Client Dinner in Newton/Cambridge
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,
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.
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.