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JULY 2001

Special Section:
Restaurants in Suburban Boston

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Special Section: Restaurants in Suburban Boston

On a recent trip to the sburbs of Boston, I was able to try several restaurants. Following are my reviews:

--Il Capriccio, 888 Main Street, Waltham MA. Phone: (781) 894-2234. Il Capriccio is an upscale, nicely furnished Italian-with-other-influences restaurant. The menu here is limited, but there are dishes you won't find everywhere, such as the fava bean and raisin salad or a pistachio-stuffed loin of rabbit with watercress. Some dishes are available in either smaller or larger portions, a great idea if you'll be sharing plates, want to try many foods, or just aren't that hungry. And, better still, the restaurant has a policy of no cell phone use at the table--hallelujah! Recommended dishes: beet salad with goat cheese; roast duck with vin santo, peaches, and mushrooms; sauteed soft shell crab with red onion and orange; kiwi and lime tart. Very good service, too. Absolutely worth a visit if you're going to be in the area.

--Stellina, 47 Main Street, Watertown, MA. Phone: (617) 924-9475. This was my second visit to Stellina, and I'm delighted to report that the positive impression I received on my first visit here was not merely a fluke. The menu here is small, but be warned you may well want to try everything on it! An informal setting and a prompt, friendly waitstaff add to the appeal here. Recommended dishes: softshell crabs (served with mixture of linguine, parsley, asparagus, red pepper, corn, etc.); spinach crespelle; ginger zabaglione with mango and strawberries. And promise me you'll order the crab risotto cakes if they're on the menu! A perfect place to take someone who appreciates good food or needs to be introduced to it.

--Legal Seafood, various locations in the Boston area. Oh, dear. Legal has tried to re-do itself with not very good results. For years, this was a reputable seafood chain; you could always be certain of reliably good fish and shellfish in a nice environment. Now, however, they've tried to go upscale. A much-reduced menu with overly-loud jazz in the background might have been a warning sign, but we ignored it. Bluefish pate, an old standard of mine, looked about the same as ever, but it was much too acidic to be palatable. My grilled salmon brushed with teriyaki sauce was good and moist, but the accompanying sugar peas were in a greasy, nondescript glaze. One companion had a bowl of good clam chowder, but another was not pleased with her mediocre smoked salmon; when she tried to order wholegrain bread to go with it, she was told the restaurant had none, and the white bread they did have was not of good quality. Altogether, an overpriced, disappointing meal.

--Golden Temple, Brookline, MA. I'm not providing any further contact information for this restaurant; you'll find it if you really want to. It's a pretty place, with an astonishingly large and varied menu including a number of vegetarian dishes. Unfortunately, the food, while adequate, isn't at all special (except for the enjoyable scallion pancakes). And service for my party of 6, for which we had made reservations, began well enough, but became disgracefully slow during the course of the meal. There are too many other choices for Chinese food in the area to bother with this restaurant.