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Upstairs or Downstairs @ Marliave

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Can anyone who's been there give a little more info about the differences and their preference? Upon first look, I thought the downstairs menu to be a little more appealing. I'm looking for a spot for Saturday night for my and boyfriend, who will be in town. We've had too much traditional Italian lately, so didn't want to do North End Italian. But I've heard good things about Neptune Oyster... We recently did the Butcher Shop in the South End, so I was sort of looking for a new neighborhood, but would be open to another recommendation. I also just went to Gaslight recently. What do you guys think? Something delicious, sort of special, but no jacket required.

We're also interested in off the beaten path special spots and had great dinners @ La Morra and 51 Lincoln. Anything other places like that I might not know about....Thanks!

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  1. You might check out Persephone. (Mike Levitton is the chef and formerly ran 51 Lincoln I think, so depending on when you were there, you may have already sampled his cooking.) Do a board search for more detailed reviews. achillesproject.com is the website.

    As for Marliave, have not had the upstairs menu - most of the commentary on the board has been about the downstairs, which I think was fine for casual dining, but over-rated. Also do a board search as there are a couple of currently active threads on the place.

    1. We were at Upstairs at Marliave the second night they were open and overall we were quite impressed. I used to go to the old Marliave for work lunches out of convenience, and this could not be more different (and better). The room upstairs, like downstairs, is sleek and simple, black and white. There were only a couple of other tables occupied, and dress seemed a little on the casual side.

      We were a little struck by the price point for entrees; only 3 or 4 were under $39. I think if they are able to stick it out until construction on the building next door is open they might be onto something, but as it is now it seems a little much for the location. I really liked the menu overall and how they approached it. My wife had the halibut and I had the veal sirloin. Both were very well executed, no real criticism there. Service was very good, although there were far too many staff, frequently congregating together in a certain area, so we often felt like we were being watched. That being said they were not intrusive at all. A highlight was the cheese cart brought out after dinner. There were 20 cheeses, and the gentlemen who came out with them gave very good descriptions. (Although if you have no interest in cheese or ordering any, having 20 cheeses separately described can be a long exercise that, after such effort, could put a lot of pressure on you to order). When asked additional questions about particular cheeses the server really showed his knowledge and enthusiasm. I don’t recall the pricing but we did a selection of four and it was quite reasonable, served with a generous selection of breads.

      Given it was only their second night open there were really no observable problems or kinks, which is a real achievement. If I didn’t know better I would have assumed that they had been open for quite a long time. It is definitely worth checking out, and I hope the fact it is basically in the middle of a major construction zone doesn’t hurt them in the short term, because based on that meal I think it could definitely become a chow destination worth seeking out.