A rare night out with the wife
Have arranged for a sitter on saturday night (St. Patricks Day.....just a coincidence though, we want to have a nice dinner, not a rowdy night out) and am looking for a really great meal that won't destroy my wallet. I am looking for something casual, but quality. I am leaning towards that Oyster bar place in Kenmore (who's name escapes me ...Island Creek?) or something along those lines.....any suggestions? The last time we went out for dinner we went to Ken Oringer's taco place....and it was a dissapointment, but the price was right, to give you an idea about our anticipated budget.
I fear Island Creek is going to be too expensive if the taco place is your benchmark.
Part of me wants to suggest going to Rincon Limeno - awesome ceviche, fried seafood - and far easier on your wallet than Island Creek. Plus, the percentage of St. Patrick's day "revelers" will be lower there.
It's a pretty casual place though, so may not be what you are looking for.
Anyway, keep it as a back-up, in case the in-town places are already booked.
Woo hoo-you and the wife deserve a night out! (This is your neighbor, Natalie, by the way...) Let me suggest EVOO (you pick 3 courses from the regular menu for $42, with wine pairings for an added $18 if that doesn't blow your budget. My sister and I went a few weeks ago and had a great time. I highly recommend the lobster bisque if it's still on the menu), Abigail's in Kendall Square (smoked lamb sandwich is incredible and $13), and/or The Salty Pig in Back Bay (what's not to love about charcuterie?! The prices are a tad expensive for the portion sizes--particularly the cheese selections--but the pizzas were a better deal and offered some good combinations. The pepperoni was amazing.). I haven't been back in a while, but Rendezvous in Central Square is one of my favorites for a low-key but nice night out. Aside from the good food, all of these places have a nice atmosphere-lively (Salty Pig is the loudest of the bunch but I didn't feel like I had to scream to be heard), not stuffy, and good service. Wherever you end up going, enjoy!!
Call ICOB and ask if they have seats at the back bar. Unless you have to have a lobster dish the cost isn't prohibitive IMHO.
Island Creek is awesome but can add up. I love date night at Bergamot - and the daily prix fixe is $39 and always interesting / tasty - really nice wines by the glass are available and the cocktails are top notch along with always-great service. I liked sitting at the bar at Salty Pig and it smelled great but it's awfully casual for a night out IMHO.
If you don't mind the potentially long wait and the crush of waiting at the bar, Toro can be affordable, truly delicious and fun as well.