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Chowhound's big meal?

benk Sep 11, 2006 11:18 PM

So, I'm going with brazilian food for the rehearsal - 25 people at Muqueca on Cambridge St - very chowhound. But now I need a place for 60 people roughly, Arlington/Cambridge/Somerville/Allston, possibly boston.

Don't want chinese. One family is from taiwan. In fact, no asian, if we can avoid it. Korean might make it under the wire. Prefer something very chowhound... inexpensive, not foodie, authentically delicious. The bride is a professional cook at a top fine dining place in boston - but doesn't have any ideas for this either.

Suggestions? Be creative. African, European, regional, middle eastern?

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  1. limster RE: benk Sep 12, 2006 03:02 AM

    I'm trying to think if Addis Red Sea could fit 60... Helmand is a possibility.

    1. f
      foodieB RE: benk Sep 12, 2006 03:24 AM

      What about The Middle East. Depending on the day and time you choose they could probably arrange a room, they have plenty of space. Or what about that armenian place, Karoun Restaurant
      839 Washington Street, Newton, MA 02460? They even have belly dancers! The food is as authentic as I have had for armenian.

      1. Joanie RE: benk Sep 12, 2006 11:20 AM

        I'm assuming this is an off nite when the restaurant would be willing to turn over the whole place to one party. Could Europa or Cafe St. Petersburg handle 60 for eastern European? Ole in Inman, Sol Azteca in Newton or Brookline for Mexican. I bet the Mexican place in Allston on Comm Ave. would do it, name is escaping me. The back room at the Beacon St. Tavern? Tasca?

        6 Replies
        1. re: Joanie
          tatamagouche RE: Joanie Sep 12, 2006 11:49 AM

          You're thinking of Zocalo...but what's Europa?

          1. re: tatamagouche
            Joanie RE: tatamagouche Sep 12, 2006 02:00 PM

            The Russian place in Brookline Village.

            1. re: Joanie
              benk RE: Joanie Sep 12, 2006 03:15 PM

              Interesting options, I will need to investigate them. Thanks

            2. re: tatamagouche
              benk RE: tatamagouche Sep 12, 2006 03:20 PM

              Seems to have been renamed Stoli...

              1. re: benk
                Joanie RE: benk Sep 12, 2006 04:36 PM

                Oops, you're right.

            3. re: Joanie
              benk RE: Joanie Sep 12, 2006 08:53 PM

              Just so you know; Cafe St. Petersburg has a function room that holds 100, and it has three Prix Fixe menus at $65, $80, and $100 per person. Very nice, but perhaps a bit rough for a chowhound =/

            4. t
              tdaaa RE: benk Sep 12, 2006 01:28 PM

              How about catering from Blue Ribbon with a separate location for the actual event - should be plenty of churches, halls, etc to rent for an evening and the informality of BBQ and catering is sometimes nice for a large group - people feel more free to circulate and move than in a restaurant.

              1 Reply
              1. re: tdaaa
                benk RE: tdaaa Sep 12, 2006 03:14 PM

                I thought of this one and it is still a last resort, because it would require 'resetting' the entire hall after a lighter reception for a larger crowd.

              2. sailormouth RE: benk Sep 12, 2006 05:02 PM

                Do you guys think that the Summer Shack give a discount to a group that size?

                1. galleygirl RE: benk Sep 12, 2006 05:31 PM

                  Naw, they'd probably add a surcharge... ;)

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: galleygirl
                    benk RE: galleygirl Sep 12, 2006 09:14 PM

                    They give prices on their website, some of which are minimum 50 people - and down at the bottom, 5% meal tax, 3% admin charge, and gratuity all on top of the listed prices... so that adds about 25% to the cost of the meal.

                  2. s
                    secretlyironic RE: benk Sep 12, 2006 07:19 PM

                    How about Ole Grill in Inman Sq? They have a room for private parties and also do catering. Plus an online form you can use to inquire:


                    1. joypirate RE: benk Sep 12, 2006 08:59 PM

                      The Cambridge Elephant Walk might be able to hold that many, they've got one room that fits 40 pretty easily. French/Cambodian. Lots of values on the wine list too. I did about 40 people open bar for my rehearsal dinner there, probably around $60pp including everything. Safe French dishes for the unadventurous, some wilder stuff for the others.

                      Also, regarding separate areas, you can picnic on some of those islands in the harbor and cater in clambakes or Blue Ribbon.

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: joypirate
                        a l i c e RE: joypirate Sep 12, 2006 09:24 PM

                        My company held its summer outing on Thomspon's Island the last two summers (they provided food and beer/wine for about 200 people). I don't know how much the whole thing cost, but it can't be cheap (plus you need to transport everyone out there).

                        I priced clambakes this summer to celebrate a 40th birthday and that was also a no-go. I had fantasies of renting out one of the boathouses on the Charles and having the catering company bring all the food - until I priced it all out. Was going to be about $1000-$1500 for 20 people (and that was before I even asked about the cost of a license to serve alcohol). I would assume bringing a clambake out to one of the Harbor island would be equally, if not more, expensive.

                        1. re: a l i c e
                          benk RE: a l i c e Sep 12, 2006 09:31 PM

                          Thank you for that info... that comes out $50-$75 pp, which is (hmm) not too far from many prices I've been quoted for various places. Just for perspective.

                          1. re: benk
                            Chris VR RE: benk Sep 13, 2006 08:55 PM

                            I used to sell/run outings on Thompson Island, it's a beautiful place for an event, especially for out of town guests. Info/pics are here http://thompsonisland.org/english/fun...

                            Not sure how things are run these days because there has been a complete staff turnover since I was there, but we used to have a 100 person minimum charge so be sure to ask about that.

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