Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Greater Boston Area >
Sep 17, 2007 11:28 AM

Four Nights in Boston...

I posted several weeks ago, asked about places to go, got a lot of great advice. So my wife and I came up with an itinerary of sorts, thought I'd air it out here, see what kind of reaction it gets.

We're coming on the Limo Liner, last bus up, on Thursday, so we probably won't get settled in until 11, maybe midnight. We were thinking of trying Cuff's at Jury's hotel, as we're staying in Back Bay and Cuff's seems to be open late. We had been thinking of Chinatown, but I read a recent article that said that many Chinatown restaurants are not staying open late anymore.

Lunch at B&G
Dinner in Chinatown, probably Chau Chow.

Two possibilities for lunch: Mr. Bartley's Burger Cottage or Sonsie's.
Dinner: Taranta

Two more possibilities for lunch/brunch: East Coast Grill or Neptune.
Dinner: Grill 23 (or maybe Abe & Louie's).

So many restaurants, so many opinions, so little time...

...but what the heck, we're off, we're in Boston, we don't have any demands on our time. How could it be better?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. It's pretty much what you're in the mood for. I have a feeling some here would say there are better places than Chau Chow in Chinatown. Sat. depends if you're in the mood for a burger packed between lots of other customers or a more leisurely Sonsie lunch. I like them both. Probably can't go wrong with either of your Sun. lunch choices. Both of those steak houses are zoos altho maybe not so much on a Sun. nite, they have their detractors and fans. Depending on where you're coming from, I might go for something less generic than a steakhouse. Or go to Davio's where you have both the steak option plus other interesting entrees.

    1. Mr Bartley's and Sonsie are night and day. Sonsie is see-and-be-seen, trendy, people watching joint--where all the movers and shakers will be. I've only actually eaten there once and it wasn't memorable but it's definitely more about the scene than the food. Mr. Bartley's is more of a local place frequented by Harvard academics but apparently has rockin burgers, so I suggest you make a game-time decision based on what you're feeling like--schwanky or with the people.

      4 Replies
      1. re: cbracy

        I've always been amused by descriptions of Sonsie as a hotspot. It has been around for almost 15 years, has never been a great dining destination, and gets exactly the same crowd of tourists, suburban Newbury Street trawlers, locals, and after-work drinkers as just about any other place in the Back Bay. (Prices probably keep out the crowd that favors the nearby Boylston Street college-kid dumps.) I lived nearby for years, walked by it every night, often used it as a convenient place for drinks, cafe snacks, and weekend brunch. I still like it for morning coffee and free Wi-Fi, when it's nice and quiet. But a scene any more scene-y than any other Newbury Street tourist trap? Movers and shakers? Celebs? That ship sailed back in about 1995.

        1. re: MC Slim JB

          While Sonsie isn't quite the scene it once was, I don't think it's true that no one goes there anymore. I can't remember who I read was just there, but a bunch of movie people. When I walked by on Labor Day weekend, Big Papi and some other Red Sox were causing quite a stir (in their yellow lamborghini's or whatever they were driving). We all know I have a soft spot for this place and enjoy the food. But as much as Boston has a place where "celebs" go, this is it as much as anywhere else. I doubt the OP from NYC cares about that aspect tho (it's okay that you're a Giants fan, altho this year probably isn't the year to be one). If they go, I'd suggest the fried calamari (as overdone as that app is, Sonsie's is delicious), one of the amazing pizzas and the choc. bread pudding, then report back.

          1. re: Joanie

            Agree on the pizzas, have always thought the appetizer and brunch menus were the best bets at Sonsie. I soured on it as a dining destination after several dining-room meals proved to be awful, with awful service. It wasn't a momentary lapse, either: I'd kept retrying it over a stretch of years because I lived so close by.

            It's probably more accurate to say that expecting to spot celebrities in Boston is like going to Casablanca for the waters. I just like to remind people that perhaps 1 in 100,000 patrons of Sonsie is anything but an ordinary schlubbo, despite the persistent myth (no doubt assiduously kept alive by its PR people) that it's something special, scene-wise.

            1. re: Joanie

              I'm pretty sure it was Papelbon with Papi in their lamborghinis. I met a buddy for dinner at the bar there about a month ago and is was perfectly fine. We met at 6:30 and the "scene" started developing as we departed at 8.

        2. Be aware that Cuff's is a notorious cougar pick-up joint on the weekends. I think you'll be ok on Thursdays though. Many restaurants in that area Via Matta, Grille 23 and Mistral close around 10/10:30. The enoteca/caffe at Via Matta serves food till 1am in case you need a sudden change of venue.

