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Restaurant Week(s): March, 2008. Where are YOU going?

My officemates and I usually go to 4-5 places for lunch during the 2 week RW period.

For this year we have reservations @ L 'Espalier, Moo and Aquataine. Also probably Tapeo. Need to choose a few more.

Anyone have plans to take advantage of RW?

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  1. Great question - we are trying to choose 2. Right now we are deciding between Grotto, Sel de la Terre, Union Bar and Grill, Tapeo and Tremont 647.

    2 Replies
    1. re: lulu806

      i went to tremont 647 last year for RW and my friends and i were all extremely dissapointed. i would say union & SDLT are x10000 better.

      1. re: kweesee

        I agree that Tremont 647 wasn't too impressive last year. Nothing notably poor, but also nothing notably good. If I recall correctly there were many options to upgrade to a different menu item, but even the upgrades were mediocre. Service was off the mark as well.

    2. Tapeo isn't open for lunch, even if it's listed on the RW website.

      2 Replies
      1. re: 02139

        GRRRRRRR ..... I didn't think they were either, but they have a RW lunch menu on line.

        1. re: 02139

          Actually they are open for lunch and offering the RW menu, but only on Saturday and Sundays. FYI with Grotto, I love it there, but they offer that menu year round so it may be beneficial to opt for a location that only offers a discounted menu specifically for RW

        2. Ooooh Restaurant Week. Anybody have suggestions for places that do it well (as in, don't serve a sub-par version of their regular fare)? Also, any places that would have a chance of being good for a vegetarian dinner companion?

          3 Replies
          1. re: okello

            i love pigalle at restaurant week. can't comment about vegetarians but they always have a lot of great options

            1. re: cambridgeMike

              I had a very good experience @ Pigalle last year, and I just saw the RW menu for Grotto, I don't think you could go wrong there, but I believe it is dinner only.

            2. re: okello

              I've always had good luck with Upstairs on the Square as a veggie during restaurant week. Dante has a veggie friendly menu this year. Last year I did Meritage and OM which were veggie friendly (not sure about this year).

            3. Regarding Grotto - my one and only dinner there was during RW, and BFP and I had a mediocre meal (in which we got poor renditions of some of the restaurant's signature dishes) and horrible, horrible service. Folks on this board pointed out that Grotto has a great combo deal all the time that's not much more expensive than the RW price, so it might be better to try them out another time.

              3 Replies
              1. re: Allstonian

                Grotto's RW menu is available for most of March, as a straight up prix fixe from March 2 to 22. So I'd suggest making a reservation on a non-RW night, perhaps after the hurly-burly's done. I did that last year on a Wednesday night and was handsomely rewarded with one of my favorite RW dinners to date.

                This year I have a reservation at Sandrine's (have yet to set foot in the place) and am pondering Boston Public (more to see the space than anything else) and Terramia.

                1. re: Dr.Jimbob

                  Ya know, on second thought I agree w/ Allstonian and Dr. JimBob, I had forgotten about the very reasonable and substantial prixe fix menu at Grotto. You can get a great, reasonably priced meal without the RW stress on the kitchen or wait staff. Good Call.

                  My initial suggestion was biased towards folks who make the venture into town for RW whom might not otherwise visit these establishments.

                  1. re: Dr.Jimbob

                    Thanks for the tip - we changed our reservation at Grotto to tomorrow night and that freed up one of our RW fridays to try another place!

                    1. re: uman

                      I have only been once and had a wonderful experience - we got there an hour early (made reserves at 5:30 and could only get an 8 o'clock one) - they suggested a drink at the bar (which I swear we did not get charged for!) and had a table within 20 minutes for us - had three servers waiting on us and this was a Friday night - place filled up quickly after our arrival - I thought the food was excellent and my DC's and I are looking forward to returning!

                    1. Considering The Cellar since I still haven't been there. On the fence for Grotto. They have lots of options so it could be good for a small group. I'm waiting for more of the restos to put menus on the site so I can reserve for at least two meals.

                      I've had a pretty 50/50 experience with RW in the past with the exception of that last one, which went really well for me. Had good meals at Harvest and EVOO and terrific lunch at OM.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: kittychow

                        Are your referring to the Garden at the Cellar? If so, I have not seen mention of them participating in RW yet. Even if they do participate, you can get three good courses there for close to $33 regularly.

                        1. re: Gabatta

                          Thanks for the correction. I was looking at list and saw "... Cellar" participating. Turns out that it's the Wine Cellar in the Back Bay.

                      2. Could anyone post a link to the Restaurant Week website, or tell those of us who are behind, the dates and the basic set-up? Thanks.

