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Getting Engaged - Need a celebratory dinner for after.

d
dankshwhat Feb 23, 2011 03:18 PM

My girlfriend and I live in NY, but we're heading to Boston at the end of March for a little getaway. Little does she know exactly WHY we're going to Boston. We're both huge foodies, so I'm planning on popping the question (suggestions on where would be much appreciated!) and taking her out for a celebratory dinner afterwards. I'm specifically looking for a chef's tasting menu sort of deal.

I've read a lot about L'Espalier, No.9 Park, Craigie on Main, Troquet, etc...but I've seen a lot of "it used to be good, it went downhill" or whatever. I want to know some opinions on where to go, and it would be nice to hear about some recent experiences.

Just a side note, I'm game to eat pretty much anything. I hear Craigie does a lot of nose-to-tail, which is cool with me but my gal doesn't have much experience with offal. Their menu looks delicious, though.
Also, L'Espalier is out of the question for me...I'm cool with like $100-$130 per person, but $185 is a little steep.

oh, ps. we do drink, but not much, so we probably wouldn't be going with the wine pairings, where ever we end up.

Thanks for the help!

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

Troquet
140 Boylston Street, Boston, MA 02116

Craigie on Main
853 Main Street, Cambridge, MA 02139

  1. Eatin in Woostah Feb 23, 2011 03:33 PM

    For tasting that is not in the nose-to-tail category, I'd go with either Clio (quite romantic and creative, but not quite as pricey as L'Espalier), or O Ya if you like creative sashimi. Very sexy vibe.

    As for where to pop the question, do you and she have any specific interests (other than each other?) There are some cool locations around town - inside the dome of the Christian Science building, the courtyard at the Isabella Stewart Gardner museum, Top of the Hub (for the view and a glass of champagne, not for the food), the gazebo on the harbor walk behind the Boston Harbor Hotel, the deck of the USS Constitution, a variety of cool spots within the Museum of Science if that's your thing, or in the Aquarium... You'll note that there aren't any outdoor spots on the list. Basically because even in the end of March it may still be icky outside here. In June I'd be sending you to the public garden.

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

    O Ya
    9 East Street, Boston, MA 02111

    Top of the Hub
    800 Boylston Street, Boston, MA 02199

    10 Replies
    1. re: Eatin in Woostah
      d
      dankshwhat Feb 23, 2011 03:38 PM

      totally feeling the aquarium. do they have manatees? she's in love with manatees. i adopted one for her for christmas.

      i heard clio is like super skimpy on portion size. that would be fine with me if there's a bunch of courses, as long as i'm full at the end.

      1. re: dankshwhat
        Eatin in Woostah Feb 23, 2011 03:46 PM

        I don't think there are any manatees at the Aquarium, but there are seals! There is an outdoor tank where they swim in front of the Aquarium, and a show in the back.

        Also, a little more on the Christian Science dome - it's called the Mapparium and is really cool. Basically, it's a big stained glass lighted map of the world. The acoustics are interesting - you can stand on opposite sides of the dome and whisper, and hear each other. There's a wiki page on it - check it out.

        Each course of the tasitng menu at Clio is small (same thing at O Ya), and designed as such so that you can pace yourself. I believe we had 9 courses during the tasitng we did at Clio and left full but not stuffed.

        1. re: Eatin in Woostah
          d
          dankshwhat Feb 23, 2011 04:05 PM

          hmm. yeah small is fine, i didn't expect to get giant portions. if we did, it would definitely be way too much food. how much is clio's tasting? their website doesn't really mention it.

          1. re: dankshwhat
            Eatin in Woostah Feb 23, 2011 04:16 PM

            I believe it's around $110.

            1. re: dankshwhat
              barleywino Feb 23, 2011 04:18 PM

              last i checked, CLio offered 9 courses for $105 and 14 courses for $135

            2. re: Eatin in Woostah
              a
              AnnieP Feb 23, 2011 04:26 PM

              http://www.upi.com/Odd_News/2010/12/0...

              1. re: AnnieP
                Eatin in Woostah Feb 23, 2011 04:29 PM

                OK - that's awesome.

                1. re: AnnieP
                  d
                  dankshwhat Feb 23, 2011 04:40 PM

                  holy crap! that's so cute.

            3. re: Eatin in Woostah
              Science Chick Feb 24, 2011 09:25 AM

              oooo the Gardner Museum is the most wonderful suggestion. The courtyard has gorgeous flowers year-round, not to mention the fabulous mosaics, great places to sit around, etc. Like a little slice of Italy... If anything were to convince you, check these out:

              http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/1/1b/Isabella_Stewart_Gardner_Museum_central_courtyard.jpg
              http://o.aolcdn.com/dims-shared/dims/...

