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Need a suggestion for a formal business dinner. Hopefully with an interesting menu.

grandgourmand Jan 23, 2012 02:10 PM

Hi, I'm hosting a business dinner in Boston on a Monday night in February. It's going to be a pretty formal event, and we'll maybe even book a room (might by 6 people). Would appreciate if the Boston hounds could provide some suggestions that fit the formal requirement, but that also have some "interesting" menu options. Sorry if that's vague, but I'm trying to avoid places that are simply expensive and formal.


  1. p
    purple bot Jan 23, 2012 02:12 PM

    Maybe Sorellina? That might fit the bill.

    1. e
      emannths Jan 23, 2012 02:19 PM

      Hamersley's? I'm not exactly sure what you're looking for in "formal." The two drawbacks might be that the tables are a little close together, and that the open kitchen (and tight tables) make for a loud dining room. Here's a pretty good picture of the place: http://www.52restaurants52weeks.com/2...

      Hamersley's Bistro
      553 Tremont Street, Boston, MA 02116

      1 Reply
      1. re: emannths
        grandgourmand Jan 23, 2012 02:23 PM

        Sorry, by "formal", I mean people in suits talking business. Accordingly, budget is not really an issue.

      2. s
        ScotchandSirloin Jan 23, 2012 02:36 PM

        Can't beat Locke Ober for suits talking business. It has an interesting menu (for 1885). That being said, if the suits talking business want a place that is more with it but still really formal, I would go for L'Espailer or Menton. If they want someplace "cool" but still in Boston, I would go with O-ya (although hard to get 6 people), Clio (may still be closed for remodelling) or, at a somewhat lower price point, Mistral. Steak houses are always good for suits talking business, but not "interesting menus."

        1. MC Slim JB Jan 23, 2012 02:43 PM

          For business entertaining, I find that fancy Italian chophouses are useful: upscale Italian and steaks on one menu, a bit more interesting that the typical luxury chain steakhouse, but not so interesting that they freak out the one or more boring eaters that every business crowd seems to have. Prezza and Davio's Back Bay are two that fit this category. Davio's also has private rooms to suit many sizes of parties.


          3 Replies
          1. re: MC Slim JB
            ScotchandSirloin Jan 23, 2012 02:55 PM

            Second Prezza for whatever their chop special is that night (although they tend to run out).

            1. re: ScotchandSirloin
              teezeetoo Jan 23, 2012 04:43 PM

              I still love the food at L'Espalier and I believe they have a small private room as well. Perhaps not quite formal but upscale and interesting, would be Blue. I do like Prezza but find it noisy which might interfere with the "business" part of the dinner.

            2. re: MC Slim JB
              mkfisher Jan 24, 2012 06:41 AM

              I couldn't agree more on the Davio's suggestion. It's the perfect business dinner spot.

            3. opinionatedchef Jan 23, 2012 10:07 PM

              grgmt, if i read correctly, you are looking for 'interesting.'? If this means 'not your usual expensive Italian or expensive steak house', i would guide you to: erbaluce, deuxave, OYa, and Craigie on Main. All their menus are more adventurous and unique in foodstuffs, and are artisinal/owner-chef driven. But i do not know about availability of separate rooms (and I believe Craigie is not formal.)

              O Ya
              9 East Street, Boston, MA 02111

              Craigie on Main
              853 Main Street, Cambridge, MA 02139

              69 Church Street, Boston, MA 02116

              371 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston, MA 02115

              1 Reply
              1. re: opinionatedchef
                Petey McNichols Feb 10, 2012 09:46 AM

                I would second Craigie on Main. If you're looking to shake up the typical steakhouse business meeting this is a really cool spot. I would also agree with the Clio recos.

              2. p
                pemma Jan 24, 2012 05:30 AM

                May not be super-interesting, but Mamma Maria in the North End is good and they have small private rooms.

                1. grandgourmand Jan 24, 2012 06:15 AM

                  Hey all,

                  thanks for the recommendations.

