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Where to eat

What has the Globe's food critic recommended lately? These newcomers -- serving everything from Italian small plates to sushi -- passed the taste test.

By Devra First
April 4, 2010

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**** Extraordinary *** Excellent ** Good * Fair (no stars) Poor

Bistro du Midi ***

A “Restaurant” with a capital R. None of that upscale pub grub that’s been going around. No waiters who want to be your pal. Just classic food and well-mannered service, all in good taste. Chef Robert Sisca comes from New York seafood specialist Le Bernardin, and seafood may be Bistro du Midi’s best event. The beef daube and desserts are wonderful, too. 272 Boylston Street, Boston, 617-426-7878, bistrodumidi.com

Coppa Enoteca ***

Chaos. Tasty, tasty chaos. A partnership between chefs Ken Oringer and Jamie Bissonnette, Coppa is tiny, insanely crowded, and totally wonderful. Like Oringer’s Toro a few blocks away, it’s a neighborhood party with great food. Those lines aren’t likely to get any shorter. It’s worth the wait for the Italian-inspired small plates, salumi, pasta, and pizza crafted from local, seasonal ingredients. 253 Shawmut Avenue, Boston, 617-391-0902, coppaboston.com

East by Northeast **½

Noodles, dumplings, pork belly buns, and an obsession with pigs -- chef Phillip Tang and the new East by Northeast have much in common with New York’s famed David Chang and his meat-centric Momofuku restaurants. But Tang’s Chinese small plates have more soul than swagger. The food feels hand-hewn. More than meat, this is a showcase for local vegetables, and for dough. Breads, dumplings, and fabulous, chewy noodles are hand-rolled in the kitchen. Specials are actually special. As is East by Northeast -- no comparisons necessary. 1128 Cambridge Street, Cambridge, 617-876-0286, exnecambridge.com

Fish Market **½

With 19 seats, Fish Market rivals Oishii in Chestnut Hill for being the smallest sushi bar in the Boston area. The similarity is more than superficial -- it’s run by Oishii alums. The fish is impeccably fresh, and multi-ingredient rolls are more than just novelties. The chefs play with taste and texture combinations to enhance and illuminate the ingredients. The reasonable prices more than make up for any lack of frills. 170 Brighton Avenue, Allston, 617-783-1268, fishmarketsushibar.com

Ginger Park **½

Reinvented and it feels so good. Until a few months ago, Ginger Park was Banq, serving up cool decor and muted French-Asian flavors. Now it’s amped things up, focusing on Asian small plates, bold flavors, and fun. Chef Patricia Yeo moved here from New York to take over the kitchen; she has apprenticed with street vendors in China, Malaysia, and Thailand. Ginger Park is the restaurant Banq always wanted to be. 1375 Washington Street, Boston, 617-451-0077, gingerparkboston.com

Market ***

One of the mere 50 restaurants Jean-Georges Vongerichten says he plans to open in the next five years. Is culinary world domination a good thing or a bad thing? If all the restaurants offer the quality Market does right now, it would be hard to complain. The fare here ranges from exciting comfort food (Parmesan-crusted chicken with artichokes and lemon-basil butter) to sophisticated pastiches of herbs and broths. Haddock in coconut water with parsnip puree is positively inhalable. W Boston, 100 Stuart Street, Boston, 617-310-6790, marketbyjgboston.com

The Regal Beagle **

Named for the pub that is the main characters’ hangout in Three’s Company, this is the neighborhood joint Coolidge Corner needed. It offers wallet-friendly American bistro food for brunch, lunch, and dinner, serves late, rotates specials to keep regulars from getting bored, and has a bar. Dishes like pan-seared scallops with pistachio crust, a dried cherry glaze, and butternut squash risotto are often stronger than basics like mac ’n’ cheese, perhaps due to chef Laura Henry-Zoubir’s stints at Hamersley’s, Prezza, and Taranta. 308 Harvard Street, Brookline, 617-739-5151, thebeaglebrookline.com

Woodward **

Located in the new Ames hotel, this restaurant/lounge is the brainchild of Seth Greenberg, the man behind the Paradise, M-80, Mistral, and more. Now in his 40s, he’s outgrown the club business, but not fun. With Woodward, he offers night life for adults. Dishes like duck confit flatbread and veal pastrami satisfy, but the real draws are the drinks, the stylish decor, and the scene. 1 Court Street, Boston, 617-979-8200, woodwardatames.com

These capsules are drawn from reviews that have previously appeared in the Globe. For more dining out ideas, go to boston.com/food.