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Foodie visitor from NYC, where to go?

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  • pasta Jan 29, 2009 11:39 AM
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Taking a business friend out to dinner on Monday night. She is a foodie with a capital F !
Parameters....will be a business tab so can't be pricey, the other person in the party is not a foodie....does not venture much beyond plain roast chicken , so I need someplace that could accomodate the range. She is staying in Arlington so I'd like to stay with Cambridge or Boston. I wanted to take her to Hungry Mother but it is closed on Monday.

Thanks for your help.

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  1. Union, Grotto, Marliave (downstairs)

    1. Rendezvous, Gran Gusto, Blue Room, Green Street...

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      Rendezvous
      502 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02139

      Green Street
      280 Green St, Cambridge, MA 02139

      Blue Room
      1 Kendall Sq, Cambridge, MA

      Gran Gusto
      90 Sherman St, Cambridge, MA 02140

      3 Replies
      1. re: Taralli

        I listed Rendezvous 1st on my list becuz of the roast chix on their menu.

        1. re: Taralli

          I'll second Rendezvous, the food is very good and it's not a budget-buster.

          1. re: BobB

            Rendezvous was the first one I thought of as well. I don't know if Oleana would necessarily appeal to a non-foodie. Green Street might be a bit simple for your friend (though I like it, I don't think of it as an experience restaurant). One option might be Dante, which (I think) now has a very affordable prix fixe menu that basically covers the whole menu (check on their website before you go because it might have been only for a limited time. I went to Grotto last night, which i thought was also very enjoyable

      2. Chez Henri might work. It's a straight shot down Mass.Ave from Arlington right outside Harvard Square. French/Cuban food. Nice place, not too expensive. Steak frites and chicken breast on menu for your picky friend.

        1. Green Street is a good call too...this is my list:

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          Garden At the Cellar
          991 Massachusetts Ave, Cambridge, MA 02138

          ZA
          138 Massachusetts Ave, Arlington, MA 02474

          Gargoyles On the Square
          219 Elm Street, Somerville, MA 02144

          Tryst
          689 Massachusetts Avenue, Arlington, MA 02720

          Highland Kitchen
          150 Highland Ave, Somerville, MA 02143

          1. oleana

            3 Replies
            1. re: cockscomb

              What about the roast chicken person?

              1. re: pollystyrene

                oh good point

                1. re: cockscomb

                  I actually think Oleana is a great call.

                  Some of the upscale Turkish menu skews a little bit challenging, but they always have a number of plain-ish entree choices from which to choose. In fact, one of my personal biggest gripes about the restaurant is that the entrees often strike me as fairly bland and dull as compared to the wonderful meze, desserts, and wines by the glass.

                  Check out the current dinner menu: http://oleanarestaurant.com/dinner.asp Although there are a number of some exotic-sounding ingredients listed, the first two meat dishes and most of the fish dishes look to be relatively plainly prepared. On the other hand, there should be plenty of choices to please your capital-F-Foodie friend.

                  More generally, whenever my NYC-based friends come to visit, we almost invariably dine in Cambridge as opposed to Boston. I find the vibe in the People's Republic to be distinct enough from their home city that it sidesteps any direct city-to-city comparisons and lets them focus on the chow.

            2. Gran Gusto is a good idea given that it's authentic, on the Arlington side of Cambridge, and your user name is pasta. It won't work if your friend doesn't eat Italian though.

              When I hear roast chicken, I think Hamersley's, also a good place for foodies. I don't know what you consider pricey, though. Other probable crowd pleasers would be Scampo and Eastern Standard.

              1. I will lobby for Something Savory - right in Arlington - charming storefront, may be a bit informal - definitely not pricey. Lots of interesting options in terms of Caribbean-influenced dishes but they also have straight-up rotisserie chicken on the dinner menu. Beer and wine only. Not quite plain - not quite foodie, but given that they are staying in Arlington.

                Not as cosmopolitan as the Cambridge places - just open tables - really may not be appropriate for a business dinner, which makes me think booths, dark tones, etc. but one of the more under-rated places in the area and quite charming.

                If not this time, then try it on your own.

                1. Craigie On Main is a great restaurant for a capital-F Foodie and also happens to make a fabulous roast chicken.

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                  Craigie on Main
                  853 Main Street, Cambridge, MA 02139

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: dfan

                    Totally agreed, but it's also capital-F-Freakin' expensive, which unfortunately sounds like a deal breaker in this case.

                  2. Oleana is my favorite, and I like Rendezvous. Cafe Flora is another very good choice in Arlington. In Cambridge, Upstairs on the Square (2 choices, 2d floor funky decor, 3d floor less funky, more elegant, different menu, higher prices), Harvest and Rialto are all wonderful, if maybe on the pricier side for your group. I'd guess you could check their menus on line. If your roast chicken person can be persuaded to be a bit adventurous, Tamarind Bay in Harvard Square is the best Indian restaurant I've been to.
                    I haven't been to Elephant Walk in years (Porter Square) but it used to be very good -- 2 menus, French and Cambodian.

                    1. Oleana hands down

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: mkap21

                        I think Oleana, Rendezvous and Chez Henri are all great suggestions.

                        1. re: twentyoystahs

                          EAST COAST GRILL

                      2. With a name like pasta, you should try the brown-butter chestnut scarves (w/ chestnuts, guanciale and pig ears) at Scampo...ranks right up there with the pastas at Babbo...decadently rich and earthy... they also have brick chicken for your friend, and a broad range of prices

                        5 Replies
                        1. re: barleywino

                          Thanks for all of your suggestions. I put them all togther and let the foodie friend decide...we ended up at Hammersleys. Excellent service and meal.
                          I had the cassoulet (outstanding) and they both had the roast chicken...so it fit the bill of the plain eater and the foodie who had never had the "famous chicken. All around nice evening.

                          1. re: pasta

                            Thanks for posting back.

                            I have not had Hammersley's famous chicken, but have been amazed at how good the Machu Picchu chicken in Somerville has been.

                            Has anyone that has tried both care to compare the two?

                            1. re: Bob Dobalina

                              Hey, Bob, I've had both a few times (just had MP takeout a couple of weeks ago). To me a comparison of the two is pretty much apples and oranges. The MP chicken is great...smoky, garlicky with really robust flavors. It still seems more like a quick bite, though. Something I'd happily get in my regular rotation.

                              The Hamersley's chicken is one of my all-time favorite dishes. The lemon, garlic and herb flavors are really well balanced, the chicken is moist and juicy with a crispy skin, and the roasted potatoes with it soak up all the (abundant) juices. I like to gild the lily and order a crispy garlic-mashed cake and broccoli rabe or some other green as a side to split with my husband. A sublime meal that is our usual anniversary-celebration dish. This past anniversary, I managed to order a branzino dish instead of the chicken. It was terrific, but I had to steal a few bites of chicken from my husband's plate.

                              My attempts at recreating the dish at home using Gordon Hamersley's recipe have been pretty good, but there's nothing like the restaurant version.

                            2. re: pasta

                              Thanks for letting us know what happened. I thought Hammersley's might have fallen in the "too pricey" category. Glad to know it didn't and you had a nice time.

                              1. re: pemma

                                You are correct...had I paid the bill on my corporate account, Hammersleys would have been too expensive, but prior to her choosing the restaurant, she announced the evening was on her !