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SMALL BITES

Here are some excerpts from recent Dining Out reviews by Globe NorthWest correspondents. Full Dining Out reviews appear in most Sunday editions.Lucia's Tavola

181 Route 13, Brookline, N.H.

603-249-9134

The homemade pasta at Lucia's Tavola is well worth the trip to bucolic Brookline, N.H. The angel hair, fettuccine, and pappardelle at this cozy new Italian restaurant were like nothing I had eaten in a long time.

Served atop pasta, the lightly egg-battered chicken alla francese ($13.95) was nicely complemented by subtle overtones of white wine and lemon.

The restaurant's opera motif includes several house specialties named after famed characters, among them The Musetta ($11.95), which combined luscious pappardelle with a flavorful sauce of tomatoes, olives, capers, melted anchovies, garlic, and hot pepper flakes.

Appetizers were uniformly impressive. The Tavola plate ($9.95) combined three wonderful options that are also available separately: pane and provolone, toasted Italian bread with roasted red pepper butter and melted provolone cheese; baked polenta with a hearty meat sauce and mozzarella; and suppli al telefono, fried rice croquettes stuffed with mozzarella.

The restaurant's intimacy has a few drawbacks. Lucia's Tavola has only eight tables and seating for about 25, and the restaurant doesn't accept reservations.

There's a degree of inconsistency in the service, which probably owes partly to the small staff and partly to the restaurant's newness.

STEVE BRADT

Tokyo Japanese Steakhouse and Sushi Bar

219 South Broadway, Salem, N.H.

603-894-7088

Remarkably for a Saturday night, we were seated immediately at one of 14 teppanyaki tables, where we ordered the monkfish and salmon plates.

The tables are situated in the center of a U-shaped seating arrangement, usually for eight diners. Part of the show at a steak house is the slicing and dicing of vegetables in front of patrons. Our chef, who called himself Kid, sauted broccoli, onions, zucchini, and eggplant for us and plopped it onto our plates with a smile. The effect was charming and the textured effect of crunchy and soft vegetables was delightful.

A number of courses are included in the price of the entrees. Chicken consomm with chives and garlic was garnished with crispy noodles and a mushroom slice. The shrimp appetizer that followed tasted as though it had been frozen, but the vegetable tempura was light and tasty.

Steamed rice came with the meal. Fried rice, which cost an extra $1.50, was bland.

The monkfish ($15.95) in a marinade of scallions and soy sauce, was tasteless and a little chewy. But the salmon ($15.95) was fresh, seared with just the right flavoring. Dessert includes fried ice cream ($3.50), which is ice cream wrapped inside a slice of bread that is battered and then fried, regular ice cream ($2.50), and strawberry cheesecake ($2.95).

JOYCE PELLINO CRANE

Seafood Depot

478 High St., West Medford

781-391-7130

Seafood Depot is a longtime West Medford restaurant -- it's now in its 14th year, although its current owner, Celine Kelly, took it over three years ago.

The baked salmon ($10.50), seasoned with ginger and garlic, is superb. The fish and chips ($7.85), made with a coating of milk and flour, is a model of what fried fish should be: light, greaseless, and battered just enough to add flavor but not enough to mask the delicate taste of the fish. The sweet, fat scallops are also fantastic, especially scallops marsala ($9.50), tossed with mushrooms and corkscrew cavatappi pasta in buttery marsala wine sauce.

The clams are one of the few items at Seafood Depot that left us underwhelmed; they're soggy, not crisp. And while the lobster roll's ($8.95) toasted buttered roll registered high marks with us, too much mayonnaise drowned out the sweet lobster.

SACHA PFEIFFER

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