Eating around the world in Rozzie

May 10, 2013
By

Roslindale offers a true tour of the world’s cuisines in less than a quarter-mile around Rozzie Village.

“The diversity of food retail in Rozzie—restaurants, grocers, butchers, and specialty shops—reflects, and celebrates, the unique character of our community. Our neighborhood is really enriched by all these choices and we can’t wait to see what new shops and restaurants will join us in the months and years ahead,” Roslindale Village Main Street Executive Director Christina DiLisio told the Gazette in an email last week.

The Gazette visited Roslindale Village to explore some of the many options for ethnic food restaurants and grocers.

El Chavo Mexican Products, 4254 Washington St., 617-323-2442

Named after a beloved TV show about an orphan who is adopted by a close-knit neighborhood, El Chavo offers some home goods and beauty products—as well as piñatas and luchador (wrestling) masks—in addition to traditional Mexican ingredients.

Manager Alejandro Rodriguez told the Gazette that the owners live in Roslindale and opened the shop there to strengthen their ties to the neighborhood. His personal favorite items for sale are the moles, a family of sauces based on peppers, and occasionally, chocolate.

Vouros Pastry Shop, 4252 Washington St., 617-323-5068

Picked almost clean for Eastern Orthodox Easter last Sunday, the items the Gazette still saw for sale during its visit were appetizing and affordable.

At Manager Maria Drakopoulos’s recommendation, the Gazette tried the galaktoboutico—also known as “galaxy pie”—a Greek custard and phyllo dough confection that was rich and satisfying.

Vouros also offers four kinds of baklava and 18 types of cookies in addition to traditional Greek sweet bread.

Droubi Pita Bakery, 748 South St., 617-325-1585

Droubi is stocked mostly with Middle Eastern spices, specialty flours and canned goods. While not impressive to look at, the pound of dates for $6.99 and the 15-minute wait at the register are testaments to the quality of its goods and prices.

Quality Meat Market, 13 Corinth St., 617-469-5632

A halal butcher that sources all of its meats locally and prides itself on “never freezing anything,” according to a manager, Quality Meat Market also offers spices and other goods like candies from various Middle Eastern and Asian cultures. Halal is the Muslim equivalent of Kosher.

Sophia’s Grotto, 22 Birch St., 617-323-4595

Specializing in Italian and Spanish dishes, Sophia’s is in a cozy spot inside a nearly-hidden courtyard. It makes the most of its intimate space with plenty of outdoor seating and its menu includes paella, pasta and a custom ale specially made by Harpoon brewery, called the Grotto Ale.

Owner Joe Garufi told the Gazette he had lived in Rozzie for 12 years when the opportunity to open Sophia’s came up. He recommended the artichoke hearts and the stuffed Roma tomatoes.

Village Sushi & Grill, 14 Corinth St., 617-363-7874

Specializing in sushi and Korean foods, Village Sushi & Grill also offers Japanese udon noodles and various grilled fish entrees. It was once owned by JP Seafood Café owner Phil Paik.

Romano’s Pizzeria & Taqueria, 4249 Washington St., 617-325-2885

Reminiscent of an Allston late-night pizza counter, the delight of this unassuming restaurant lies in its willingness to deliver Mexican foods along with its pizzas: burritos, tacos, maduros (fried ripe plantains) and churros (deep-fried sweet dumplings) can be included in a delivery order.

Blue Star Restaurant, 11 Corinth St., 617-323-9638

A diner with a basic but appetizing menu with distinct Greek touches like stuffed grape leaves and spinach pie plates, Blue Star is open for breakfast and lunch and is cash only.

Suya Joint, 25 Poplar St., 617-327-8810

A rarity in Boston, Suya Joint offers West African foods including fufu (dumplings made from different types of grain), spicy cow feet in gravy and melon stew. It also offers less adventurous options like skewered beef, fish stew and black-eyed pea fritters. It caters.