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UES Mayor coming for visit and need Recs for higher end places!!

Being the foodie I am, please give me your recs. Will be there for July 4th week/weekend and want fun and wow food. MUST have big wonderful bar for pre-dinner martinis and the food has got to be sublime. Money no object but want to be within walking distance of Copely (Westin) or at least short cab ride away since I want to walk after meal.Thanks Beantowners!!

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  1. Although you're located in a weirdly chow-deficient immediate neighborhood, you're within a short cab ride of nearly every high end restaurant in town.

    If your only criteria are a wonderful bar and sublime upscale food, a board search is probably going to be your best friend for well-tailored recs. You're in the Back Bay, so you might search for that, but also check out the abutting South End, where a lot of the higher end restaurants in town are.

    Quick picks in your immediate vicinity for upscale dining: L'Espalier, Clio, No 9 Park, Troquet, Sorellina.

    Quick picks for good cocktails: No 9 Park, Eastern Standard.

    Also: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/467053

    1. Across the street from the hotel is Sorellina, which is definitely one of the best high-end places in town. Excellent, sometimes sublime Italian.

      1. I didn't see your screen name, and my first thought was, "What's UES? The upper east side has a mayor?"

        I'll second Eastern Standard for the bar - maybe better if the Sox are away (it's near Fenway).

        It's further (out by Chinatown, but not a long cab ride), but isn't O Ya the hot place for cost-no-object dining these days?

        1. Others have already mentioned some of my high-end favs. But considering you also want a big, wonderful bar, you might want to think about The Oak Room (especially if you like steak, but that's certainly not all they serve). It's quite close to you.

          Very formal setting, one of the great bars in Boston just outside the dining room, and excellent food (at least IMO). Probably not what I'd call "wow" food, in that it's not cutting-edge, but it is delicious.

          1. The UES Mayor is coming to visit me and I get to be taken out! I'm "dragging" him to No. 9 Park, Sorellina, Neptune (making him suffer without martinis + a cab ride) and O Ya if I like it this week. Can't wait for the visit!!

            6 Replies
              1. re: Bostonbob3

                upper east side? im still confused.
                no9park !

                1. re: kweesee

                  yes - you got it, upper east side. he walks up/down second ave. on the upper east side and knows everyone (and every restaurant) he passes - hence the nickname.

                  1. re: gramercyfoodie

                    Hah...well thanks for clearing that up, because with all the medical students and professionals in Boston, that could have stood for "Upper Esophageal Sphincter"~!

                    1. re: gramercyfoodie

                      thats hillarious. cool. both my sis have been living in UES for over 15 years so i go there often. :)

                2. Oh, and don't forget Uni (downstairs from Clio).

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Bostonbob3

                    try da vinci too, less expensive and quite wonderful italian

                  2. Excelsior is one of my favorites. The food is classic yet refined and well executed. The view is great and you can walk to the Westin from there through the common and down Newbury. Boston Public in Louis Boston is quite nice as well.

                    1. You've got to be kidding... Do you always refer to yourself in the 3rd person in the title of your posts?

                      Anyway, good recs so far. Although my only meal at Excelsior was just okay.

                      4 Replies
                      1. re: adobokid

                        simmer down and find the humor. he's a character and beats to his own drum, like more people should :)

                        1. re: gramercyfoodie

                          Hehe, you're funny...

                          Adobokid will simmer down now.

                          Enjoy your foodie week get together.

                          1. re: adobokid

                            Look up jfood. He has some great recommendations :)

                        2. re: adobokid

                          I think Excelsior has really declined from it's Biba days and Lydia Shire's influence good quality but lacking the creativity...still a nice space.

                        3. Not quite the most sublime place in town, but given the nature of UES's request (which makes him seems kinda loud and flashy), the first place that came to mind was Excelsior.

                          1. Given what you've said, I'd say no place will fit the bill better than No. 9 Park. L'Espalier has no bar.

                            1. Thanks for all the recs so far-Keep them coming as I have 4 days in Boston to try the best it has to offer!! Gramercyfoodie and I can't wait!!

