Great Bay, Grotto
Went to quite a few places Thursday pm each with their own things to recommend themselves:
Eastern Standard: great cocktails - I find their cocktail menu is, um, big and intense and they don't always have descriptions for all the drinks (ie "Green Monster") but the bartender cheerfully described all the drinks I had questions on.
Great Bay Dollar Menu: Jonathon the barternder was GREAT! We had Island Creek oysters, shrimp dumplings, salmon sushi with grapefruit, and ceviche tacos - all $1 each! And they were good! As previously noted on the board they are available from 5-6 M-F (every night there isn't a Red Sox game which obviously isn't an issue right now). We ordered 12 oysters so we got the full accompiament of cocktail sauce, horseradish sauce and a shallot mignonette. Apparently that full ensemble comes with a dozen, otherwise it's just the mignonette. I did also like the oysters with the soy-based dipping sauce that came with the dumplings.
Surprise reservations at Grotto: We've been talking about it forever and we finally went. I loved it. I did the 3 course ($35) with the Garlic and Truffle Soup - yummy, rich, wonderful. My SO had the fondue with tenderloin and portobellos - again rich and yummy. His duck and duck entree with a potato gratin was really nice and my short ribs with potato gnocci were really good. If my enthusiasm in my descriptions has waned it's only because we were both SO FULL at that point. We then got the Banana Bread Pudding with Burnt Sugar Ice Cream - really delicious - I can always muster up the energy and room for dessert. Service was really wonderful and at some point we'd really like to do "Big Night".
We did want one more drink somewhere. We tried to go to Number 9 but the bar was too busy as was Davio's (Thursday being cougar night and all). We ended up at Flash's - good, honest cocktails - just really nice.
I would definitely like to give kudos the all the staff we encountered all night. EVERYONE was great - friendly, engaging, did their job well and then a little more. We both live in the city and get out unfortunately too infrequently and it was just a great night all around.
I would definitely recommend the $1 menu at Great Bay to everyone!