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Robinwood Cafe, Pho Lemongrass, Toscano

Joanie | Jan 14, 201004:08 AM

So I guess I'm the first to hit the former Planet Pizza (and Green Elm), the Robinwood Cafe and Grill in JP. Since I pass it at least twice a day, it was time. A few people at the counter, quiet otherwise. The place is pleasant enough and certainly a step up but won't win any prizes. Just wanted a quick grilled cheese and bacon cuz I was rushing home then going back out, figured I'd save half for lunch. Got rung up by the waiter (yes, waitresses and waiters there) who's a sweetie who used to work at Fiore Bakery. $5.45 and 5 min later I had it in the plastic container to go. It was pretty heavy and I'm wondering if I got a side of fries with it and sure enough, a bunch of fresh fries (of generic frozen kind) AND a side of cole slaw and pickles. It was exactly what you'd expect but obviously a good deal. They list a bunch of panini and I don't know if that means they're done on a grill or not but will check it out. Breakfast served all day, a few fried fish things, didn't study the menu much. Will go back.

Plans got wicked screwed up on Mon., a friend and I thought we were finally going to check out the Regal Beagle in Coolidge Corner but a beer dinner was going on. I really wanted that kind of atmosphere and there's not much else in the area plus she didn't want to walk to Brookline Village. We ended up at Pho Lemongrass, my first time there actually. We ordered some silly drinks but the waiter had to go ask about what was in them (since no descriptions are on the menu) and split the fried ravioli and a grilled shrimp bun w/ spring roll. Dumplings were fine, we were excited when two spring rolls came with the dish but they were funky. Not sure what was up with that, kind of put me off the rest of the meal but the noodles and stuff were okay. It was about $30 w/ tax.

Had a great dinner at Toscano on Charles St., hadn't been there in at least 15 years so can't be sure how much different the remodel is. We crowded into the bar which had a neighborhoody feel. Tried a different white white, friend went with a draft and we dug into good bread and olive oil (they leave big bottles of oil and vinegar for you to pour yourself). Grilled squid w/ some greens and a half order of papardelle (sp) w/ duck ragout were excellent, esp. the pasta dish. They had many great sounding pastas. And entrees, but the bartender recited all these specials, with no prices, and who can remember the details of 2-3 apps and at least 5 specials? Just print a menu with descriptions. I went with the rack of lamb (on the menu) which was really good ($28), served with creamy mashed potatoes and he told us a veg came with it but nothing showed up so I *think* we got the side of tasty green beans for free when I asked about the veg. Friend had a nice steak with peppercorn sauce. We were full but decided to split the apricot tart w/ vanilla ice cream but that was pretty mediocre, just dull and not a good crust. But I really enjoyed the rest of the meal.

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