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Restaurants & Bars 2

Some good and not so good eating

Joanie | Jan 29, 2008 05:00 AM

A friend and I went to Alchemist last week where I got their burger for the first time. $12 for a burger w/ no cheese at that place seems overpriced to me. It was good altho less than medium w/ lots of decent fries. He just got a mixed green salad (vegan that he is) which was huge. The foccacia doesn't seem to be as good as when they first opened. Quiet on a cold Mon., very nice service.

Three of us were able to get seated pretty quickly at Toro on Thurs., at the end of the room which was good. Since I was with *another* vegetarian (sigh), we didn't eat as varied foods as we could have but we all enjoyed the sangria. Finally tried that grilled corn which truly is a great dish. Marinated cheese was pretty boring, brussel sprouts very good, fried potatoes w/ aioli tasty but not too exciting. Two of us shared grilled shrimp which were great. The bread is good but you have to ask for olive oil, and since many dishes don't have sauces, I'm surprised they don't automatically bring it out. We split the churros for dessert and they were nice, no other desserts appealed. Pretty good service keeping me fairly well supplied with water.

Tried Bistro 712 in Norwood on Sat. since they were part of that Arts & Entertainment weekend deals, offering any 3 courses for $33. Norwood is a cute little town and the restaurant was too altho there was a bottleneck by the door with people coming and going and getting their coats. I like the little 4 seat bar but made reservations to be sure we had a place to sit. We had a nice young water who also was good about refilling water, but couldn't tell you anything about wine since he wasn't 21. I had a pinto grigio and out of the very limited beer choices, my friend had a Newport Ale which was actually decent. The bread and olive spread was good. The appetizers were esp. yummy sounding, we started w/ seared scallops in some nice sauce and I had the duck confit which was crispy, served on greens w/ pecans. It took a LONG time for them to come out but they were worth it. Next course wasn't quite as good, they had run out of the bone in fillet so I had hanger steak instead w/ goat cheese mashed potatoes and baby carrots. The carrots weren't done enough, almost too much goat cheese in the mashed, and the steak taste more of char than steak. It was okay but not great. Friend's lamb belly seemed better altho a little fatty on my one bite. The real drag was dessert. I got an apple/cranberry crisp and it was in a pool of butter which was just gross. Ate a little off the top and the dab of ice cream but that was that. Glad I wasn't too hungy and I mentioned to the kid that he might want to let them know the butter was excessive. If I were in Norwood for some reason, I'd try to grab a seat at the bar and try some other apps but not rushing back.

After the T not cooperating on Sun. and the sneaker store being closed (cuz those Gazelles were calling my name and lord knows I need another pair of shoes), I walked down Columbus Ave. thinking I'd go to Petit Robert Bistro but passed Amsterdam Cafe which I hadn't gone to yet and figured that would be a good place for a sandwich. I dealt with a guy who had the personality of plaster, decided on a grilled chicken/swiss/caramelized onion panini. What came was fairly soggy since the onions should have been in the middle of the cheese and what I guess was chicken. It was the flattest patty, reminded you of something you'd get at a 7-11 or out of a machine. I was starving and actually ate the whole thing, altho when some chicken slipped out, I left it and concentrated on the decent taste of the onions. Man, why didn't I go to PRB?

Ate at the bar of Green St. last nite and didn't realize they had a whole book of cocktails besides the specials they automatically hand out to people. I asked the bartender for a recommendation telling him my likes and when I mentioned ginger beer, he told me he was making a Phipp's Fizz (I think that's the name). It was delicious, rum, g. beer and maybe some lemon juice. A bargain too at about $6.50. For those of you looking for Maine shrimp, get over to Green St. They had an appetizer of a ton of them for $8. I'm not really a make a mess and eat the whole shell kind of gal, but these were great served with a yummy aioli. Both of us had the wonderful corn chowder w/ bacon and 4 perfectly fried clams on top. I also got a side of brussel sprouts w/ bacon for only $5 and he had the app of pig's feet bruschetta. I had a tiny taste of the foot, wasn't so good but maybe with a bite of bread I would have liked it better. Not too busy on a Mon., unsurprisingly. Bartender was cool, I need to come here more often.

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