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Seeking suggestions for something fun-n-funky -- Brookline/Allston/JP preferred

Seeking suggestions for a fun, unpretentious meal. It's my birthday and rather than a fancy meal I'd like to try something a bit more Chowish. Having a small child, I don't get out much, so we've tended to go to "good" restaurants when we do have the time -- La Morra (probably our fave restaurant we've tried), Ten Tables... I miss trying out the smaller ethnic places that we used to try all the time when we lived in NYC, pre-baby, though I have managed a few of the local places: Rod Dee, El Pelon, Rani. I'm thinking about the Korean place in Allston but would welcome some suggestions. Live in Brookline, so have tried most of the places in Coolidge Corner. Ideas, anyone? I like nearly every type of cuisine, although I have a slight preference for Middle Eastern (I really like Oleana). Thanks!

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  1. Hmm, how about James's Gate in JP? Really authentic, fun Irish pub that has pretty excellent food.

    1. Here are a few JP ideas:

      1. Order food at Papusa, go to the Behan (next door) and order a pint, when you are half done with your pint, pick up your food and bring it to the Behan, hurry and finish your beer, and enjoy another pint with your food. (Make sure to clean up your table and to throw all the trash in the garbage outside.)

      2. Zons

      3. Cha Fhan Tea House

      1 Reply
      1. re: eatanddestroy

        Your number 1 sounds like my plans for most Fridays!

        It also works when you have your child in tow. Its fun on a Sunday afternoon. People bring their kids and dogs to the Behan and just relax and meet the neighbors.

      2. Hi,

        This isn't quite in JP, but it's not far at all from Brookline. El Taino, on Hyde Park Ave. in Roslindale. It's just south of Forest Hills. It's a Puerto Rican place that's a lot of fun. They have a great Mofongo, which is this dish of ground plantains with garlic, their fried chicken wings are delicious, and I had a whole red snapper in a tomato/pepper sauce, that was just fantastic. They have live music on Friday/Saturday, so it can be a bit loud, but everyone there is having fun, and I've really enjoyed my visits there.

        It is cheap, and it definitely qualifies in the "smaller ethnic places" category.

        Here's a link to the Globe review. I was just there about a month ago, and it was all still great:

        http://www.boston.com/dining/globe_re...

        1 Reply
        1. re: mwk

          mwk's suggestions is excellent. El Taino has great food and they also make great drinks!

        2. Perhaps Reef Cafe for very casual atomosphere (not really a birthday destination?) and what I expect to be homey Lebanese food.

          Also maybe LaMamma for some made-to-order empanadas. Again, not really birthday destination.

          Maybe you could do an Allston crawl and order a few apps at each place, assuming you have the time (not sure if the small child will be with you, which could complicate such an adventure).

          More upscale, have you tried Khao Sarn in your 'hood? Good Haw Moak (using salmon, which I understand is not totally traditional but still quite tasty), among other things.

          Good luck and happy birthday,

          Dax

          1. I second Zon's. It's a rather offbeat place in JP that has very good food (their mac and cheese is about the best in the Boston area).

            The Dogwood Cafe is another option. Excellent wood-fired pizza, really good entrees, and also a bit of a funky place (as so many JP places are). It's across from the Forest Hills T stop.

            1. I'm pretty sure El Taino is closed. Unfortunately, I never had a chance to try this place out.

              1 Reply
              1. re: jason_miranda

                Hi,

                You are right. I just called them and the line is disconnected, so it must have closed recently.

                What a bummer, that was a fun place.

              2. Not Middle Eastern, but what about Aneka Rasa - Malaysian - in Allston.
                http://www.anekarasaboston.com/

                Nice enough decor to make it feel special, but casual enough to be fun. Good food with a great variety of options (almost too many actually), *very* nice staff and I've certainly seen families in there with kids when I've been. There's also enough space that even if the kid is cranky or rambunctious and gets a bit noisy you don't feel like you're a problem for other diners, which is one of the things that can make it tough to enjoy your self out with chowhounds in training.