Recruitment dinner for 20?
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.
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.
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.
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.)
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...