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WWYD?? Erbaluce for birthday--with "difficult" DCs? Help!!

Hi Folks-

I've been dying to try Erbaluce based on all the great things I've read about it in terms of deliciousness of food, chef's philosophy around seasonal ingredients, warm atmosphere, etc. It sounds wonderful.

Here's my dilemma: the dinner will be to celebrate a birthday, some attendees have rather basic, if not down right extremely basic, tastes. {Did you read that NYT article about picky eaters? In this group, one DC will only ever order plain chicken or Chicken Parm--that's it. Literally no dairy (except what's on the parm!), no oil or vinegar-so plain salads only. Its bread and chicken with either tomato sauce or dry veg. BTW these are food aversions, not allergies.} Another DC is pretty basic and hates when she comes to my house and gets things like goat cheese, kale, (which I've tried to liken to spinach to no avail), polenta, etc. Her preference would be some steak tips, rice, actual spinach. (Not dissing those items.)

My concern is twofold, I'm not sure that these diners (there will be 6 or 7 others who like everything) will be able to find something they like--although I get the impression the chef would be more than willing to accommodate any special requests). Also, in these difficult financial times, I hate to ask folks to go out and spend a lot of $$$s on a meal that is, for them, just passable. Note--Erbaluce may not be extremely expensive but for this crowd a $15 - $25 per entree price would be best. Budgets are tight. Erbaluce's menu varies with what's available (which I think is great) but makes it hard to get a read on price range. Add to that some drink--sometimes copiously :) -- and others are teetotalers--sigh.

I guess I've pretty much answered my own question. I'm tempted to pack it in and pick a more moderate place with a menu that I know will please all and go to Erbaluce another night with someone who's as into food as me.

Any thoughts?

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Erbaluce
69 Church Street, Boston, MA 02116

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  1. Your last-paragraph strategy is what I would follow. No sense wasting Erbaluce's amazing but not-cheap food on the unappreciative. You have to pity such people. Go another time with a group that uniformly loves great food.

    For plan B, perhaps Trattoria Toscana? No reservations, but it has something for everyone.

    http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

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    Erbaluce
    69 Church Street, Boston, MA 02116

    1 Reply
    1. re: MC Slim JB

      Pity?! C'mon, everybody's got somethin', issues-wise.

      SST, sounds like you're trying to balance your hope for friend-bonding-and-celebration with foodly pleasure. I think you got it. Enjoy your friends with chicken parm (at Basta Pasta?), and hit Erb some other time. Or - consider going to Erbaluce by yourself with a book. I find that when I leave my (picky, eat-to-live) sweety at home from fancy places, we both have a great time. And since the kitchen doesn't need to time dishes together, your food has a higher chance of being brought to you just as it's perfect.

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      Basta Pasta
      319 Western Ave, Cambridge, MA 02139

      Erbaluce
      69 Church Street, Boston, MA 02116

      Basta Pasta
      150 Hancock St, Quincy, MA 02171

    2. The original comment has been removed
      1. I agree with others that you should save Erbaluce for when you can savor it worry-free. Also, I don't think it's the best place for such a large group. Nor is Trattoria Toscana, for that matter, although that place is surely more likely to have something to please everyone. With no reservations at Trattoria Toscana you'd be hard pressed to get a table for a group that large in any reasonable amount of time. And I always feel really cramped in there even with just a party of 2. I can't think of a perfect place for your needs off the top of my head.

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        Trattoria Toscana
        130 Jersey St, Boston, MA 02215

        Erbaluce
        69 Church Street, Boston, MA 02116

        3 Replies
        1. re: bella_sarda

          Gran Gusto?

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          Gran Gusto
          90 Sherman St, Cambridge, MA 02140

            1. re: Taralli

              Gran Gusto is a great suggestion for a large party celebrating a birthday--the atmosphere is very festive. No chicken on the dinner menu that I can see, but great pasta and thin crust pizzas.

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              Gran Gusto
              90 Sherman St, Cambridge, MA 02140

        2. Thanks all. That's what I figured, but wanted to confirm, never having been.

          ENHF94-funny you say Basta Pasta-I was thinking it woudl be a great fall back and there's one right in Quincy for South Shore folks who will be racing to get anywhere on a Friday night after work.

          MC--you have no idea the levels of food aversion this one individual has. Even more of a challenge at dinner parties!

          Fly-if I were paying, you would be absolutely correct. In my bunch, for birthdays we pick a restaurant and split the check minus the birthday-girl or boy, so they get treated.

          Yes--Erbaluce's out for this event. But I will get there!

          Many thanks!

          3 Replies
          1. re: SeaSide Tomato

            Got a good friend that won't eat onions or garlic in any form, in any food. Not an allergy, just an aversion held since childhood. That's a rough way to go through life, in my book.

            http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

            1. re: MC Slim JB

              My uncle will not, under any circumstances, eat any kind of fish. No shrimp, no tuna, no nothing, no thank you... Once again, not an allergy, just an aversion. I never knew why and I never asked. It wasn't until this summer that I heard the story which explains the aversion. Apparently back in the 1940s, locking a child in the basement until they would eat their dinner was more acceptable than it is now... I will never again blame him for his aversion.

              1. re: naughtywaitress

                My mom used the carrot approach to get me to eat her many experimental casseroles: no clean plate, no Jell-O or Jiffy Cake. That got me to eat a lot of less-than-transporting concoctions (she cooked with more love than skill).

                http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

          2. You could make reservations for Giaccomo's in the southend - they do a very good chicken parm. A night out with 2 picky eaters who make it known to everyone at the table is not a great night for savouring the special nuances of a wonderful chefs preparations. A night at Erbaluce with those two diners is doomed.

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            Erbaluce
            69 Church Street, Boston, MA 02116