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Dinner Recomendations for a 30th Birthday

b
bubblesdlev Dec 7, 2010 08:53 AM

I want to take my husband out for a nice romantic evening, and before I plan what else we do I would like help findiing the perfect restaurant. If you were planning a special birthday and could go anywhere where would you want to go?

He loves every kind of food, and my only dislike is sushi. This doesn't have to be limited to places with a tasting / chef's menu.

thank you in advance for all your assistance.

  1. c
    cambridgedoctpr Dec 7, 2010 12:13 PM

    what is your price range? what part of the boston area?

    5 Replies
    1. re: cambridgedoctpr
      b
      bubblesdlev Dec 7, 2010 04:24 PM

      I have no price range and no location requirements I just want him to have the best dinner of his life.

      1. re: bubblesdlev
        t
        trueblu Dec 7, 2010 04:58 PM

        In that case, I would perhaps consider a location outside of Boston. For somewhere not too far away, how about the Wheatleigh? I've not been, but heard universally good reviews.

        In Boston, there are a few places that are pretty good, but very few 'fancy' places that I would say compete well outside of the city.

        tb

        1. re: trueblu
          b
          bubblesdlev Dec 8, 2010 04:36 AM

          that sounds interesting thank you I will look into it. I just moved from Chicago I am use to being able to go to Alinea, les nomades, topolobambo, or even L2O depending on what food type you are looking for and what you are celebrating.

          1. re: trueblu
            b
            bubblesdlev Dec 8, 2010 04:47 AM

            Is Westleigh beter then L'Espalier, No. 9, and Clio all mentioned on these boards?

            -----
            L'Espalier
            774 Boylston St, Boston, MA 02199

            1. re: bubblesdlev
              c
              cambridgedoctpr Dec 8, 2010 06:10 AM

              i am from chicago, too., so welcome to Boston.

              Except for O Ya, i recommend being ready to go to NYC for the very best. You can check the NY boards, but I regularly go to Le Bernadin and Jean-Georges. I recently had a very good meal at 11 Madison. Per Se has a great reputation.

              Here is how people feel restaurants stack up.

              http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/743054?tag=main_body;topic-743054

              This post may be of help; there are many very good restaurants in Boston, but this city is not at the top echelon of cooking. You will be disappointed in the Mexican food, but you should find some good Asian food. And keep an eye on StriperGuy and MC JB ; they seem to find the most interesting things on this board.

              http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7248...

              -----
              O Ya
              9 East Street, Boston, MA 02111

      2. m
        mgcmonkey Dec 8, 2010 05:53 AM

        If price is not an object and you're not a fan of sushi, then I suggest the Chefs table @ L'Espalier. Only turn off may be the fact that the table is in the kitchen and the atmosphere may not be as romantic as you're looking for. Its definitely a unique experience though.

        -----
        L'Espalier
        774 Boylston St, Boston, MA 02199

        2 Replies
        1. re: mgcmonkey
          justbeingpolite Dec 8, 2010 06:01 AM

          For service and food, Menton seems to be the place on top of the game right now.

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          Menton
          354 Congress St, Boston, MA 02210

          1. re: justbeingpolite
            b
            bubblesdlev Dec 8, 2010 08:50 AM

            Both of those sound good as well as I didn't think about taking a bus or something to new york...

        2. Bob Dobalina Dec 8, 2010 09:35 AM

          And I was thinking, "You should fly to Chicago and go to Alinea..." Shucks...

          So you are looking for the "best dinner of his life," meaning he has not already had it at Alinea (and the other places you've mentioned) or has to top those?

          Since Alinea takes the #1 slot for best restaurant in America on some lists, agree that you will be hard-pressed to find something comparable in Boston. I think the only option frankly will be Per Se or fly to Vegas.

          But can I respectfully make the following point: Where do you go from there?! Let's say you go to Per Se - then what? How can you possibly top that for the next occasion, when he's 35, 40, etc. Do you next hit the Gourmet Club and have the komodo dragon? Not exactly sure what the answer is, but I know that I tend to think of my company as much as the food, when I make my list of "best meals ever." So maybe fly in his friends and go to a Boston place is the way to go.

          Of course, if it's spectacle you must have, there's always the pig's head at Craigie.

