Suggestions for eating around Northeastern
Here's the story:
My family is coming to visit tomorrow to take my younger brother on a tour of the Northeastern campus and we're looking for somewhere to eat lunch within walking distance of the campus. I have lived in Boston for four years and know many areas quite well (Cambridge, Back Bay, North End, Allston, JP), but I have never actually eaten near Northeastern (despite having gone to the MFA quite a few times).
My parents tend to like sit down places, they are permanently biased against all Thai food due to one bad experience, and they tend to stay away from most other Asian food (though they love Indian). We will be a party of maybe 5-6, so preferably somewhere that can accommodate us without too much squishing and preferably not a chain (i.e., bertuccis, legal, etc.). I also have been eating a lot of pasta lately, so let's stay away from Italian... so for cuisines, I guess that leaves Indian, Middle Eastern, American, and whatever else hasn't been mentioned in my post.
Thanks for the help!
A few ideas:
Pho and I -- a decent (and large) Vietnamese and Thai restaurant, pretty okay pho. Part of a trend I see more of: Viet restaurants offering Thai menus, maybe because they think Thai is more accessible to Americans. I haven't tried the Thai food here, but you could tout it primarily as a Viet place, and it's very close to campus.
MFA restaurants -- Bravo is the fancy upstairs restaurant: New American, not great, and not cheap, but the setting is inarguably pleasant, and it's close. The first-floor cafe is cheaper and I think a better value, though more casual and cafeteria-like in ambience.
Quotes -- in the library of the Mother Church. Surprisingly good food, a sunny room with a cool decor gimmick (projections of famous quotes that float down the walls and into a central "fountain", like water going down a drain).
Moby Dick -- plain-looking counter-service place with good Persian kebabs, rice plates and stews. Sort of a poor man's Lala Rokh.
Pho Basil -- doing the same thing as Pho and I (Vietnamese and Thai), but in a nicer setting with better food all around (I've had the Thai here, too, and it's good).
Columbus Cafe -- edging into the South End, a casual neighborhood place with pretty decent food at pretty decent prices, kind of gussied-up American comfort fare, and good cocktails.
Brasserie Jo -- an American hotel version of a French brasserie, and rather good all around. Solid French bistro and Alsatian specialties, a respectable wine list, excellent (gigantic) cocktails. A bright, lively, smart-looking space. Not cheap, but a fair value.
Petit Robert Bistro -- another nearby South End place, an excellent, authentic recreation of an urban French bistro. Service is kind of French, as in not very butt-smoochy, but it all works in my book, mainly because the food is quite good for the prices.
Bhindi Bazaar -- your closest sit-down Indian option, very good, with a broadly pan-Indian menu.
Kashmir -- a Newbury-Street-fancy Indian place with a mainly Northern menu and decent if overpriced food. The patio is a virtue.
India Quality. A bit more of a hike, but worth it, one of my favorite mainly-Northern Indian places.
La Voile -- excellent Southern French / Nicoise cuisine on Newbury Street. A little pricey, but very good where most nearby places kind of suck.
Casa Romero -- passable fancy Mexican just off Newbury Street, with a fine interior patio.
Mission Bar and Grill -- going in the other direction down Huntington, a relatively upscale Irish pub kind of place, bright and clean and friendly, with very nice food, including an excellent burger.
Savant Project -- funky, creative, globe-trotting small-plates kind of place with an interesting cocktail list and moderate prices.
re: MC Slim JB
Given your stated criteria, I second the suggestion of Brasserie Jo. It's a big, airy space, takes reservations, is usually not overly crowded, and I've always enjoyed the food (although I don't know if I've every personally strayed from the Parisian steak and frites). Plus it's only about a 10 minute walk from the main Quad at Northeastern towards downtown on Huntington.
120 Huntington Avenue, Boston, MA 02116
I work at Northeastern and had lunch at Brasserie Jo's yesterday. Steak frites. Very well done. I've been there many times and it rarely disappoints. I'm guessing your parents won't want steak tatare, but the version at BJ is quite good!
If you are looking for something less upscale, I'd second the recommendation made above for Woody's. Great pizza. Really good burgers and sandwiches.