The Other Critics

Hidden Gems in Malden and Dorchester; Sushi Pizza on Newbury Street

• Ike DeLorenzo lets us in on the secret that is Biryani Park in Malden, a “homespun restaurant” with “world-class taste.” The crowd is diverse: suburbanites from Acton, Sri Lankan guys from BU. What they have in common is a nose for authenticity. The space is “otherworldly” and “effortlessly bright”; “bold, wide stripes of color” rule the small dining room. Dry curries are a hit, and “concentrated flavor clings to tender meat, forkful after tidy forkful.” [Globe]

• Robert Nadeau is a fan of Forum in the old Vox Populi space in the Back Bay. Striped bass was “done wisely” (and you get to choose how long it’s cooked); deconstructed BLT soup is good in theory but the bacon was underdone. Still, the real stunner is deconstructed beef Wellington, baked in a succulent “freeform pie.” [Phoenix]

• Ariel Shearer visits Somerville’s Taza chocolate factory, “tucked deep in a neighborhood of auto yards and tow lots.” It smells better than it looks; “the sweet aroma of cacao fumes perks up your senses instantly.” Visit for their free Day of the Dead fiesta on October 29 and enjoy Mass-Mex fare, a parade with a mariachi band, and, of course, plenty of chocolate. [Phoenix]

• Back Bay’s Idataki offers “Japanese standards that are approachable to American palates.” Ergo crabmeat-topped sushi pizza. Happily, the crab was fresh and “the peppery arugula was a worthy match for the briny tobiko caviar.” There was too much mayo, though. Overall, the pizza resembled the original Italian dish “only in shape,” but it’s still a fun fusion dish. [Boston]

• Best hidden gem we’ve read about lately: Florian Hall, the Local 718 firefighters’ union hall, which Kerry Byrne tells us has a full-service restaurant serving lunch on weekdays. “The tastefully appointed dining room seats 150. It has a full liquor license, a large menu of casual-dining favorites and 10 specials each day.” Who knew? [Herald]

Hidden Gems in Malden and Dorchester; Sushi Pizza on Newbury Street