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k
Kamembert Jul 3, 2006 05:21 AM

Staying at XV Beacon and have two dinners and two lunches to plan. Prefer to stay in the hub. Eager for either exemplary places or those which are unique to Boston, for which one is unable to find an equivalent in NYC or elsewhere, with stellar food.

My short list, and eager to hear your feedback re others and which are better for lunch/ dinner?

Radius
Meritage
Sonsie
Union
Sibling Rivalry
Mistral
East Coast Grill

In case this helps, if our shoes were reversed, and I were asking for NYC recs coming from Boston for this purpose of a trip, I'd recommend:
Babbo, Lupa
Artisanal
Veritas -- though too quiet for myself dining alone
J-G for lunch -- great deal
Daniel -- front room, more casual for one dining solo

Will have one lunch and one dinner when I must entertain others, the other dinner and lunch will be solo or with friends. Price isn't a concern but won't have time for a 4+ course meal on this trip.

Thank you!!

  1. j
    jonathan Jul 3, 2006 05:35 AM

    Interesting NYC recs--The chef at Veritas is a Boston native. As for Boston, definitely skip Sonsie. The food is unremarkable, and the ambiance does not reflect Boston at all. It was chic 10 years ago, but is more of a out-of towner be seen scene. I am not a fan of Sib Riv at all. Find the menu to be pretentious, confusing and the staff to be unreliable.

    ECG, Union, Mistral, have interesting and solo-friendly dining. Hit up the bar as many of our bartenders are lifers and are entertaining and knowledgable. I would also put No9 Park on your list. It is great for solo dining (at bar only) or to entertain your clients. It is also walking distance from XV. Are you also dining at The Fed? The food is consistent and reliable there-- similar to Delmonicos. ECG is a hallmark of Cambridge dining. The Chef there has the cooking/service down to a science. For biz, you can also hit up Mistral, Meritage and add Sorellina. It is more of an older crowd scene, but it is owned by the Mistral group and has some of the vibrance Mistral had years ago that has somewhat diminished. If you're looking for some chic and good seafood, go to B&G Oysters in the S.End. Great modern intrepretations of the lobster roll. Get the Lobster BLT. It is very tasty. If you are in the mood for wine, check out the Butcher Shop next door. These places are not bargins, but you don't seem to be valuing price over taste... they're both great choices. Have fun. When you return to NY, hit up the Tasting Room. Love that place!

    1. c
      cheryl_h Jul 3, 2006 12:34 PM

      I'd suggest adding Oleana to your list. The cuisine is a little different from standard Mediterranean. When I've eaten there the food has been stellar.

      1. lissy Jul 3, 2006 12:59 PM

        I would definitely take Sonsie off your list. It's ok, but I wouldn't go out of my way to go there. I think I am one of the few people who really likes Sibling Rivalry. I love dining at the bar there and they have a great outdoor patio that is just perfect with the nice weather we have finally been having. Yes, the menu might be just a tad confusing, but it's not like you need to be a genius to figure it out.

        I definitely agree with the B&G recommendation. It's one of my favorites spots and you can sit at the bar and gorge on oysters if you so desire (which I often do). I also like the lobster roll and lobster BLT there. Another similar spot is Neptune Oysters in the North End. I personally am partial to B&G, but many on this board are big fans of Neptune.

        I like Mistral for bar dining. I have found the service in the dining room to be so so and I think for the prices, better service is warranted. The food is pretty good though.

        1. Luther Jul 3, 2006 01:40 PM

          Definitely add Rendezvous to the list.

          1. beetlebug Jul 3, 2006 02:07 PM

            Add Neptune Oyster (in the North End) and No. 9 Park on to your list.

            Also, omakase at Uni in the Clio Restaurant (in the Eliot hotel) is also excellent.

            While I really like Union Restaurant, I don't think of it as a destination restaurant.

            But for true Boston flavor, go for the ice cream. Christina's in Inman Square and Toscanini's in Central Sq and Harvard Square to name a couple. Christina's is next door to East Coast Grill so you can easily get a twofer. Furthermore, ECG has this Jamaican banana split with Christina's ice cream.

