around gutsier fare.” The sushi rolls are “built from the finest fish,” and the desserts end the dinner show “with a bang.” Weesner recommends the mochi sundae.

Ups and Downs

Boston Magazine’s Jolyon Helterman also provides his take on Pabu this week, and it’s not quite as glowing as Weesner’s. “On paper, at least, it would appear to be a slam dunk,” he writes, and yet “you could get whiplash from all of the ups and downs.” A few months in, he “was still encountering dishes that weren’t just subjectively lackluster, they were actually off,” and “service fluctuated from benign wobbliness to full-on chaos.” Fortunately, there were also some “exhilarating glimmers” of what Helterman thinks Pabu could be, from a “lovely whole squid...grilled to a perfect burnished char” to a “fascinating, impromptu romp through some terrific off-the-beaten-path junmai daiginjos,” courtesy of the “ace” sake sommelier, Mayuka Yatomi.

‘We Love Pizza’

Sheryl Julian dines out in Newton this week, digging into pizzas at two different restaurants for her latest Globe piece. “My pizza has to be cooked through. No flabbiness around the edges,” she writes, and she puts the pies at Anthony’s Coal Fired Pizza and Stone L’Oven to the test. At Anthony’s, she finds the pizzas are well done with “nicely chewy, thin charred crusts.” The Square Margherita “is a beautiful pie,” and she also samples the meatball (marble-sized) and ricotta version. The wings are juicy, and while the focaccia is “disappointingly cold,” the garlicky broccoli rabe is delicious, Julian writes, forming a base for good sausage. At Stone L’Oven, she finds salads big enough for two. On one visit, the pizza is undercooked and “resuscitated” at home, but on the next visit it’s given extra oven time, producing a “wonderful” result.

Sublime Steak

For Dig Boston, Marc Hurwitz visits Massimo’s Ristorante in Wakefield. There, he finds great Italian comfort food in the form of eggplant rollatini with creamy ricotta and tortellini soup with chicken broth that is “perfect for a chilly night.” He praises the “sublime” steak pizzaiola with a rich sauce and a “simple but delicious” lasagna. The spaghetti with pesto can be “adjusted into a truly old-world dish via the addition of potatoes, which help give more texture and introduce a whole new flavor to the dish,” he writes. Save room for dessert: Massimo’s offers “extraordinary versions” of tiramisu, lemon mascarpone cake, and lobster tails.

In the Millennium Tower, a Visit to Pabu, Where the Sashimi is Pristine [BG]
Review: Pabu in Downtown Crossing [BM]
Review: In Newton, Pizza Two Ways at Anthony’s and Stone L’Oven [BG]
Massimo’s Ristorante, Wakefield [Dig Boston]

PABU

1 Franklin St., Boston, MA 02108 Visit Website

Anthony's Coal Fired Pizza (Newton)

180 Needham St., Newton, MA 02460 (617) 467-4250 Visit Website

Massimo's

19 Centre St, Wakefield, MA 01880 (781) 587-1757 Visit Website

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