With an out-of-town friend visiting in JP, I seize the chance to meet at Birch Street Bistro, a place I've been meaning to try since it opened. It's in eyeball distance from the Roslindale Village commuter rail stop: that's easy! Pretty cool-looking space, with high ceilings and good lighting.
We sit first in the big, comfy bar (beer and wine only), and get glasses of wine from a decent-sized, interesting list. There are maybe 8 whites, 8 reds, and a sparkler or two to choose from by the glass, plus a number of half-bottles: nice. The barman is super-friendly and gracious.
Sitting in a booth for dinner, we notice pretty big portion sizes around us. Skipping apps (they're out of the most promising-looking one anyway, a duck spring roll) we go straight to entrees of roast chicken and a frenched pork chop. These are very, very solid for their high-teens prices, and plenty of food for an entire meal. I especially like the side of firm polenta with the pork, which looks unpromisingly dull, but has a sharp tang of excellent Paremsan.
The two entrees, a couple of respectable desserts (creme brulee, a slightly icky-sweet turtle cheesecake), good espressos, and two more glasses of wine bring the tab to just over $80 inclusive. For the total package, this strikes me as eminently fair, not exactly a bargain, just about right. There are a number of interesting dishes I'd like to come back to try. Quite worth the trip to Rozzie.
On a separate note: I hear (from Where to Eat) that Gusto has closed. I quite liked this place (run by the original Icarus chef/owners). Were they just a little ahead of the Rozzie fine-dining curve? When did that happen?