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40th Birthday Dilemma

My husband is turning 40 in two weeks and after months of discussion, he has finally given me an idea of how he'd like to celebrate.
He decided that he wanted a nice dinner in a nice restaurant and have some good steak.
He wants all the close family to come, which is about 16 people. The dilemma I have is that in our group of family, not everyone can afford to splurge on a steak house type of experience. We can do the splurge but unfortunately we cannot afford to pay for other's meals. We've eaten at many steak houses/restaurants (No. 9 Park, Ruth Chris, Morton's, Palms etc) and sometimes I don't even think the cost is worth it anyway. Maybe with No 9 Park but that it is plus we don't really like large chain restaurants. We both know that we can't probably get it together to be celebrated near his actual birthday but he is okay with the dinner occurring sometime in the next month. So now I'm stuck trying to find a place that he can get a good steak but has relatively affordable options on the menu ($20s for entree's is okay) that are reasonable for the whole crowd.
I had a great rib-eye at the Eastern Standard once, so I was thinking of contacting them. I've also had some nice meals and private dining experiences at the Sel de la Terre on the waterfront but I'm at a loss after that. Any suggestions out there? A place that is a nice, feels special but isn't going to bankrupt our guests?

Thanks all
Trish

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No 9 Park
9 Park Street, Boston, MA 02108

Eastern Standard
528 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston, MA 02215

Sel de la Terre
774 Boylston St., Boston, MA 02199

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  1. Not sure about the price points, but I had the steak recently at T.W. Food - it was a really terrific cut and cooked to perfection - they have a $45 3-course prix fixe - but you can also lower your costs by ordering a la carte. Definitely not the typical steak house vibe. Maybe worth a call to the owner.

    Also check the Rendezvous review posted today...they have a steak on the menu...

    1. Well, personally I went to Hungry Mother for my 40th, but what about Brasserie Jo? Good steaks (best steak frites in the city), they have a private room that can accommodate a largeish party, and the entrees are mostly in the $15-25 range. Plus it's a lovely cozy room.

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      Hungry Mother
      Cambridge, MA, Cambridge, MA

      Brasserie Jo
      120 Huntington Avenue, Boston, MA 02116

      1 Reply
      1. re: Jenny Ondioline

        I second Brasserie Jo, the steak frites is very good, and they top it with a pad of compound butter that melts into your steak juice, and then gets soaked up by the fries........mmmmmmm, steakjuicebutterfries.......*drool*

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        Brasserie Jo
        120 Huntington Avenue, Boston, MA 02116

      2. I'd look at Marliave. They do a good steak frites and a really nice Wellington but also do pastas, pizzas, salads, etc that are less expensive. Classy without being stuffy.

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        Marliave
        10 Bosworth Street, Boston, MA 02108

        1. you have some good suggestions. i would add the steak frites w/ truffle vinaigrette at Aquitaine on Tremont St. Loooove it; consistently excellent and the truffle vinaigrette is the real thing- not just some truffle oil. I am a big fan of Aquitaine- handsome, comfortable, romantic room, top notch efficient professional and welcoming service, good portions, good bartending. some lovely salads too. a classy place for sure. I have also seen large parties there, seated on the banquette in the front of the room.

          1. Franks Steakhouse in Cambridge on Mass Ave between Porter Square and Route 16. I think this place would fit the bill. It's a classic steakhouse with reasonable prices (sub $20 steaks). I've only been once years ago, but this place can't be beat for price and quality. Why pay for the same steak at double the prices at some of the steakhouses you mentioned when Franks has got it for half the price. Check out their menu at: www.frankssteakhouse.com/menu_1.html

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            Frank's Steak House
            2310 Massachusetts Ave, Cambridge, MA 02140

            3 Replies
            1. re: alsaman

              Frank's is inexpensive, indeed, but "classic" is a good way to say "looks pretty much like it did in 1983". They're famous for 'the Sizzler' -- a steak brought out on a sizzling plate -- but it's definitely got that blue-hair piano-bar feel to it.

              1. re: Boston_Otter

                Actually they did a major renovation (of the outside at least, perhaps inside too but I haven't patronized it enough to know) several years ago. Even so, not changing the look isn't necessarily a bad thing. The decor isn't why I would go to a place like Franks and even so, the decor isn't awful. The time I went with a large group, we had a very good time. There is definitely an 'old school' feel to the place including the service, but this is part of its charm. Trishaluna, if you need to accommodate a lower price point, then it's going to be hard to find a 'nice' restaurant that is on par with No. 9 Park, Morton's etc. I think Franks is positioned well between Ponderosa Steakhouse type places and Ruths Chris type places.

                1. re: alsaman

                  I like Franks and appreciate the old school vibe. However I woulld be hard pressed to see how it would feel special as the OP requests. Are there any Ponderosas in the area? I thankfully haven't seen one in ages.

                  Gaslight is a pretty good suggestion, though it can get very loud in there and you might be challenged to hear 16 people. Though you might be the ones making it loud. I would opt for the bar steak there as well. Brasserie Jo might be another to consider.

            2. Tango, an Argentinian steakhouse in Arlington, is reasonable and feels very festive. I had the filet with gorgonzola during restaurant week last year and it was excellent.

              Not the classic American steakhouse experience, though.

              1 Reply
              1. re: bear

                +1 for Tango. Their filets and skirt steak entrees are delicious. They'll come out singing Happy Birthday if you want.

              2. Gaslight is good with groups, has parking and prices that won't bankrupt anyone. The "Bar steak" is our favorite steak there.

                1. from the spots you have mentioned trying and liking,and the specialness of the occasion, i think you would be disappointed by Tango.

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: opinionatedchef

                    Loves Eastern Standard, but would be disappointed by Tango? I respectfully disagree.

                    1. re: CookieLee

                      Both have good food (especially meats) but I do think that Eastern Standard has more of a "special occasion" feel to it, without moving up into the stratosphere pricewise. Tango's more of an above-average neighborhood place, a larger version of something like Cognac Bistro. On the down side though, Eastern Standard is also much louder and less suited to group conversation.

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                      Eastern Standard
                      528 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston, MA 02215

                      Cognac Bistro
                      455 Harvard St, Brookline, MA 02446

                      1. re: BobB

                        I am not a fan of ES's food so far.I am less a fan of Tango's (though they have, in my experience, the best carne empanadas in Boston, which are a regular take-out item for me)though i think that i simply find Argentinian food boring in general. The people at tango are as nice as can be . I agree with you about it as a neighborhood spot but not special occasion.

                        1. re: opinionatedchef

                          I used to be hooked on ES's Offal of the Day, which rarely let me down, and their beef entrees have always pleased as well. I still like the place but since Cognac Bistro opened a block from my house I've become a regular there, and ES has become literally a special occasion venue for me.

                          -----
                          Cognac Bistro
                          455 Harvard St, Brookline, MA 02446

                  2. Folks, we removed a number of posts from this thread debating whether hosting your friends was necessary or appropriate for a birthday party. That's off-topic for the Boston board (and better suited to the Not About Food board, where you'll find a number of similar discussion in the archives) as well as being a subject that gets people up in arms.

                    Unfortunately, that meant removing a couple of suggestions for places that the original poster might want to dine, so we hope people will repost those (please write to us at moderators@chowhound.com if you'd like a copy of your removed post for reference).

                    1. Hi, I had in an original post that got deleted the suggestion of Union Bar and Grille. We had an anniversary party there, and they were v. accommodating. I liked the ambiance.