Restaurant Critic Roundup: 'From 20-Somethings to 60-Somethings,' Everyone Comes to Eat at Cook

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"Couples sit side by side at the bar, the women in black with long hair and the men in plaid or checked button-downs. They have the Friday-night yawns, but they persevere with date night all the same," says Boston Globe critic Devra First of new restaurant Cook.

This week in restaurant news, critic Devra First reviews Newton, Mass.'s new restaurant Cook, where she says everyone from the neighborhood comes to eat, "from 20-somethings to 60-somethings." "Couples sit side by side at the bar, the women in black with long hair and the men in plaid or checked button-downs. They have the Friday-night yawns, but they persevere with date night all the same," she continues. As for the menu, there are "snacks such as house-made pretzels and bacon-caramel popcorn; appetizers from fried clams in a bag to udon noodles with ribs; assorted flatbreads, available with gluten-free crust; and entrees including NFC — Newton Fried Chicken, of course," she says.

In Los Angeles, critic Jonathon Gold highlights Bucato's version of cacio e pepe, which he describes as "a Roman standard that is nothing more than spaghetti tossed with sheep cheese and a lot of cracked pepper," noting that chef Evan Funke breaks almost every rule of the classic preparation. "Instead of using die-cut dried pasta, he makes the dish with spaghettialla chitarra... He cooks the pasta to a curly softness. The sauce is enriched with butter. It is served in a tiny portion... Cracked pepper coats the spaghetti... As cacio e pepe, Funke's version fails." But, Gold says, "As dinner, it is rather glorious."

In Washington, D.C., new restaurant Baby Wale "covers a lot of turf," says critic Tom Sietsema, noting its offerings of "lumpia, the Filipino equivalent of spring rolls;" "long wands, filled with ground pork and fried to a fine crunch;" and "shredded phyllo encasing buffalo mozzarella."

As always, the ratings range from stars to bells to beans, but every review offers specialized insight into the food, atmosphere, and service of eateries in each city’s dining scene and the critics eating at them.

 

Restaurant Critic Roundup: 10/9/2013

Critic Publication Restaurant Rating
Gael Greene Insatiable Critic Le Restaurant  
Ryan Sutton Bloomberg Alder 2.5 stars
Pete Wells New York TImes The Elm 2 stars
Michael Bauer San Francisco Chronicle Marzano  
Tom Sietsema Washington Post Baby Wale 2 stars
Devra First The Boston Globe Cook  
Jonathan Gold Los Angeles Times Bucato  
Stan Sagner NY Daily News Quality Italian 2 stars
Scott Reitz Dallas Observer Zoli's NY Pizza  
Brad A. Johnson OC Register Taco Maria 3 stars

 

Click here for The Daily Meal's "Top Chefs Review — and Rate — America's Food Critics."

 

Haley Willard is The Daily Meal's assistant editor. Follow her on Twitter at @haleywillrd

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