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    Tables: Italian classics in Brookline, plus Cava makes its Fenway debut

    Replacements: Brookline’s Fairsted Kitchen (1704 Beacon St. at Williston Road) is now Grassona’s Italian, serving red-sauce classics prepared by former Fairsted chef Phil Dwyer, who also cooked at the now-closed Ribelle and West Bridge.

    “I think every neighborhood needs an Italian restaurant,” says owner Steve Bowman, who also ran Fairsted. “This isn’t a comfortable age. It’s unsettling. I wanted to bring something warm, welcoming, and familiar, and this just seemed right.”

    Bowman recommends the calamarata with shellfish puttanesca with smoked olives, capers, anchovies, and garlic, or the lasagna alla norma.


    “It knocks any vegetable lasagna I’ve had out of the park,” he says.

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    Another favorite? Crispy buffalo mozzarella.

    “We tried to make the best cheese stick we could,” he says.

    The restaurant is open for dinner, with brunch to follow soon.

    As for the name?


    “It’s a pet name that translates as ‘fat lady,’ like a beloved aunt or little niece. It’s tongue-in-cheek, playful,” Bowman says.

    Openings: Washington, D.C., fast-casual Mediterranean export Cava has opened in the Fenway (1346 Boylston St. at Kilmarnock Street). It’s known for dips — a “crazy feta” mousse with jalapeno peppers is a favorite — plus pita sandwiches and grain bowls. The 39-seat restaurant is open from 10:45 a.m. until 10 p.m. daily. More Cavas will open later this year in the Back Bay, Kendall Square, and at Dedham’s Legacy Place and Hingham’s Derby Street Shoppes.

    Oisa Ramen Slurp & Go has opened downtown, adjacent to Tiki Rock, a Polynesian cocktail bar (2 Broad St. at State Street). Warm up with vegetable broth with beef tenderloin, truffle oil, and fried sunchokes, or vegetable and pork bone broth with pork belly, egg, and burnt garlic oil.

    Coming soon: 75 on Courthouse Square (60 Seaport Blvd.) is slated to open for dinner on Jan. 26, from the team behind 75 on Liberty Wharf and 75 Chestnut. Explore a build-your-own Bloody Mary bar and feast on comforting dishes: pumpkin ravioli, chili, and grilled lamb chops.


    Kara Baskin can be reached at