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Have you been to Laurel Grill & Bar on Berkeley St?

Hi all,

A large group of us are getting together on Sunday and looking for a reasonably priced, but decent food place. Laurel was recommended by a friend, but I would love to hear any other Chowhound's opinions! Thanks!

Gloria

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  1. I ate there a year ago and found the food to be very good. Mostly I was blown away at the affordability. Somehow my boyfriend and I ordered apps, two entrees (one vegetarian), dessert and a bottle of wine, and the check was less than $70. Pretty cheap for the area, atmosphere and quality of the food.

    4 Replies
    1. re: brightonian

      I agree. Although the prices have crept up a bit over the years, it's still a good deal for the neighborhood. It's white linen and tableclothes with (generally) under $20 entrees.

      1. re: Dax

        I disagree. I have been there twice and thought that both the food and the ambience were mediocre. Grotto has very reasonable prices, a good atmosphere, and good food. Also, try Paramount on Charles Street.

        1. re: DowntownChick

          If you have a large group, like you said, don't go to the Paramount. It's got tables for groups of 2 or 4. Anything over 6 would be impractical for the space.

          1. re: wontonton

            I would also highly recommend watching the cashier closely at the Paramount -- carefully scrutinize the price on the menu and board with what you get rung up for. The time I went, the two figures were significantly different and not in my favor -- and the cashier refused to fix it.

    2. I think it's one of the better values in the Back Bay for mid-priced sit-down dining. It's a white tablecloth setting, the bar turns out good cocktails, the menu is mainly upmarket comfort food, and the prices are very nice. Big portions: you can easily make a meal of the hunk of meat, starch and veg that comes with the typical mid-to-high-teens entree. This is not a James Beard Award kind of kitchen, but it executes better on its modest ambitions than just about everything in the neighborhood at its price point, i.e, casual-dining junk and chain outlets. They always have something decent for vegetarians, too. If memory serves, they host an all-girl bar scene on the first Friday of the month.

      2 Replies
      1. re: MC Slim JB

        Interesting. The night we were there it was an all boy bar scene. Fun bartender, nice waitress, mediocre food.

        1. re: ginnyhw

          Bar scene often depends on what event is going on nearby. Thu-Sat it's definitely a boy-bar scene before they move to Club Cafe in the same building.

      2. I go sit at the bar mainly for the entertainment the bartender Erryl provides. And he mixes drinks well too. The handful of dishes I've had have been pretty good and surprisingly affordable.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Prav

          I second the Erryl Entertainment Factor.

          Food in general is so-so. The burgers are great, though (medium-rare, even). The red-pepper aïoli that comes with the reliable fried calamari is yummy (I sometimes ask for a side of that to dip my fries in), and the roast chicken with jalapeno glaze is pretty tasty (even if they do overcook the white-meat half). A good place for a larger group.

        2. Have been to the Laurel with a group. Everyone thought the food was ordinary. I had lobster risotto and thought it was very good, though. Then again, I love anything with lobster as a component. Service was good. The bar scene was very lively! The Laurel's entrees are indeed reasonably priced!

          Here's a link: http://www.laurelgrillandbar.com/

          1. Used to go there a lot for lunch, and meals always ranged from good to really good. The biggest attraction is definitely the price. For the quality and atmosphere, I don't think there is a better value in the Back Bay at least.

            1. What I try to tell people is that Laurel doesn't deliver extraordinary food, just decent food at pretty extraordinary prices, especially for the Back Bay. If there are other places in that neighborhood that deliver giant apps and salads in the $6-8 range, and big entrees mostly in the $13-18 range, with this place's ambience and service, I want to hear about them.

              1 Reply
              1. I really like Laurel for what it is -- as has been echoed by other posters -- a place with above average drinks (their old fashioned is one of my favorites in boston), and perfectly decent food at a good price. Do I go there all the time? No. But whenever we go we have a very nice time, and it's convenient for my group of friends to get to. Personally, I like the duck a lot, I've had good lamb there, and my husband likes the risotto and pasta dishes. I think it's exactly the kind of place that's good for a large group becuse the menu is diverse enough that everyone should be able to find something appealing, and no one will resent the cost of the night out. They take reservations from opentable.com, and if you decide you like the place, sign up for their frequent diners card (it's free) -- the points accumulate quickly, and it can also be used at decent back-bay lunch/dinner joint Firefly.

                1. Laurel is nothing special. It's decent, but I personally think their prices are a bit high for what they offer. Their burgers are good, but again, I think there are better places to go.

                  1. Hi all,

                    Just thought I would report back, we did end up going to Laurel and it was very medicore. The food was ok and it was affordable, but it was the worst service I've recieved in a while. The waiteress was totally inattentive, we had to beg for water, she took away my husband plate before he was done, she bought tea instead of coffee, etc, etc. I guess when they know an automatic 18% is coming to them due to the large party, they don't try very hard.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: gltsoi

                      Thanks for your reply, unfortunately it did not go better for you. I tended to sit at the bar to be served by the usual bartender (I guess Erryl?) and service was always great.

                      1. re: gltsoi

                        Ooof, that's such a bummer. I've especially liked Laurel with large groups, as they have some of those gigantic round tables, and the menu has some breadth: a couple of creative things, a lot of crowd-pleasers, always something good for vegetarians.

                        The servers I've gotten over the last couple of years I would call quite competent, if not always particularly polished -- chipper, and always hitting their marks. A guaranteed tip is the opposite of an excuse for poor service.

                      2. I saw on laurel's website that they are now doing a monday night 3 course prix fix for $20. Has anyone been? there doesn't seem to be a separate menu on their site (maybe i missed it?) so i was wondering if you can choose from their entire menu or if they have just a few options for each course. thanks so much!