Six nights in Boston
Here's my input:
L'espalier: never been
Radius: Went once, and to be honest a bit dissapointed. However, I myself am going to try it again later on next week, so...I have heard that they do fish especialy well.
Clio: I enjoyed their food very much. One common thread complaint that I have consistently heard is that their serving size is particularly small. I myself didn't notice when I dined there, but I have heard that comment consistently from several sources. So just be sure to know that you need not hesitate to order 3+ courses for fear of being too full.
Aujourd'hui: I have always had a great meal here. I had a venison once that was delish. Also lobster. They also did (and this may change) a chocolate tasting dessert which was quite delightful.
Icarus: sorely disappointed. I honestly can't give you a good reason why, but I wouldn't go back.
Lala Rokh: OK. And just ok
A few other restaurants I have enjoyed: Oleana. Went there 2x's and both were fabulous (the venison, which has probably changed by now, was fantastic). The wine list is a bit meager, I thought, though. I also really liked Masa. Good bold flavors, warm atmosphere. And some good wine availabilities that pair well with the food.
L'Espalier was one of the best meals I've ever had. Radius was nice but didn't quite live up to the hype the one time I went. Been to Clio twice, it's very good and I like the room but I too think the portions are small. Going back to Icarus soon but haven't been in 10 years. Even longer for Aujord'hui but both were good. Even longer for the Hungry I and I've never been to Lala Rokh. But don't you want one funky or casual meal while you're here?
Thanks for your input.
I considered Lala Rohk to be a bit offbeat vis-a-vis the cuisine at least. We've been there before and I think it's fairly casual.
Now that we've discovered that the R/C Dining Room is closed, we're thinking about shifting Aujourd'hui to brunch and choosing a more funky or casual place for dinner as a replacement. Any suggestions?
1. A more formal replacement for the Ritz -- and an immense improvement -- would be Julien, the flagship restaurant of the Hotel Meridien in the downtown financial district. Easily the most spectacular dining room in the city, albeit windowless (30+ foot ceiling -- it was the former board room of the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston), with wonderful food and service to match. The seating arrangments are the best in the city.
2. A more informal replacement would be Ambrosia on Huntington Avenue. It can be a bit loud (actually, that's a problem with too many otherwise fine restaurants these days), but the food is quite fine.
3. Across the Charles in Harvard Square, consider Rialto or Henrietta's Table at the Charles Hotel, or Sandrine's (Alsatian) on Holyoke St. In East Cambridge, the Afghani restaurant, Helmand, has drawn the faithful for several years. And it would perhaps provide the twist you are looking for (although Harvard Square offers the post-prandial option of street theater, albeit a bit more tame than its golden age....).
I've got a feeling the more casual places I suggest might be too loud for you. Green St. Grill in Central Sq. is fun with an interesting Carribean slanted menu. Also in Central Sq., Central Kitchen is good. East Coast Grill in Inman Sq. is a popular place for seafood that's funky but way too loud even for me. The Blue Room in Kendall Sq. is a more casual place but nice food and the chef just got nominated for one of those big awards. Harvard Gardens by Mass General has fancy homecooking, big drinks and is a fun place. I always suggest Sonsie for a nice meal that's not as expensive as your others but offers lots of good people watching, if you like that sort of thing.
Everyone I know who's been to the Summer Shack thinks it's overrated, I still haven't gone.
Then there's always the Busy Bee for your $3.50 breakfast. I hit all ends of the spectrum.
Great choices. Like all restaurants, they can have their off nights but you've done a good job of picking consistently good places. One way to get around the whole Clio "small portions thing" is to order the tasting menu. It's expensive but you will get more than enough food and really get an idea of Chef Oringer's talents.
I think Radius lives up to the hype personally. It's a great room and the cuisine if first rate.
The key to enjoying Lala Rokh is to ask lots of questions and let the server guide you. It can really be a wonderful experience!
Again, great list and I'm sure you'll enjoy your stay here in Boston. Let us know your results!
I agree that you have put together a great list.
L'Espalier: A wonderful meal. Great staff who will guide you towards their best menu items. Tasting menu is great.
Radius: Hit or miss. Food can be extraordinary. Very inventive. Also, can be mediocre.
Clio: Tasting menu is the way to go. Best food I've had in Boston.
Haven't been to the other three but have heard good things.
However, I too wonder whether you might like one dinner that is a little less formal but no less delicious. If so, some suggestions are Jasper's Summer Shack (already a Boston institution - fantastic seafood - fun atmosphere - may win the James Beard Award for Best New Restaurant in the nation), Atasca (a fabulous portuguese place), Cafe Louis (staggeringly good wood grilled Italin), The Helmand (Afhgan restaurant with lamb to die for), or Oleana (already recommended below).
You are currently heavy on French Food but perhaps you like it that way!
Clio--outstanding, I love every meal. The tasting menu is sure to please. They have a way with foie gras.
Radius--agree, occasionally off, but usually right on target. Very ambitious menu.
Aujourd'hui--I think over-rated, overly formal.
Icarus--very romantic, quite good
Lala Rokh--we relied on our server to help us select dishes, as we were unfamiliar with the cuisine. One of the best meals I have ever had!
Some other suggestions: for casual meal, consider Chez Henri in Cambridge, or Gargoyles in Somerville. Gargoyles has live music on Sunday evenings which adds to the already wonderful bar-dining experience. Also...Stan Frankenthaler's Salamander has reopened and looks fantastic. I sampled the bar menu, which was outstanding.