Dinner in the South End with hip New Yorker parents
hi ! I recently moved to Boston from New York and haven't been to many restaurants yet. Parents are coming in and we're going out on a Saturday night. Hamersley aside, I'm thinking Sage, Sibling Rivalry, Toro.... Ideal would be a pretty place, more young and trendy than formal, and certainly excellent food/presentation, perhaps outstanding desserts too, but hey, we can't have it all now can we?! thanks so much for your ideas!
While i've got your attention, i've got an enormous sweet tooth myself, LOVE dessert - anywhere I should defintely not miss in Boston for dessert?? thanks again!
Of those you mention, Toro leans the closest to young, hip, trendy. Great food and presentation as well, that'd get my vote. Sage is very good as well, but is not a pretty place in the least (the photos on the wall have been bashed left and right on here). Sibling Rivalry is overpriced in my opinion and the foood lacks.
For deserts, the North End is the spot!
I think Sibling Rivalry is pretty bad all around: food, atmosphere, service. I love the food at Sage, but find the atmosphere in the bar more interesting than the dining room. Toro has a great combination of atmosphere and food, but no-reservations policy and crowds can make dining there a pain on weekends. 28 Degrees is great looking, but drinks and food can be variable. Meyers+Chang has fun, lively (loud) atmosphere, especially after 9pm on weekend nights, and their Pan-Asian menu is very good if expensive for what it is. If you don't mind dropping a bundle, Oishii Boston might be a good alternative: refined Japanese food in a gorgeous setting. I love the atmosphere and drinks at Gaslight, Pho Republique, and the Beehive, but don't think the food is great at any of them. More sedate, polished rooms with excellent service and very good food include Aquitaine, Pops, Metropolis, Union and Icarus. The suburban-looking crowd at Stella on weekends kind of bums me out, but their food has gotten better lately.
bakeries or restaurant deserts? you can run a search on this board and get a lot of answers to both. My own favorites for bakeries: Clear Flour in Brookline, Athans in Brookline for pastry, Sweet Tooth in South Boston, Japonnaise in Brookline. In addition to the good suggestions, below, I like Radius (downtown) and Rialto (cambridge, charles hotel), and Pigalle might be fun for your parents as well and I think its very good value and food.
I third the Toro rec's...don't go starving, plan to have some drinkswhile you wait and enjoy the food and the scene.
I'm very tempted to recommend you take them to the Applebees on Columbus just to give them a scare.
If it's the SE for sure I'd say Toro, if you can do other neighborhoods I like O Ya a lot for sushi, kind of trendy but a little on the expensive side for the young-young crowd. The food is the hippest and trendiest thing in the building.
Toro doesn't have much on the dessert side that grabs me BUT they have a pretty decent sherry list. On Friday I had a Barbadillo la Cilla which was nice, perhaps a little overpriced ($9 for a generous glass), but a nice finish nonetheless. For five of us we waited about half an hour, time for a pisco sour and a smoke.
For sweets in general I've been pretty happy lately at Harvest in Harvard Square.
Lobster Tail at Mike's Pastry in the North End
Hot fudge with either vanilla, coffee or burnt caramel ice cream at Toscanini's in Cambridge
Fudge brownie with ganache at Whole Foods
Done, Toro it is! And plenty of other spots that I am sure to hit up on my own as well. Thanks to everyone who replied, greatly appreciated. Oh, and I think we'll pass on Applebees, but thanks for the laugh Sailormouth!! :)