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New boyfriend, Birthday dinner.

Hi. It's a fresh relationship and his birthday is coming up. We'll be cooking in one night, but I need a night out and it's a great excuse to take him (and, more importantly, myself) to dinner! He frequents spots in his hood (South End) so I'd prefer to avoid it. Something fun with a great wine list; I don't want to look like I'm trying too hard. We've recently been to Bin 26 and Craigie St... where should we go for this occasion?

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  1. Troquet has excellent food, and (IMO) one of the best wine lists in the city. They have an extensive wine-by-the-glass list as well.

    4 Replies
    1. re: Bostonbob3

      I think Troquet would be trying too hard, and maybe Salts too (as in a lot of money). I'd say something like Rendezvous, Chez Henri, Central Kitchen, Gargoyles, Blue Room, all nice but not crazy expensive.

      1. re: Joanie

        While Troquet for dinner may be trying too hard, it probably would be right on for a dessert and/or cheese with a few glasses of wine. They have a pretty nice bar that sometimes gets a fun crowd. Maybe start at La Voile for dinner, which is reasonable and close by, and walk through the Public Garden?

        1. re: sailormouth

          Is that the downstairs bar at Troquet? A friend and I were bemoaning some really average cheese plates lately (this week, KO Prime and Beacon Hill Bistro), and thought about going there, but we weren't sure if it was a sit and the bar and order a cheese plate sort of spot. And if it is, we might be there tomorrow :).

          1. re: cmd

            It is the downstairs bar. No reason for crying any longer.

            See you tomorrow night.

    2. Neptune, EVOO or Oleana come to mind...? They all are so good and don't feel like anyone is trying too hard. Have fun!

      1. I suggest Lucca in the North End, fun and lively.
        Eastern Standard is always a safe bet.

        1 Reply
        1. re: saltyair

          I'd agree with these two, much different neighborhoods than the South End and both have great atmospheres and are moderately priced, you'll spend some money (mainly on the great cocktails they both offer) but won't look like you're trying too hard.

        2. Salts would be a lovely choice, particularly if both of you would share the whole roasted duck which is their signature dish.

          2 Replies
            1. re: mcel215

              Here is a third rec for EVOO. Going back next week!

          1. I am not sure I fully understand the "not trying too hard" aesthetic.
            I bet he'd enjoy Ten Tables.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Bob Dobalina

              Think Clio with roving violins and dozens of roses and a white horse and the Vienna Boys Choir on a third date, for an extreme example of trying too hard. I'm not sure Ten Tables would qualify, but I think Troquet for dinner might, unless they're both big foodies.