              Another nice spot for dinner might be Locke-Ober.....more old school but still top quality.

              1. re: Science Chick
                d
                DoubleMan Feb 24, 2011 11:12 AM

                I think Locke-Ober is closed through March for renovations.

                The Gardner Museum is a great idea. It's one of the true gems of Boston, totally unique, and unfortunately overlooked by many here (or maybe fortunately because it's usually not that full, and it's not going anywhere).

                -----
                Locke-Ober
                3 Winter Place, Boston, MA 02108

            4. d
              dankshwhat Feb 23, 2011 05:10 PM

              anybody have a relatively detailed description of their experience with the clio tasting menu that i can read?

              once again, thanks for the help everyone!

              2 Replies
              1. re: dankshwhat
                g
                grant.cook Feb 24, 2011 09:36 AM

                My wife and I had it about 6 months ago. Very good, filling but not heavy. You never know what might come out - I one course was house-made sodas. Clio has a nice atmosphere, didn't feel rushed, and service was good without being overbearing.

                Remember the prices quoted above do not include wine pairings, which adds an extra cost. My wife was pregnant at the time, so I just got wine by the glass through the meal.

                1. re: grant.cook
                  d
                  dankshwhat Feb 24, 2011 05:37 PM

                  We probably wouldn't be getting any wine, so that shouldn't be an issue. Like I said a per person of $115 to $130 is fine.

                  Besides, the hotel is throwing us a bottle of champagne gratis! We'll have plenty to drink after haha.

              2. j
                jforman Feb 23, 2011 08:03 PM

                Congratulations on your upcoming engagement.

                To speak to your suggestions: I actually went to Craigie after I got engaged. My now-wife and I both ordered the 6/7-course tasting menu. The meal was great, both of us left sated, yet not overly-stuffed. I chose CoM because the food is great, and the atmosphere is not too loud or impersonal. My wife had/has no experience with offal, and I don't believe we had any on our tasting menu (this was about 18 months ago). Plus the bar has a pretty extensive list of drinks, and at least in my past, has been able to come up with ones I am not familiar with by just a few suggestions of likes/dislikes, if the mood strikes you.

                If you want to go a bit farther off the beaten path (and not such a heavy concentration on offal), check out TW Food in Cambridge. They have a five course tasting menu for well under $100 (without wine), focused on local/seasonal ingredients. The atmosphere here is a lot more intimate than Craigie, since the dining room is maybe a 1/3 the size. They do things with vegetables that I wish I was exposed to when younger, or maybe I would have had a more balanced-diet growing up.

                As for some heresay evidence, I've heard that L'Espalier is 'good, but not worth the money.' Also that Bondir (just opened, in Cambridge) is awesome, if you can get in.

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

                Bondir
                279 Broadway, Cambridge, MA 02139

                7 Replies
                1. re: jforman
                  m
                  monicall Feb 25, 2011 03:33 AM

                  We also went to Craigie on Main after our engagement (my husband proposed in the morning, on a day we already had reservations to eat dinner there). We had the tasting menu and it was great - there wasn't anything too "nose-to-tail" on it.

                  Many, many years ago I had the Clio tasting menu and IT included cockscomb, so I guess there's a bit of a gamble either way :-)

                  I think I prefer the atmosphere at CoM, and the staff was great when we told them we had just gotten engaged, but I'm sure you'll be happy either way.

                  Congratulations!

                  -----
                  Craigie on Main
                  853 Main Street, Cambridge, MA 02139

                  1. re: jforman
                    p
                    Parsnipity Feb 25, 2011 11:17 AM

                    I second the romantic, intimate atmosphere at TW Food. I'm not sure how you're getting around, but it's a little far from a T stop. And there's nothing romantic about taking a bus-- sorry, to all you brave champions of public transportation.

                    I have also have a really romantic dinner at Uni, the sashimi bar in Clio. I'm not really clear whether it's totally its own entity, but you could definitely work out hitting up both if you're there.

                    On the awesome-service side of things, I've been wowed by Bergamot's service especially at its price point. I bet they would do a fabulous job of treating you like royalty if you let them know the situation.

                    Personally, I would pick service and atmosphere and location above all else, given that the food has to be good but maybe not the best meal ever. It will be the best meal ever regardless, and you probably won't remember a thing that you eat. Congrats. Please let us know how it goes!

                    1. re: Parsnipity
                      d
                      dankshwhat Feb 25, 2011 12:45 PM

                      I beg to differ...I probably will remember everything I eat. Mostly because we are both food bloggers and will definitely be writing about the experience.

