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Great, Different Recommendation for this Weekend

JDN74 Feb 12, 2008 07:31 AM

My wife and I are coming to visit this weekend, and are taking some family out for dinner on Saturday. Although I grew up in Boston, I haven't lived there in a long time, and don't know what's good these days. My family gets out a LOT (probably out 3-4 nights/week), so we want to take them someplace that isn't on their usual circuit. They're fairly adventurous eaters, but not Tony Bourdain.

Over the past few years, our standbys have been Hammersley's and Union. Love them both, but want to do something different. Doesn't have to be SE...could be anywhere in Boston/Cambridge/beyond. We're also not trying to break the bank here (though there will be wine, etc.).

We were thinking of Toro, but then I saw that they don't take reservations. Pops was another recommendation. Or Ole in Cambridge (which I tried years ago and wasn't overly impressed with).

What's new, good, and exciting?

  1. Sal Monella Feb 12, 2008 08:00 AM

    How about EVOO, Gargoyle's, or Gran Gusto? For something really different you could checkout Cuchi Cuchi too.

    8 Replies
    1. re: Sal Monella
      JDN74 Feb 12, 2008 08:16 AM

      Thanks! I think I've heard of EVOO, but not the others. I'll check them out!

      1. re: JDN74
        joebelt Feb 12, 2008 08:21 AM

        Cuchi Cuchi is a fun place. Oleana would be at the top of my list as well.

        1. re: joebelt
          finlero Feb 12, 2008 08:25 AM

          Second Oleana. Interesting North African flavors in an upscale environment. Exotic without being weird. The smaller plates are consistently my favorites.

          1. re: finlero
            joebelt Feb 12, 2008 08:53 AM

            and I second your recommendation for smaller plates especially if you happen to have a vegetarian in the group. Ana will make a large entree plate but ordering several smaller on the menu items is often more rewarding. Her cuisine shines in the thoughtful combination of ingredients in a dish and her thrown together vegetarian entrees often lack that element. Everything might taste good but it doesn't work together as her other menu dishes do.

      2. re: Sal Monella
        Joanie Feb 12, 2008 09:05 AM

        Cuchi Cuchi can be a bit of a zoo if that makes a difference. I'd also add Eastern Standard, Rendezvous, Green St., Blue Room, La Morra, all fairly well priced and take reservations.

        1. re: Joanie
          raddoc Feb 12, 2008 09:11 AM

          Craige St. Bistrot_ high concept, well executed, slightly off the beaten path. Pricey but worth it
          Trattoria Tuscana- really good Tuscan italian, small cute room near Fenway, good value. Perhap a better choice for the non Bourdain set.
          East Coast Grill- Fun room, terrific grilled seafood, oysters, some meat choices. Middle price.
          Also third Oleana and Sal's and Joanie's recs.

          1. re: Joanie
            JDN74 Feb 12, 2008 09:19 AM

            Haven't been to the Blue Room in AGES. Always a favorite, and I'd forgotten all about it.

            Cuchi Cuchi looks like the best so far, but all of these menus look great!

            1. re: JDN74
              joebelt Feb 12, 2008 09:23 AM

              Get a driver if you go to Cuchi Cuchi!

        2. k
          KingCarnivore Feb 12, 2008 05:59 PM

          Gotta chime in with a strong recommendation for Oleana as well; The flavors are truly unique; Get a lot of small plates! My mouth is watering just thinking about it. Only negative is sometimes I feel the service was a bit rushed.

          1. t
            treb Feb 13, 2008 06:39 AM

            A bit out of the way, for a real good place that is BYOB, Alia in Winthrop, Italian/Morrocan, this owner has the passion. Also, EVOO or Bistro 5 are very good.

            1. m
              mwk Feb 13, 2008 09:13 AM

              Since it just received some play here recently, it reminded me to recommend it. Jasmine Bistro in Brighton Center. While it's not new, it's good and exciting. Excellent food, service and atmosphere. Also, I would consider the cuisine to be different from the usual. It's a combination of French, Hungarian and Indian-ish.

              Jasmine Bistro
              412 Market St, Brighton, MA 02135

              3 Replies
              1. re: mwk
                kms41 Feb 13, 2008 09:37 AM

                Garden at the Cellar on Mass Ave in Cambridge is also really good. The chef used to work at Oleana and you can definitely see and taste the influences. It's much less expensive than Oleana too. It can get crowded, and there's not much room at the bar to wait. Their bartenders are also HORRIBLE (at least the last three times I've been), which makes waiting for a table less than pleasant.

                1. re: kms41
                  finlero Feb 13, 2008 09:44 AM

                  Garden also doesn't take reservations, which sounds like a non-starter for the OP.

                  1. re: finlero
                    JDN74 Feb 14, 2008 09:14 AM

                    Reservations would be good.

                    Oleana sounds good to me, but not sure if would be a crowd pleaser in this bunch. Still...it's SO highly recommended....

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