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Rare chance to spend more than usual- dont want to waste it

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  • skess Apr 1, 2007 11:07 PM
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I'm looking for recs on a place for dinner for a group of 9. It's a sketch comedy group thats breaking apart (amicably) and celebrating the end of our time together. We're using the money we've made from shows to pay for dinner, but what we don't spend we'll split up, so I'm looking for nice...but not over the top. We're all just finishing college now or recent graduates so this is a nice chance to sample a Boston restaurant we havent been willing to spend the money on before we all leave. I would love to do a nice North End dinner, but think with a group of 9 that may be tough. I've been thinking tapas might be fun (maybe toro?), and have long wanted to try Sibling Rivalry. Eastern Standard also sounds like a decent choice to me. Thoughts? Also, a reasonably priced wine list is always a big advantage. We just want to have fun, don't get the opportunity to splurge much, and don't want to waste this rare chance with a bad choice. Where can't we go wrong?

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  1. Some thoughts: getting nine people seated without a reservation can be tough. I'd avoid places that don't take them, like Toro. The good news is that some places that don't normally take reservations will, for a big party like that.

    Places that seem special but aren't crazy-expensive (entrees mostly under $25) include: Pops, Rendezvous*, Ariadne in Newtonville, Ten Tables in JP, 51 Lincoln in Newton Highlands (just don't let them seat you in the basement), Masona Grill in W Roxbury, Eastern Standard*, Gargoyles, Les Zyg**, Teatro, Zafferano in Eastie.

    More casual but still worthwhile: Trattoria Toscana, B-Side*, dbar, Ashmont Grill*, Alchemist Lounge*, Khao Sarn, Grotto, Silvertone**, Bin 26**, Green Street*.

    * = great cocktails; ** = bargain-priced wines.

    Sibling Rivalry gets you into a higher price range (entrees $26-$35). If you're willing to spend that much, let me know and I'll have further suggestions.

    1 Reply
    1. re: MC Slim JB

      I think there are a few places on this list where the food is merely so-so (and even for a within-reason "splurge" I wouldn't go there: Pops, Alchemist, Green Street. I'd give Pops one more go, far far in the future, but because I really liked the space. The most undersalted food I've ever had in a restaurant and VERY smoky with the open(ish) kitchen. I live near the Alchemist and won't eat there, Green street is okay, but not for a splurge.

      I think Eastern Standard could be spot on.

    2. I think you are spot-on with the Toro idea. There's a high-top back bar that is typically used as a communal table. I know of a few groups that have really enjoyed that table. You can share great food in a great casual atmosphere. The room has a great vibe and is lots of fun. Most of the servers are very cool and will guide you through the menu. The tuna sashimi, corn, oysters and braised short ribs are some of my favorites. If I were you I would stop in soon and speak with Adam or one of the other managers and tell them about your group and what you're trying to do. If you're a little flexible on day and time, I'd bet they'd bend their "no reservation" policy. Sounds like a fun group. Have a great night.

      3 Replies
      1. re: BostonBarGuy

        I'm going to STRONGLY recommend you NOT go to Toro - not because the food isn't excellent (it is), but with 9 people you are going to be waiting for ages to get seated. If you go very early (by which I mean, before 6pm) on a slow night midweek ... maybe. But with that many people, my guess is that you won't all be getting in at the same time and coordinating that with a place that doesn't take reservations will be a nightmare. If they did take reservations then it is a great idea of course.

        I think Eastern Standard sounds right up your alley - wonderful cocktails and great food, not stuffy - good place for a celebration like that.

        MC Slim - is Ten Tables even possible for a group of this size?

        1. re: Sgt Snackers

          I've never tried to bring a party of nine to Ten Tables, but it's easy enough to ask, and I think it's an amazing fine-dining value.

          I quite like Toro, too, but as I said, I think it's a tough room with that big a party, especially if you're there later in the week.

          1. re: Sgt Snackers

            I spoke with the manager, Adam, and as I suspected, if you're flexible on day and time, they WILL accomodate you. I think your best bet is to stop in and try to work something out in person. You mentioned that you were thinking tapas, Toro will not disappoint. The menu is diverse enough to please most palates and the room is very lively with very good energy and music, perfect for a fun group. In my opinion, Eastern Standard is too boring for your fun bunch. Why not have a cocktail, check out both places and see for yourself???

        2. I imagine that your group will be somewhat boisterous, so keeping that in mind, Eastern Standard would be a fine choice. Via Matta is known to be a noisy room, so you would also feel comfortable. Also, East Coast Grill.

          1. You definitely will need a reservation for that many people. Toro is an awesome restaurant, but as said above, its going to be hard for that many. Eastern Standard has great drinks, and a great atmosphere. The food is really good and inventive. It will probably be your best option.

            1. I'll "ditto" the others here on Toro (don't go) and Eastern Std (good choice). Another good option that no one has mentioned is Brasserie Jo -- large, noisy room, good food, and they're used to big groups. Also, if you want to be "near" the N. End, Sel de la Terre (next to the Aquarium) is another place that is kind to large groups.

              1 Reply
              1. re: B. Savarin

                But Sel de la Terre pushes you into that higher price bracket does it not? I think you could try Fiore in the North End, they would accomodate a group your size and the food isn't bad if that's where you really wanted to be. If you happened to hit a nice day they can be flexible about their no reservations policy for the roof deck, and that has nice atmosphere, especially fora group of nine. Otherwise, I say you should just head for Eastern Standard.

              2. If you have your heart set on the North End, I suggest Tresca over Fiore. (In my opinion the only thing Firoe has going for it is the roof deck.) Tresca will accomodate a group and they have a great wine list..and great food!

                1 Reply
                1. re: JCPope

                  I think the food at Fiore is abysmal, too. I might like that roof deck better if you could get a properly made cocktail up there.

                  Be aware that at Tresca, most apps are in the low teens, pastas in the low $20s, and most entrees north of $30. That makes it one of the five or six most expensive places in the North End.

                2. If you want to stick with the North End, I would suggest Taranta --the food is excellent --I have never had a bad (or even so-so) meal there. I have been there with a party of 7, so I would think 9 would work fine. Taranta feels special without breaking the bank.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: saridt

                    i love Taranta! Its such a great place and th price is deifnitely right!

                  2. So where'd you end up going?

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: BostonBarGuy

                      I was looking forward to the chance to post a followup....and still am. We're all on very different schedules, and one of us commutes from Hull, so it's hard to coordinate. But I refuse to give up hope, especially when there's a dinner amidst the light at the end of the tunnel. We decided on Eastern Standard based on CH recs, so I'll definately report back once we finally get ourselves there. Any specific recs on dishes not to miss? None of us qualify as foodies, I think, so things like the charcuterie plate tend to scare me off a bit. Am I being too hasty?

                      1. re: skess

                        I will let others comment on the charcuterie plate but I will pipe in that they have an EXCELLENT burger there, with great fries, too. Personally i think Eastern Standard is probably the best selection for your group. You CAN make a rez there, the food is good, the bartending is excellent, the energy/vibe is buzzing, I really like it there.

                        1. re: skess

                          The charchuterie plate shouldn't scare anyone off (unless they happen to be vegetarians). With that size group you could get one and share it.

                          Overall I think it's a good place to be a bit daring, nothing is really over the top there, there are rarely calf brains in pig knuckle foam or anything like that, (though if you find that place let me know). Avoid a game night and have fun.