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Restaurant Critic
Restaurant critic

Devra First

Devra First is the Globe's restaurant critic and food reporter.
phone 617-929-2817
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  • Charlestown restaurant Pier 6 offers a water view for all seasons

    Acquaintances are always returning from vacations to Turkey or Thailand or Tulum with reports of the magical dinners they had on the water, where a guy in a skiff arrived with freshly speared fish and the cook had it over the fire minutes later. They chased it with flagons of local spirits as they gazed into their partner's eyes and listened to the waves lap the shore. They can keep their postcards. We've got water aplenty right here, and if the local spirits are made by a villager named Sam Adams, the atmosphere is as magical in its own way. Take Pier 6, in Charlestown's Navy Yard. Its warm-weather charms are obvious. But eating here on a winter night turns out to be differently splendid.(   03/18/2014 3:10 PM )

  • Newton bistro Lumiere is a steady light on the restaurant scene

    Great food is what makes a great meal. Consistency is what makes a great restaurant. For 15 years, chef-owner Michael Leviton's Lumiere has been serving well-prepared, French-inspired fare in Newton. It is about as consistent as they come. As is often the case with well-loved neighborhood bistros, the restaurant isn't particularly fashionable. It is a simple space with white wainscoting, beige walls hung with black-and-white photos, burgundy accents, and upholstery patterned with whimsical swirls. There is a small bar area from which one can peek into the kitchen; more seats were added during a 2010 expansion. It feels, as a friend said, like "the type of place you'd take your mother-in-law to lunch." So it is easy to forget Lumiere was ahead of its time.(   03/11/2014 6:00 PM )

  • Finally, a luxurious seafood restaurant comes to Boston

    The china pattern is Bernardaud's Ecume, which means "foam" in French. It is white, with a circumference of lacy bubbles that resemble a wave washing ashore. These dishes are used at New York's most acclaimed seafood restaurant. When they appear on a table in the Theatre District here, it is hard to believe it is a coincidence. Ostra wants to be Boston's Le Bernardin. On many nights, it succeeds. Ostra is the latest opening from Columbus Hospitality Group, also behind the likes of Sorellina and Mistral. This one aims for a new level of sophistication. Austere as an iceberg, it has white walls and tablecloths, with large-scale black-and-white photographs of rocky shores and sea hanging on the walls. An open kitchen provides a glint of steel, fronted by an ice-filled case of gleaming whole fish.(   03/04/2014 6:00 PM )

  • Restaurant and bar Ward 8 offers warm comfort on the edge of the North End

    It's another snowy night in the middle of a cold spell that has made most sane humans reluctant to leave their homes. But in a brick-lined space where the North End and West End meet, a crowd has gathered. Ward 8 creates its own microclimate. The new restaurant is owner Nick Frattaroli's first, but he grew up in the business. His family runs Lucia, Filippo, and Ducali in the North End. He clearly knew what the neighborhood was missing. Ward 8 doesn't serve Italian food. It's the kind of place one might find anywhere in the city, offering bistro-inspired food, craft cocktails, and modern-industrial decor -- only in a part of the city one doesn't generally find that kind of place.(   02/26/2014 9:51 AM )

  • Oysters, beer, good cheer: Fort Point seafood restaurant Row 34 is hard to beat

    It used to be one of Boston's most puzzling restaurant riddles. What is everywhere and nowhere at once? Answer: All the great seafood restaurants. There was Legal, Summer Shack, Neptune, B&G, and . . . not much else. Yet the sparkling bounty of New England waters appeared on every fine local menu. To eat good seafood, one just had to go to a good restaurant. Everyone served it. Few specialized. That last part has changed. If anyone is responsible for stoking and demonstrating the city's hunger in this regard, it is the people at Island Creek Oysters. They seeded Boston with namesake bivalves, then begat Island Creek Oyster Bar in Kenmore Square. Now the team has opened Row 34, a new oyster bar in Fort Point.(   02/19/2014 9:40 AM )

  • Concord's branch of Bondir is an admirable sequel, if not an equal

    Bondir Concord is the second installment of the Cambridge restaurant with which it shares a name. Chef-owner Jason Bond opened the first three years ago, and it was close to perfect. Things are very much the same at the new Bondir, the best thing to happen to Concord-area dining in some time (to be precise, since 80 Thoreau opened in 2011). The local, ever-changing dishes are often delicious, the staff welcoming, the decor a mix of antique and modern, this time with a whiff of olde New England. The warren-like space is outfitted with wood tables, benches with firewood stowed beneath, antique card catalogs and quilts, and an enormous, impressive jewel-toned painting of fowl. Yet somehow it doesn't feel quite as magical.(   02/18/2014 9:56 AM )