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The Critics Ate Fried Oysters, Ceviche, and So Much More This Week

At Cultivar, Spoke Wine Bar, Puro, The Industry, and SRV

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Chocolate and passion fruit custard at Cultivar
Chocolate passion custard at Cultivar
Rachel Leah Blumenthal for Eater

Pastas That “Shout Lustily”

For The Improper Bostonian, MC Slim JB heads to Cultivar, where chef-owner Mary Dumont’s “worship of the fruits of the earth is evident everywhere,” from the decor to the colorful edible flowers on the plates. Highlights include the “subtle” rabbit mortadella agnolotti, which “grabs attention with a whisper,” compared to the other pastas, which “shout lustily.” Desserts are “beautifully modern,” and the bar program is “stellar.” Overall, the restaurant finds success at “breathing life and fire into the shopworn cliche that is farm-to-table.”

Pudgy Cheese Puffs

The Boston Globe’s Sheryl Julian visits the reopened Spoke Wine Bar in Somerville’s Davis Square. She recommends the fried oysters, which come “piping hot, very crisp but light, juicy, and briny,” she writes. The agnolotti are tender, with pasta and ricotta made in-house, and the cream burrata is garnished with pickled green strawberries. Another highlight: “Flat, pudgy cheddar gougeres,” or choux pastry, stuffed with pureed chickpeas, and the smoked butter bean dip served with warm slices of sourdough. Staff are also happy to offer tastes of unfamiliar wines, Julian writes.

Cute and Unpretentions

The Boston Globe’s Devra First checks in on Puro Ceviche Bar, Kava Neo-Taverna’s younger sibling on Newbury Street. The primary item on the menu is ceviche, or raw seafood marinated in citrus, and First calls the restaurant “cute and unpretentious.” The fish options range from red snapper to sea bass and beyond, presented in a variety of crudo and carpaccio preparations, as well as short rib empanadas, a “paella-esque” arroz con mariscos, and more. To drink, there are cocktails like Pisco sours and wines from Europe and beyond.

Downtown Steak in Dorchester

Bill Forry reviews The Industry for the Dorchester Reporter this week, calling the new restaurant that took over the historic Sonny’s space a “game-changer, offering a satisfying range of high-end and mid-range entrees and apps that will appeal to everyone.” Among those options, Forry calls out the 24-ounce rib eye and the pear and mascarpone sacchetti, made by chef Stephen Coe, formerly of Alba in Quincy. Forry also praises the warm mushroom and asparagus salad, which comes with a crispy egg, and the swordfish with lobster and saffron risotto. The Industry also serves flatbreads and has a kids menu with items like six-ounce steak frites and five-cheese mac. Forry writes: “It’s going to be a very popular spot.”

Flavor Bombs

Larry Olmstead, in a special for USA Today, reviews the South End’s SRV, which specializes in Venetian cuisine. “SRV is a greatly updated and fancier version of what tend to be small, back alley neighborhood watering holes in Venice,” he writes. Wines are offered not just by the glass, but also by the ombra, or Venetian small pour. Classic offerings are well-represented at SRV, he writes, including bacala mantecato, a preserved cod dish pureed into a spread and put on bread. Olmstead writes that the poplette is “hard to stop eating” and the fried stuffed olives are “little surprising flavor bombs.” SRV mills the flour for its pasta in-house, and “it is hard to go wrong when restaurants put this kind of effort and attention to detail into the process,” Olmstead writes. Ultimately, he ranks it a “Yum!” on USA Today’s bizarre rating scale (Blah, OK, Mmmm, Yum!, OMG!)

Garden of Eatin’ [IB]
Outstanding Snacks and Small-Estate Pours at Spoke Wine Bar in Davis Square [BG]
An Early Look at Puro Ceviche Bar, Serving Citrusy Seafood on Newbury Street [BG]
From The Industry, Gourmet Fare Steals the Show in Adams Village [DR]
An Authentic Taste of Venice in Boston [USA Today]

Spoke Wine Bar

89 Holland Street, , MA 02144 (617) 718-9463 Visit Website


Court Street, , MA 02108 (617) 979-8203 Visit Website


569 Columbus Avenue, , MA 02118 (617) 536-9500 Visit Website


264 Newbury St., Boston, MA 02116