                      Service is definitely important to me. Atmosphere, sure. But really the food is probably the most important. (To her as well as I, trust me.)

                      1. re: dankshwhat
                        threedogs Mar 2, 2011 06:39 AM

                        Ah, a young couple after my own heart! Be sure to keep us updated after your dinner - it's always so cool to hear the outcome of CH's suggestions - and please, link your blogs (afterwards, so no one spills the beans, haha).

                        1. re: threedogs
                          d
                          dankshwhat Mar 2, 2011 02:51 PM

                          if you would like to read any of my previous blog posts, the link is http://edibleadventures.tumblr.com

                          1. re: dankshwhat
                            Small Plates Mar 7, 2011 06:47 AM

                            Great blog!! Thanks for sharing!

                            1. re: Small Plates
                              d
                              dankshwhat Mar 7, 2011 12:41 PM

                              why thank you! if you have a tumblr, you should follow me.

                  2. k
                    kimfair1 Feb 24, 2011 04:46 AM

                    I would also recommend Craigie on Main. The tasting menu is blind and changes, but they will accomodate allergies/dislikes, etc. My wife routinely asks for no cock's comb in her tasting, for example. We've never had an issue with them. Clio is also very nice, but I haven't been in years. O Ya is superb, but getting out of there sated for less than $150 a person and up is tough. L'Espalier is in my opinion not worth the money. Congrats on popping the question!

                    -----
                    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

                    1. d
                      dankshwhat Feb 24, 2011 09:11 AM

                      so I guess we have it basically narrowed down to either clio or craigie on main.

                      how difficult is it to get around? how much would cab fare be from the seaport hotel to craigie?

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: dankshwhat
                        e
                        emannths Feb 24, 2011 09:16 AM

                        $22?
                        http://www.taxifarefinder.com/main.ph...!

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                        Main Street Cafe
                        85 Main St, Woonsocket, RI 02895

                        1. re: dankshwhat
                          s
                          Scruffy The Cat Feb 24, 2011 04:17 PM

                          Keep in mind that my DH and I did the 14-course tasting menu with a bottle of wine a few years ago and the bill was in the $500+ range. Not to discourage you, it was lovely. But since you mentioned the financial negatives of L'Espalier, I had to mention that Clio won't be much less or even less at all.

                          I think you're doing a charming thing and wish you all the best.

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

                        2. b
                          bostondiner Feb 24, 2011 09:52 AM

                          I'm responding to the "where to pop the question" part of the post. I noticed that you are staying at the Seaport. It is a short walk over to the federal courthouse from there. In the back of the courthouse, there are benches and an incredible view of Boston as well as the ocean. It is pretty quiet there. If it is a cold day, I'd suggest picking up coffee/hot chocolate and goodies at Flour Bakery before walking over there. My husband proposed to me there so it holds a special place in my heart!

                          I've also had friends get engaged in the Public Garden and in front of the State House in the Boston Common.

                          Unless it is miserable outside, I'm a fan of outdoor proposals (particularly if you can make it somewhat private). I'm more of a private person though.

                          As for the restaurant.... you'll be almost too excited to eat! I know you mentioned chef's tasting menu but I'm going to go out on a limb and recommend Grotto. It is small, romantic, has a decent wine list and is wonderful for sharing-- for example, I'd go with the fondue appetizer and definitely the flourless chocolate cake. Then again, it is a restaurant that I have gone to with my husband for a variety of occasions so it may just be that I associate it with all the warm, happy thoughts that I think about when I hear engagement!

                          Enjoy and good luck! Let us know if she says yes!

                          -----
                          Flour Bakery + Cafe
                          12 Farnsworth St, Boston, MA

                          14 Replies
                          1. re: bostondiner
                            Bob Dobalina Feb 24, 2011 10:12 AM

                            I like bostondiner's take on things, personally - smaller, more intimate...

                            Couple of other thoughts - I think the walk on the Cambridge side of the river over the Longfellow Bridge offers one of the best views of Boston, especially in the late afternoon when the setting sun glints off the expensive condos of Beacon Hill and the State House. You could propose there on a warm spring evening and then walk to Dante and get a table by the window (or the patio weather-permitting).

                            As to Craigie, all I can think is "What says romance better than innards?" It's a fine place, but I think you might also consider other smaller, less flashy, less 'trying to be cool like NYC' places - Journeyman, Bondir, TW Food are three nooks where you will be well-fed.

                            The ironic person in me might also suggest Scampo, which is in the Liberty Hotel, the re-furbished Nashua Street Jail...

