Hamersley's for birthday dinner?
I'm scouting out a place to take my husband for his b-day Saturday, and Hamersley's seems like a good option. The menu looks good, the prices are out of reach normally but I think we can swing it for a special occasion. My questions are a) is the food good enough to justify the prices? and b)is it a celebratory atmosphere? We have 2 kids under 2 so we don't get out much, and I'd like to show him a good time. Also wonder if there's a good place nearby for a pre-dinner cocktail (afterwards I was planning to take him to hear music at Wally's) Thanks!!!!
Hamersley's is a great choice. The food isn't innovative or flashy, but simple dishes executed with perfection. The service is very good, the room is nice, and the outdoor patio is a good choice if this fall weather holds up. The place is also nearly universally busy, but not awfully loud or crazy, so it is lively and celebratory without being raucous. A perfect fit for your occasion.
One note about the patio: They don't take reservations for it, and I'd absolutely recommend securing reservations. Make the indoor reservations and, if the weather holds up and you get there and prefer to sit outside, ask how long the wait would be to sit outside.
Food-wise, everything is good, but the standouts are the roast chicken, the mushroom & garlic tart, the duck confit, and any specials. Even if, like me, you'd never order chicken, its a must-get for your first visit--perfectly roasted, incredibly flavorful.
The cocktails at Hamersley's are uneven, but something simple will at least come out correct.
Their wine list is very good.
For pre-meal cocktails, I'd check out Delux, two blocks north on Chandler St. Interesting, good cocktails in a weird neighborhood bar. For something trendier, you might consider BanQ (two blocks south on Washington St), particularly if it is a nice evening and the front windows and doors are open, opening up the bar onto the sidewalk. A final choice for good cocktails is Franklin Cafe, a block south on Shawmuth. I'd probably go with Franklin Cafe, but all craft good cocktails and are a worthy of pre-meal stop on your special night.
A couple folks have recommend the BeeHive, but I think they are missing that you plan to go to Wally's. The BeeHive is next door and a lot of fun, although it is a jazz club on the exact opposite end of the spectrum from Wally's. I love both, but I'd probably prefer not to hit up one jazz club only to make a beeline (sorry) to its divey cousin crosstown. But if you are in the BeeHive before the music starts (and you'll need to be to avoid a long line), perhaps this isn't an issue.
Whatever you do, enjoy your special night!
I really enjoy Hammersly's Bistro a lot. They have a good wine list and the food is always really hearty and delicious. In terms of it being celebratory, the outdoor patio is very romantic although I'm not sure if it will be too chilly for it. And I'd second the recommendation to head to Beehive afterwards for a drink and live jazz.