                        4 Replies
                          1. re: Lucymax

                            Hi Lucymax -- restaurant week is one of those topics that comes up exactly twice a year .. once in the spring (March) and once in August. It is a promotion that many restaurants run where they have a limited menu for a reduced price. The object, I think, is to drum up business during an otherwise slow period. The theory is that RW brings in folks who might not have splurged for the real deal with the hopes that they will come back. The reality, unfortunately, is that many of the restaurants do sort of shabby low-priced meals, the staff hates it because RW tippers are notoriously cheap, and it doesn't really work for anyone. On the other hand, I've had probably 50/50 luck with my RW experiences. If you set your expectations accordingly, and look at what others have reported, you can have a very nice time trying a place you might not otherwise..

                            1. re: yumyum

                              And here's a better link to the participating restaurants -->

                              http://www.restaurantweekboston.com/

                              1. re: yumyum

                                I believe RW started in 2000. Lunch was a fixed price of $20 and dinner was $30. Now lunch is $20.08 and dinner is $30.08. Many places have other stuff you can add on (e.g., wine) for a supplement.

                                I have to say that through the 7 years I have been doing RW, my good/bad ratio is probably 70/30. I've had some pretty darn good chow, some just OK and one or two complete flops.

                                They have RW in NYC also.

                            2. Just made a res. at Aquitaine in the S. End. Looking forward to it. We've done Grotto and Harvest in the past. Both were good, no major issues with either.

                              1. We have reservations at Lumiere, Catch, Rialto, and Harvest.

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: Trixie Too

                                  Another veg-friendly question here: I've checked out some definite-veggie menus for RW and was hoping to get some feedback (ha..) on Dante and Zephyr on the Charles. Anyone offer a yay or nay for either? Thanks!

                                  1. re: mipiace

                                    I tried Dante over the summer RW and very much enjoyed it - didn't go with a veggie menu, but would recommend it based on experience.

                                2. I'm probably going to hit Terramia at least. $33 for three courses.

                                  EDIT: just got their RW menu emailed to me:

                                  First

                                  (Choice of one)

                                  Insalata di Spinaci

                                  Salad of Baby Spinach with dried California figs, toasted Pignoli nuts

                                  and Gorgonzola Dolce, tossed in a Pancetta vinaigrette

                                  Zuppa Di Funghi E Castagne

                                  Wild mushrooms and chestnut soup, goat cheese, extra virgin olive oil

                                  Second

                                  (Choice of one)

                                  Mozzarella Con Prosciutto

                                  Imported fresh Buffalo Mozzarella wrapped in Prosciutto Di Parma, eggplant Caponata, basil Aioli

                                  Tagliatelle Bolognese

                                  Tagliatelle Pasta with traditional veal, beef, pork meat sauce, touch mascarpone,

                                  Parma cheese

                                  Torta

                                  Smoked tomato and braised onion tart, goat cheese and micro salad

                                  Third

                                  (Choice of one)

                                  Maiale

                                  Filet of Pork Tenderloin, spicy honey walnuts crust, parsnip puree, baby spinach, apple sauce

                                  Risotto Di Granchio

                                  Arborio rice, saffron, charcoal roasted peppers, fresh crab meat

                                  Salmone

                                  Pan roasted Black Pearl Salmon, mustard crab crust, baby spinach, Vanilla citrus

                                    1. re: donjay

                                      we'll do B&G Oysters for lunch and Pigalle for dinner this time around.

                                    2. Just snagged a 7:30 pm Saturday night reservation @ Pigalle. Yoo hoo!!

                                      3 Replies
                                      1. re: shaebones

                                        For some reason I was under the impression that Restaurant week excluded Saturdays. Perhaps Pigalle is different but you might want to check on that.

                                        1. re: AnjLM

                                          Actually, I called and talked to the Maitre D when I made the reservation b/c Open Table had nothing for the time slot I wanted during RW. He said that most folk's don't know that Pigalle extends restaurant week thru Sat March 22...thats why there was availability when I called. ALL of the 7-8pm slots were taken for the rest of RW.

                                      2. RW #1.... dbar We went last summer and were blown away. great food and superb wine pairings.....and parking to boot!
                                        #2 Hope to try Gaslight. Their menu changes make me a bit nervous but still want to try

                                        1. Has Pigalle posted their March 2008 RW menu?
                                          We have a reservation for RW and I'm curious about will b eon the menu.
                                          Thanks.

                                          1. Dante is awesome, I just went for the first time on Monday. Great chef, great bar staff, great view.

                                            On the veggie tip - it's funny, I just posted a thread on Yelp about this. I know that OM's is veggie this year. Some people have said that you can call ahead and request a veggie option. I think my coworkers and I are going to go to blu (one of the only financial district options) and I'm going to see if I can get my vegan coworker hooked up with something edible.

