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HELP! NY chowhound in Boston needs dining advice

I'll be in Boston next week and I'd like to take a colleague out for dinner at a nice place. Easy right? We'll just to make it interesting I won't be in the City of Boston until 9:00 - 9:30pm.

My ideal place has great wines by the glass, seasonal ingredients and menus and not that romantic of an atmosphere. Location isn't important as long as you can get there with a taxi from the airport. And I need a reservation next week so it can’t be too hard to get into (I don’t know if that’s a problem on a Wed night). I'm open to cusine. Price isn't important.

Thank you in advance for your comments.

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  1. No. 9 Park has a really good looking menu and decent buzz on CH. Anybody been there recenty?

    1. 9 park is one of the city's best, to be sure... james beard winner and all that. it could be construed as romantic, though, if that's a real concern. i'd opt for the blue room in kendall square-- excellent wine list, seasonal is their middle name, and the room is cool, pretty even, but i wouldn't call it super duper romantic. another in that vein would be central kitchen in central square. that is a little more on the romantic side sometimes, but they serve pretty late and the food is killer.

      1. 9 Park is my favorite restaurant in the city, but first choice (IMO) for what you're looking for: "great wines by the glass, seasonal ingredients and menus and not that romantic of an atmosphere"

        I immediately thought of Troquet. Great restaurant, talented chef, excellent wine list (search for more info on this board also).


        1 Reply
        1. re: Rubee

          I thought of Troquet too after reading the post.

        2. Or how about Rendezvous, in central square, cambridge. A casual, unpretentious spot with great food. Do a search for lots of previous posts.

          1. I'd go to Meritage in the Boston Harbor Hotel. Great wines, small and large versions of interesting new American food, comfy bar to sit at or tables by the water (or not). Certainly convenient to the airport, usually easy to get into and that time shouldn't be a factor. And there are two other bars downstairs for drinks if you have time.

            1. troquet is my absolute favorite restaurant in boston, but he said "not very romantic"... maybe it's just in my own experience when i've gone there specifically for romantic dinner, but that room, that view, that food... AND the wine? pretty romantic if you ask me--and correct me if i'm wrong, pete, but you're trying not to give the wrong impression if i read your post correctly.

              1. You'll sometimes find me dining solo in the bar at Troquet, one of the least romatic spots you can find, (sometimes they'll be couples being a little TOO romantic there, but the hostess and bartender do a great job of making everyone feel comfortable.

                Depending upon what type of atmosphere you're looking for, No. 9 might be a better choice if you're looking to impress, I think the food is better as is the scene. Troquet is better to enjoy the wine.

                1. If you want something more casual with excellent seasonal food and very nice wine by glass (as well as outstanding service), Barbara Lynch's (#9 Park) other restaurant, THE BUTCHER SHOP might be a good choice. No reservations, but probably won't be crowded at 9:30 on a Wednesday night.

                  1. I'd second The Butcher Shop or even B&G Oysters (it's like Pearl Oyster Bar - the Butcher Shop is like the red meat version).

                    1. Did you want to spend a lot? if not and you don't mind a cab or even T ride (C line, green line, Washington Square stop) try the Washington Square Tavern in Brookline - decent wine list (always something interesting), good and reasonably priced dinner, and very local

                      1. Thanks for the input. I don't want to make that big a deal about the romantic thing - I just want it to be about business. I'm having a hard time deciding. I know how easy it is to spend big bucks on a mediocre meal. I've been really into Italian cuisine (I was lucky enough to go to Lupa and Del Posto last month) and I liked the menu Bricco - or am I crazy. I read here that they are in-between chefs.

                        I will check out Troquet just now. Is there nightlife around Troquet for a drink afterward?

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: PeteSucato

                          I've been to Lupa, and it was phenemonal.
                          If you're looking for Italian, and a place with similar cuisine, (but much much more of a value --as they offer a 3 course, $33 deal every night) is Grotto, located on Bowdoin Street in downtown Boston (right near Beacon Hill.) You'd probably love it there. It's a chowhound favorite (do a search here and you'll find LOTS of posts). It's a casual spot with great Italian food, really.

                          Only downside is there isn't really a lot going on around there, but you can hop in a cab and be right in the heart of things in under 5 minutes. Check out their website too:


                          Another spot is Stella, located in the South End. This place WILL be rocking, very busy, great vibe, pretty good food too. Might be tough to have much of a biz meeting there though as it's a very social scene and can be sorta loud. Was just offering that as an option if you're looking for a place that's got a lot going on.

                          But Grotto just might be the ticket, I'm thinking.

                          1. re: twentyoystahs

                            But he could always go to the Red Hat for old school nightlife. And it's not too far from the bars at Spire or No. 9 Park for upper class drinks.

                            I'd suggest Prezza in the north end for Italian food that's worth the price. Great atmosphere, can definitely talk business, good pastas and grilled items.

                        2. I second Prezza. That's a perfect rec, esp if money isn't really an object (not that it's insanely expensive, but it'll certainly cost you more than Grotto.)
                          If you want to be in the North End, that's a great choice, and certainly more reliable than Bricco, which has gotten many mixed reviews here lately.

                          1. OK today is decision day.

                            Let me first say thanks for the great response I've gotten here, I hope to payback that when you all visit NY metro.

                            I have a reservation for troquet, bricco and Prezza.

                            Troquet look like it would have the best cuisine but it might be too chi chi for my colleague. Don't want to find out if they know what aspagas foam is.

                            I really liked the look of the apps and pastas at Prezza but the entrees seem uninspired.

                            Bricco has a great menu but if they can't make good on it taste-wise than it’s no good.

                            Any final thoughts?

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: PeteSucato

                              Another vote for Prezza. the entrees are really very good and prepared as ordered. The menu also changes seasonally so what you see on line might have changed.

                            2. As has been mentioned before, Bricco is sort of "in-between" chefs right now. It's getting VERY inconsistent reviews lately.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: Bostonbob3

                                Yeah, if you're going to Prezza which should be quite good, I'd take Bricco off the list and keep it between the other two. Depends on if you're feeling in a French or northern Italian mood at this point I guess. The apps and pastas at Prezza *are* quite amazing and the entrees aren't anything to sneeze at.

                              2. I would definitely stick w.your Prezza rez. Agree with OP that Bricco should be off your list, in btwn chefs, generous consensus these days is it's expensive, and really nothing special. I have never been to Troquet but have always heard great things. I don't think it's any more "chi-chi" than Prezza, but as Joanie says, it really depends on what you're in the mood for --Italian vs French. And I can't remember if you said you were wine drinkers, but Troquet has tons of options by the glass and the owner is very passionate about wine, so that's something to consider.
                                If it were me though, I'd go with Prezza. I had a really delicious meal there, plus it consistently gets great reviews both on chowhound and in other media. It's just a really good spot with really good food, in a great neighborhood --you could skip dessert at Prezza and go to any one of the great cafes lining Hanover street for a cannoli and an expresso. Mmmm. Great way to spend the night.