Something better than Central Kitchen?
I know everyone is all crazy about Central Kitchen, but I'm more frequently disappointed than I am impressed. At a similar price, I would rather go to Green Street or EVOO any day of the week, or else I would rather pay less and enjoy something from the delicious bar menus at The Cellar or Chez Henri.
Although I love all of the places I just mentioned, I go to them all the time and would like to find some new favorites in Cambridge, Beacon Hill, Back Bay, or even Brookline that are at/below the Central Kitchen/Green Street price point. Any suggestions?
All together now..."Highland...(clap clap)...Kitchen....(clap clap)...and Garden at the Cellellerrrrr....(clapclap)" :)
I've never tried Hungry Mother. Regarding Rendezvous - I love that place, but it's a little more formal than I'm really looking for. I definitely feel like I have to get more dressed up to go to Rendezvous, whereas I can go to Green Street or Central Kitchen with whatever I happen to be wearing. Does that make sense?
Desfina in East Cambridge has really good Greek food. Midwest Grill on Cambridge St outside Inman Square has great quasi-Brazilian food. The Helmand is a little more expensive but worth it. Also a little more expensive than Green St but a nice laid-back place with great food is Lineage in Coolidge Corner.
Places Cambridgeville that I like as much as Green Street: EVOO, Gargoyles, Sagra, Oleana (possibly a price point issue), RendezVous, Chez Henri, Garden at the Cellar, River Gods, Green Street, East Coast Grill, Casablanca, Baraka Cafe, Hungry Mother, Blue Room
I've never been particularly smitten by Central Kitchen either.
Great recs above. I'd argue that Chez Henri, especially the bar menu, nails the price point/vibe/tastiness thing. Also agree on Highland Kitchen and Garden.
I'll also throw in a rec for the Monday Club Bar at Upstairs on the Square. I think the food is both substantially more refined and better-executed than Central Kitchen, and at a similar price point.
Honestly, if I'm in the mood for a casual dinner in the area, it doesn't get much better for me than the Druid in Inman. I'm not a big fan of the "gastropub" moniker, but it's pretty fitting here -- good beer, great chow, fair prices. At this point, they make my favorite burger in the Boston area, and the fish 'n' chips [thanks gini for yet another good call] are excellent as well.