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Nice dinner w/good wine for $150-ish?

Visiting my best Boston friend (I'm from Philly) and she's just received a free dinner from her company, so we're looking for a nice Saturday night splurge. We're looking to stay in the neighborhood of $150-ish, preferably including some good wine. She lives in Somerville, so access to the red line is a plus.

As for me, I eat anything and everything - love offal, all types of ethnic cuisine, etc. Some of my favorite places in Philly are Zahav, Osteria, and the multitude of chef-driven bistros/gastropubs (James, Meme, Pub and Kitchen etc.) She doesn't much care for seafood, and we'll be trying the Craigie on Main burger the previous night so we're tentatively ruling out steakhouses (she doesn't eat a ton of red meat - wish I could say the same for myself).

Looking for some fresh suggestions. Thanks a bunch!

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Craigie on Main
853 Main Street, Cambridge, MA 02139

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  1. take Red line to Park st and walk to Troquet... great veal chop w/ huge bone marrow, tender lobster, crispy duck confit... and wine by 2oz and 4oz pours (request seating upstairs by the window)

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    Troquet
    140 Boylston Street, Boston, MA 02116

    3 Replies
    1. re: barleywino

      if you want a great wine selection, Troquet is the place to go though i think that the food is just very good

      I would also suggest chinatown including peach farm and east ocean seafood. You could bring your own bottle to east ocean, and they will charge you a corkage fee around 10 to 20 dollars. They are primarily seafood restaurants though East Ocean makes a mean mu shu pork.

      Sichuan Gourmet has 3 locations, one in Brookline on the Green line - if you want to take the metro (T). There are multiple threads concerning this restaurant which is a chow favorite. Just make sure that you order the sichuanese dishes and not the american-chinese ones. Of course, beer is best with sichuanese food. New Shanghai in Chinatown also has good sichuanese food, too.

      I like Tamarind Bay, an Indian restaurant located in Harvard Square, which has a unique menu - not your typical Indian restaurant. But this is a controversial choice on this site. And indian food is not the best match with good wine.

      i liked Coppa, an italian place with lots of prepared meat. It is very busy and noisy. So, i would go, put my name in to eat outside only, and be prepared for a long wait. They will call you when a table becomes available but do not take reservatons.

      I used to like anthony's pier 4 s wine list, too, but the food is mediocre though they did a reasonably good prime rib.

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      New Shanghai Restaurant
      21 Hudson St, Boston, MA 02111

      Tamarind Bay
      75 Winthrop St, Cambridge, MA 02138

      Troquet
      140 Boylston Street, Boston, MA 02116

      Coppa
      253 Shawmut Ave, Boston, MA 02118

      Sichuan Gourmet
      1004 Beacon St, Brookline, MA 02446

      1. re: cambridgedoctpr

        I'd say that wine is secondary to food. We're not oenophiles with huge cellars - we're just two gals who enjoy a good glass of wine. Troquet is a possibility though.

        Coppa looks tasty - we'll put it on the list but don't know how tolerant we'd be of a huge wait. We're looking for something a little closer to fine dining than Chinatown, although I love Chinese food (especially Szechuan cuisine, which is thankfully gaining a stronger presence around Philly). Thanks for your helpful suggestions!

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        Troquet
        140 Boylston Street, Boston, MA 02116

        Coppa
        253 Shawmut Ave, Boston, MA 02118

        1. re: cambridgedoctpr

          I disagree about Troquet, I think their food is some of the best in the city. Their house-made lamb bacon is quite possibly the most delicious thing I've ever put in my mouth.

          (As an aside - I had the pleasure of dining with Limster, a legendary Chowhound and pal of site founder Jim Leff, when I was in London last month. Knowing I'm from Boston, the first question he asked me when we met was, "Have you had the lamb bacon at Troquet?" )

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          Troquet
          140 Boylston Street, Boston, MA 02116

      2. How about Garden at the Cellar in Harvard Square? http://www.gardenatthecellar.com/home/

        Or Helmand, near the Lechmere T stop
        http://www.helmandrestaurant.com/

        1. Bergamot would fit the bill -it's actually in Somerville, the menu is creative (not "offal" creative, but...), the service feels special without being stuffy, and the room is pretty.

          1 Reply
          1. re: The Lady

            Bergamot looks kind of perfect - definitely going on the short list. Thanks for the suggestion!

          2. T. W. Food in Cambridge might work for you.

            Toro or Coppa in the South End would also be great, although on a Saturday night the wait could be painfully long.

            Erbaluce has great, inventive Italian with an interesting wine list, although my favorite dishes there have tended to be seafood (though there is plenty that isn't seafood on the menu).

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            Toro
            1704 Washington St, Boston, MA 02118

            Erbaluce
            69 Church Street, Boston, MA 02116

            Coppa
            253 Shawmut Ave, Boston, MA 02118

            1 Reply
            1. re: greenzebra

              I'd have to second the Erbaluce recommendation. They have a wonderful wine list and their wild boar and sea bass dishes particularly sand out to me.

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              Erbaluce
              69 Church Street, Boston, MA 02116

            2. I had dinner with a friend at Les Zygomates (near South Station - red line) last night and it was outstanding. I thought the atmostphere was comfortable and stylish and they have a large selection of wines by the glass. The food and service were excellent - I had the scallops which were perfectly seared with asparagus, onions, and morels in a brown butter. It was honestly one of the most delicious scallop dishes I have ever had. My friend had the halibut special (originally it was supposed to be wrapped in bacon but she is a vegetarian and they were very accommodating) which was served on a corn salad (I think). She wanted to lick her plate. We also loved our desserts - I had the stone peach fruit tart with frozen creme fraiche. It had just the right amount of sweetness to finish the meal. I am already planning a trip back to try to raw bar!

              1 Reply
              1. re: lulu806

                Les Zygomates also looks amazing - thanks for the suggestion!

              2. I tried Bistro Du Midi with 3 girlfriends last night - we all loved it. Bit of a splurge, pretty & lively space, reasonable bottles on the wine list. Very fun.

                1 Reply
                1. re: Angel Food

                  Looks like a great place for sharing plates - definitely a possibility. Thanks!

                2. Also in Cambridge and definitely in the price range is the Rendezvous in Central Square. Excellent food and varied wine list with many affordable selections

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Northender

                    Seems like they have some trendy, innovative flavors. I'll mention this one to my friend as well - thanks!