                            Of course, this from someone whose celebratory engagement dinner was pizza and bbq at Santarpio's. But these are New Yorkers here, so I cannot honestly recommend that... ;)

                            1. re: Bob Dobalina
                              n
                              Northender Feb 24, 2011 10:24 AM

                              nice - what says love more than their lamb barbecue with a well done pizza???

                              1. re: Bob Dobalina
                                d
                                DoubleMan Feb 24, 2011 11:16 AM

                                I think Journeyman is "trying to be cool like NYC" - why else would they blatantly rip off dishes from David Chang (and many other famous chefs)?

                                I'm partially joking about that comment, but I agree that a cozier, smaller place would be great. I've always liked the JP Ten Tables and I love Bondir.

                                -----
                                Ten Tables
                                5 Craigie Circle, Cambridge, MA 02138

                                Bondir
                                279 Broadway, Cambridge, MA 02139

                                1. re: DoubleMan
                                  Small Plates Feb 24, 2011 11:39 AM

                                  Another vote for Bondir. And I wonder if you emailed or facebooked Patrick (FOH) or Jason Bond (chef) you may be able to convince them to do something special for you. The place (though on the outside is quirkily charming, hardly romantic) is all romance inside from the fireplace to the charming plates, cushions on the benches and the low-key, attentive service. Not to mention the food is extraordinarily well prepared. I can't stay away from Bondir. We had Valentine's day dinner there (as well as four other meals on separate occasions), and we LOVE it.

                                  -----
                                  Bondir
                                  279 Broadway, Cambridge, MA 02139

                                  1. re: DoubleMan
                                    Bob Dobalina Feb 24, 2011 12:32 PM

                                    Booom! Wow...had no idea about all that. I guess I was thinking more about the setting.

                                    1. re: Bob Dobalina
                                      d
                                      DoubleMan Feb 24, 2011 12:47 PM

                                      Ha. Yeah, it is a nice setting (except for the alley out front).

                                      In the Globe review, First wrote:

                                      "What can anyone do with foie gras that hasn’t been done? This: make it into a terrine, freeze it, then shave it messily over a plate."

                                      I'm no fan of First, but I was a little embarrassed for her with this. A professional food writer in Boston should have some knowledge of the national food scene, at least New York's, and know about Chang's dish, which received a ton of attention. The recipe is in his Momofuku book, and there was a lot of talk, especially early, about Journeyman lifting recipes from books like that and Thomas Keller's. Using the books for inspiration is fine, but some dishes were a bit too close. It's especially not cool at their price point.

                                      1. re: DoubleMan
                                        Bob Dobalina Feb 24, 2011 12:55 PM

                                        I find that reeeeally interesting DM. Any feedback whether that practice has continued?

                                        1. re: Bob Dobalina
                                          d
                                          DoubleMan Feb 24, 2011 01:02 PM

                                          Not sure if that "reeeeally" is sarcastic, but I have not heard if the practice has continued - I also haven't heard that it has ended.

                                          An incident on last night's Top Chef, and the resulting discussion of "Chef's Law," reminded me of this issue about Journeyman.

                                          1. re: DoubleMan
                                            d
                                            dankshwhat Feb 24, 2011 05:43 PM

                                            THAT WAS SO DIRTY! Rich is my favorite.

                                            1. re: DoubleMan
                                              Bob Dobalina Feb 25, 2011 03:56 AM

                                              Not sarcastic at all. Really. :)

                                              It provokes a serious debate - Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, of course, especially in terms of technique. When does it cross the line into stealing someone's dish? If the Journeyman's frozen foie was an exact replica of Chang's dish, would it be less a problem if they properly referenced him, or corrected Devra First's misconception? If they promoted the idea as their own, that gets closer to culinary plagiarism. Is the problem that they might have been taking credit for the idea, or that they served it at all?

                                              The O Ya chef was roundly criticized for similar kinds of supposed shenanigans. But then if I understand correctly, neither the Journeyman or O Ya people have come into the restaurant business in the usual way, so perhaps their outsider status also plays a role in these kinds of criticisms. If a Batali does Chang, does that change anything?

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

                                              1. re: Bob Dobalina
                                                d
                                                DoubleMan Feb 25, 2011 11:40 AM

                                                I think stealing ideas is ok - that's how the food world evolves - but it should always be done with the view of putting one's own spin and perspective on things. Straight up copying a dish is very bad form. I don't think the Chang dish was an exact replica at Journeyman, but it certainly leaned very heavily, possibly too much on the original. (And First really should have known better than to frame her comment the way she did.) Crediting another chef is fine with me, but the issue then becomes "why am I paying $100 for a knockoff dinner from a less notable chef?" Journeyman doing things like that, at their price point, is something that really rubs me wrong. Knockoffs at a fraction of the price just sit better (same goes for fashion knockoffs).

