A pal who lives in West Roxbury lured me out to check out Cafe LeRoyal, an unprepossessing little joint on Centre St near the Highland station of the Needham commuter rail line. A storefront-sized room, an open kitchen, a short wine list, and quite lovely food, with a number of North African dishes sprinkled in with the French bistro menu. My lamb tagine ($17), while served on a conventional plate, was a complex, savory wonder, with prunes, apricots, almonds, and a fluffy cloud of couscous in the middle: swoony. West Roxbury hasn't got much in the way of interesting food, but this little place, which is not so new, is well worth a visit. Pretty fine desserts, too.
Arbor in JP delivered another home run on a recent, busy weekend night. This time I tried every one of the mezze, and had to get extras on the duck arancini, they were so delicious. Everyone in a crowd of eight (mostly high-maintenance) diners was very, very pleased, and the service here is very friendly and efficient. We drank a lot of good wine, shared desserts, and lingered; $80/head seemed a deal for such a luxe birthday party.
26th anniversary at Icarus was a fabulous deal: apps of codcakes and a salad, entrees of tomato risotto and bluefish, desserts of blueberry cobbler and strawberry shortcake. Portions seemed larger than usual; I can usually ace an app and entree here, but not that night. The $26 Cote du Rhone wasn't a steal, but seemed right for the weeknight. Icarus atmopshere, service that hustled in spite of the cut-rate prices, and a $78 check: mighty nice. We tipped as on a normal Icarus check; still a steal.