                  I like the Locke Ober recommendation. I'd love to give it a whirl for the nostalgia factor. However...I've scanned websites and will do a bit more research on:



                  Clio (looks like the renos are done)

                  Personally, I'd love to go to Craigie on Main, but don't if it's suitable for this occasion.

                  Besides, it's in Cambridge, which is a bit of a hike (i.e I'll be at Mandarin hotel on Boylston).

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: grandgourmand
                    ScotchandSirloin Jan 24, 2012 06:19 AM

                    L'Espailer is connected to the Mandarin (although not associated with the hotel) for what it's worth. Saving a cab fare isn't very valuable for this kind of dinner, but being able to stumble back up to your room after a 3-4 hour meal may be.

                    1. re: ScotchandSirloin
                      grandgourmand Jan 24, 2012 06:29 AM

                      d-uh...i've stayed there 5-6 times and never even noticed it. I'll have to walk around the block after the meal, saying goodbyes, etc. so that no one knows I picked the most convenient location for me.

                  2. grandgourmand Feb 10, 2012 08:11 AM

                    Hi all,

                    My Boston trip is coming up (Monday night is the dinner). I've got some feedback from other people attending, and I've been told that Espalier, Menton and Clio are too fancy.

                    So...need to take it down a notch. I'm thinking along the lines of steak and seafood, because I think it's safe (and good). I normally go to Island Creek when I'm in Boston and love it...that might work. Anything else along those lines that anyone could suggest?

                    5 Replies
                    1. re: grandgourmand
                      BBHound Feb 10, 2012 08:16 AM

                      Slim's suggestion of Davio's is a good one and would fit your needs.

                      1. re: grandgourmand
                        mkfisher Feb 10, 2012 08:19 AM

                        I'd steer you back to Davio's. It's a perfect spot for a business dinner. Less fancy than the places you mentioned, but still a white tablecloth environment.

                        I would be very careful of Valentine's Day regardless of where you decide to go. I've seen a few places doing special menus from Saturday-Tuesday.

                        1. re: mkfisher
                          grandgourmand Feb 10, 2012 08:22 AM

                          Oh really? For Monday too? hadn't thought of that. Looking at the menu again, I think it might be the winner. Hopefully they have spots.

                          1. re: grandgourmand
                            meeps2002 Feb 10, 2012 08:24 AM

                            If you do go to Davio's make sure to get the steak & cheese egg rolls

                        2. re: grandgourmand
                          meeps2002 Feb 10, 2012 08:21 AM

                          Post 390 actually isn't too bad - we have a lot of work dinners their.

                        3. grandgourmand Mar 2, 2012 06:27 AM

                          Dear Boston Hounds,

                          sorry for the late response, but work's been hectic. Thanks for the wonderful recommendation. We ended up going to Davio's. Not to sound harsh, but this is not a restaurant I would go to on my own. However, to bridge the gap between "interesting menu options" and "satisfy less adventurous eaters", it was perfect. My clients (most who had never been there) were absolutely pleased with their meals, the service was excellent and portions were ample.

                          My meal was the tuna tartare. It was ok. good fish, but I didn't care for the texture (seemd more like a paste than chunks) and the 16oz ribeye. It was a really good steak, what else can be said.

                          Can't wait until next time on my own when I can go back to Island Creek or check out Craigie on Main.

                          thanks for all the recommendations.

                          3 Replies
                          1. re: grandgourmand
                            teezeetoo Mar 2, 2012 07:52 AM

                            thanks for letting us know what worked for you. Do come back and try the more adventurous options.

                            1. re: teezeetoo
                              grandgourmand Mar 2, 2012 02:13 PM

                              I had one of the philly cheesesteak spring rolls too. It was pretty good. Three of the people at my table ordered the spring roll combo platter (geeze, sounds like a food court item). They thought it was great.

                              I regret not ordering the chicken livers off the Davio's classics menu.

                              1. re: grandgourmand
                                barleywino Mar 2, 2012 05:44 PM

                                Try Troquet for the Nantucket bay scallops w/ uni and pasta in chili broth, the lobster lasagnette w/ spring pea foam, or the "liquid" polenta filled raviolini w/ shortrib.

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