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: desertrose5418

                                              unfortunately, have to disagree about Dante. its 'fine'', but we have had 2 ''less than great''[ ho- hum] meals, and service, as of recently, a combination that equals the ho-hum

                                            2. My bf and I strolled into the Butcher Shop tonight and was reminded it was restaurant week. We ordered our favorite - the steak tartare, and their hotdog (which is humongous!). The only thing we ordered from the RW menu was the braised pork shoulder, a la carte. It was AMAZING!!! I was really impressed, it was well flavored, soft pork shoulder with tomatoes on soft, delicious polenta. the portion looked small, as with most of their dishes, but its quite filling!

                                              I would suggest people to go check it out because its not on their usual menu.

                                              1. Gargoyles and dante for me.

                                                1. Taranta--wasn't among our original choices, but those were already fully booked. The online menu looks great, and I'm looking forward to trying a new (to me and my DCs) place that's generally highly recommended on this board.

                                                  3 Replies
                                                  1. re: phoebek

                                                    From my past experience, Taranta does a great job with RW. Enjoy!

                                                    1. re: 9lives

                                                      We went to L'Andana Sunday and it was superb.....both food and service.
                                                      We all had something different and everything was oustanding. Their restaurant week menu is on their website. We are going to Mooo Friday. I know someone who went yesterday who is the ultimate fussy diner and he thought it was excellent.

                                                      1. re: edgewater

                                                        I am going to L'Andana tonight... I am so glad it is going to be good!

                                                  2. Did Rustic Kitchen for lunch - B - didn't feel underwhelmed but could have been better
                                                    Very nice relaxed atmosphere, beatiful dining room, chef was handrolling pasta at pizza oven station, reinforcing freshness of food

                                                    apps:
                                                    White Bean and Sausage Soup - solid, accept the cracked black pepper it's bit bland
                                                    Farfalle Pasta Salad - also solid, nice vertical presentation

                                                    mains:
                                                    Four Cheese Ravioli Al Forno - Ricotta, Mozzarella, Parmesan & Fontina Stuffed Ravioli with a chunky tomato sauce- ok as noted sauce very chunky tasted like it could have been cooked more

                                                    Muffuletta Sandwich - Cured Italian Meats, Olive Salad & Provolone on Sesame Loaf
                                                    very large sandwhich, but meat to bread ratio was out of whack, too much thick bread. Cured italian meats was 2 slices mortadella and a slice of proscicutto. Olive salad chunks were really large and fell out of sandwhich, presented with decent mixed greeens and fresh chips

                                                    Grilled Hanger Steak with Caponata, Parsley & Garlic Fried Potatoes
                                                    ok, small portion of meat, caponata was good, potatoes could have been cooked hotter and or longer to create better crust

                                                    Desert
                                                    all 3 had
                                                    Pear Crostada with Vanilla Gelato & Caramel Sauce - Excellent, didn't really notice pear but gelato with caramel served on sweet crust always pleases

                                                    1. So far I've been to Aquitaine Bis & The Met - both were awesome! Rialto was really good last year.

                                                      8 Replies
                                                      1. re: DogMa

                                                        Went to L'andana on tues night... huge portions and excellent food

                                                        1. re: Diski

                                                          Went to Boston Public last night. All of the bad aspects of Restaurant Week....poor service, poor food, small portions, and strangely they ran out of meat (except a steak that required a $20 supplement!) by 8 pm in a place that markets itself as serving “Steak House cuisine with influences from Southeast Asia.”

                                                          1. re: jonship

                                                            Bummer -- see that would be a place I would try at RW, because I normally wouldn't go there, but am interested in what they do. But running out of meat at a place formerly known as Boston Public Meat? Um... no.

                                                            1. re: yumyum

                                                              Like I said, they did have a steak for a $20 supplement, but I think that's ridiculous during restaurant week.

                                                              1. re: jonship

                                                                I do too. Some places have special ingredients for a supplement, or excellent wines pairings, but to try to get the supp for the actual meal, that's pretty cheeky.

                                                                1. re: yumyum

                                                                  A significant supplement at that! $20?!

                                                          2. re: Diski

                                                            I am going to L'Andana this evening - that is good news to hear!

                                                            1. re: phonelady

                                                              You will enjoy it I am sure.... I was very happy with my meal..
                                                              I got the prociutto app, the chicken milanese (so big I took most of it home) and for deseet the bundito..
                                                              if you drink martinis try th la perta,,, it is a wonderful lemon and ginger marriage!

                                                        2. We're doing Icarus this year. I'm excited, as I haven't been yet.

                                                          1 Reply
                                                          1. re: theredmenace

                                                            Oh, I'm a huge Icarus fan. Yummm. I've done RW there twice - first was more stunningly good than the second (oh, the duck) but the second was nothing to sniff at. You'll have a lovely meal. Bartender makes a great lemon pre-dinner cocktail that we always enjoy.

