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First date on Friday night?

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I'm new to the area and met a lovely young woman the other night, we ended up sharing some French food at a very non pretentious, yet delicious place over by Fenway with her firend, unfortunately I have forgotten the name so any info there would be good too. We planned on going out again this Friday, I am looking for suggestions on where to go, in case she makes me decide. Shared plates are great, and Scotch/Bourbon/Whiskey at the bar is even better (we are both fans). Not looking to spend a fortune (Say between 60-100 for the night give or take a few Andrew Jacksons if need be). I am not picky, but I love a good authentic ethnic place. I live in Newburyport and can drive (depending on pre/post dinner drinking plans), train (depending on when I'm off work), or Bus in. Any details on valet, parking (pay or free), nearby T stops, taxi stands, etc. would be helpful too. Thanks in advance for any advice!

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  1. Was the French place Petit Robert?

    This recent thread has a lot of suggestions: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/757390

    How old are the participants by the way? That goes a long way toward an appropriate suggestion.
    Also, personal style - I might send a hipster to Trina's, a grad student type to River Gods, a young working person to Green Street.

    But french food and whiskey....maybe, the bar at Craigie on Main...though that's more of a third date place and it's not "ethnic" -

    I am kind of stumped actually....ethnic small plates with a good bar and good parking....

    I think you should definitely drive - you don't want to get tied to the crappy train schedule. How about Taberna de Haro in Brookline for tapas, followed by drinks across the street at the Beacon Street Tavern? Or substitute Elephant Walk (french/cambodian) for the tapas? There are a lot of meters in that section of Beacon Street and you are also near the Fenway so it is familiar territory.

    1. If you want to go back to the Kenmore Sq/Fenway area I would suggest Eastern Standard or Island Creek Oyster Bar. Both are in Kenmore Sq on either side of the Commonwealth Bay Hotel. Both have great food and a very good bar scene with some of the most professional mixoligists in Boston. Eastern Standard also has one of the widest selections of bourbons and rye whiskeys in the city. The raw bar at Island Creek is excellent with oysters from around the country and very good seafood entrees too.

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      Eastern Standard
      528 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston, MA 02215

      Island Creek Oyster Bar
      500 Commonwealth Ave, Boston, MA 02215

      4 Replies
      1. re: RoyRon

        Friggin a - Of course - Eastern Standard is the answer to every question and I totally forgot. :(

        1. re: RoyRon

          I second both Island Creek and ESK. I also have to add Toro. It doesn't take reservations, but the food is worth it IMO.

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          Toro
          1704 Washington St, Boston, MA 02118

          1. re: ecwashere7

            Taberno de Haro, just up from Kenmore, on Beacon and St. Marys. You can usually find parking on the street. Great tapas, fabulous spanish wines and sherries.

          2. re: RoyRon

            Those sound like just what the Dr. ordered. Ages are 29 and 31, both working, have an appreciation for good food and drink, and I have a strong Culinary/Hospitality Background. I'm assuming as a hotel there is Valet service which is even better. Thanks to everyone for the advice!

          3. "Scotch/Bourbon/Whiskey at the bar" made me think of Hungry Mother in Cambridge. They always have interesting brown-liquor drinks on their cocktail menu. I ate there last week and it felt really cozy but with a good vibrant buzz, nice for a first date. 10 minute walk from the Kendall Sq T, Parking one block down next to Kendall Sq Cinema.

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            Hungry Mother
            Cambridge, MA, Cambridge, MA

            1 Reply
            1. re: sflory

              Second Hungry Mother. If you are into good food, interesting cocktails and exceptional service, this is a great spot. Plus I think it gives off a nice casual vibe, special enough for a first or second date but not too precious/fancy/over the top. Go there and report back :)

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              Hungry Mother
              Cambridge, MA, Cambridge, MA

            2. Lets get one thing clear in dating. because it served me well with my wife - she won't MAKE you decide - you WILL decide.. take her cues, any hints about her tastes, but have a plan in mind..show you've thought about it, but be decisive about the restaurant you have picked..

              3 Replies
              1. re: grant.cook

                ...unless she doesn't like that restaurant....

