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wearing jeans to lunch at Butcher Shop, elsewhere?

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I'm planning a weekday trip to Boston, and am hoping to have a tasty, exciting, well-prepared lunch. I'm looking at The Butcher Shop as a potential option, but I'm wondering if I'll be underdressed? I'm a youngish-looking 30, and will be wearing jeans with heels and a nice sweater--essentially, I'm shooting for pulled-together casual here. My accessories are acceptable but not label-intensive (no Prada handbag). So, the questions are:

1) Will I be out of place (or get indifferent service) in nice jeans at The Butcher Shop?
2) Are there other restaurants in the Back Bay or South End I should be considering?

Thanks for the help.

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  1. Smart-casual clothes are the norm for The Butcher Shop; I rarely see people dressed way up there. Did you want other lunch suggestions in the Back Bay / South End, or dinner, too? A lot of good South End places serve dinner only.

    6 Replies
    1. re: MC Slim JB

      Thanks for the sartorial advice. I'd love other lunch recommendations--sadly, I'll be leaving town before dinnertime, so lunch is my only shot.

      Thanks all!

      1. re: vitapilcher

        In that case (most of these places are a decent value at lunch):

        South End: B&G, an expensive raw bar and seafood place across the street from the Butcher Shop (same chef/owner). Cool-looking place, fine raw bar, great wines by the glass well-matched to the food. Non-raw stuff is less reliable, though I think their lobster roll is terrific.

        Aquitaine: slightly Westernized French/Alsatian in a handsome space, mid-high prices.

        Back Bay (a pretty grim lunch destination considering the number of restaurants):

        Domani: creative Italian from a comparatively innovative chef. Their kitchen consistency and service problems seem less pronounced at lunch.

        Via Matta: a bigger, sleeker creative-Italian place.

        Chilli Duck: a good Thai place that gets really good if you order off their more-authentic "Thai specialties" menu.

        Cafe at the Taj: I'll take a guess that they haven't changed the old Ritz menu too much, in which case this is a deal for fancy food in a very pretty setting.

        Bristol at the Four Seasons: another luxury-hotel lunch menu that is really not as pricey as you might expect. Pretty good burger with a side of very fancy service.

        No. 9 Park: technically on Beacon Hill, the kind of place I'd rather have lunch than dinner at, since it seems increasingly overpriced to me. An app or salad and half-order of pasta makes for a pretty swell light lunch here.

        Laurel: not exciting, but solid, occasionally creative American food in a surprisingly nice setting for the money. I like the fact that they offer a well-made omelet at lunch.

        Kaya: only exciting by Back Bay standards, but the Korean food here is quite solid. I'm told that the Japanese (which I've never ordered here) isn't so hot.

        1. re: MC Slim JB

          re: Aquitaine -- the southwestern French name aside, I don't think Aquitaine has much of an Alsatian character -- don't think i saw any Alsatian dishes (e.g. choucroute garni, baeckeoffe, tartes flambées) on their menu the last time I walked past. Their coq au vin was essentially a Burgundian rendition (made with red wine, I assume burgundy), rather than Alsatian (made with riesling, aka coq au riesling). It seems more of than pan-French bistro without any particular regional leaning. Perhaps you're thinking of Brasserie Jo?

          1. re: limster

            They have featured a choucroute garni as a weekly special in the past, and (I think we've actually had this exact conversation on this board before) you're right, it's more French bistro cooking, especially compared with Brasserie Jo or, I imagine, The Gaslight, the explicitly brasserie-themed place from the same folks, opening around the corner on Harrison Ave later this year.

            1. re: MC Slim JB

              I think what we discussed previously was whether Aquitaine was more like a bistro or brasserie. This is independent from whether it has any particular regional focus in the cuisine. Brasseries are more or less bars/cafes that serve simple dishes. Although brasseries evolved from Alsatian breweries, the term does not necessarily imply that they serve Alsatian food; it mostly describes the level of simplicity in the food preparation and a setting that includes a bar/cafe rather than the regional cuisine.

              The Gaslight has been described to be an American brasserie, which in this local context probably just means casual and inexpensive food. Even if they followed the traditional French definition, it doesn't necessarily imply that they will serve Alsatian cooking, since the term "brasserie" does not hold them strictly to any particular regional cuisine.

              1. re: limster

                These are interesting distinctions. My notion of what constitutes a brasserie included that it is casual in both atmosphere and the type of food it serves, built around a bar/cafe setup; serves beer as well as wine; serves meals at all hours, not just the more set, limited hours associated with other types of French restaurants; and usually but not always offers Alsatian fare. I can't say my sample size is very large, however. In any case, Aquitaine certainly doesn't qualify as one.

    2. Much, much more casual but absolutely exquisite: Flour bakery on Washington Street. Their food is some of the best I've had in town (far surpassing much more upscale places). They serve stellar sandwiches, amazing soups, fantastic pizzas, creative stuffed breads, etc. Of course it's much more casual but I really think it's a wonderful place to check out -- even to grab a dessert after your lunch! It's a friendly place abuzz with energy, hopping at lunch time. The raspberry lemon individual tart is absolutely divine, as is their homemade raspberry seltzer. Woohoo Flour!

      1. You will not be out of place at all in jeans at the Butcher Shop. It's very hip/casual and the staff is very friendly and attentive. Say hello to Greg who runs the kitchen at The Buthcher Shop and B&G across the street, great guy. He'll have some menu recommendations for you. Check out the full butcher shop selections while you are there. The view is better at the Butcher shop, as you can view the street scene on Tremont St. If you're a big clam chowder fan, you'll have to try the clam chowder at B&G. The chowder is topped with puff pastry instead of the usual requisite oyster crackers and it is world-class. Enjoy.

        1. I'd add Douzo for Japanese in Back Bay.

          Formaggio Kitchen in the South End might not be a bad place if you want to graze and do a take out sandwich (or a nice selection of cheese).

          Arepas at Orinocco (South end) are a good deal (but the other dishes are not as good).