Looking for a Restaurant with Way Too Many Caveats... and oh yeah, for Tomorrow
So, I lurk much more than I post, but I have an impossible problem that maybe someone on here could help me solve.
My mom and my grandparents are coming from the South Shore to Waltham tomorrow (I know, late notice!), and they want to take my boyfriend and me out to dinner to celebrate me getting my Master's. I will eat basically anything as long as it isn't from a mammal or waterfowl, so I'm generally happy eating anywhere as long as it isn't bad food or a steakhouse (since everything smells like meat.)
However, my family is a different matter altogether-- we're eating lunch at 2, which means that a lot of places in the area are either closed or have started serving dinner already, and my grandparents have a fairly old-fashioned idea of "expensive," meaning that I will feel incredibly guilty suggesting anywhere where a majority of the entrees aren't less than $13. So my options are already fairly limited right there.
More problematically, no one other than Boyfriend and I like Indian, Mexican, Middle Eastern or basically any other so-called "ethnic" food, and we can't really do Thai or Vietnamese because Boyfriend has peanut and tree nut allergies. There goes 90% the food in Waltham and the surrounding towns. Furthermore, my grandparents don't really think they like Chinese/Japanese/Asian fusion-y food (although every time we've ever gone out for that kind of food they've found something they've liked; regardless, I feel like a jerk suggesting those kind of places). I also don't want to do somewhere too dive-y (say, Sabatino's or an "Italian" or pizza place like that), since I'm certain my grandparents will be nicely dressed even if I tell them we're not going anywhere fancy.
Basically, we are down to zero choices considering the time, price range and cuisines. I know technically the lunch is for me, but I can eat anywhere and just want my family to be comfortable and happy. I suggested Flatbread in Burlington, since everyone likes pizza and it's upscale enough that one wouldn't feel out of place not in jeans, but my mom thinks it might be too far to drive since they're already coming from around the Plymouth area. (I also offered to drive, but apparently 22 is still not trustworthy driving age despite the fact that I have an absolutely spotless driving record and have been driving in Waltham for 5 years. Frankly, I don't think they'll let me drive them when I'm 30.) So that also leaves out anywhere too far northwise or westwise, as well as towns that are "Boston-y" (parts of Arlington, Lexington, etc), because while I am perfectly comfortable driving there, they are not.
So, with this ridiculous set of rules, does anyone have any suggestions? I've run through every place I could think of, but I'm out of options. Part of me just wants to say "hey, why don't I cook for everyone!" but (a) my cooking tends more towards the food they don't much like anyway, and (b) I'm also currently recovering from something cold-ish and I'm a bit worried about making everyone sick.
Am I just SOL? Should I just call it a day and take everyone to Bertucci's?
re: three of us
This is too late for the OP, but to answer three of us' question, the senior citizens in Waltham eat at Grassfield's or the Chateau. I might have suggested Grassfield's if I'd seen this post earlier. I believe it's owned by the folks who own Jimmy's in Arlington and the menu is virtually identical.
Is West Roxbury too far/urban? If not, West on Centre might work.
West on Centre
1732 Centre St., West Roxbury, MA 02132
OK, I think this will fit your family - what about Not Your Average Joe's in Watertown? I love that place - so far, each time I've gone, I've been very happy with the food. It's right on Main St. (a very short drive from Waltham), & there's parking in the back. Take a look at their menu on the website & see what you think - once more, the place is nice enough for the older folks to dress up, but not stuff-old either. They have always been super nice & I bet they wouldn't mind adjusting some ingredients in dishes - make sure you warn them about your boyfriend's allergies, of course. Prices all seem to be in the range you're looking for, and they are open all day tomorrow - 11:30am to 11pm.
I've hesitated mentioning this place before - I have violated my own hatred for chain restaurants, haha!! But no matter, I have love for THIS one - I mean, they are super nice w/out being annoying, I haven't had a meal I didn't love, at least so far (my fav is the Vietnamese Salmon), and hey, they give out free birthday meals - and let two of us use ours at the same meal, no complaints. What's not to love? (btw, if anyone wants to get their free b-day meal, just sign up for their email newsletter).
Your grandparents are lucky to have such a considerate grandchild. I have to agree, though, that Bertucci's seems your best option. The good news is that they have a new arugula salad that even a chowhound could love. It really is excellent. Ask for extra balsamic syrup if you order it. And that chocolate-hazelnut crostata is quite good, although that wouldn't be safe for your boyfriend.