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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.

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  1. 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.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Bob Dobalina

      I'd 2nd Rincon Limeno, great menu and I can't see any St. Patty's celebrations happening there.

    2. 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!!

      1 Reply
      1. re: njpm

        Thanks Natalie! Salty Pig has peaked my interest for awhile, as you know I have dabbled in pastrami making and other charcuterie....don't know if the wife is down with that though....I'll try running that one up the flagpole and see if it flaps

      2. We just had a very nice dinner at the Russell House Tavern. We split the leaf salad, and the cowboy steak. We find it's enough for the 2 of us, and we were too full for dessert. W/O drinks, the bill came to $44.

        4 Replies
        1. re: CookieLee

          I liked the food at RHT, but was essentially sat in a lounge area, despite having made reservations a month in advance. I do not appreciate having Friday night happy hour bar people within 6" of my table.

          1. re: KevinJF

            Did you ask for another table? We got offered a table upstairs, and opted to wait for one downstairs. In fact the hostess gave us the option before my dc and I even spoke.

            1. re: CookieLee

              I did. There was an open table for four, which I specifically requested after being sat in lounge area by the bar, but was told that it was reserved for another party with a reservation.

              1. re: KevinJF

                That's too bad, especially since you had a res yrself.

        2. 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.

          1. 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.

            1. How about Grotto? Really solid Italian food in a cozy Beacon Hill space. They do what essentially amounts to the RW menu all year - 3 course prix fixe for $33.

              5 Replies
              1. re: mkfisher

                Grotto is a good idea, and right about what I'm talking about, but I have been there for lunch, and while very good, I was also hoping to try someplace I haven't been to yet (we have some nice places in Rozzie that would easily fit the bill, but want to branch out a bit....hence our past La Verdad flop), and I've had some work lunches (special occasions mind you, it's not like that) there so there's that.

                1. re: devilham

                  Some more ideas since Grotto doesn't work:
                  - Rendezvous (mentioned above)
                  - Sticking in the Kendall area, how about Atasca? It doesn't get much love around here, but I really enjoy it. It's Portugese. The portion sizes verge on comically large, so you can get away with sharing an entree to keep the cost down.

                  1. re: devilham

                    Devilham-have you tried Strip T's? So great--super casual, but we've had a couple of great dates there and the food is so spectacular. Perfect for sharing. sigh. I want to go there now.

                    Get a cocktail ahead elsewhere--or have one at home ;)

                    1. re: SeaSide Tomato

                      We went to Strip Ts last Fri night and I highly recommend. You can make a reservation tho' at this point they are likely mostly booked....go for an early dinner tho and I bet you can get in. Really really good.

                      I also love Russell House Tavern, we've always had great food and service and it's fun to be right in Harvard Sq to walk around afterwards...

                      1. re: twentyoystahs

                        We went last night too! Awesome meal. Shared the oxtail ap, cesar salad, pulled pork /turnip cake special and crispy cauliflower ap. All bursting w flavor. Friendly service and good coffee to boot. Can't wait to go back.

                2. lot's of good ideas here. btw, does your wife know that you refer to her as "the"? It's really not a term of endearment, loving. Unless she thinks it's cute. Which would be ashame as it is often interpreted as quite derogatory.

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: Bellachefa

                    Not meant to be derogatory of course......more of me being a bit snarky, and my wife knows my sense of humor Bellachefa, I think of it like saying 'the little woman' in a sarcastic manner (at least that's how it sounds in my head), so I can see where you would interpret it as such (as it's VERY difficult to be subtly snarkey and sarcastic via text) it is not the case.....we've been happily married for 18 years, and together longer than that, so don't worry about us! Lol

                    1. re: devilham

                      LOL, if my dearly beloved referred to me as "the wife" after 20 years, sadly the frying pan would come out. It is great being double digit married, when you just shrug and smirk and KNOW. I agree with many of the places suggested.

                      1. re: Bellachefa

                        Since I do the bulk of the cooking, she'd be shooting herself in the foot ruining a perfectly good frying pan on my rockhead!

                  2. So we have made reservations for Taberno De Haro, which apparently I have eaten at before like 8 or 10 years ago, but have no recolection of it, any can't miss dishes? Did we make the right choice? I thought it looked to be the right price point and a good vibe to it (then again, I didn't remember it from back in the day ...my wife told me we ate there before....so is it a bad choice?)

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: devilham

                      Since NO ONE HELPED I had to go in blind....here's a review!!!

                      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/839752

                      Just kidding by the way, thanks all for the help!