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Recruitment dinner for 20?

Hi hounders,

Some friends of mine are looking for a restaurant to host a series of recruiting dinners (for interviewees for an academic program). Each dinner would have about 20 people and they have a budget limit of $50 a head. Dinners would be on Tuesday nights and there would not be a lot of alcohol consumed (being interviews).

They are looking for something (a) within a reasonable walk from Charles/MGH T or close by on the Red Line, (b) with either a private dining room or a reasonably quiet space so folks can talk to each other, and (c) interesting or at least good food - they want to impress the guests.

Any good suggestions? We have been brainstorming on places like the Blue Room and Upstairs at the Square, but would love other recommendations.


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  1. With a crowd this size, you're probably better off getting two tables in the usual suspects in Chinatown. You might be able to get away with some Alaskan King crab if you don't go overboard on the other dishes.

    1. Kinsale, across from Govt. Center T stop isn't a bad walk from the hospital (we've gone there for lunch a few times); the food is less upscale than the two places you mentioned, but I've gone with small groups, and everyone liked what they had. Their website suggests they can accommodate private parties.

      1. I recently did a sales meeting kind of dinner for 20 at the Blue Room -- we kind of took over the bar seating area -- and it was perfect, impressive without being too fussy or expensive.

        Other suggestions: Rendezvous (they could reserve that back banquette wall for you), Green Street (though I'm not happy about the switch to a bland New American menu), Om (impressive in its creativity, a fairly quiet room, pushing your budget, not as consistent as I'd like), perhaps Sandrines (flammekeuche is a good interview meal), maybe a major takeover of Salts (though the seating is more conducive to date night than group interviews).

        Upstairs (Soiree Room) would probably blow your budget; if you could tolerate those prices, I'd push you to Rialto instead. Upstairs (Monday Club) is cheaper, but I haven't been since Amanda Lydon left a while back.

        A casual, kind of fun option would be a banquet-style dinner at Mary Chung. Not Chinatown authentic, but very tasty for half your per capita budget.

        (I've found the Kinsale to be a very sub-par faux-Irish place, chain-level food, kind of nasty all around.)

        2 Replies
        1. re: MC Slim JB

          Isn't Mary Chung's closed on Tuesdays? (Or am I operating on out-of-date info?)

          1. re: maryv

            You are correct. They are also closed for a week in August, what we ruefully call the "month of Tuesdays".

        2. Based on some very recent reviews, it sounds like Anise in Kendall might be a good candidate for these dinners. The food sounds fantastic, the price is right and for those who are brave enough to indulge, the bartending sounds down-right yummy (nothing better than a good drink or two to loosen up those interviewees). I bet it would be pretty quiet on a Tuesday night.

          BTW, I agree heartily with MC Slim re: the new incarnation of Green Street. I was sad to find rather ordinary New American food on my last visit (I had a spice-less grilled cheese sandwich). Sigh...

          1. How about booking Miracle of Science, 20 would nearly fill it, the price is right and food impressive in it's own way, the location and atmosphere are great for highlighting the science side of Boston.

            1 Reply
            1. re: steinpilz

              I'd definitely consider joining a firm that took me to the Miracle for the interview meal. Shows an anti-stuffiness that Boston recruiters probably have to work hard to achieve. Blue Room too. Both are great ideas.

            2. My choice by a landslide would be Helmand. 10-minute walk from Kendall/MIT. I like it so much that I'd almost rather be taken there than Rialto, which is over twice the price.


              1 Reply
              1. re: fenian

                I'd second Helmand. I was once tempted to join an academic program just so that I could go back to Helmand more often.

              2. Another possibility is the Legal Seafoods at Kendall Square, there's at least one private room that would be good for 20 and they have business meetings at Legal throughout the week, it's in an exciting locale being surrounded by MIT and other businesses, and the food is very good classic NE seafood - a nice intro and memory of Boston for the interviewees.

                1 Reply
                1. re: steinpilz

                  Sorry, but that location is finished. Far too many work lunches/dinners there in the past 2 years were barely passable and it ends up being embarrassing (and I work in an academic environment).

                2. How about Lala Rokh on Beacon Hill? They do have a private room, the atmosphere is elegant, and it should be on budget.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: BBHound

                    I second this recommendation. It's a nice walk down Charles St, great (and impressive) food that will stay in your budget, quiet and you can easily get a private room on a Tuesday evening.

                    While I love Anise, for a group of 20 interviewees the food might be too spicy for some. And the location isn't as convenient. Although the temptation of those cocktails would help thin the herd!

                  2. Nice range offered folks! - i'd second Anise and the Blue Room - Legals in Kendall is pretty tired and not very reliable - Had a wonderful lunch at Spire's but don't know if its affordable though I suspect it has private rooms and it is in good walking distance - any one out there know whether the restaurant that opened in the old Davio's space in the Sonesta is any good? Red line also makes me think of Gargoyles, which I like and I think might have a private room. Indian food at Diva's as well.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: teezeetoo

                      I think Dante in the Sonesta might be too expensive.

                      You could walk over to north station for Anthem which is okay, or to the north end and eat old school Italian at Mother Anna's.

                    2. Thanks for the replies, everyone! I think my friends settled on Henrietta's Table for this -- the price was right, good food, good location, etc. Blue Room was also at the top of their list but ended up being just out of their price range.

                      1. I think Henrietta's Table is a good choice. Although I don't think it would have been a perfect choice for this particular gathering, people should remember that the Lava Lounge at East Coast Grill can be reserved for groups of 20-29 people.

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: Blumie

                          A recruitment dinner at ECG would send one hell of a signal to the candidates :). I agree that it's probably not appropriate for the OP, but the thought of a recruiting dinner there sure brought a smile to my face.

                          1. re: DavisSquare

                            Yeah, I agree about the Lava Lounge ... but that place is REALLY loud. They wanted something much quieter so folks could talk.