          3 Replies
          1. re: Bob Dobalina
            b
            bubblesdlev Dec 8, 2010 11:16 AM

            I know its not posible to top alinea so best of his life isn't posible I guess but I moved him to boston cause of my job and want to show him food in boston isn't that bad... Maybe thats a beter way to put it make him not feel aweful he is not able to go to alinea... and maybe you are right maybe going home he can have an afternoon with the guys or the family and a night with me at alinea... He did enjoyed sorellina for the most part.

            1. re: bubblesdlev
              ecwashere7 Dec 8, 2010 12:42 PM

              You may not find the level of service and refinement of an Alinea or Per Se in Boston, but there are certainly many great restaurants. Menton is probably your best bet for what you're looking for. Clio is certainly another option. O Ya would be another great option, but you don't like sushi.

              I think Boston has tons of inventive, delicious food without all the pretense attached to it. I've been to some of the fancier places in Boston, and enjoyed my meals there, but I like Toro just as much (or more). Craigie is also a great experience, but it won't be as big a production as Alinea or Per Se. You may have to expand your view of great dining.

              -----
              O Ya
              9 East Street, Boston, MA 02111

              Toro
              1704 Washington St, Boston, MA 02118

              Menton
              354 Congress St, Boston, MA 02210

              1. re: bubblesdlev
                Bob Dobalina Dec 8, 2010 12:54 PM

                You could just treat him to the hot dog of his life and head to Speed's in Newmarket Square. Will only set you back $8!

            2. b
              Brock Lee Robb Dec 8, 2010 11:37 AM

              Closer to home, and a very romantic spot: Arrows in Ogunquit, ME. 90 minutes up the coast.

              http://www.arrowsrestaurant.com

              9 Replies
              1. re: Brock Lee Robb
                k
                kimfair1 Dec 8, 2010 12:55 PM

                If I were going to Maine for this dinner, I'd go another 30 minutes north and go to Hugo's in Portland, ME. I was woefully underwhelmed by the food at Arrows, and I find their attitude a bit much. For those of you who feel a vibe at Craigie that you should be honored to be able to eat there (a vibe I've never gotten there), check out Arrows, they wrote the book on that attitude. If you want to stay in Boston, Menton is probably closest to the finer Chicago places (I've not eaten at Alinea, but have at Topolobampo). O Ya is also a top pick, but it is sushi, though not traditional sushi by any means. I also think Craigie on Main, Clio, L'Espalier, or #9 Park would be fine if you want to stay in the immediate Boston area.

                Trublu, I'd be interested in hearing what you think are better "fancy" places in the suburbs of Boston that are better than those in the city.

                -----
                L'Espalier
                774 Boylston St, Boston, MA 02199

                O Ya
                9 East Street, Boston, MA 02111

                Craigie on Main
                853 Main Street, Cambridge, MA 02139

                Menton
                354 Congress St, Boston, MA 02210

                1. re: kimfair1
                  t
                  trueblu Dec 8, 2010 01:56 PM

                  By "outside of the city" I meant completely outside, e.g. Manhattan!

                  In Boston, I think that L'Espalier is a fine choice, but I've never been blown away. I've not been to Menton. Craigie has touches of genius, but for me, the atmosphere is not for special occasions, but I agree that's a personal choice. However, as cdp mentioned, I think places in NYC blow any of these out of the water, e.g. Jean Georges. I've not been to O Ya, but I've heard that it _does_ compete well, but that is not the OP's cup of tea.

                  However, if , as the OP clarified in a subsequent post, she wants to show that Boston has what it takes, I would actually view the challenge in a different light. In fine dining stakes, Boston can't compete with Chicago. So I would go to something Boston does really well, e.g. seafood. Neptune is probably out, but Island Creek oyster bar might do the trick. The expectation is then on something Boston does really well. I also too really like Toro, and I think it does have a unique take on tapas, but it never strikes me as somewhere to go for a celebration.

                  tb

                  1. re: trueblu
                    r
                    robwat36 Dec 8, 2010 02:30 PM

                    I realize it's de rigeur on this board to focus on what's not in our backyard while subtly working in the number of times we've eaten at Per Se in the last year, but I wouldn't necessarily encourage the OP to leave town for dinner without trying O Ya or Menton.

                    1. re: robwat36
                      t
                      trueblu Dec 8, 2010 04:45 PM

                      Well that's pretty easy: I've never dined at Per Se, this year or whenever.

