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Apr 23, 2008 06:14 AM

Value at the High End


What is your best recommendation for places that take food preparation seriously *and* provide good value? E.g. No. 9, Salts, Troquet, Sorellina are very fine dining experiences, but they don’t optimize for value.

As an example: Silvertone is a favorite of mine. Not the same menu as the top of the top but expertly prepared dishes. At least as good as or better than I cold prepare at home. And excellent wine values.

What’s your favorite value restaurant that’s not a hole in the wall? (I love holes in the wall, but that’s a different discussion)

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  1. Some of these may not cross your "hole in the wall" threshold, but it's a little confusing with basement bar Silvertone (which I also quite admire) used as an example. I consider these good values in serious food for their category: Trattoria Toscana. Hamersley's Bistro, a recent bit of revisionism on my part. Lumiere. 51 Lincoln. Pops. Ten Tables. Angela's Cafe. Brookline Family. Franklin Cafe. Rincon Limeño. Jasmine Bistro. Washington Square Tavern. Green Street. Grotto.

    6 Replies
    1. re: MC Slim JB

      I would add Taberna de Haro and Carlo's Cucina to this list.

      1. re: BobB

        I completely agree with you on Carlos- their attention to detail at very reasonable prices makes them one of my favorite Italian places in Boston...despite the commute to Allston!

      2. re: MC Slim JB

        MC, I can see how I was confusing. I just mean to rule out places that are truly cheap (which I do love) as opposed to a good value. Great suggestions, thanks.

        1. re: Carty

          Interesting choices MC.

          I'm curious as to why you are including the Washington Square Tavern on your list...I don't see it discussed very much on this board. Thanks.

          1. re: CambridgeFoodie

            there actually has been a bit more chatter in the past few months about washington square tavern, esepcially when discussing other upscale pubs/restaurants. It's very good for what it is.

            1. re: CambridgeFoodie

              cambridgeMike is right: I think it gets a fair share of props here. I wasn't that impressed with the food early on, but limster raved about its burger, so I went back, and found it had reached that level of "bar with high craft food" that is one of my favorite kinds of places to dine (cf. Silvertone, Franklin, etc.) It won't make you forget O ya, but of its kind I think it's excellent. My one carp with WST is that their wine list is tilted quite high, too many bottles at $60 and up, but they have decent beers and good bartending with a full liquor license, which helps.

        2. I'd add Grotto on Beacon Hill...good value..especially at lunch.

          eta..MC beat me to it

          1. I think EVOO fits the bill, Blue Room, and Flora as well.

            I would respectfully disagree with the vote for Hamersley's - we have had few meals there that ring in under $250 for 2, and the service on our last visit was really, genuinely rude. Not a good value from either side, in my book.

            4 Replies
            1. re: lisa13

              I guess I need to read a bit closer to hear about the Washington Square Tavern.

              On another note, went out to Toro last night. We didn't drink much (only 2 drinks total)...but the 3 of us ate well for $91 (with plenty of leftovers).

              Very high quality food...extremely high noise level.

              1. re: lisa13

                I'm also interested in what changed Slim's mind about Hamersley's. Did they lower prices (right), or was it an extraordinary meal? I like Hamersley's, and haven't had better service anywhere--I haven't been to L'Espalier--but this inconsistency in service doesn't speak well of them. I'd rather have reliably rude service than hit or miss!

                1. re: pollystyrene

                  I had a really good meal, followed by another really good one, and the check didn't hurt as bad as I remembered from prior visits. It's possible that I've gotten more inured to those prices, or have grown to admire the chef's work more (or maybe he's gotten better), but it seemed like a better value; maybe I was able to find more wines that didn't strike me as overpriced.

                  I've never really had a service issue at Hamersley's, certainly never gotten really rude service. Competent, professional, but not in the same league (nor trying to be) as L'Espalier, which plays up the pomp and formality.

                  1. re: MC Slim JB

                    I'm glad Hamersley's is treating you better these days. I think your theory about the wine might be right. I've never thought of Hamersley's as being more overpriced than most places, but I don't drink wine.

              2. I think Franklin Cafe fits best into this category for me. Tu y Yo in Somerville also hits the mark.

                Coda is similar to Silvertone, but is a bit nicer and a touch more upscale. On the expensive side, I've always found Teatro to be a good value.

                1. At the risk of stating the obvious, a number of Boston's more expensive restaurants also offer bar menus, where the food is as good as (or occasionally better than) in the dining room, but the prices are more reasonable. A few of my favorite bar menus on my side of the river: Chez Henri, Gargoyle's, Upstairs on the Square.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: finlero

                    The same holds true for lunch. Many top end places have quite reasonable lunch menus. As I noted in another thread, I had lunch last week at L'Espalier where a prix fixe menu was $30. And for another $20, there were generous wine pairings with each of the three courses. A terrific value.