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The Critics Ate Crepe Cakes, Duck Fat Frites, and Beef Tongue Tacos This Week

At District Kitchen, Self Portrait, and Burro Bar

Chicken tamale ahogada (fresh corn masa, chicken tinga, salsa ranchera, tres quesos, black bean pasata)
Chicken tamale ahogada at Burro Bar
Courtesy of Kim Marshall

Bold Flavors

The Boston Globe’s Ellen Bhang visits District Kitchen in Malden for some dishes that appear to be a cross between Vietnamese cuisine and Mexican. She tucks into some banh xeo chicken salad tacos, which prove to be a play on a Vietnamese crepe that comes to the table in taco size, and she recommends eating them with a knife and fork. “This kitchen flies the flag for bold flavor,” she writes, noting that the Thai papaya salad, seasoned with fish sauce, is “one of the best in town.” Bhang writes that you “can’t go wrong with the pork-and-vegetable gyoza” or the summer rolls with shrimp, pork, and garlic chives. She also praises the matcha mille-feuille (or crepe cake) that’s “a little earthy and just gently sweet.”

Proper Plates

Kara Baskin checks out the newly opened Self Portrait in Cambridge for her latest Globe piece. Chef Tim Wiechmann’s take on French cuisine gives off “old-school bistro” vibes, according to Baskin, with dishes like charcuterie soup, roast chicken, and duck fat frites. There are three- and five-course menu options, or guests can order a la carte. Starters include horseradish-cured salmon gravlax and poached eggs over leeks and puff pastry soaked in morel cream and could make a meal in and of themselves, Baskin writes. The entrees are not what Baskin would call trendy but are rather “proper plates,” including roast chicken with braised bacon and carrots and scallop boudin blanc with salt cod potatoes and asparagus. There are also cocktails, cognac, and French wine.

Nontraditional Tacos

The Painted Burro’s new Brookline sibling, Burro Bar, serves up “pretty fine food in a cacophonous neighborhood bar eternally dressed up for Cinco de Mayo,” writes MC Slim JB in his latest for The Improper Bostonian. Highlights include the chicken tamale ahogada — a tamale that is “terrific” despite being “mighty gussied-up” and the queso fundido, a “genuine surprise” that “turned out to be uncommonly rich and fascinating.” Tacos — “almost uniformly overstuffed, ingredient-busy and saucy” — are a mixed bag, but the “fatty and luscious” short rib taco is one to try. If the windows are closed, be prepared for a “punishingly loud” noise level.

Is it a Taco? A Vietnamese Crepe? Questions You’ll Ask at District Kitchen. [BG]
At Self Portrait, Trendiness Is So Yesterday [BG]
Frisky Donkey [IB]

District Kitchen

2 Florence Street, , MA 02148 (781) 480-3113 Visit Website

Burro Bar (Brookline)

1665 Beacon St., Brookline, MA 02445 Visit Website

Self Portrait

377 Walden Street, Cambridge, MA 02138 (617) 864-4745 Visit Website

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