                      Menton might do the trick (never been), but given that the OP doesn't like sushi (and I'm interpreting that broadly to mean japanese style fish -- I know that isn't what it means strictly), then O Ya is probably largely out of the equation.

                      tb

                      1. re: trueblu
                        k
                        kimfair1 Dec 8, 2010 06:37 PM

                        Thanks trublu! I thought that was what you were getting at, but wasn't 100% sure. While I haven't eaten at Per Se, Alinea, or The French Laundry, the OP wants to show her beau that Boston has some quality restaurants, and while we are not in New York or Chicago's class, I do feel that there are places that are excellent right here in our humble burg. My wife and I ate at Menton this year, and thought the food was excellent, and the service the best I've ever had in Boston.

                        The food at O Ya is truly spectacular, it's price being the only reason I've dined there only once so far. In the slightly lower price point, my favorite in Boston is Craigie on Main. My favorite restaurant I've been to is still Hugo's in Portland, ME. It's inventive and delicious, and you wouldn't feel out of place there in jeans and a nice shirt (which is important to me, as I am not a fan of dressing up in what I find to be uncomfortable clothes just to drop a ton of coin on dinner).

                        -----
                        O Ya
                        9 East Street, Boston, MA 02111

                        Craigie on Main
                        853 Main Street, Cambridge, MA 02139

                        Menton
                        354 Congress St, Boston, MA 02210

                      2. re: robwat36
                        c
                        cambridgedoctpr Dec 9, 2010 12:36 PM

                        since we are anonymous, i do not think that people get much out of mentioning where they eat. Yes, there are many great places to eat in Boston, but for the upper end, it does not compare to Manhattan or Chicago. That said, the OP already said that she does not want to go to Manhattan or Chicago for this dinner.

                  2. re: Brock Lee Robb
                    b
                    Bivalve Dec 8, 2010 03:04 PM

                    Portland is pretty romantic - make it an adventure and book a room at the Pomegranate Inn. Hugo's is great, look at Fore Street too. Both are worth the trip (just the bread at Fore Street is worth the trip)

                    1. re: Bivalve
                      b
                      bobbert Dec 8, 2010 05:55 PM

                      Even though I live in and totally love Portland, if I were heading north from Boston looking for the best of food and romance and money was not an issue, I would go no further than The White Barn Inn in Kennebunkport. Stay the night at the Inn or maybe the weekend...

                      1. re: bobbert
                        k
                        kimfair1 Dec 8, 2010 06:42 PM

                        The White Barn Inn has excellent food, and is much more romantic than Hugo's, and I've had excellent meals there, but my meals at Hugo's have almost always been transcendent. The six course tasting at Hugo's always surprises me (and not only because it's a blind tasting), and I would crawl over broken glass to eat their potato biscuits! My iwfe has family in Portland, and we go up 4-5 times a year, and always eat at Hugo's. You know it's bad when we showed up there in August this year (unusual for us) and our server said to us "This is a surprise. I didn't expect to see you guys until after Labor Day!"

                  3. barleywino Dec 9, 2010 12:58 AM

                    If you don't like sushi, note that almost half of O Ya's menu is non-sushi, cooked or at least seared items, so you can easily have a great meal there that does not entail raw seafood. They don't serve their food to you on a pillow filled with lavender air or a fork infused with rosemary as they do at Alinea, but its still great creative food. Otherwise, I would probably do a tasting at clio (just ask them to hold the raw fish)

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: barleywino
                      b
                      bubblesdlev Dec 9, 2010 05:05 AM

                      Wow so many choices but I am not for the drive up to maine when for the same drive I can take him to CT and go gambling and have a mini vegas night (which was an option) and eat at david burke prime or craftsteak or even bar americain. not at same level as these restaurants but what guy doesn't like the vegas feel.... I was thinking of taking a 2 hour drive or so down to like stamford and grenwich to a B&B and then drive the hour down to NYC for the day and still get a romantic B&B.

                      I want to thank you guys for your help I am deciding between going into new york city (saving per se for truely home sick since he loves bobby flay on tv yet has never ate at one of his restaurants just hope one of his restaurants don't disappoint) and staying here doing chefs table at L'Espalier or doing Menton. Tough choices but you guys gave me such good ides i really apreciate it. If you are ever going to chicago and need tips or advice I can only hope to extend you the assistance you provided me.

                      -----
                      L'Espalier
                      774 Boylston St, Boston, MA 02199

                      Menton
                      354 Congress St, Boston, MA 02210

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