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One Lone Critic Is ‘Not a Fan’ of Pretty Much the Whole World’s Favorite Lobster Roll

Plus, an Improper Bostonian review of Grassona’s Italian

A mound of brown butter-tossed lobster meat sits atop a soft, fluffy bun. The lobster roll at Eventide is one of the best in New England.
The famous brown butter lobster roll at Eventide’s original location in Maine (it’s bigger at the Boston location)
Bill Addison/Eater

Too Much Lobster Roll

Boston Magazine’s Jolyon Helterman pays a visit to Eventide in Fenway for his latest review. Right out of the gate, Helterman makes an admission rabid Eventide followers may deem shocking: He’s “not a fan” of the restaurant’s acclaimed brown butter lobster roll on a steamed bao-style bun, a lobster roll that just about every other critic and casual food fan and social media user won’t shut up about. Part of Helterman’s criticism of the critical darling, though, is the size of the roll (bigger at the Boston location than in Portland, Maine), which could inhibit diners from fully exploring what he calls “the menu’s stronger sections.”

Helterman places the restaurant’s crudo in this category, including the “velvety tuna” and the salmon, which is “lavished with scallion-tofu purée, furikake crunchies, and floral-citrus yuzu kosho chili.” Were they served on something other than compostable plates, “you could sneak them onto an O Ya omakase,” he notes. Other highlights include the fried oyster plate and the daily specials, including grilled octopus skewers. For dessert, don’t skip the brown butter soft serve, which Helterman calls “so rich, so decadent, so buttercream-frosting intense, you almost need a bao bun to buffer it.”

‘Damn Charming’ Italian Food

MC Slim JB reviews Grassona’s Italian in Brookline for his latest in the Improper Bostonian, describing it as “North End red sauce, but with better details and a superior beverage program.” Slim writes that the vegetable antipasto “includes a superior version of eggplant caponata,” along with sweet roasted peppers, and the slow-braised meatballs “draw tender depths from pork, beef, veal, bacon and chorizo, and feature a sweet, bright sugo.” He also praises the mussels fra diavolo, which comes with a “vividly spiked” tomato sauce. Other highlights range from the creamy white bean soup to rigatoni with lamb ragu, and the lasagna alla norma “is one of the lovelier vegetarian pasta dishes I’ve sampled in a while,” Slim writes. The whole bone-in branzino is skillfully cooked, and the veal porterhouse is “elegant and delectable.”

Slim’s high praise extends to the overall ambiance of the restaurant: “an actual whiff of Italian-American grandma cooking, with all its rustic simplicity, generosity and eagerness to please.”

Restaurant Review: Eventide Fenway [BM]
Nonna Mia [Improper]

Grassona's Italian

1704 Beacon St., Brookline, MA 02445 (617) 396-8752 Visit Website

Eventide Fenway

1321 Boylston Street, , MA 02215 (617) 545-1060 Visit Website