                                                I think the main problem with Cushman (O Ya) was that he was working at restaurants with the specific intention of stealing ideas. I'm not sure that he's been copying major components of dishes but rather just taking bits and pieces. It was his less than forthright reasons for wanting to work at various restaurants that was the issue, and I think the restaurants were rightly pissed. They trained him as an investment in a worker and he just took off without offering any return on that investment.

                                                1. re: DoubleMan
                                                  Bob Dobalina Feb 25, 2011 11:52 AM

                                                  Not to dredge that up again, but I think he was pumping them for information - http://bostonist.com/2008/10/16/did_o...

                                    2. re: Bob Dobalina
                                      d
                                      dankshwhat Feb 24, 2011 05:41 PM

                                      Not that I'm not looking for something relatively romantic, but it's honestly more of a celebration deal...so I actually am looking for something out of the ordinary and maybe even a tiny bit flashy haha.

                                      My girlfriend and i run a food blog together (edibleadventures.tumblr.com) and we've just always really wanted to do a tasting menu kind of deal. Awesome, suggestions though. everyone's been such a huge help.

                                    3. re: bostondiner
                                      danfromboston Mar 8, 2011 02:31 PM

                                      I have to say that Grotto is a wonderful initmate space - very nice food, well priced, excellent service. Bob Dobalina wrote about 'Tarps (Santarpio's to all of you NOT from Eastie) - great pizza and Eastie has the BEST views of the city - so if you come here pop the question at Piers Park (an easy water taxi ride from the Seaport Hotel (board by the World Trade Center). It actually drops you off at the Hyatt Harborside Hotel at Logan and the hotel has the same terrific views of the city - you could do it on the boat half way across the harbor). Now that you are in Eastie dinner at Rino's (www.rinosplace.com) is the way to go (on your way back to the hotel hit 'Tarps for a pie to go). Rino's serves beer and wine only - so if that is an issue... They also do not take reservations - but if you call ahead they do make exceptions for special occasions - ask for Zane - he is always very helpful. If you come to Eastie for the best view of the city and need a full bar Ecco on Porter Street is fantastic!

                                      -----
                                      Ecco
                                      107 Porter St, Boston, MA 02128

                                    4. a
                                      AdamGL Feb 24, 2011 03:47 PM

                                      I'm seeing a place in my mind but drawing a blank on the name of it. It was located near City Hall but looked out to the waterfront. A three tier restaurant with a wall of windows that look out to the water. Bay Tower Room....I think that was the name. It's now a private club but it has ties to many of the local colleges. It's a magical place. Someone help me out with the details... You should work at finding a way to get into here.

                                      -----
                                      City Hall Cafe
                                      695 Main St, Fitchburg, MA 01420

                                      3 Replies
                                      1. re: AdamGL
                                        c
                                        CookieLee Feb 24, 2011 06:56 PM

                                        Ah, the Bay Tower Room. I have some great memories of that place. Back in the early 80's, it was a public space in the afternoon and early evening, I think. I spent a few late afternoons there, when school was dismissed early for snow, drinking wine, watching the snow fall.

                                        1. re: AdamGL
                                          d
                                          dankshwhat Feb 26, 2011 12:43 PM

                                          I'm having trouble finding any information online about this place...sounds interesting. Anybody else know where I can find out more about it?

                                          1. re: dankshwhat
                                            BostonZest Feb 26, 2011 02:13 PM

                                            It is a private room now.- called the State Room.

                                            No longer open to the public. But here's the link.

                                            http://www.stateroom.com/

                                            Penny
                                            http://www.bostonzest.com/

                                        2. barleywino Feb 25, 2011 02:46 AM

                                          scroll down this post http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/641842 for a (summer 2009) example of the 9 course at Clio. the 14 course will give more exotic/ creative items. recommend requesting a corner banquette.

                                          7 Replies
                                          1. re: barleywino
                                            d
                                            dankshwhat Feb 25, 2011 05:38 AM

                                            i've read that already. it sounds awesome.

                                            a few more questions:
                                            i like the idea of getting a menu to take home of everything you had tasted during dinner...do either clio or craigie do that? not saying that would sway my decision at all, just wondering.

                                            also, does bondir do a tasting? i'm honestly not so sure about that place. i know that their cuisine is extremely seasonal, but it seems like everything is super heavy on their current menu. i know it will definitely change by march, but considering it will probably still be pretty cold out, i wouldn't want to be bogged down with a bunch of heavy dishes.