                1. re: pollystyrene

                  Yes, have a alternate if case she reveals something like "I can't eat Tapas.. a Tapas chef shot my dad." but don't come off with "hmm.. well, I'm not sure.. where do YOU want to go.. "

                2. re: grant.cook

                  i usually take someone for coffee at first so that a quick exit can be made if necessary.

                  I feel a little uncomfortable with an expensive place; it is a sign of trying too hard.

                3. Eastern Standard is a great idea and you won't find better drinks. I also thought of Russell House Tavern in Harvard Square, which has a nice bourbon and whiskey selection. The bartenders are fine but can be a little smug, but you know more than they do about whiskey so you'd have no problem :). You might keep Trina's in Inman Square in mind for another time. They also have a very nice whiskey selection and the bartenders are great there. It is loud, especially in the front room, but a nice crowd in your age range.

                  Have fun and good luck!

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                  Eastern Standard
                  528 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston, MA 02215

                  Russell House Tavern
                  14 JFK Street, Cambridge, MA 02138

                  1. Toro is fantastic! You should be able to find parking on Washington Street as well (they may also have valet, I can't recall). If the date is tonight, it will be nice and cozy in there (it seems like a small place to me). I would defintiely be excited if you suggested it for a first date. I also really like Union Bar and Grille-- they have a small plates menu, a gorgeous bar and bring hot corn bread to the table which sounds super yummy for a cold night. Sushi is another great sharing plates (and ethnic) choice but people vary about their feelings so I would only suggest it if you are going to provide a choice.

                    I agree with one of the other posters, you should pick the place or at least suggest two options and let her weigh in on the final choice. As the girl, it is such a delicate dance to pick a place when you have no idea of the budget etc (and as old fashioned as it is, you usually assume that the guy is going to pay for the first date). If you show that you have thought about it and have a place, or a couple of places picked out, then it is a lot easier for the girl to share an opinion about the selected choices (and veto a place if she hates Indian for example without sounding difficult). Have a great time!

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                    Toro
                    1704 Washington St, Boston, MA 02118

                    Union Bar and Grille
                    1357 Washington Street, Boston, MA 02118

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: bostondiner

                      So the plan is I'm driving in, we're meeting at the Commonwealth Hotel (which has 24 hour valet service). Drinks at Eastern Standard, and then a bite at Island Creek Oyster Bar. Thought it is technically the first date, like I said we did go to Petite Robert last Saturday (That was the name of the place, I learned from our last conversation) with her friend. I personally don't mind spending a little money on good drinks, food and service, and do so often for my own entertainment. The fact that I have a lovely companion to join me tonight, is all the better. As far as a coffee date goes, I think it's great for a blind date or with someone you haven't spent time with before and you're unsure of the chemistry. My date tonight and I have already eaten dinner together as well as conversed over drinks for a couple of hours, so I don't mind taking her out and treating her.

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                      Eastern Standard
                      528 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston, MA 02215

                      Island Creek Oysters
                      296 Parks St, Duxbury, MA 02332

                      1. re: Nate675309

                        great move. Definitely one from my "playbook."

                        I think it is a requirement to get the cider donuts at Island Creek. They are awesome.

                        1. re: Nate675309

                          Great job Nate! Cheers. All is always good at ESK and ICOB is my new fave. So.....how did it go? We all want to know! Ooh - did you have the mussels without the shells in the yellow curry? Mmm.

                          1. re: Deelicious47

                            Ha ha, sorry to leave you hanging. It went very well! ICOB: oysters were great, appetizers were awesome, entrees were unimpressive. Service was good on the whole, but our server had no personality. Also dissapointed in the wine list, basically they only had a range of 60-100/ bottle of any varietal I like to drink. I don't mind a decent bottle of wine, but on a first date that's bumps the ticket price up to more than I like to spend that early on... Did buy one bottle and had a great time so in the end not a big deal. Never ended up at ESK since they were at capacity, so ended up having drinks at some of her favorite neighborhood bars. Think we're planning on Cambridge for date no. 2. Thanks again for all the advice!