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SMALL BITES

Here are some excerpts from recent Dining Out reviews. Full Dining Out reviews appear every other Sunday.

Jimmy's Steer House

114 Broadway (Route 1 North) Saugus

781-233-8600

When you're in search of a decent meal and you're not sure where to go, you always feel comfortable choosing Jimmy's.

It is foremost a steakhouse, and there are plenty of red meat choices, from burgers to filet mignon. But you don't have to have beef. The menu caters to popular choices that include a few chicken dishes and lots of seafood. Surf-and-turf entrees in almost any combination are available.

On this visit, the restaurant offered a special of baked stuffed shrimp and teriyaki steak tips ($14.99). Three large juicy shrimp were topped with a moist stuffing. A half dozen large nuggets of steak tips were grilled as ordered and were tender and full of sweet, smoky flavor.

Before our entrees arrived, we snacked on a large plate of fried calamari ($6.99), warm, golden, and fairly tender, and an order of appropriately seasoned buffalo chicken tenders ($6.49).

A chocolate dessert called ''Outrageous" ($3.99) was too tempting to resist. Its billing exceeded its performance.

Our food came promptly and as ordered, as did drinks and refills, including a glass of Tremont Ale on draft, just one more reason to keep us coming back.

PHIL SANTORO

Pescione's Kitchen

1070 Main St., Malden

781-322-3783

Pescione's will celebrate its 13th birthday on Labor Day weekend.

Not much has changed at this family-owned Italian restaurant. Richard Marcella and his wife, Phyllis, whose maiden name is Pescione, are still at the helm. The kitchen still turns out megaportions of pasta and other Italian fare. And, in a practical twist, the menu is still categorized by prices rather than types of food, such as ''dinners under $7," ''dinners under $8," and so on.

The restaurant's 80-seat dining room is dimly lighted. But some of the cooking at Pescione's gives the North End a run for its money.

After one forkful of the cappellini with ham and broccoli ($4.95), an appetizer nicknamed the ''cap app," it became one of my favorite pasta dishes of all time. It's such a popular dish that it's now available as an entree, too.

Butternut squash ravioli ($13.95) sweetened with amaretto is one of the most delicious pastas I've ever had.

SACHA PFEIFFER

Causeway Restaurant

78 Essex Ave., Gloucester

978-281-5256

It was the buzz that convinced us that we had to check out the Causeway Restaurant in Gloucester. We had heard, from all sources, that the portions at the Causeway were huge.

Every table in the 51-seat restaurant was filled the Thursday night we arrived at 7 p.m., and the waiting line outside was growing.

This seemed like just the kind of place to eat fried clams, and my husband ordered a plate of them for $15.95. He was impressed with the size of the platter and just as impressed with the clams.

Next came the grilled steak tips ($9.95) for our son. His eyes lit up at the pile of them.

My baked coconut rum haddock ($12.95) was about the amount I would serve three people at home. It was topped with a coat of rum-and-coconut-flavored breadcrumbs.

The climax of the evening was placed before our friend. He ordered the seafood marinara ($15.95) with shrimp, scallops, mussels, and calamari on a bed of linguine. It arrived in a big metal dish that looked like an oversized frying pan.

Slices of chocolate cake and cheesecake (both $3.95) made a fine ending to our meal. It didn't seem fair to linger, not with the line that had grown outside.

COCO MCCABE

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