                                            1. re: dankshwhat
                                              barleywino Feb 25, 2011 09:53 AM

                                              clio will give you a take home menu, just ask during your meal. they might even give you a peek into their kitchen if you ask nicely :). start with their house smoked cocktail or a taste of their house swedish punsch

                                              1. re: barleywino
                                                r
                                                robwat36 Feb 25, 2011 11:45 AM

                                                That smoking-cinnamon cocktail is one of the best I've ever tasted. I really can't say enough about that bar. I know the OP doesn't drink much, but if you do end up at Clio you have to get at least one cocktail.

                                                1. re: robwat36
                                                  d
                                                  dankshwhat Feb 25, 2011 12:47 PM

                                                  Yes, we'd probably end up having a cocktail or two. The girlfriend will probably want some sort of white wine.

                                                  Smoking cinnamon cocktail? I am quite intrigued...

                                                  1. re: dankshwhat
                                                    r
                                                    robwat36 Feb 25, 2011 01:15 PM

                                                    http://www.imbibemagazine.com/Smoking...

                                                    1. re: dankshwhat
                                                      barleywino Mar 2, 2011 02:59 AM

                                                      try also his Todd Collins w/ benedictine infused cucumber, and his drink made with black lime /mango tea

                                                2. re: dankshwhat
                                                  Small Plates Feb 25, 2011 11:59 AM

                                                  Oh my goodness - the food is anything BUT heavy. His preparations are almost ethereal. I have reviewed this resto in a few other places on this board and in each I marvel at the lightness Chef Bond imparts to dishes that include ingredients such as chestnuts, and pumpkin, and wagyu brisket, and carmelized shallots, and burrata. Besides, you can order a half portion of every dish on the menu. It is delightful. I have no horse in this game except to say that Bondir's arrival on the culinary scene (particularly so close to my office and my home) has brightened an otherwise desperate winter. My five meals here since January 1st have been the culinary highlights of the season. You will hear resounding agreement from my dining companions, among them members of La Chaine de Rotisseurs.

                                                  -----
                                                  Bondir
                                                  279 Broadway, Cambridge, MA 02139

                                              2. d
                                                dankshwhat Feb 26, 2011 02:10 PM

                                                i've definitely narrowed the dinner down to either clio or craigie on main at this point. i'm really happy that both of those places have a good bar. i'm very interested in cocktailian bartending and creative cocktails. any thoughts on which restaurant has better cocktails?

                                                also, i'm still open to more suggestions for proposal spots. the aquarium and gardner museum courtyard sound really nice (thanks Eatin in Woostah!) and so does behind the courthouse (thanks bostondiner!).

                                                you guys are seriously making this process super easy and fun.

                                                6 Replies
                                                1. re: dankshwhat
                                                  d
                                                  DoubleMan Feb 26, 2011 02:49 PM

                                                  Both are strong on drinks, but I'd give the edge to Craigie. It's more of a focused program at Craigie than it is at Clio (though Todd Maul is very talented).

                                                  Re: proposal spot - you can't go into the Gardner courtyard itself, but you can sit or stand around it in the cloister area - still a stunningly beautiful spot. And around here there's basically a 50% chance of terrible weather on any given day, so an indoor option like the Gardner may be a good idea.

                                                  1. re: DoubleMan
                                                    d
                                                    dankshwhat Feb 26, 2011 03:17 PM

                                                    aww...boo to not being able to go into the courtyard.

                                                    1. re: dankshwhat
                                                      m
                                                      manofgor Feb 26, 2011 04:48 PM

                                                      So for the past 6 or 7 years my wife and I and a small group of stalwarts have hit a chef's tasting per annum on my b'day. And I know everyone loves Clio (even some of the aforementioned stalwarts) but I just wasn't blown away by it. Plus, I think the most recent time we went the ENTIRE dining room was doing the tasting, so it kind of lost its appeal for some reason. This past January we returned to Radius--which I don't think anyone has mentioned--and it was one of the five best meals/dining experiences I have ever had. Also, the chef's tasting we did at No. 9 Park was truly amazing. But that night I think we had 9 people along for the ride so it's hard to parse the food from the fun, if that makes sense. Of course, you mentioned budget issues and since I never pay for myself I don't pay much attention. Pretty cheeky, I know. ... Oh, shoot! I almost forgot to second the recommendation for Scampo in the Liberty Hotel! The space is super cool and the food is very good. Pray for a decent afternoon/evening and propose in the Public Garden and then your feet won't touch the ground as you glide down Charles Street past the very corner where they "made way for [those] ducklings" back in 1940 or so. (Our post-engagement dinner back in '96 was at a place called Anson's in Charleston, SC, but, well, that ain't gonna be real logistically possible for ya!)

