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Bites

A roundup of recent restaurant reviews

Cedar roasted salmon on a potato and cauliflower cake from chef/co-owner Robin King at Oro in Scituate. Cedar roasted salmon on a potato and cauliflower cake from chef/co-owner Robin King at Oro in Scituate. (Debee Tlumacki for The Boston Globe)
By Devra First
Globe Staff / June 1, 2011

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Extraordinary | Excellent | Good | Fair | (No stars) Poor

LOCAL 149 149 P St., South Boston. 617-269-0900. The menu declares this a “neighborhood joint.’’ There’s something here for everyone, from salmon steak with sprouted lentil salad to burgers and hot dogs. Of course, a hot dog costs $8, but that’s just fine. South Boston is comfortably home to people of all collars — blue, white, ironic vintage T. When everyone is being served, that’s a successful neighborhood. Local 149’s upscale comfort food is a refreshing alternative to pervasive pub fare, and taps dispense local and Belgian beer rather than Bud. The place serves the neighborhood well. The day a hot dog at Sullivan’s costs $8, we have a problem. (5/25/11)

OM 92 Winthrop St., Cambridge. 617-576-2800. When South End restaurant Ginger Park closed, chef Patricia Yeo said she planned to open her own place, serving the tasty, Asian-inspired small plates for which she is known. Instead, she wound up at Om, where thus far she is not at the top of her game. The food is often lackluster. Flavors aren’t as bright, fresh, or spicy as they were at Ginger Park. Fortunately, Om may be more of a way station for the chef than a focus. Its owners are opening a new restaurant, Moksa, in Central Square. It’s slated to debut in September. Yeo will head that kitchen, as well. She is a real talent, at least some of the time. Here’s hoping Moksa finds her back at the top of her game. (5/18/11)

ORO 162 Front St., Scituate. 781-378-2465. This Scituate hot spot has a pleasant seaside feeling without being “too yo-ho-ho,’’ as chef and co-owner Robin King puts it. Decorated in neutrals, with light wood beams and big windows, the room is bright and airy. King has cooked at Tosca in Hingham, Mistral, and Stella. He buys his seafood from local boats and much of his produce from area farms. Oro’s menu presents an elegant version of New England. Dishes feature clean, classic flavors with a few twists: corn chowder with clams and bacon, crispy Scituate lobster cakes. Not every dish is equally strong, but dinner at Oro still is a lovely end to a day spent strolling by the sea. (5/11/11)

606 CONGRESS Renaissance Boston Waterfront Hotel, 606 Congress St., Boston. 617-476-5606. An airy room with blue upholstery and wood finishes, 606 Congress looks like a perfectly nice but generic hotel restaurant. But in November, Rich Garcia joined up as executive chef, after an impressive stint at Tastings Wine Bar & Bistro in Foxborough. He focuses on sustainability and local sourcing, particularly when it comes to seafood. He uses these ingredients to craft dishes that are both creative and comforting. He doesn’t make the usual concessions for picky hotel guests. (Lunch, lounge, and room service menus offer sandwiches and such alongside his more unusual creations.) Let them eat beef heart. They’ll like it, too — it’s delicious. (5/4/11)

TRES GATOS 470 Centre St., Jamaica Plain. 617-477-4851. A tapas bar meets a music-and-book store in J.P., and the result is the perfect quirky neighborhood spot. The Spanish-inspired food is prepared with real chops by executive chef Marcos Sanchez (Dante) and sous chef Lydia Reichert (Craigie on Main). Because Tres Gatos is tiny, the prices reasonable, and the food delicious, it is often crowded. Waiting for a seat gives you time to get reacquainted with the joys of browsing through records and books, if you’ve gotten out of the habit. Here, doing so is even better than you remember, because the cheerful servers will bring a bottle and wineglasses to the store area. Cheers to offline shopping, tactile, serendipitous, and — now — thirst-quenching, too. (4/27/11)

Ratings

  • 4 Stars Extraordinary
  • 3 Stars Excellent
  • 2 Stars Good
  • 1 Star Fair
  • No Stars Poor