Tried Sophia's Grotto in Roslindale, down a little alley behind both Birch St. Bistro and Village Seafood. They don't have a permit for the outdoor patio yet which would have been perfect Wed. nite. The place is cute with a bar for about 6 and seating for maybe 25-30. The menu had a lot of small plates, salads, pizzas, paninis and a few entrees, all sounded good. Unfortunately, it didn't really deliver IMHO. Good olive oil w/ a rustic white bread, a Bud and a well priced glass of pinot grigio to start. We split a Boston lettuce salad w/ gorgonzola, pine nuts & golden raisins in an interesting dressing (that I can't remember the description of, kind of sweet). It was fairly drowning in dressing which I can't stand tho my friend didn't seem to mind. Good sized portion to split. We both got small plates ($9.99 ea), he went w/ risotto (which he'd never had before, and didn't know what a panini was; he lives a life of vegetarian takeout) which was served in a fried cheese crispy cup, an interesting idea. I had a small bite and it seemed fine but couldn't really judge. My plate of scallops with mashed potatos was just way too done all around. She said they were big sea scallops but they were medium sized at best. 4 or 5 served on top of mashed potatos in a scallop shell. Everything was overcooked and dried out, too much time under a broiler maybe. Service was fine and it came to about $44 w/ tax and tip, so you didn't feel ripped off, but it could have been so much better. I will go back to try a panini which come w/ fries for only $6-8.
A friend chose Scollay Sq. at the top of Beacon St. for his b-day dinner which was great cuz I had the magic 40% off deal there and had wanted to try it. I saw a neon exhibit at the museum in Lexington where they had old pictures of Scollay Sq. and find the whole era interesting (and depressing that they demolished it). Lots of great photos in the restaurant, has that beveled glass that always makes me think of the 50's, two bars, it's a nice space. Excellent service from both the mgr. and waitress, pomegranite "martini" came in a huge glass that they poured from the shaker at the table ($9). A sweet dark bread and white in the bread basket w/ good ole butter. She was wrong about the crab cakes being great tho ($10), they had way too many herbs or something in there and just didn't really taste like crab cakes. However, the entrees were both very good, esp. my friend's scallops ($23) which this time were huge sea scallops, sweet and done just right, with a great crab risotto cake (I told the mgr. those were much better than the app. crab cake) and some wilted greens. I couldn't order the same thing so I had salmon, mostly cuz it was served with lobster mashed potato. A good dish, you could see the lobster in the potato and the taste came thru, altho subtly. Salmon was a bit overdone but flavorful, served with grilled asparagus ($20). They had a special dessert of Boston cream pie ($6), huge piece, okay but it put me over the edge so I walked to Copley Sq. to try to get rid of a few calories. Wish they had a burger or some other sandwich on the dinner menu (seems to be only lunch) but would definitely go back.