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Feb 16, 2009 05:13 AM

Visiting Bostonions - Balthazar or Gotham, etc.?

We're an over-60 Boston Chow couple who will be visiting West Village son and girlfriend this weekend. Want to take them to either Balthazar or Gotham Bar & Grill - which is recommended? (we have reservations at both right now). For another night trying to choose between Commerce, Five Points or Craftbar. Any input appreciated. Will return the favor for those coming to Boston. Thank you!

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  1. Gotham is great, better for conversation since Balthazar can get very noisy, but atmosphere is a bit more formal. Both have really good food, Gotham has more of an American menu where as Balthazar is French. Craftbar is great but I have not been to Commerce or Five Points

    2 Replies
    1. re: misnatalie

      To clarify for OP, Gotham Bar and Grill is done by a French Chef.. so it is more French with American Influence in my mind. Both are great restaurants, depends on what vibe you want. Balthazar more rowdy but it can be fun, Gotham is also a larger room and 3 steps more formal (but not over the top). Depending on the mood, I would go to either, but if it's based towards food, I would lean towards Gotham. Both are great.

      1. re: silencespeak

        You are not correct about Gotham Bar and Grill. The chef, Alfred Portale, is not French, nor is the cuisine French. To quote from GB&G's website:

        "One of the driving forces behind modern American cuisine, Portale helped revolutionize the way Americans dined in the 1980s—thoughtfully breaking with French conventions, calling on previously unfamiliar ingredients from around the world, and exhibiting a fierce devotion to seasonality...."

    2. I would check out Perry St in the far west village. Quite and nice atmosphere. It is owned by jean-george and he is doing some nice recession-special menus there that are well priced and worth looking into.

      1. As others have said Gotham and Balthazar are very different. The former is a high end dining experience while the latter is more of a bistro.

        As for your second list, I have never been to Commerce, but think I like Five Points more than Craftbar. The food is both is very good, but I have found the service at Craftbar to be rude, you get the feeling you are in a cheeper version of an expensive restaurant. I also like the dining room at five points better. Unless you are a big Top Chef fan and want to eat at a Tom Coliccio restaurant.

        1 Reply
        1. re: maxine

          Once at Craftbar, one of our entrees never came. Since we were a group and were sharing, we had more than enough food and were fine without it. But then it showed up on the bill. When we asked the waiter to have the charge removed, he got really huffy and actually said, "Are you serious? You want me to go back and take that off your bill? My shift is ending and I should be out of here already."

          As for Five Points, I like Cookshop (same owners) better. And I've only been to Commerce once, but the food was good (almost excellent, but not quite) and the vibe very energetic.

          Haven't been to Gotham, but Balthazar is a real brasserie -- loud, rowdy, a lot of fun if you ask me.