                                                      1. re: dankshwhat
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                                                        southie_chick Feb 27, 2011 08:25 AM

                                                        If you're thinking of Craigie, why not look into Salts? Haven't heard much on the board lately about it, buth they do a duck for two that is supposed to be very good. It's just down the street from Craigie too.
                                                        As for the Gardner courtyard, maybe if you give them a call they might "bend the rules" a bit & give you 5 minutes in the courtyard? It's worth a try. Or, maybe try the bar at the Rowes Wharf Hotel - it overlooks Boston Harbor & would be a nice place to propose (& have a celebratory drink afterward).

                                                        1. re: southie_chick
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                                                          dankshwhat Feb 27, 2011 09:29 AM

                                                          i did look into salts, actually. their tasting menu only being 5 courses seemed a little small to me.

                                                          1. re: dankshwhat
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                                                            kimfair1 Feb 28, 2011 04:25 AM

                                                            Go to Craigie. I also like it better than Clio (and Salts, though both of those are very good), and they have a much better cocktail program than either. Try their signature cocktail, the Northern Lights. If you get the tasting, Chef Maws will deliver the final savory course personally. I like sitting on the bar side (and you can request this when making a reservation) or at the stools that look into the open kitchen (also requestable). Make your reservation through OpenTable, much easier than calling. have a great meal and congrats!

                                                  2. d
                                                    dankshwhat Mar 2, 2011 06:19 AM

                                                    alright everyone! so i made the reservation for dinner today, at Clio. not that my girlfriend wouldn't enjoy craigie on main, i just think clio is probably more her style. maybe if/when we visit boston again, we'll go to craigie.

                                                    i still think i'm going to propose in the aquarium. i'd love to do the seal training thing, but that's only available from 9am-11am, and we would probably only be getting in to boston at 11. but, i'm going to call the aquarium and try to talk to someone to see if there's anything special we can do.

                                                    i'm excited!

                                                    11 Replies
                                                    1. re: dankshwhat
                                                      Bob Dobalina Mar 2, 2011 07:39 AM

                                                      Wonder if you could have them place the ring in a giant tank and you could - without a word to the fiancee - don scuba gear, dive down to get the ring and pantomime asking her to marry you through the glass!

                                                      1. re: Bob Dobalina
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                                                        manofgor Mar 2, 2011 07:47 AM

                                                        No! Don't do it! ... I knew someone was going to offer this idea up so I set to digging this article up that I had remembered: http://www.boston.com/news/local/brea...

                                                        1. re: manofgor
                                                          threedogs Mar 2, 2011 07:53 AM

                                                          That was exactly what I imagined when I first read this, then was relieved to see that they didn't have the *actual* ring in the water. Whew!

                                                          1. re: manofgor
                                                            justbeingpolite Mar 2, 2011 07:53 AM

                                                            Instead, hold the ring, and arrange to have one of the tank divers meet you at a certain window, and hold up a sign saying "will you marry him?". They'll do that.

                                                            1. re: justbeingpolite
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                                                              dankshwhat Mar 2, 2011 08:37 AM

                                                              gahh that sounds like such a cool idea!! i will definitely ask about that.

                                                          2. re: Bob Dobalina
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                                                            dankshwhat Mar 2, 2011 08:38 AM

                                                            haha that's awesome...but i have NO idea how to use scuba gear.

                                                          3. re: dankshwhat
                                                            Eatin in Woostah Mar 5, 2011 06:25 PM

                                                            Ooooh, I'm so excited for you both! Please report back afterward!!

                                                            1. re: Eatin in Woostah
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                                                              adiosoven Mar 8, 2011 07:03 AM

                                                              what did you decide on? I'm excited for you, too!

                                                              1. re: adiosoven
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                                                                dankshwhat Mar 8, 2011 02:03 PM

                                                                definitely the tasting at clio and proposing in the aquarium. i've still got to call the aquarium and see if they can help me set that up. if they can't, i'll just find the nicest spot in the place and get down on a knee lol.

                                                                1. re: dankshwhat
                                                                  Eatin in Woostah Mar 9, 2011 04:14 PM

                                                                  Two fave spots in the Aquarium - the Sea Dragon tank (wow, those are some beautiful, magical creatures), and the first window at the bottom of the center tank, which is sort of tucked in a corner.

                                                                  1. re: Eatin in Woostah
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                                                                    dankshwhat Mar 10, 2011 06:50 AM

                                                                    hmm....i like tucked in a corner. sounds nice.