                              5 Replies
                              1. re: UES Mayor

                                UES, Try the Grill 23. 2 big bars, huge martinis. Its the steak restaurant in Boston, but the menu has plenty of great seafood options.

                                1. re: Late to the party

                                  Sorry, but I wouldn't send a New Yorker to a Boston steakhouse.

                                  1. re: tamerlanenj

                                    It seems Late to the party isn't suggesting Grill 23 for the steak, but for the seafood. And even people who live in NYC haven't (*gasp, is it possible?*) all made it to Peter Luger, so why not check out a Boston steakhouse if that's something they might be in the mood for? No maybe isn't it the end all be all that Luger is supposed to be, but it's not like we don't know how to cook steak in Boston.

                                    1. re: Chris VR

                                      we actually tried grill 23 last year for the mayor's visit (they were one of the only places open on the 4th) and while the bar was fun, we were unimpressed with the food/service. Nothing against boston steak just wasn't dazzled by it.

                                      1. re: Chris VR

                                        I actually find Grill 23 fairly mediocre in general for steak.
                                        And I never said anything about Bostonians not knowing how to cook steak, but it's good steakhouses are soooo common in NYC that it just doesn't seem worth it for a visiting New Yorker.

                                2. Tried to make reservations at No. 9 Park-phone person said they were closed July 3, 4, 5, and 6Th!!!!why would such a great place close all those days!!!! sooooooooo annoying that I won't be able to try-any other similar places that actually will be open over the 4th of July holiday weekend??????? Can't be that sleepy of a town!!

                                  9 Replies
                                  1. re: UES Mayor

                                    The No. 9 crew is serious about respecting the importance of days off! They are also closed Sundays. Also, you may find a lot of the better places are sleepy that weekend: tourists generally don't go to higher end places, and the locals all leave town!

                                    It is hard to tell from just a few posts on the Internet, but I think you're looking for a place more like Mistral and Sorrelina than No. 9. Bigger bars, more bustling. Food is not quite as tremendous at Mistral, but generally solid.

                                    Also, I haven't been, but maybe a night at Alibi followed by Scampo at Liberty Hotel.

                                    1. re: Alcachofa

                                      Scampo is excellent. Alibi is ridiculous. If you go to either, be sure to head up to the 2nd floor lobby and look up: cool space.

                                      1. re: jajjguy

                                        I liked the food at Scampo, though was sad to pay for the garlic bread, but it was quite good, as were the mozzarella dishes I tried. The beverage program, from staff-chops to product, however, seems to be sorely lacking. I found the service friendly and very attentive when I went. I didn't like the space very much, it felt like a hangover from Santa Fe in the '80s.

                                    2. re: UES Mayor

                                      Bostonians with a checkbook move to the Cape in the summer and a lot of the nicest places have more limited hours.

                                      1. re: sailormouth

                                        //Bostonians with a checkbook move to the Cape in the summer//

                                        Heh. It's one of the reasons I love (and stay in) Boston during the summer.

                                        Less pomposity, easier reservations.

                                        1. re: Bostonbob3

                                          And don't forget, easier parking (Red Sox game days would be the exception).

                                          1. re: Bostonbob3

                                            I wasn't passing judgment or praising my betters, just the facts, jack. I do enjoy Boston in the summer, and that is one of the reasons, though by mid-August it gets a bit stuffy, but not the kind of stuffiness we're used to here. I do love being able to walk in just about anywhere open and grab a seat though, that's for sure.

                                          2. re: sailormouth

                                            The NYers with checkbooks all go to the Hamptons for the weekends... but we have a mayor visiting us in sleepy old Boston...:)

                                          3. re: UES Mayor

                                            Many of the better restaurants use the slower summer times to close for renovations and/or give their staff some well-deserved time off. Boston is a pretty sleepy town in the summer. Maybe it will be a little less sleepy when the "Mayor" rolls into town...