                                                          2. Went to Azure Monday night (one of the few places that are vegetarian friendly for my guest's sake) - had a surprisingly good meal consisting of the beet and goat cheese salad for a starter, the lamb t-bones for my entree, and the chocolate cake for dessert (though, after stealing a bite from my friend, go for the lemon bread pudding).

                                                            Question for all you Chowhounders regarding next week's dinner options -- My BF is leaving it up to me to choose a restaurant to go to next week. I have standing reservations at Meritage on Thursday night and Gargoyles on the Square on Friday. I'm leaning towards Meritage, but looking for input since I haven't been to either. Thoughts?

                                                            2 Replies
                                                            1. re: kay.em.tea.

                                                              We went to Blu (at the health club at Ritz Carlton). It stank. I feel dumb, because when I set this up I thought it was the nicer restaurant at street level in the Ritz. This is the bar/restaurant up on the same floor as the health club. The bar is a pretty place at night, but this lunch was for the dogs. It wasn't even worth complaining about. Actually, I should amend -- my husband said his salmon was OK, but it looked awful to me! I ordered flank steak and it was inedible and looked strange. A note about service -- how is it good service to just stand there dumb while the guests (not you, the waitress) pull heavy chairs and 2 tables away from the banquette in order to be able to sit down, then stand there dumbly while the guests pull off coats, scarves, put down briefcases, because you (the server) think it's "elegant" or something to personally hand the menus to each guest? I hate this aspect of service and wish the restaurants would stop. I'm going to start saying, please just put it down. I hate to be rushed right at minute one. I wish they would think about the experience from OUR point of view for just one minute. Another server said to us, EVERY time he came over, "do you STILL need more time to decide?" We never said we needed more time. OK, rant is over (for now).

                                                              1. re: kay.em.tea.

                                                                Went to Gargoyles for RW last Thursday. The scallop, tuna, and cheese appetizers were all excellent; the truffle soup, less so (very creamy, not very truffley. The bites with added sweetness from the honey were better, and the chunk of pork in the soup seemed out of place). For entrees, the duck was the star - amazing seasoning and preparation, and the sticky rice served with it was to die for; the salmon was good; the sea bass was underseasoned and a little dry, and the girl who had the steak said that the sauce was great, but the meat was not a very good cut. Most people got the mascarpone tart for dessert, which was excellent. The frangipane was good, but not as good as the tart, and I didn't get a bite of the cinnamon-chocolate cake, so I can't report. All told, I would go back for RW next week to get some more of the tuna (I only got a bite in exchange for some of my scallops) and to have the duck again. Mmm.

                                                              2. Going to Icarus and Upstairs on the Square. Looking forward to both meals!

                                                                1. We are planning to go to Lumiere for dinner Saturday night (it looks like they serve the RW menu on weekends and extend it by a week as well, although the menu changes slightly each week). Has anyone been there this week? The offerings look great!

                                                                  Also, any reports on the lunch menu/experience at Lala Rokh this RW?

                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                  1. re: ziggles

                                                                    Went to Lumiere last night. It's very meh.
                                                                    Not one of our group of 7 left with positive feelings. They will do a steak for $5 surcharge and for $16 extra you can get wine pairings but they're nothing special.

                                                                    Your best bet for a good meal from the menu is the mushroom soup, the cod and then the sorbet. Good luck.

                                                                  2. A group of 4 went to Petit Robert at Kenmore last night and it was excellent. The service was outstanding and the menu was great also. We had the Hearts of Palm salad and smoked salmon for appetizers. Entrees were Swordfish steak (which was okay), panko crusted pork loin with mashed potato and carrots (outstanding) and beef bourgounoin (don't think I spelt that right, but it was a red wine stew of beef), which was also delcious. Dessert was a chocolate mousse or il flotante.

                                                                    I would definitely recommend going here for RW.

                                                                    Has anyone gone to Mare for RW? Planning to go to Mare and Rialto for dinner next week.

                                                                    1. Did Azure Tues night and it was good, but not fantastic... it was what I expected. Got to check out Grotto tonight and WOW! all I have to say is Gnocchi with short ribs. The gnocchi wasn't the best I've had but they were soft and melted in my mouth, barely a chew. The short rib had been cooked to perfection, it really did melt in my mouth. The mild combination of flavors, nicely seasoned, no overkill on salt as most places do, just enough gorgonzola to get a taste without being overpowering... I was in heaven. The portions were NOT expected, I had to have a doggy-bag, it was just too much! The atmosphere is warm and cozy, service well done and very friendly. Without a doubt an excellent RW experience and now a top place on my list for special occasions. Anyone know what olive oil they use for dipping the bread? It was addictive!