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Restaurant Week 2008

Anyone with any great suggestions or finds for 2008 yet? Best values, menus and/or warnings welcome.

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  1. One of the ideas behind Restaurant Week is to get you to try new places. I perfer lunches, because I hardly ever eat three courses, and in the afternoon, it just seems easier to handle. Over the years I've had only good experiences and this year I'm going to three places I've never been before. One of my favorite places has been Henrietta's Patio in Cambridge. You can pick any three items from the full menu, and this is the only place that offers this, as far as I know. The setting is great, in or out, but out is definetely better. This and Upstairs at the Square are places that I like to return to, but not this year.

    9 Replies
    1. re: ghostcat

      I agree with the Henrietta's Table recommendation. I did that last year and it was NOT the typical flank steak prix fixe menu that I am trying to stay away from this year (I highly recommend the melon gazpacho--heaven and the executive chef actually sent me the recipe when I asked for it!). I think all of the restaurants that are listed as participants but do NOT list a menu are offering any choice from the regular menu at the RW price. These are great values, unless the regular price is the same. Harvest in Harvard Square does the same thing. I wanted to actually get into Ruth's Chris for the filet mignon lunch but the reservations are booked solid. Also, Sandrine's in Harvard Square has lobster salad on the lunch menu. Hope it isn't a toothpick size lobster roll!

      1. re: WilliamTheFoodie

        That would be nice if that's true about having choice of menu if it's not linked on the RW site. I'm assuming the restaurant was just lazy and I tend to stay away from those places, altho I am going to Meritage who don't have a menu posted. Gargoyle's also has choice of menu, or at least did before RW officially started.

        1. re: Joanie

          I went to Gargoyles last year for Restaurant Week and thought it was fantastic. Tremont 647 has their RW menu posted on their website too. They have a lot of options to choose from for each course.
          I went to Ruth's Chris recently and was really disappointed. The patio was closed due to rats and they over cooked my steak to the point of inedibility. yuck

          1. re: Joanie

            I ate dinner at Gargoyles on Saturday night. They're doing RW all month, and yes, your choice is from the dining room menu (bar menu is not included in RW choices). Some of us at our table did the RW, some didn't (I didn't because I didn't want any of the desserts offered). Unfortunately, Gargoyles' menu hasn't been updated online, but the pork tenderloin was excellent (served with a corn and cotija cheese mixture).

            1. re: LindaWhit

              We loved the food at Gargoyles, but thought the vanilla panna cotta was terrible. No flavor and texture was too firm like a jello puck. The chocolate cheesecake was very good.

              1. re: Ali G

                That's what my friend said re: flavor on the panna cotta - very bland. But the texture of hers was definitely NOT firm like a Jello hockey puck - softer than that as I watched her spoon into it. Perhaps yours was made with too much gelatin. That's too bad.

          2. re: WilliamTheFoodie

            I had the Lobster Roll at Sandrine's today for lunch. The portion was quite large and it came with fries. Reasonable lobster content...and overall a great experience.

          3. re: ghostcat

            so we're planning on hitting up henrietta's table for RW lunch--you can choose any 3 items off the menu? i didn't see any desserts listed, at least on their lunch menu--i assume there's a dessert selection? or do you get 2 entrees or ...?

            1. re: autopi

              oh the dessert to get is the Campfire S'more. Such a wonderful, whimsical dessert. The desserts are a separate menu. It is presented after you have the first two courses. Make sure the wait-person knows you are Restaurant Week or the bill will be calculated a la carte. [But for they fixed it for the family to my left.]

          4. Yes Gargoyle's menu DID look great and the price would be a real value as they are usually more expensive. Great feedback on Ruth's Chris. Cross that one off my list. I am pretty sure no menu means no prix fixe, use the regular menu which, actually, is how it was when the very 1st RW started. It seems like 90% of the prix fixe menus last year were flank steak which is why I was skeptical of RW this year!

            5 Replies
            1. re: WilliamTheFoodie

              I went to L'Andana yesterday and it was outstanding, three choices for each course. Each of us had a different one and they were all outstanding. The bread is fabulous and service great. Check out what Olives is offering. They have many choices and all of them sound very interesting. I am going there next Sunday and then to L'Espalier on Friday which I understand has been sold out for some time.

              1. re: edgewater

                I am going next week and cannot wait - what were the menu choices?

                1. re: phonelady

                  This is a very late response to phonelady. You have probably already been and if so I hope you enjoyed it as much as we did. For an appetizer I had a very generous and tasty portion of mozarella and prosciutto, for the main course I had a perfectly cooked mustard glazed salmon which was absolutely delicious and for dessert a very rich chocolate fudge type of "thing" accompanied by ice cream...can't remember what they called it. One companion had the tomato soup with parmesan cream and loved it. He had the skirt steak and a dessert that turned out to be a drink which was a surprise but he really enjoyed it. The other person had been hoping that they had the same chicken she had last year as she thought it was the best she ever had. They did have it. I can't really tell you about the preparation.
                  She had a blueberry cobbler type dessert. Their bread is also fantastic and the service both years has been impeccable. Both of my experiences there have been memorable meals not just for restaurant week but for any time and we certainly weren't rushed.

