If You Had to Choose...
Which one would you pick for a fun birthday celebration on a Friday night...
The Butcher Shop
We like all of the menus/cuisines listed above; however, as out-of-towners we are looking for the one with the best service, atmosphere and overall experience. As I mentioned in another post, we will be celebrating my 28th birthday and enjoy non-rushed service in a lively atmosphere.
That's a nice lineup! For your purposes, I'd probably choose Sorellina, but I think you'd be happy at just about any of those places. Prezza next, then Via Matta. The Butcher Shop and Neptune Oyster are kind of casual, B&G is kind of cramped, Mamma Maria is a bit fusty.
I would narrow it down to a stop at B&G for oysters, lobster roll and a walk across the street to the Butcher Shop for a cheese selection and wine. But then you would be missing out on the oysters at Neptune followed by a lovely paella at Prezza. The more I think about it, I would go with Neptune and Prezza. Their paella is amazing and if they have the baked figs wrapped in prosciutto stuffed with gorgonzola you will never regret it.
Good plan, but you could really only do that on a weeknight or very early on Fri or Sat without a huge wait at both places.
The places that you listed are all so different. For a high energy casual night I would go with P-meister's suggestion(s).
For higher-end dining, I'd choose Sorrelina.
I like the idea of doubling up Neptune Oyster and Prezza. Has anyone on the board ever been to the Pearl Oyster Bar in NYC. Since I live so close the restaurant, we go there often for the lobster roll and I don't want to replicate that experience in Boston...unless of course it is much better!
I would also vote for Sorellina, great place for special occasions and I have never felt rushed there. They also have a nice bar/lounge area for drink before dinner. Some of the smaller places might make you dinner feel a little more hurried.
Based on your criteria:
2. Via Matta
Any 3 of these would be great. I have never had a bad experience or meal at Sorrelina or Via Matta. Prezza has great food, however I have had some service issues including waiting 45 min+ when I had a reservation.
IMO the Butcher Shop is overpriced at any time and not very good for a group on a weekend night unless you get there early and stake out good space.
Neptune will be packed on a Friday and is a bit cramped under normal circumstances.
Mame Maria is fine, but not that fun of an atmosphere. Also, I would prefer Prezza of Via Matta for Italian food.