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                                                            dankshwhat Mar 31, 2011 08:06 AM

                                                            SHE SAID YES! best night of my life. and clio was absolutely incredible as well. thank you to everyone for your suggestions, they were so so helpful.

                                                            we ended up going to the aquarium, but there were sooo many little kids. i decided it wasn't the best place to propose, so we ended up going to flour bakery and walking to fan pier park. we sat on a bench near the water and i did it there. she was so excited, she was crying and couldn't even speak.

                                                            i'm going to write up a list of the courses a little later, but for today i'm just going to enjoy boston.

                                                            13 Replies
                                                            1. re: dankshwhat
                                                              MC Slim JB Mar 31, 2011 08:08 AM

                                                              Congratulations on your engagement and finding a good place to celebrate it! Hope you got a cocktail at Clio's bar.

                                                              http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

                                                              1. re: MC Slim JB
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                                                                dankshwhat Apr 1, 2011 11:49 AM

                                                                i did get a cocktail; the 370 comm ave...an awesome gin cocktail. it was very tasty and REALLY strong. i was a little tipsy after one, and probably would have been bombed after two haha. the waiter cautioned that the drink really sneaks up on you, and he wasn't kidding.

                                                                1. re: dankshwhat
                                                                  barleywino Apr 1, 2011 12:03 PM

                                                                  what did you eat?

                                                                  1. re: barleywino
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                                                                    dankshwhat Apr 1, 2011 03:50 PM

                                                                    a lot of food. i honestly can't even remember what was in each dish...there were 14 courses. they are supposed to email me a list of courses. i plan on posting the list here when i get it.

                                                              2. re: dankshwhat
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                                                                bear Mar 31, 2011 09:13 AM

                                                                Thanks for reporting, and congrats! Really fun thread.

                                                                1. re: bear
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                                                                  teezeetoo Mar 31, 2011 02:38 PM

                                                                  Love your enthusiasm and hope it's the first big night of lots of great ones. thanks for letting us know.

                                                                2. re: dankshwhat
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                                                                  pasuga Mar 31, 2011 04:10 PM

                                                                  Congratulations! I've been lurking on this thread and really enjoying it, loved all the thought you put into the proposal and glad it all worked.

                                                                  1. re: dankshwhat
                                                                    Eatin in Woostah Mar 31, 2011 04:38 PM

                                                                    Woohoo!!! Congratulations! That sounds wonderful, and I'm so glad Clio was as great as you had hoped. Looking forward to the food report, too!

                                                                    1. re: dankshwhat
                                                                      danfromboston Mar 31, 2011 04:41 PM

                                                                      Mazel Tov! Clio has wonderful staff at every turn - not to mention the fantastic food and room.

                                                                      1. re: danfromboston
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                                                                        dankshwhat Apr 1, 2011 11:50 AM

                                                                        their staff really was on point. best dining experience i've ever had. everyone was so genuinely nice and knowledgeable.

                                                                      2. re: dankshwhat
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                                                                        Northender Mar 31, 2011 05:48 PM

                                                                        Congratulations. The most important item was the YES! The food report about Clio should be the frosting on the cake. Thanks for sharing your most specialday/night!

                                                                        1. re: dankshwhat
                                                                          threedogs Mar 31, 2011 06:04 PM

                                                                          Oh, that's wonderful!! Thanks so much for sharing - so many people ask for suggestions and often we never hear what happened. And this - this is so very special - I'm happy for you both. :D

                                                                          Didn't get a chance to tell you that I love your blog, too, btw.

                                                                          Congratulations!

                                                                          1. re: threedogs
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                                                                            dankshwhat Apr 1, 2011 11:51 AM

                                                                            thanks! i'm glad you took the time to read it.

                                                                        2. StephanieBostic Sep 16, 2011 08:36 AM

                                                                          10 Tables in JP is fantastic, very intimate, and would leave you more leeway in the budget. You would need a reservation, most likely. I haven't been to the Cambridge one. Oleanna is also delicious and a little more off the beaten path.

                                                                          3 Replies
                                                                          1. re: StephanieBostic
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                                                                            total13 Sep 16, 2011 11:34 AM

                                                                            Seriously? You're giving a suggestion 7 months after the fact when he reported back and the question's been asked and answered?

                                                                            1. re: total13
                                                                              justbeingpolite Sep 16, 2011 11:47 AM

                                                                              And ......time!! Whoever had two hours fifty eight minutes is the winner!

                                                                              1. re: justbeingpolite
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                                                                                dankshwhat Sep 16, 2011 12:06 PM

                                                                                i've been getting emails everytime somebody posts on here....quietly waiting in the corner for somebody to say something.

                                                                                yes. we already got engaged. READ, PEOPLE. lolz.

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