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May 26, 2009 08:13 PM

21st birthday dinner for a foodie/wine family

Hello all,

My 21st birthday is coming up this summer (yes, I'm planning in advance) and I want to dine somewhere extraordinary. My family's lived in New York for the past couple of years, and I've spent a few birthdays there, but I'll be living in Cambridge this summer and I want to spend my 21st (and my first legal drink, finally) in the area. Basically, I'm looking for the best Boston has got to offer.

The dinner party will just be my family (mom, dad, me). Price is not an issue, though we'd also be bringing some of our own champagne, so it would be great if any posters had insight into corkage fees! My parents are huge wine people so a good & extensive wine list is a must! I am a self-professed cocktail geek. Foodwise, we will literally eat anything. Fancy places under consideration include No. 9 Park, Scampo, Marliave, Radius, O Ya, B&G, etc. I'm also thinking about Craigie on Main, Oleana, Ten Tables, Rendezvous, and Lumiere. I want to try something new, and I've already been to Eastern Standard, Neptune Oyster, Gaslight, Hungry Mother, Tupelo, and Drink. Green Street and Central Kitchen are regular haunts of mine. I'm less familiar with restaurants in the South End and in the metro area, so any advice about them would be greatly appreciated! And accessability is not an issue.

Thanks in advance!

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  1. I love No 9 Park. The food and particularly the cocktails are outstanding (go for the Palmyra if you end up here). And of the free glasses of wine they gave us (due to the fact it was our anniversary and we were dropping $350 for food) they were very delightful and a nice touch.
    Whatever you get at No 9--food, drinks, service, whatever-- it's all great and professional. Definitely my go-to special occasion place.

    Additionally, I think you should throw in Troquet into the mix since you're family seems to really enjoy wine. If you check out the menu on the site, food and suggested wine pairings are all lined up for you. I've never been myself but it seems to get great reviews here for both food and wine.

    1. I had a birthday dinner @ Craigie On Main recently and recommend it highly. Really terrific food and lucious wine list. The experience was uppermost in my mind for days afterwards.

      1. Hey, wait a did you get into Drink.....hmm? ;)

        I second the Craigie pick, specifically for the 6 or 10 course tasting menu. It is definitely the shiny new toy right now - say, compared to the nearby Salts - but it is deserved. Not sure about corkage, but I would think they have an excellent champagne selection.

        1. Given your criteria, I would have a cocktail at No.9 (agree on the Palmyra!) and then walk over to Troquet for dinner and wine.

          I would cross off Radius and Rendezvous - both good, but not as tasty as others on your list. I would also eliminate O Ya. It's absolutely delicious, but the atmosphere is almost casual, not fancy-schmancy celebratory. Same with Ten Tables - more of a cozy neighborhood feel than a best of Boston blow-out. Only turn 21 once!
          p.s. despite great longing, I have not yet tried Craigie at dinner - that sounds like a great choice, too

          3 Replies
          1. re: edamame

            i also love love troquet. the menu and food are wine-centric. i'd also cross marliave off this list for being just ok and b&g for being casual (plus, i'm a hater of it).

            consider bina osteria -- cool space, innovative spectacular food and interesting wine list.

            as for your champagne, byob is illegal in boston. you can make your reservation and ask, but i wouldn't count on getting permission to bring it.

            1. re: hotoynoodle

              Although BYOB is illegal in Boston, many restaurants allow you to bring your own and charge a corkage fee (usually around $20-25). Sometimes they will even waive the fee if it is a special occasion such as a 21st birthday or if you buy another bottle of their wine. I would definitely call and ask, but just make sure it is not a bottle of champagne that they offer on their list.

              1. re: thegirlwholovestoeat

                i'm aware it occurs, but it's not often something allowed unless it's for a regular guest bringing a very special bottle. at least in my 17-year industry experience.

          2. I'll third the Craigie on Main recommendation -- I went there for my birthday recently for the 6 course tasting menu, and it was just an amazing experience. I still think about months later. Craigie has excellent cocktails and a good wine list (you can check out the wine list on their website), too.