No funds to head South for the winter? Then head to West…


West on Centre that is… located at where else? 1732 West Centre Street, in West Roxbury.

As soon as you walk through the front door, you notice the heat emanating from the open kitchen and a natural gravitation toward the the bar area — where atmosphere is jovial, the palate is set in warm tones and (when on) the fireplace is chugging away. This place is clearly a neighborhood hangout where you can rest your weary bones in a casual setting and order up some great-tasting American food.

Several weeks ago, my friend “Hamstah” and I wandered into West on a Wednesday night for a much over-due catch-up session (aka, a GNO – Girl’s Night Out). We arrived around 6:30 and easily found a seat in the bar area. The restaurant side, which has a more formal feel — but is still very casual and kid-friendly, was still fairly open. We were cold and wanted to sit in a “cozy” area… and the bar side is exactly that.

Our server was at our sides immediately (despite self-seating) and was back in no time with water and to answer any questions. We each had a glass of white wine and ordered lighter fare. I went with the Beet Saladred and yellow beets, candied walnuts, shaved red onion, goat cheese, sliced oranges and mixed greens with a tangerine vinaigrette ($9). For $8, I added grilled salmon and was pleased to see it was a nice quarter-pound sized piece. The salad was fresh, the flavors paired perfectly and the salmon was tender, cooked medium rare and tasted delicious. The Hamstah got a traditional Caesar Salad ($7) and added grilled chicken for an additional $4. She loved her salad just as much as I did.

I had pictures of these meals that I took with my iPhone… but alas, I accidentally dropped my phone in the toilet (don’t ask) while out in Ohio “rescuing” my sister. So needless to say… they went down the shitter (literally).

Then, a few weeks ago I had the opportunity to return to West with The Husband and some friends. The 4-yo’s amazing school hosts a “Parent’s Night Out” fund raising event each Winter. Obviously we were all over that and didn’t want to waste any coveted hours by driving too far… so we stayed close to home and settled in on the bar side of West again.

I started with a glass of white wine… a blend from West Australia — a 2005 Houghton Semillion/Sauvignon Blanc at $8. This was the same white I had at my previous visit and ordered it again because it had a very nice flavor and seemed like a bargain at an affordable price. I believe The Husband stuck with his signature mixed drink — Crown and Diet Coke.

We started with an appetizer while we were waiting for our other parent friends to arrive. The Fried Calamariwith the sweet and spicy sauce ($11) was very good. The calamari was coated in a light breading, very tender and covered in a chutney-like sauce. The sauce was tangy and spicy without being over powering. We both really enjoyed it.

For dinner, we decided to be “bad” and opted for some rather fattening dishes. The Husband, who doesn’t indulge in beef very often, went with the Create Your Own Burger ($8) — adding a few items on, such as mushrooms ($0.50) and cheddar cheese ($1). I on the other hand, went in the opposite direction and asked for the seasonal Sweet Potato Ravioliwith toasted hazelnuts, sage and goat cheese in a light cream sauce ($10 for a half order, $16 for a full). A half order was just the right amount… but left me wanting more because both the ravioli and sauce were SO darn good! I highly recommend giving this dish a try… especially on a cold, yucky night (like today) when comfort food really hits the spot.

Overall, in the few times we’ve been to West, we’ve always had either good or very good service. The food, while upscale pub-grub, is very tasty and always served appropriately. The bar side tends to be a bit more rocking and is always crowded. The restaurant side is a nice change and gives the feel of a more sophisticated dining experience… and as mentioned above, is very kid friendly.

We’ll definitely be going back… especially since it’s less than a mile from our house!

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