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Baffled by the in laws this weekend

b
bornagainitalian Jul 30, 2009 09:45 AM

Help.

The in laws have spontaneously decided to invade this weekend. Brother, Sister (vegetarian) and nephew in tow. Wouldn't describe nephew as one of those "well behaved kids" I often hear of. The parents love La Campania in Waltham.

We need a dinner plan for Saturday, anytime. I am considering (and they still have availability):
Henrietta's Table
Harvest
Helmand

Hungry Mother, Oleana, Craige do not have availability, but I may still call just to be sure. However, I question their kid friendliness, esp this kid.

Bottom line: great food, (new england, mediterranean, italian all great). The beforehand mentioned "kid friendliness" and patio huge plus (for dear mother). Any location, price no issue.

What am I missing? Thank you!

  1. SaraASR Jul 30, 2009 10:09 AM

    Eeeek! How old is this kid?!?!

    I wouldn't bring a poorly behaved kid to Helmand. Haven't been to the other places so I'm not sure. While Mediterranean/Greek, Greek Corner seems to be kid-friendy but much more low-key than the places you've mentioned. Although kind of hated on Chowhound, Legal Seafood is kid friendly, and some of the locations have outdoor seating...

    1. t
      tsackton Jul 30, 2009 10:24 AM

      Helmand has many great vegetarian options, and would probably be fine for a kid. No patio, though. Harvest also is good for vegetarians and has a patio, but might be a bit less kid-friendly (although on the patio you'd probably be okay).

      I wouldn't think Craigie or Hungry Mother would really work well with a kid, especially on a Saturday night, although I guess it depends on the age. Both are rather tightly packed without a lot of room to maneuver; Craigie in particular doesn't really have a kid-friendly menu or atmosphere, unless perhaps you go really early.

      Another place that might fit your criteria that doesn't get talked about much is Sabur, in Teele Sq. It is Mediterranean/Greek/Balkans-inspired food, would certainly be kid-friendly, and has a nice little patio. The mousaka and the slow-roasted lamb are both quite good, as are many of the appetizers (esp. the zucchini and feta fritters). The only bad thing I've had there was the polenta, which was rather bland.

      1. hotoynoodle Jul 30, 2009 10:25 AM

        although i'm sure they would accomodate a kid, i don't think of craigie or oleana as kid-friendly. on your list, the harvest has a great outside patio and the legal's at the charles does too.

        what about casablanca or blue room?

        1. m
          mcb70 Jul 30, 2009 10:30 AM

          I would stay away from places where there is risk of you being the loudest table. I would also stay away from places that are too cramped. I would say a big no to Harvest. Henrietta's Table might work. Oleana....no. Eastern Standard would be a good choice, Maggianos, Legals or Summer Shack would work. Joes on the waterfront has a nice outdoor area and is kid-friendly. We have taken well-behaved children to the Blue Room early in the evening with success.

          2 Replies
          1. re: mcb70
            t
            tsackton Jul 30, 2009 10:48 AM

            Legals or Summer Shack can be quite tough for vegetarians -- something to keep in mind.

            1. re: mcb70
              Bob Dobalina Jul 30, 2009 11:10 AM

              Oleana would work if you can score a table outside.

            2. Suze123 Jul 30, 2009 10:37 AM

              I don't have kids, but I have a nephew and they always went to Sel de la Terre with him (Long Wharf). It seems fairly kid-friendly--and I think they do have some outdoor seating.

              2 Replies
              1. re: Suze123
                hotoynoodle Jul 30, 2009 10:48 AM

                patio is tiny and consists solely of 2-tops.

                1. re: hotoynoodle
                  justbeingpolite Jul 30, 2009 10:59 AM

                  A chains usually given somewhat of a pass with kids, so...
                  Pappa Razzi? Lots of options, quality is pretty good. At least in Burlington, they've got a patio. Definitely kid friendly

              2. c
                cpingenot Jul 30, 2009 11:07 AM

                I think that Henrietta's table would be a great choice. I see lots of kids (maybe because of the hotel)being welcomed, not just accommodated there, and because of the way the patio is part of the larger plaza a kid with too much energy could run laps without you having to worry too much about traffic or even bothering other folks. The legals' in the Charles is also a possibility, but the food will be better at Henrietta's!

                1. d
                  dulce de leche Jul 30, 2009 11:13 AM

                  Gran Gusto. Wonderful food, and they have a nice patio.

                  There are a lot of interesting vegetarian dishes, as well as fish in case your sister in law eats fish. The staff are Neapolitan and dote on kids, and there are plenty of things for them to eat.

                  The issue I've had with kids there is that the pace is really leisurely, very Italian. So they can start hitting their expiration dates before dinner is over. To offset that, there's a park across the street to run your nephew around in beforehand, and a small kind of lobby room behind the main dining room that he could jump around in if he gets antsy during dinner.

