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nice dinner, student budget, boston commons?

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In the midst of thesis writing, need a place for a nice dinner in vicinity of boston commons - close enough walking distance so that we can make it to a 10:30 movie. Any recs on a place with nice atmosphere, interesting selection, but that will fit a grad student budget? We probably won't be ordering more than one appetizer to share, and then 2 entrees. Trying not to go over $25/person.

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  1. forgot to mention that this is for TONIGHT...

    1. Silvertone on Bromfield would be a great bet for very good upscale bar food (still well within your price range), or search the board for virtually anywhere in Chinatown.

      1. I guess I had similar planning skills as a student. There are lots of interesting options around the Boston Common on a budget. I'd be curious to know where you ended up and what you thought of it.

        1. If you're going for what I think you're going for ("grown up" food, which was always a goal of mine when a poor student, now I'm equally as likely to look for a great sandwich, oh the cruel irony!) you might consider doing three apps (or two apps and a shared dessert) instead of the app and two main course route. If you did that you'd open up No. 9 and Troquet (and maybe Aujourd'hui in the 4 Seasons, though I haven't been yet), two eminently nice places with $30-40 main courses, but 10-20 apps. Especially if I'm drinking (and I am always, don't tell mom) I've never had less than extremely professional and chill reactions on going a little cheap once in a while on the food if I'm sitting at the bar.

          After a couple of bad experiences I hate to mention it, but Ivy would work well within your budget. I've had one very good, one okay and two bad (in that order) experiences there.

          Please let us know how you did!

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          1. re: sailormouth

            Thank you for the recommendations, everyone. I'll certainly add those to my list. Oh, how I miss the days when I was actually earning a salary! Still, working within a smaller budget can certainly bring out the creative side in restaurant selection.

            Admittedly, we went a way over budget when we decided to go with our sushi cravings and checked out Ginza. We had fun with the variety of rolls (we tried: fancy maki, crazy maki, kmeeks maki, spider maki, alaskan maki, unakyu maki, spicy tuna maki and hamachi negiri). We clearly could have gone a much cheaper route, but being sushi addicts, we gave in to our impulses, only restraining them slightly. The atmosphere was nice, and sushi was good, but my standard tester: hamachi negiri, led me to conclude that this was nothing extraordinary. The simple hamachi negiri eliminates all the sauces and fancy presentations of the maki rolls that can hide less than stellar quality. I found the fish OK: the slice wasn't very big, and it was missing that smooth buttery texture that signals a good yellowtail sample. I'd give it a B/B+

            Still, we both left feeling quite satisfied and content, but I would stick with the rolls, rather than the negiri as it seems you need some of the "extras" to perk up the fish.

            I will definitely follow some of your other recommendations next time as they certainly sound worth checking out. Thanks for your help, everyone!