Upscale Dining in Back Bay?
I am surprising my husband with an anniversary trip to Boston this weekend (we're from Southern California), and am trying to find a nice dining experience for us on Friday night. I've heard sooooooooo many mixed reviews about places. We are staying at the Eliot Hotel and I've heard good things about Clio? I've also heard about Aujourd 'hui and some others. I don't want to make a mistake and spend one of our precious evenings at a place with poor service or average food when I'm willing to spend good money. My husband isn't a very adventurous eater, so more traditional meals with a twist would be our style. Any suggestions? Also, what is the deal with the Morton's in Back Bay? I've heard sooooooo many negatives about it, but was really wanting to go there another evening. Thanks!
I'd go to Abe & Louie's instead for a steak dinner. Clio might be slightly untraditional for your husband but not too much. Aujourd'hui is very nice and fancy, be prepared for lots of $$$. There's L'Espalier which you've probably heard about in the new Mandarin. Very close in the south end is Hamersley's Bistro and No. 9 Park downtown. These are all pretty highly regarded as you'll see on the board, so it's a matter of looking at the menu and deciding. And getting a good time for this Fri.
re: C. Hamster
Will echo C. Hamster's dislike of Morton's ambiance, and will go more negative on its food. The steak I had there was the worst I've had at a chain steakhouse in Boston.
If money is no object in this general area, I'd go with L'Espalier (though I've heard mixed thoughts on their new space), Clio, Aujourd'hui, or No. Park.
If you must have a steak in this part of town, I'd opt for Grill 23 or the Oak Room.
re: C. Hamster
I'll add a thumbs-down for Morton's - I'm 0-for-3 there, expensive, bad steaks each time. A&L is solid, but "just" a steak place. I haven't been, but I'm thinking maybe Locke-Ober might be just the ticket for you - it's certainly a high-service place that your husband should be comfortable with. Reviews here are certainly good.
Clio is wonderful, but the portions are very small for some guys. Friday night is going to be busy no matter where you go, but I think the new Sel de la Terre in the Mandrin Oriental might be what you are looking for. It owned and operated by the same people as L'Espalier, costs much less and would be easier to get into. There's also a new restaurant at the Oriental that looks lovely. I didn't check out the menu when I looked over the place. Maybe you can get it on line, but I don't remember the name of the place.
I agree with Abe & Louie's as more mainstream, along with Grill 23 and Oak Room for steak places. Also maybe the Capital Grille. You can also add Atlantic Fish, Turner Fisheries to the list if you want to explore nice dining for seafood places that also offer other stuff on the menu, and not too adventurous. If you want to splurge, go for No. 9 Park. Excelsior is pretty good too. Below are the links to the websites. Most are bookable through opentable.com. Also mention it is your anniversary in your reservation (some restaurants are nice enough to take that into account).
Here are their websites:
Completely agree about Mortons and by the time they are finished with the show and tell of the menu, I don't feel like eating their average steak. Grill 23 and Oak Room both better choices. No.9 Park is my favorite, very special and we love Hammersleys Bistro as well. Have not been to the new Sal de Terre location but certainly enjoyed svereal meals at the original spot. Hope it's delicious.
Thank you all for the comments...I'm thinking we'll do No. 9 Park...and maybe some of the others thrown in there. Thank you for the suggestions!!
Others have mentioned the Oak Room, and I heartily second that suggestion. Located in the Copley Plaza Hotel, the Oak Room is one of the last spectacularly ornate hotel dining rooms, reminiscent of the 30's and 40's. If your husband is truly a traditionalist, there is not a better meat and potatoes restaurant to be found. It's expensive, but the quality of the food, which is served by attentive tuxedoed waiters, is worth the cost for a special occasion. Buy your husband a veal porterhouse, along with some potatoes au gratin, creamed spinach, and a good bottle of red wine, and he will feel like Diamond Jim Brady.