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Restaurant for little brother?

My younger brother is taking his girlfriend out for a belated Valentine's Day dinner this weekend and asked me for a recommendation. They are both 21 and live around Porter Square. Here are the constraints: T-friendly, more fun than fancy, entrees around $20 max (they are both poor college students), and they are not particularly adventurous when it comes to food. I would normally recommend Addis Red Sea as a fun and inexpensive place, but I don't think they would like it. . .so something more American. Maybe Cambridge One? Thanks!

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  1. I am not a big fan of Cambridge One. Too pubby & bad service, although they have a good beer selection. Temple Bar is OK, West Street Grill is decent too. There is that new Tavern in the Sq in the Porter Exchange but that location seems cursed. I like the Asian Food Court or Blue Fin for Sushi.

    2 Replies
    1. re: mr mangia

      I think you are thinking of Cambridge Common, not Cambridge One -- the former is pubby but the latter is not.

      West Street Grill just got a nice review after a little period where they were not getting a lot of love.

      If it wasn't a weekend I'd send them to Chez Henri to share a cubano at the bar and have a few tasty cocktails.

      1. Grotto? Petit Robert? Garden at the Cellar? Matt Murphy's?

        2 Replies
        1. re: BostonCookieMonster

          Garden at the Cellar is way out of that price range

          1. re: LauraBear

            Are we thinking of the same place? Entrees are like $16- $22, unless it's gone way up since I was there.

        2. How about Highland Kitchen - lots of fantastic reviews in recent posts...I'm anxious to go there myself!

          4 Replies
            1. re: 02139

              That's a great suggestion! In fact, that's where we went for his birthday a few weeks ago. The meal was great, but I can't suggest it again so soon.

              1. re: Lowren710

                East coast grill, Redbones, Magnolias.

                1. re: phatchris

                  Muqueca has better food and pretty inexpensive, unique enough and not so adventurous.

          1. East Coast Grill definitely comes to mind.

            1. Would Elephant Walk be too weird?

              1. Well, East Coast Grill is tad pricier than you are asking for. So would be my pick - the Blue Room (http://www.theblueroom.net/main.html). Entrees for both are in the notch above $20.

                1. If it's not too late, here are my recs in no particular order:
                  West Side Lounge
                  Highland Kitchen
                  Bluefin
                  Redbones
                  Cambridge One
                  Green Street
                  Temple Bar (for the fun-fancy feel more than the food)
                  River Gods
                  RF OSullivans
                  Sagra

                  don't bother:
                  Cambridge Common, Christophers (both are fine in a pinch, but not special)
                  Tavern (unless it's hugely better than the one in Central)