Small Bite at Tonic

Tonic aims to bring a touch of class to Forest Hills, but badly needs front-of-the-house help.

plate of food

Photo by Ekaterina Smirnova

The Vibe
Led by chef Ryan Kelly (a vet of Canary Square and Clio), Tonic aims to bring a touch of class to J.P.’s Forest Hills neighborhood. Unfortunately, the décor tries too hard: The tables in the dining room would fit in at a Back Bay hotel, while the bar’s white-cocoa-mint martinis and neon-green lighting make it seem like an old set from Sex and the City.

The Food
The seasonally changing fare makes up for the setting, but you’ll have to wait (and wait) for it. Forty-five minutes after finishing our appetizer, our entrées had yet to appear. Once the food came, though, it was quite good: A tuna-tartare-topped “banh mi salad” ($12) was a refined version of the street-food sandwich, while roast duck ($20) was balanced by a pear-and-ramp chutney. However, scallops with daikon radish ($25, pictured above) arrived undercooked.

The Verdict
Kelly clearly knows his way around the stove, but he badly needs front-of-the-house help. After all, it’s hard to become a go-to spot when customers feel second-rate.

3698 Washington St., Jamaica Plain, 617-522-4131,