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Looking for a good south end spot to bring out of town guests

c
charlestown_matt Oct 13, 2008 12:47 PM

My gf and I are playing host to another couple this weekend and want to take them out for a fun meal. We love Toro, Union, B&G, and Stella...but it's been a while since we've really made the rounds in that neck of the woods I am wondering if anything has changed or opened up recently that would make for a really fun night. We didn't like Rocca or Banq unfortunately, and it's been too long since our only trip to Beehive to know what to expect.

Any thougths?

Thanks.

  1. MC Slim JB Oct 14, 2008 07:23 AM

    Most of the places you cite are still pretty much what they were, though the entree portions at Union appear to have shrunk based on a recent visit. I suspect a lot of places are doing that rather than raise prices.

    The cocktail craft at Toro has really gained a step with the hiring of their new bar manager, previously part of the Lynch empire, and I'm looking forward to seeing what the incoming new chef brings to the menu. Stella has a new back room with another bar that's a comfy place to eat and watch the game, though the menu, as ever, is largely unchanged since it opened some years back, a little tiresome. I haven't dined at The Beehive lately, but it still has the same chef, and my friends that go regularly still say that food is the least reason to choose to go there.

    I'd add a few other places to consider: Orinoco, Buttery Bar-Bistro (the South End Buttery's new full-service restaurant and bar), Estragon, Gaslight, Myers + Chang, Petit Robert, Coda and Pops. Two brand-new places at the corners of the neighborhood include Circle (former Bob's Southern Bistro) and Erbaluce in Bay Village (I haven't tried either yet).

    4 Replies
    1. re: MC Slim JB
      c
      charlestown_matt Oct 14, 2008 11:45 AM

      Thanks MC. I've been curious about The Buttery for a while now, so that's definately in the running. Would you say it's a good place to focus the night around, or is it more of a place people go to eat and then move on for cocktails, etc? I'm wondering the same thing about Orinoco. I enjoyed a meal at the Gaslight bar a few months back, that's definately a good option.

      Thanks.

      1. re: charlestown_matt
        MC Slim JB Oct 14, 2008 01:04 PM

        Buttery has a small (maybe 9-seat) full bar with good cocktails, so you could do both there. I've been pretty impressed with the food so far, and entree prices are all under $20. Decent wine list, too.

        1. re: MC Slim JB
          lissy Oct 15, 2008 07:48 AM

          I ate at the Buttery last week and thought the food was really good. I think almost all of the entrees were around $19 and the portions were really good. I had a lovely heirloom tomato and mozzarella salad which I never tire of when tomatoes are in season. Then I had a nicely cooked lamb loin (rare) with olives, feta and grilled pita. My only gripe is I prefer not to sit in the actual Buttery which just reminds me of breakfast. But that's a small complaint.

        2. re: charlestown_matt
          y
          y2000k Oct 14, 2008 02:58 PM

          WE ate at Orinoco this past weekend. It doesn't take reservations for dinner, if that's a deal-breaker for you. You pretty much have to arrive within the first 1/2 hour of opening to be able to get a table without wait, if you're going on Saturday. It's not a place to hang out for the rest of the evening, because it's so popular. Our food is excellent (esp my cordero) and the price is a lot better than some other places in South End.

      2. v
        Varennes Oct 14, 2008 12:12 PM

        I'll put in a good word for Gaslight. Although it can be a bit noisy when it is crowded, the prices are reasonable, the staff friendly and able and the food, particularly the roast chicken and steak/frites are delicious. I have also enjoyed some of the salads, the escargot, and a few of the plats. I have never been disappointed.

        7 Replies
        1. re: Varennes
          poptart Oct 15, 2008 06:13 AM

          Do you think reservations are necessary on a Saturday or Sunday night at Gaslight?

          1. re: poptart
            MC Slim JB Oct 15, 2008 06:47 AM

            Always a good idea, and easy to do on OpenTable.

          2. re: Varennes
            t
            twentyoystahs Oct 15, 2008 07:41 AM

            I'd second Gaslight. I think it's got a fun atmosphere, lots of energy and good food. A solid choice for a place to spend the evening. I haven't been to Buttery yet, but my sense it's a much more subdued environment --I'd imagine it'd a great "first date" place vs a "hot spot" with friends...Plus, prices are always so reasonable at Gaslight.
            I like Toro too, but since they don't take reservations that's a bit of a drag.

            1. re: Varennes
              heathermb Oct 15, 2008 09:32 AM

              I had a somewhat disappointing experience at Gaslight two weeks ago. I have always loved their food, thought the service was good and the atmosphere just fine.

              Two sundays ago a friend and I ate at the bar and the whole night was disappointing. Service was S-L-O-W - it was easily 20 minutes before I even had a glass of wine.

              French onion soup was bland and salty at the same time. How they managed that I'm not sure, but they did.

              The bar steak has been one of my favorite steak entrees in Boston so I'll go back and give it a try before I write the place off, but this last visit was definitely off-putting.

              1. re: heathermb
                t
                twentyoystahs Oct 15, 2008 12:32 PM

                I haven't been in a while so I hope that's not the start of a downward trend.

                I will say that I had a similar, pretty mediocre experience one night sitting at the bar...it was shortly after they first opened, they clearly were slammed, and the service was really very slow and overall pretty bad. When we finally got our food, it was good, however, and I just chalked it up to "getting out the kinks.." Most visits after that were remarkably improved.

                1. re: twentyoystahs
                  heathermb Oct 15, 2008 12:56 PM

                  If they had been busy I wouldn't have been as bothered by the slow service. BUT, there were only two other people at the bar and the restaurant was only half full. Two bartenders, neither of whom looked all that busy. Just rather indifferent, unfortunately.

                  But I too hope that this was a fluke and will give them at least one more go for that bar steak.

                  1. re: heathermb
                    t
                    twentyoystahs Oct 15, 2008 01:22 PM

                    The bar steak IS delicious. They also used to have a filet, served with bernaise sauce, that was really good too. Not sure if that's still on the menu? I remember they took the bar steak off the menu for a month or so, but so many people complained that they put it back on...

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