My pudding-averse guest also spoke of mediocrity in the turkey meatballs ($14), but was wrong again: they were not mediocre but actually bad. There are two ways to go with a turkey meatball in tomato sauce over pasta. There is herbal, like turkey stuffing or Italian sausage. And there is a path parallel to other Italian meatballs, which involves garlic and stretching with breadcrumbs and possibly egg. Some clever chef decided it would be "reasonably priced familiar food with a bit of an upscale flair" (the restaurant's rather modest Facebook sobriquet) to make an all-turkey meatball, no tricks, no herbs. It didn't taste so good, and tomato sauce was nothing extra, and the square pasta, possibly even house-made, was cooked to mushy. It wasn't even a filler-upper, because no one liked it enough to eat very much.

B Street has a good wine list (although without vintage years), bottled beers, and cocktails. The best we hit was a server's up-sell from Kendall-Jackson chardonnay ($9/glass) to Shooting Star ($11/glass; $42/bottle). He explained the latter as coming from north of Napa and being steel-tank fermented, producing a lighter, fruitier chardonnay without so much oak. Shooting Star is a secondary line from Steele wines, and comes in several labels. Whatever was poured had something of the character of real Chablis, more body than implied by "lighter" and more acidity than implied by California anywhere — excellent food wine even if it might have had a little oak. A glass of white sangria ($9/glass; $25/pitcher) was weirdly transparent and watery, but tasted fruity with a hint of strawberry. The "Beacon mojito" ($12) wasn't watery, but the mint-rum classic was confused by a few berries and an uneven pink coloration. Coffee ($2.75) was good; decaf ($2.75) thin and harsh.

You wouldn't skip dessert at a made-over bakery, would you? No, but we weren't entirely impressed with the "Pie Bakery Classic Granny Smith Apple Pie, a La Mode" ($7). The pie crust was professional, the filling a little under-sweetened, and the spiced ice cream the best part. Lemon cheesecake ($7) was quite good, with a gingersnap crumb crust that suited well. The consensus favorite was ice-cream parfait ($7), for the high-quality vanilla ice cream, chocolate-coffee sauce, and bits of crumbled cookie. I, of course, ate more of the mediocre chocolate pudding. On my team, mediocre chocolate pudding bats before great parfait.

Service at B Street is fine, as one might expect in a small room. There are no reservations, so go early or late (or for lunch). The colors are red-stained wood, black, and white, with some '50s-revival lamps. They pull the chic trick of avoiding linen tablecloths by setting one napkin as a triangular place mat and wrapping another around the flatware.

Robert Nadeau can be reached atrobtnadeau@aol.com.


B Street Restaurant & Bar is at 796 Beacon Street in Newton Center. Open Monday–Wednesday, 11 am–10pm; Thursday and Friday, 11 am–12 AM; Saturday, 9 am–12 AM; and Sunday, 9 am–10 pm | 617.332.8743

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