                  6 Replies
                  1. re: dulce de leche
                    b
                    bornagainitalian Jul 30, 2009 04:22 PM

                    You all have been such a help. Agreed it's about space when it comes to a busy kid who hasn't had a lot of practice sitting through a meal. Gran Gusto sounds great, noted issue about timing. If the mother in law has an opportunity to speak Italian bonus! Henrietta's seems to make the grade. I thought of Summer Shack too, it would definitely be entertaing for the kid, but mother in law may have allergic reaction to plastic baskets. I'll have too look into Sabur, it was off my radar. Much obliged all! I'll be stressing on this until Saturday if there are any more ideas, keep them coming.

                    1. re: bornagainitalian
                      b
                      BJK Jul 30, 2009 06:53 PM

                      Eastern Standard, Gaslight, East Coast Grill and Highland Kitchen are all loud enough to be kid friendly.

                      1. re: BJK
                        t
                        teezeetoo Jul 30, 2009 07:30 PM

                        Second vote for Gran Gusto but also consider Dantes (nice patio) and Il Casale (outside space) - don't know what's available for Saturday night, but good luck

                        1. re: teezeetoo
                          digga Jul 30, 2009 07:46 PM

                          I was just about to chime in with Il Casale as well. Loud, lively...the badly behaved kid won't even register a blip in that venue. Plenty of things that a veggie could pick from, too.

                          1. re: teezeetoo
                            Bob Dobalina Jul 31, 2009 05:06 AM

                            Yep - Third Gran Gusto - I should have thought of that.

                            1. re: Bob Dobalina
                              GretchenS Jul 31, 2009 05:19 AM

                              I will chime in for Gran Gusto too, think it's a terrific idea. Food is great and staff is extremely nice.

                    2. CocoDan Jul 31, 2009 06:07 AM

                      You may want to consider the Liberty Hotel. They can put the kid in one of the left over cells if he gets out of hand, and feed him accordingly.
                      Handcuffs are good too,
                      CocoDan

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: CocoDan
                        greygarious Jul 31, 2009 07:44 AM

                        Good call! But seriously, folks, do you really want to run the risk of being THAT table, the one with the fractious kid who ruins the evening for the rest of the room? Whatever your choice, IMO your first criterion should be a place where the other patrons don't have a reasonable expectation of a serene dining experience.

                      2. p
                        panda681 Jul 31, 2009 07:57 AM

                        I've seen kids sitting in the patio area of Hammersley's. Especially if you go between 5:30 and 6 you will definitely get a table and there won't be a ton of people there. Since the patio is also sort of on the main sidewalk, you can always duck out and have a good run up and down the sidewalk if he gets antsy. My veggie MIL also really liked the food there.

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: panda681
                          b
                          bornagainitalian Aug 1, 2009 05:17 AM

                          They're here...
                          We are going to Gran Gusto, my apologies in advance to tonight's diners. CocoDan, I think you are on to a new restaurant theme.
                          Thanks again all.

                          1. re: bornagainitalian
                            t
                            teezeetoo Aug 1, 2009 08:38 AM

                            if you luck out on the weather the kid can run around if you sit outside on the patio- there's a park pretty close to the restaurant, on the other side of the street where he might run off some energy before or after. I love the plain tomato pizza here and all their pastas! enjoy.

                        2. MC Slim JB Aug 1, 2009 10:01 AM

                          How about Rendezvous in Central Square? Meets all the dining criteria, accommodating, possibly loud enough to make an antsy kid ignorable.

                          http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

                          1. b
                            bornagainitalian Aug 2, 2009 04:19 AM

                            A brilliant success!!!
                            Our waiter was very accommodating, he suggested pasta and red sauce for the bambino. Which was eaten! (This kid has been on a peanut butter sandwich diet for 2 years).
                            The table shared calamari, fried very delicately w/little pepper and the goat cheese app special. The cheese was incredible. We has the rib eye special, nice cut. Frittturina del Gulfo, a huge beautiful platter of fried fish. Artichoke ravioli, tangy perfect texture. Also, fettuccini w/lobster was ordered (did not try, looked o.k.) And the vegetarian?.. she order the lamb chops!! WT_!? These too I did not try. Our only dud was the veal scalopine, it tasted like wet flour sadly. Poor hubby got that one. This after he tried to re park the car and was thwarted in his efforts by a woman standing in front of the open space holding it for a car that did not appear for another 5 minutes. (the lot had been repaved earlier that day). The other patio dinners saw this move and started offering their spots as they left.
                            For dessert, we shared the strawberry sponge cake and the ricotta pie. The pie was stellar. It was moist, not too sweet and had a faint taste of liquor, maybe anisette. My god I wanted another. The bambino finished with ice cream and strawberries. The waiter was so gregarious with the kid (that was a major factor in getting this kid to sit down and eat). There were no sudden escapes or major fussing, everyone was utterly stunned. Wish I had gotten our servers name, major tip. Oh, and the mother in law got to speak Italian to her heart's delight, bonus!
                            I have you chowhounders to thank. Grazie!

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