                  1. re: edgewater

                    I had a solo lunch at L'Andana today, my first time there. Arrived at about 1:15; perhaps a half-dozen tables were occupied. The food was excellent - the tomato soup, glazed salmon with a vinaigrette-dressed salad of red onion, radish, green& wax beans, and an unfamilar green, the chocolate torte. That it was a belated birthday lunch was justification for ordering the $11 truffle-parmesan fries - but the amount would serve 2-3 so I brought most, plus half the torte, home. The fries were ultra-crisp but not browned or oily and I wonder if they could be air-fried. The salmon was a generous portion. Although there was a bread dish at the place setting, there was no bread served - I wasn't very near the next occupied tables and couldn't tell if they had bread baskets. Because I had the fries, I didn't really want any bread, but as the entree plate had only fish and salad, I felt there should have been the option. I casually mentioned this to the bus-waiter, who apologized sincerely and said it was the waiter's oversight. The waiter, however, never mentioned it (of course, I don't know if the bus-waiter said anything to him). Overall, though, the service was attentive, and oversights do happen. The only other quibble was that the place had a bit of that unpleasant smell of a mop-bucket that isn't refreshed often enough, so if I'd closed my eyes I'd have thought I was in McDonalds.

              2. re: WilliamTheFoodie

                Husband and I went to Gargoyle's on Sunday night for our anniversary and had a great meal. I had the baked figs, the duck confit and the malted chocolate cheesecake. All yum but the standout was the baked figs. Luscious. Husband had the ahi poke, the swordfish and the butterscotch cream pie. He felt the poke was a bit too acidic and the butterscotch cream pie wasn't quite set but he thought the swordfish was the best he's ever had. Most importantly, service was excellent. Had decided to try the place based on the RW menu and will definitely be going back even when it's not RW.

              3. We went to Toro last night. The best part about their RW is all items offered are on their regular menu.

                Actually, the real best part is they take reservations for RW. Which is very nice for us, since we aren't the type who are willing to wait for 1hr + for a table.

                1 Reply
                1. re: y2000k

                  Great to know about L'Andana and Toro! Most restaurants will take reservations online at Opentable.com, that is IF you can still get a spot at the nicer places.

                2. I can only speak from past experiences...here are the restaurants I've had great RW experiences at: dante, Gargoyles, Taranta and Copia (now closed). I've had less than inspiring meals at: Sage and Aura (not sure what prompted me to go there in the first place).

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: gini

                    I had made reservations for Sage and Flemings (one of the few boston steak houses i have not been to). Both menus looked very good and both honored RW menu on Saturdays. But i cancelled both options, figuring i would use the money i would have spent on the two RW meals toward a seven course tasting at L'Espelier before it moves from it's Brownstone location.

                    The other tempting pick was Aura. Given the fact that Rachel Klien revamped the kitchen and they extended the RW to include weekends through 9/6 made it very appealing. There's some good stuff to be had on the Aura RW menu for $30.

                    1. re: cannedmilkandfruitypebbles

                      I think you made the right call -- I always spend much more $$ than I expect to at RW meals, and although some I've had have been very good (see: Harvest, Taranta, No9 when they used to do it) none of them are like dining at L'Espalier.

                      1. re: yumyum

                        My wife and I have never dined during RW for less than $125- all the good stuff is on the main menu. Combine all factors of RW (limited menu, poor service, rushed service, ect) the money is better spent elsewhere. You can not get a good sense of a restaurant by visiting during RW but it is, nonetheless, a good deal. I just caution any first time RW diners to have patience and to not truely judge a restaruant by the discounted meal in August.

                        1. re: cannedmilkandfruitypebbles

                          All this rings true with me. Normally, I don't even get dessert and would rather spend money on apps and entrees. So I end up spending the same, but not getting the stuff I would choose from the regular menu.

                          Last night is a good example. Went to Sage, I liked their menu that was posted on-line. But some of the stuff was changed from the menu that is on their own website. Because of the changes, I ordered things that were not what I even wanted, plus, had a $6 surcharge on the entree I did not really care for. Another weird thing is that DH wanted a beer. He hates Amstel Light and has not liked any Belgium beers he has ever tasted. All they had (according to the waiter) was Amstel Light and 2 Belgium beers! Waiter convinced him to try the lighter Belgium one. He hated it and it was $11 we found out when we got the bill. Actually higher than my 2 $9 wines -- that's a new one! So yeah, we spent $125 and I thought about places we could go for a meal I loved for that instead of one I was very disappointed with.

                          But I have also had some great RW meals. Last year, L'anndana was a hit.

                  2. I'm going to the Hungry I on Wednesday night. Has anyone been there for Restaurant week?