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Dec 31, 2001 07:31 AM

Client Dinner in Newton/Cambridge

  • j

I'm looking for a place to bring some European clients to dinner in the Newton/Cambridge area. We may even venture into Boston if it's the right choice. There'll be at least 12 of us. I'd love someplace that will accomodate that size group without a fuss, that's comfortable and quiet enough for discussion, with friendly service and food that will impress. I had considered Salts but had heard that it wasn't as good as it used to be.

Thanks for your help,

Janice L.

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  1. Salts is every bit as good as it used to be, and maybe even a little better. It is getting some negative comments because it is no longer an unknown and apparently that is ammo for the wanna be critics.

    3 Replies
    1. re: Mark

      I finally had a chance to try Lumiere in Newton a couple of weeks ago and it was as good as everything I had heard. Comfortable, cozy atmosphere, delicious food, and the service was excellent. I would highly recommend the scallop dish with truffle vinaigrette. The link below has photos, menu, and information.


      1. re: Rubee

        I second the suggestion of Lumiere. We had a lovely dinner there last year. The only problem may be in accomodating a party of 12. Call and ask, they were very gracious to us.

        1. re: Rubee

          The website below is much more up to date than the Boston Chefs one.


      2. It is tough to impress Europeans, they have highly
        developed home cuisines to fall back on, and they
        tend to be less adventuresome (while priding
        themselves on being more) than Americans. They can
        be very rigid about how they want their food served.

        And I try to give useful info: I didn't like Salts
        so much when it opened I never went back. So when
        I hear it might have gone down I'm left scratching
        my head. (hard to remember now the whole list of
        things that I didn't like about it, but I do recall
        it was the first place where I had grilled meat
        delivered in a puddle of liquid, something that's
        just absurd no matter how popular it gets. I walked
        out with the feeling that the owners did not look
        for the same things in food that I do) La Lumiere
        struck me as boring (I expect different entrees to
        come with different sides) so if you love those you
        might not want to listen to me.

        Consider Il Cappriccio in Waltham. Northern Italian,
        very elegant novella cuisine, intellectual wine
        cellar. Every experience I've had there over
        the years has been stupendous (except one 6 months
        ago which I'm chalking up to a bad night unless
        it is repeated) It is very expensive. Go in advance
        to try it, and before you sit down discuss with the
        manager what you are looking for: give them a chance
        to show off.

        if you do venture into Boston, consider Salamandar.
        (hey, it's pretty close to the Back Bay pike exit)
        It is by no means my "favorite" place, but it does
        provide a memorable experience from the remarkable
        feel of the space/decor to the inventive Asian
        influenced (fusion from a Western perspective) menu.
        They can handle large parties effortlessly and it
        really has that "exciting big city" feel that is
        appropriate for the kind of occasion you describe.
        What I don't like about it is that I don't go for
        "sweet" things in an entree, and their chef has a
        penchant for throwing tamarind or passion fruit
        into things. (Look, if you want no risks at all,
        there's always Clio :)

        but you did say Cambridge, too. There are some great
        new restaurants in Cambridge, but they're mostly
        small so I think you're stuck with the old standbys.

        Rialto can handle a big party. I've never
        loved it there because I don't think it meets the
        expectations it sets, but it won't be bad.

        Chez Henri has had many great years, with a couple
        of downs now and then. They feature Cuban influencd
        French, and have a very "hip" vibe so it will seem
        little on the "different side" for Euros. I love it,
        but I do have to admit that they trip every now and

        The Blue Room, while not the old place that I loved,
        is reliably good.

        And I should mention Harvest which many people like.
        I can't think of anything wrong with it but it's not
        on my radar much.