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Nov 13, 2007 07:06 AM

Most consistent high end restaurants

After a quick survey of many of the messages posted on the boston board, it seems to me that many expensive or top spots seem to suffer from inconsistency.
Now that the holiday season is almost upon us, it might be a good thing to pose this question in order to limit the risk of pricy disappointments -
Which higher end (entrees in the twenties and upwards) restaurants in the greater boston area do you think consistently delivers in terms of food quality and service?

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  1. O Ya
    Hamersley's Bistro
    No. 9 Park

    1. Disclaimer: I don't eat at these restaurants on a weekly basis, so the sample is arguably old in some cases. I'm mostly focusing mainly on the most expensive restaurants, typically >$50pp with tax, tip, and one drink. I'm sure I'm forgetting some:

      Consistent: L'Espalier, Uni, Rialto, No. 9 Park (cafe/bar), Oishii (Chestnut Hill and Boston), Mamma Maria, Locke-Ober, Icarus, La Campania, Lumiere, Pigalle, Oleana, Prezza, Sage, Salts, Troquet, Craigie Street, Union

      Inconsistent or bad: Radius, Excelsior, Blue Ginger, Olives, Bonfire, Sibling Rivalry

      Good but overpriced: Mistral, Sorrelina, Hamersley's, The Butcher Shop, Upstairs on the Square, Clio, Davio's, KO Prime, Meritage, T.W. Food, Oak Room

      Okay but overpriced and dull: the chain luxury steakhouses

      Still haven't tried: Mooo.... (that an ellipsis, not "ellipses", Devra), o ya, Boston Public

      Havent been since new chef took over: Aujourd'hui, blu, Mare, Via Matta

      1. Add Clio to the list. I generally have good luck with Dante's also.

        1. Mamma Maria, Icarus, Prezza.

          Have to very respectfully disagree with MC Slim on La Campania. Had terrible service and--a greater sin--gummy gnocchi there last time.

          And a question for you, MC. I'm looking forward to trying EVOO and Sorellina, and notice they're not on your list. Do they fall into the "forgotten some" category, or do you think they fall short somewhere?

          3 Replies
          1. re: pollystyrene

            Sorellina is on there (misspelled, oops) in the "good but overpriced" category. I've had great meals there, but it's very much like Mistral, its sibling, in not quite justifying its prices to me. EVOO is highly regarded here, but I haven't been back there in years, and it's probably not quite expensive enough (if memory serves) to make this list.

            Sorry to hear about your La Campania experience; I had several meals there last year doing research for a Dig piece, and it was superb on every occasion, plus it had really elevated its game from the fairly simple, rustic Neapolitan cooking it had started out doing years ago. It will be interesting to see how closely Da Vinci models itself on La Campania.

            1. re: MC Slim JB

              Yup, I skimmed right over Sorellina, and wasn't sure if I'd spelled it right either. I never know if it's two "r's" and one "l" or one "r" and two "l's." From most accounts, I must have had your classic Bad Night at La Campania. I also wonder if the new Da Vinci chef left La Campania a while ago or if La Campania will change significantly with a recent departure.

              Be warned that you might have a bit of sticker shock if you visit EVOO again. The entrees are mostly in the mid-20's now, bottoming out with a veg entree at 20 and going up to 32 for beef tenderloin. Not like No. 9 or anything, but it might be the most expensive meal you can buy in Somerville.

              1. re: pollystyrene

                As far as changes to La Campania go, co-owner/exec chef John Maione is still there: it was his sous chef Shingara Singh who left to head the kitchen at Da Vinci.