                                          4. Does Bloomberg know you've taken over the UES? I would add Craigie St. Bistrot in Cambridge via cab and Prezza in the North End for Italian.

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: chowmensch

                                              Yes! Prezza has a bustling bar and a great wine list.

                                              1. re: gramercyfoodie

                                                There's no room for two Mayors with big heads in this town!!! We have to bring your guy down a few notches...

                                                I think Excelsior is a bad suggestion.

                                                I'd include a night visiting all of the restaurants and bars within the Liberty Hotel.

                                                1. re: PJ Mac BJ

                                                  lol - I agree re: excelsior. Def want to hit up the bars at the Liberty Hotel, but haven't heard great things about the food...do you know something I don't?

                                                  1. re: gramercyfoodie

                                                    I've gone (6 times) more for the space and drinks than the food.The only place I've dined is Scampo, where the service was a bit erratic. As others have pointed out, it's a good place to graze. If you order safe you'll be fine. If you haven't been, I guarantee that you will be impressed with the entire venue. They have preserved the bones of the old jail very well. Start with a drink at the big open bar adjacent to the lobby and work your way through all of the bars and restaurants. It's a bit of a scene that might be perfect for the Mr big pants to strut his stuff.

                                              2. This thread has taken on a life of its own and to my dismay, in the wrong direction. I by no means meant to imply that Boston is inferior to what as the Uppereast side Mayor is accustomed to, but was simply hoping to be wowed by the former city I resided in-yes-I too prided myself as being a proper Bostonian and, after that a Cape Codder for many years.I am not seekin a restaurant with a pompious attitude and neither do I wear "big pants" as PJ Mac BJ implied in one response. I simply want sublime eats-not just great but over the top fantastic. Because I will be dining with my fellow Bostonian foodie Ms Gramercyfoodie-everything from the pre dinner Martinis to desert has got to wow us! I was just in so much dismay after not being able to book what I perceived to be an easy task those restaurants at the top of my list. That is the reason I implore you to keep those suggestions coming-so that the UES Mayor will be fully satiated upon his homecoming.

                                                3 Replies
                                                1. re: UES Mayor

                                                  Relax, Mayor, I'm enjoying the thread and the vicarious Boston experience, and I'm guessing many others who don't get to higher end places very often are, too. An over-the-top four-day food fantasy in our city, and hopefully we'll get a full report afterwards. No attitude, just great chow. Have a wonderful time!

                                                  1. re: UES Mayor

                                                    Come on hot shot, anyone who refers to himself as the "Mayor" deserves some ribbing!!! You've been given all of the places that fit your criteria;

                                                    - Clio/Uni
                                                    - #9 (John and Ryan)
                                                    - Sorrelina
                                                    - Mistral
                                                    - Mooo
                                                    - ESK
                                                    - O Ya
                                                    - Liberty Hotel

                                                    Gramercy- I would take the Mr big stuff to the Oak room for an old-fashioned Manhattan/Martini to loosen him up. Maybe a "pub/food crawl" through the North and South End would do the trick also. Maybe we could get a duck boat named after him!!

                                                    1. re: PJ Mac BJ

                                                      you are both right!! mayor needs to loosen up and have a martini (or two)!

                                                  2. I haven't tried Hammersly's and trying to think of alternative places open on July 4th (of course I haven't called yet)...do you think they make this list?

                                                    3 Replies
                                                    1. re: gramercyfoodie

                                                      Actually, if open, I think Hamersley's would be a great call. Very solid chow, and to me, the place epitomizes Boston high-end dining, right down to the Red Sox cap Gordon wears in the kitchen. Whenever my mom, a "recovering Bostonian", comes to visit from the Southwest, we take her there and she marvels at "how much my old Boston has changed."

                                                      Again, no idea if they're open, but certainly worth the call.

                                                      1. re: gramercyfoodie

                                                        I'm almost certain that Hammersly's was one of those places that closed for 2 weeks last summer to paint and spruce up the entire place. I wouldn't put Hammersly's on your list because the bar is so small and the atmosphere is very staid. Maybe you could overcome the ambiance, or lack thereof, by bringing a group and making your own fun. It's not uncommen to see solo diners sitting at the bar with a book or to see boring deuces or four tops that looked like they just came from buying more whale pants at a boutique in Nantucket.