          If it's Cantonese seafood you're after, I'd suggest looking at Peach Farm or Lucky House Seafood instead of Chau Chow. I'm much fonder of their frying & steaming techniques.

          Otherwise, you seem to have planned a nice itinerary for yourself! Have fun!

          7 Replies
          1. re: gini

            I would also suggest another Chinese place rather than CHau Chow. I also like the Peach Farm but for the best Chinese seafood (IMHO) I would try East Ocean City. If cost is not an issue I would suggest the Dungeness or King Crab dry fried with spicy salt and pepper. I also like their clams with black bean sauce and they do a great steamed fresh fish too.

            1. re: RoyRon

              I had dinner at B&G last night and it was so good. I had the lobster BLT and my husband had the fried clams. The remoulade sauce is killer delicious. We also had raw oysters and clams icy cold and wonderful. A few doors down from B&G is a place called piccolo. Get the homemade ice cream. I had peach and it was perfect.
              Bartleys is wonderful but get there early. You must try the sweet potato fries. I do not love grille 23. It's noisy and not that incredible. You need to find some more seafood places on your list because after all you are in Boston. Check our sorrelina for an outrageous dinner. Did you go to to make reservations yet? It's a must. Go to the North End there are lots of delicious places to eat and great people watching.

              1. re: hoplover

                Hi Hoplover,

                Your point about going to more seafood places is well-taken. I should tell you that my wife and I have been going to Boston for many a year now, and most of our excursions include a LOT of seafood joints. Part of the point of this trip is to try some other place that Beantowners love.

                I hope you can tell that we love Boston, even given the fact that we're New Yorkers, including the sad fact that we are (and in this order): (a) Yankee fans; (b) NY Giant football fans; (c) Mets fans; (d) Jets fans. My wife, who grew up in London and learned baseball and football from me, often says if it weren't for the great NY teams mentioned above, we'd be Red Sox and Patriots fans.

                But I digress...

                For this trip we want to experience Boston beyond the seafood places. Well, at least some of them

                Thanks for all the suggestion. Keep `em coming...


                1. re: BrookBoy

                  Most people pity me for being a Giants fan (really, Eli, why'd we get the imitation brother?), but that doesn't mean I love Boston and its food scene any less than these dynasty Pats fans. Anyway, I think that you've covered quite a bit of seafood already in your itinerary: B&G, Neptune, places in Chinatown.

                  1. re: gini

                    There was a time in the distant past when Boston did not have a major professional football team, and most New Englanders were Giant fans. Yes, yes, I know, dinosaurs still walked the earth then, but it's no less true.

                    And Eli has been looking pretty good so far this year. Too bad we can't say the same for the rest of that hapless, helpless bunch.

                    1. re: BrookBoy

                      This is how it was for my father in VT (and us), so the Giants genes got passed down. The Phil Sims era was a great time to be a Giants fan, obviously, and Fran of course. I got our social studies class (teacher was also the football coach) out of a quiz cuz I could name who played what position on the Giants team a trillion years ago.

                      As far as Sonsie goes, you'll probably run into a gaggle of skimpily dressed women (at nite), but that can be as entertaining as Kate Hudson. With a martini as big as your head, a great pizza, you'll be all set.

                      1. re: Joanie

                        I remember the Phil Sims era with great fondness. I also remember that he had a rocky start with the Giants, something that gives me real hope with Eli. Time will tell.

                        Regarding Sonsie, I do appreciate the tip, but I'm pretty sure it won't be a selling point with my wife.

                        But it is with me... ;->)

          2. Sonsie is pretty overrated and I would not recommend it. I have had nothing but not such great experiences there. If you want to stay on Newbury for lunch, I would recommend Piattini instead. Their food is great and its extremely understated so you don't get the scene of Sonsie or Stephanie's.
            I LOVE taranta. It's one of my favorite north end restaurants. You will definitely enjoy it.
            Grill 23 is a great restaurant and is much better than Abe & Louie's so i would stick with that

            1 Reply
            1. re: NiKoLe1625

              We ultimately decided on Grill 23 and have already made the reservations. Thanks for your thoughts.

            2. All good choices, except for Sonsies. I have eaten there a few times, and have always been dissapointed by the food. Great atmosphere, especially for people watching, but the food is a bit overpriced for what it is - food that is TRYING to be gourmet, but falls short and is relying on the great location and high-profile owners ( I believe Matt Damon is a co-owner) to keep it a popular destination. I would recommend Marco's in the North End (outstanding Italian food, great atmosphere, definitely make a reservation!) or Pigalle in the Theatre District.

              1 Reply
              1. re: Katty

                Last I looked, Sonsie was owned by Pat Lyons of the Lyons Group.