Iiiiiits restaurant week (http://www.restaurantweekboston.com/)
I'm super pumped as this is my first restaurant week in Boston, but I have absolutely no idea where to go. I can probably manage 2 dinners and since the price is fixed, I was hoping for something nice and yummy that I otherwise wouldn't splurge for. I'm a college foodie so great food at a reasonable price is simply impossible to turn down.
Any recommendations? (I'm willing to go anywhere so long as it's within 15minutes of a Tstop, I don't have a car...)
My plan is to stay out of restaurants for the week. I gave up on restaurant week about 5 years ago when the menus became less and less like the regular menus for a given place.
We will probably compile a list of the places not taking part in the event and stick to those. I hope the gang here can recommend a few places where you will actually get a taste of the menu that place has all year long.
I understand that Grotto in Beacon Hill is one place that offers its real menu.
37 Bowdoin Street, Boston, MA 02114
I've softened a bit on Restaurant Week, though my inner Scrooge still mostly says "Bah!" You'll have to pick your spots; most RW experiences will be so-so, not really the bargain they appear. Given the past year's spike in food costs, it will be an even bigger challenge for many chefs to do something that will make you want to return to pay full price.
As a rule, if the place normally charges a lot more than $33/head before dessert, don't expect miracles, or food closely resembling the full-price experience. The way to do L'Espalier for shorter money is lunch, not RW. In past years, one exception to this has been luxury steakhouses; if you go in for that sort of thing, many offer a good deal during RW.
I will take most of my restaurant meals for those two weeks in places that aren't participating, but everybody suffers an August lull, even in a non-sucking economy, so anyone you give some business ought to be appreciative. Buy good wine, tip large, be one of the nice customers.
I expect other Hounds will have specific venue recs. One place I've been to a couple years on a row for RW is Estragon, which stays true to its tapas concept, limits its menu a bit, but still delivers an excellent bargain-priced snapshot of what it usually does. That's what you hope for during RW, but often don't get.
re: MC Slim JB
Toro follows the Estragon model as well - majority of the menu available:
For RW, table of 2 gets 2 pinchos, 5 tapas and 2 deserts.
Some dishes normally considered pinchos were 'upgraded' to tapas on the menu, so depending on how you order, overall you might save a few buck off the regular menu pricing. Wasn't thinking this way when I was there, so I just looked at the menu - doing the math, 2 RW covers basically amounted to what we ordered anyway, and we ended up essentially getting free desert (2 slices of manchego and 1 small churro).
Clearly saving $10 on 2 small desert plates is not motivation to go to Toro - it was really good (but really loud) on Tuesday night.
1704 Washington St, Boston, MA 02118
being a college student, you're probably not as jaded as some of the rest of us olds posting on here, lol.
i tend to shy away from eating dinner out during this period as well, because the restaurants are packed and the staff is harried, from line-cooks to managers.
as mcslim pointed out, realize that places that normally top $100 pp check averages are generally not giving you that same experience for $30. there will not be lobster and foie gras on the prix-fixe. steakhouses indeed are good bets, most are offering filet mignon as an option for rw and just the a la carte steak would be close to $40. you get an app, a side and dessert too.
pick a posh place you've always wanted to try and just go. try to reserve early or later in the evening, rather than prime-time. realize too that your server's check average plummets during this period and try to tip on what dinner should have cost, not what it did.
if that's more than your budget allows, perhaps try rw lunch, which many places offer for $20ish.
I haven't gone this year but last year quite enjoyed Market. My friends insist that this is a great time to go to the steak houses: Ruth Chris's generous rw menu has particularly pleased them. I have had poor experiences at Rialto (bad enough so that I stopped giving them my business as a futile but personal protest at the arrogance of serving bad food to people presumed to be unworthy customers).
I assume you mean Market by J-G, not the Financial District place called Market. I wasn't wowed by the place at the W, thought it was okay but expensive for what it was (typical hotel restaurant premium), wondering how it will change now that they've poached the exec chef from Myers and Chang.
I have had very good RW experiences at Market (going again this year), as well as Avila and Grotto (though Grotto's regular menu isn't much higher during non-RW so I don't generally go there during RW). We are also trying Estragon (for the first time), and Bergamot for RW this year, as the wife has a AMEX special where you get a $25 AMEX gift card if you do three RW meals.
I, on the other hand, had an absolutely abysmal RW meal at Grotto, enough so that I really should have added that to the Bum Steers thread. I don't know which was worse, the food or the service. To top things off, my DC and I were roundly chastised on this board for having expected a decent meal during RW, and for having gone to Grotto when the regular 3-course special was only a couple of dollars more than the RW deal. All in all an experience that left me embittered both with RW and with Grotto.
(That said, during the same RW we had a perfectly lovely meal at Beacon Hill Bistro.)
While I do find much of Grotto's food to be rich and heavy, I would hardly call it weird. To each his own though on taste. I've dined at Grotto with multiple companions and all my DC's have equally enjoyed their meals. Service has always been acceptable, even if not superb. And their regular menu offers a prix fixe on non-RW nights for $34, so I'm hard pressed to find any faults with their price point.