Boston Restaurant Blog -- March, 2010
Tuesday, March 2, 2010
Roslindale and neighboring Jamaica Plain have some rather eclectic restaurants, including Geoffrey's in the former and the Centre Street Cafe in the latter, and with the recent opening of the Jazz Cafe and Bar, you can now add one more offbeat place to Roslindale Village. This unusual restaurant is interesting in a number of ways, from its wide array of foods to its maze-like atmosphere to its hidden back bar to its all-over-the-map music selection. But is the food good? Well, if our recent visit to the Jazz Cafe is any indication, the answer is a solid "yes."
The Jazz Cafe and Bar is located just off of Roslindale Square in a space formerly occupied by NuVo, and before that, Gusto. The surprisingly large restaurant has several dining sections, including a couple of brightly lit areas in the front, a cozy and private-feeling room around the corner and further back, and a little bar still further back in the place which feels almost like someone's living room. All kinds of music are piped into the Jazz Cafe, from top 40 to Creole to soft jazz and more. The menu is as varied and eclectic as the music selection, with Creole, Cajun, Haitian, American, and even Italian cuisine included.
On our recent visit to the Jazz Cafe, we were seated in the cozy room toward the back and started out by ordering, or I should say we tried to order a couple of beers--they were out of three options that we had picked from the menu, finally settling on beers that we weren't all that crazy about having. Along with our drinks, we started with a couple of fresh-tasting Caesar salads and were also given what can only be described as deep-fried red snapper turnovers. The turnovers were, to put it simply, outstanding, with a delicate, slightly nutty flavor coming from the fish and a crunchy exterior that had almost no grease even though they had been deep-fried.
Our entrees and sides, which soon came to us, were every bit as good as the red snapper turnovers. The fried pork, for instance, was heavenly, as the browned pieces of meat had a lot of fat attached (which imparted a ton of flavor), and the tomato-based dipping sauce added even more goodness to each chunk of pork. The fried shrimp (no batter, by the way) was also very satisfying, with tender and moist pieces of shrimp that came with the same tomato-based sauce. Our side order of rice and beans was impressive, though there were relatively few beans and the dark color of the rice made it look suspiciously like the fried rice you might order at a Chinese-American restaurant. We had also ordered some onion rings, and they were pretty greasy, but these thickly-cut rings were so tasty that they were gone in seconds. One rather humorous side note--a group of people were seated next to us just as our dinners arrived, and they were so impressed by how our food looked that they more or less ordered exactly what we had, even pointing to some of the dishes and asking what they were.
The Jazz Cafe and Bar is like no other restaurant we have been to in the Boston area; between its quirky atmosphere and oddly put-together menu, this is perhaps not a restaurant for everybody. But I found it to be quite endearing, and on the way out I found myself wondering when I might be able to get back there again. Well, hopefully it will be soon, as I do want to try some of the other interesting items on the menu (fried goat, stewed chicken, etc.). When we do return, we will be sure to post an update on the site, and who knows? If our next meal is as good as our last one, you may indeed see the Jazz Cafe and Bar being featured as a "hidden gem" at some point in the future.
For those who want the address for the Jazz Cafe, here it is: Jazz Cafe and Bar, 4174 Washington Street, Roslindale, MA 02131. The phone number is (617) 363-0202.
Related Blog Entries: Roslindale restaurants
Who is the owner of this new restaurant and who is the chef??? Just wondering what their background is to offer such an array of ethnic foods.
Posted on 3/3/10
In Haitian cuisine, there's something called Diri Jon Jon or Mushroom Rice. It's rice cooked with black mushrooms and the rice ends up looking blackish-brown. There are no pieces of mushrooms, it just colors and flavors the rice. It's a staple of Haitian food and it's often mixed with peas or sometimes beans. The other option is Diri Kole (Coles), which is white rice and red beans mixed. If the food is Haitian-inspired, you were certainly served Diri Jon Jon which is why your rice was brown/black. It's supposed to be like that and it's not from frying, it's from the mushrooms. Bon Appetit!
Posted on 4/9/10
Just found out that the Jazz Cafe is now closed. It has been replaced by a new spot called Bel Lounge.
Posted on 8/4/11
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