                                                        I envision the Mayor as more of a Toro or Neptune guy, where the atmosphere and food are so much more fun, and it's not uncommon to make new friends and share food with strangers. Maybe I'm wrong, but a sedate table at Hammersly's (just to try the chicken) would be a buzz kill.

                                                        1. re: PJ Mac BJ

                                                          you have his number. lol. i will see if toro is open too. i love it there. neptune closed on the 4th but we'll go another night for sure.

                                                      2. Try Salts in Cambridge.

                                                        1. So, how was the visit? Looking forward to hearing where you went and what you thought...

                                                          1. I read this thread with relish way back when.....
                                                            So, where did you go, what did you eat, what did you love?

                                                            4 Replies
                                                            1. re: Gio

                                                              I have forwarded to him for a response - I really hope he behaves!

                                                              We had a great wknd!

                                                              1. re: Gio

                                                                Greeting my fellow Bostonians!! Sorry for the delay on reports of my fabulous stay over the 4th of July weekend. Had a wonderful time with Gramercyfoodie whom I spent time with over the weekend. On to the important meat of the matter: Won't mention the incidental quick bites since that is not what this board is about. The important stuff: After not being able to get into Neptune Oyster Bar because it was too crowded we took a chance and got a table pronto at Mamma Marias is the NorthEnd. Divine! I had the seared scallops for an appetizer and pasta (ravioli) with lobster which was absolutely stuffed with huge lobster chunks and this was accompanied by a nice red wine which I had waiter choose for me. I forget what Gramercyfoodie had but her significant other had the Osso Bucco -both thier dishes were great except for being a little on the rich side. All in all a beutiful setting in a pre war townhouse and although I had not planned it, I would have dressed a little better had I known I was going to such a beautiful restaurant. Day 2-for breakfast I snuck down to Chinatown and noshed on some roasted suckling pi (Siu yuk) from this hole in the wall thats been there for ages-name escapes me now. Dinner that night was at Toro in the South End on Washinton Street-Oh my what a wonderful find of a Tappas Bar/restaurant. Although it was a little crowded if you get there by 7pm the wait is not bad. We had tons of delicious drinks and although every plate was better than the last, the one thing that stands out in my memory was the roasted corn with white chees and butter-i died and went to heaven!!!!!! Yum!!!! The paella was just done to perfection. We had reservations at Sorrelina but due to some change of svhedule ended up at the Palm instead for 3rd night dinner. Standard fare -King crab legs, a 6 lb lobster both of which we had for appetizers followed by delicious steaks which I could not finish since I was so full (and also so full of Martinis) by then. Lunch that day was at Osushi in the Copely Westin which never fails to dissapoint. On my way home I stopped at Legal Seafood at the Delta terminal and had a bowl of clam chowder which was great as ever and a lobster wrap sans the wrap-the lobster wrap being just right with very little mayonaisse (which eased my guilty soul at that point). My one regret was not trying Sorellina because the space is beautiful but I will be back soon!!! Thanks for all your recs and hope I can introduce you to my finds if you haven't been yet. Yours truly-UES Mayor

                                                                1. re: UES Mayor

                                                                  Many thanks Your Honor... Glad you had a good time in your old stamping ground and .. did you say a 6 pound lobster for an appetizer at The Palm?? 0.0 .

                                                                  1. re: Gio

                                                                    Yes-we had a 6 lb lobster and 2 lbs of King crab legs for appetizers. We shared both amongst 5 of us so it was the perfect portion of each. Btw the hole in the wall place in Chinatown where I had my delicious cripsy skin pork was called Hong Kong Eatery-79 Harrison Ave. Just a hole in the wall with the most delicious eats. Opened at 9am on Sat. Try the crispy skin pork-the one that they hang in window. You will thank me!