            1. rlh Jul 3, 2006 02:09 PM

              Seriously consider adding Locke-Ober to the list, especially for business entertaining - it's uniquely-Boston,clubby and old school (and within an easy walk from your hotel) and the food is surprisingly good since Lydia Shire took it over.

              Oleana in Cambridge may be worth the trip -- see several recent NYT features on chef Ana Sortun.

              Neptune Oyster in the North End may be another unique find -- great food and ambiance, but not great for any more than 4 -- ideal for 1-2.

              B&G Oyster and No. 9 Park are both outstanding upscale choices, though recent feedback on No. 9 has criticized shrinking portions and the bar/cafe area is much-preferred to the dining room.

              Rialto in the Charles Hotel in Harvard Square is consistently-excellent and would be a great business dinner choice.

              Upstairs on the Square in Harvard Square is another great-looking place (Monday Club downstairs is upscale but quirky/casual/fun, Soiree Room upstairs is funky but elegant. Haven't been since the new chef took over, but the menu looks really interesting to me and the service has always been tops.

              East Coast Grill is a huge personal favorite and unique, but it's also no-reservations with lengthy waits most evenings and quite loud/casual. GET THE WET BONE APPETIZER IF YOU END UP HERE!

              Radius and Meritage (and L'Espalier, by the way -- very elegant Back Bay townhouse luxury dining) are expense-account dining at their best -- go for dinner to entertain, impress, and live it up, though I don't think they are that special relative to NYC choices available.

              I think Mistral is overpriced for what it is for dinner, but do really like the bar/lounge there.

              For a cheap lunch, walk over the Chacarero on Province St. for a tasty Chilean (I think) sandwich -- the line moves quickly.

              1. Rubee Jul 3, 2006 06:05 PM

                Like some of the other Hounds, a few of my recommendations would be lunch at Neptune Oyster in the North End, dinner at Locke-Ober as uniquely Boston, upscale, lots of Brahmin atmosphere and history (and I love Lydia Shire's food), and fantastic Omakase at Uni. Also, though we don't have a great bargain like JG's lunch (which we take advantage of every time we're in NYC!), No. 9 Park comes closest with a wonderful tasting menu available at lunch starting at six courses for 48$, and paired with wine at 74$. They also offer eight courses ($64 and $96).

                1. k
                  Kamembert Jul 4, 2006 12:19 AM

                  Thank you for all of your highly descriptive, immensely helpful advice. Happy Fourth!!!

                  1. n
                    nasturtium Jul 4, 2006 03:07 AM

                    Hi Kamembert. I've taken advantage of the J-G lunch special -- one of the great deals of New York. I'm a traveller who's been to both New York and Boston recently, so here are my recommendations, keeping within "Boston proper" and not sprawling out to Cambridge and the like.
                    No. 9 Park. Also has a lunch special, like Jean Georges. Same level of service. Right on the Commons. Very chic spot.
                    B&G Oysters. Owned by the same person/team as No. 9 Park, but in the south end. Trendy with, god bless, knowledgeable wait staff. The best place we found for oysters and seafood in our visit.
                    I second those who recommend Uni and the Clio Restaurant at the Eliot Hotel - again, as a New Yorker, you won't be disappointed.
                    Best place for a drink/nosh: Oak Bar, Fairmont Copley Plaza. What the Plaza used to look like before it went downhill. Also Top of the Hub at the Prudential Tower. Decent wine list, pleasant view of the city, and jazz trio some nights. I wouldn't go for a full meal but it's a great spot to stop later in the evening.
                    in the cheap-and-cheerful category (and outside Boston proper): we went for a day of gallery-gawking at Harvard in Cambridge, and landed at Mr. Barclay's, which we found out later is a (in)famous burger joint on the hem of Harvard. Great sweet potato fries and burgers of every possible combination. Hit the spot, that day.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: nasturtium
                      b
                      Blumie Jul 4, 2006 01:30 PM

                      The burger place is Mr. Bartley's, not Mr. Barclay's, but I agree that it's great.

                      1. re: Blumie
                        n
                        nasturtium Jul 6, 2006 01:33 AM

                        Thanks, Blumie. I wrote the name down wrong in my trip diary. Bartley's is is.

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