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Critic Falls in Love With New Restaurant in South End’s Crowded French Scene

Plus, reviews of Tanám in Somerville, Big King in Providence, and Democracy Brewing in Boston

Cheesy French onion soup in a gold bowl
French onion soup at Bar Lyon
Rachel Leah Blumenthal/Eater

Omelets to Love

Bar Lyon is the French bistro the South End needs, despite plenty of nearby competition, according to Devra First, who reviews the restaurant for the Boston Globe, calling it an oasis of warmth. Bar Lyon is a good place for a quick stop and a meal at the bar, or for lingering over dish after dish. “This is food with energy, a repertoire cooked out of love for these dishes rather than a sense of duty to serve them,” First writes. The onion soup has a melted Gruyere that slowly surrenders “its crispness to the broth,” according to First, who also eats a “perfectly dressed” salad and falls in love with an omelet. Other highlights include the crisp-skinned duck confit, the quenelle de brochet, and the juicy chicken. Overall, First gives the restaurant three stars out of four — “excellent” — writing that while it isn’t perfect, “it is a pretty perfect neighborhood restaurant.”

A “Perfect Second Restaurant”

First also makes her way to Providence for a review of Big King, a restaurant from James Beard nominee James Mark (of the acclaimed North in Providence) that’s approaching its one-year anniversary. First calls it a “perfect second restaurant” with a menu focused on “vegetables and seafood, mostly, with a little meat.” The seafood soars, including raw black bass folded around seaweed paste, seasonal Maine uni, and slivers of raw fluke. Some fish, like the sea bream or monkfish, are charcoal-grilled and served with a bowl of dashi. First recommends a meal with sake pairings, to hear the passion for the beverage from Mark himself. She rates Big King three stars out of four, writing that the restaurant “feels very much an expression of Mark himself, at this moment.”

Narrative Dining

MC Slim JB reviews Filipino-American restaurant Tanám at Somerville’s Bow Market for the Improper Bostonian, finding “more than a mere restaurant” from chef Ellie Tiglao. He samples the Aláya menu, which consists of five set courses with seafood, charred duck leg, a mung bean soup, and accompanying vegetable preparations. Tiglao embraces a concept of narrative dining, and talks Slim through the meal, sharing her own story as well. The Kamayan menu is “traditional, novel and casually fun,” Slim writes — it’s a banquet-style, utensil-free dining experience. There are crisp-fried pork spring rolls, steamed Maine lobster, and various accompaniments and dips. “It’s a senses-dazzling free-for-all,” Slim writes. “Tanám delivers something unique and uncommonly moving for a restaurant experience,” he concludes.

A Cozy Downtown Brewery

Marc Hurwitz reviews Democracy Brewing in Downtown Crossing for Dig Boston. The space feels more like a cozy beer hall or old-fashioned pub than a brewery, Hurwitz writes, and though “Democracy Brewing is one of an increasing number of breweries that focuses on both food and drink,” the beer is still a main draw, with highlights including the oatmeal stout and the Consummate Rider IPA. On the food side, he samples the popular pizza bagels, beef barley soup, and an “old-school” macaroni and cheese with “delicious cubes of lardon-style bacon.” He also recommends the burger and the classic beer hall-style chicken schnitzel.

Yes, the South End Needed Another French Restaurant [BG]
With Big King Restaurant in Providence, James Mark Continues Telling His Story [BG]
Funky Family Feed [IB]
Enjoying More Than Simply Suds at DTX’s Unique Beer Hall [DB]

Tanám at Bow Market

1 Bow Market Wy., Suite 17, Somerville, MA 02143 (617) 669-2144 Visit Website

Democracy Brewing

35 Temple Place, , MA 02111 (857) 263-8604 Visit Website

Bar Lyon

1750 Washington Street, , MA 02118 (617) 904-4020 Visit Website

Bow Market

1 Bow Market Way, , MA 02143 Visit Website

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