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May 8, 2012 07:26 AM

Small Plate dinner for Memorial Day Weekend

We will be entertaining a couple guests Memorial Day Weekend and I am trying to figure out where to take them to dinner either Friday night or Saturday. Usually we take them to somewhere unique and not easily attainable in Northern NJ. So I one of the suggestions that I want to offer is small plates/tapas. Is there any restaurant out of this bunch that I should avoid? Is there any place that I'm forgetting about? We prefer to stay on this side of river unless there is easy parking. And under $50 a person (not including drinks). My ideas: Kika in Kendall , Moska (?) in Central. Dali in Somerville, and East by Northeast in Inman. Places I've excluded: Oleana, Cuchi Cuchi, and Myers + Chang.


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  1. Kika is great. I work across the street and have been for lunch a dozen times. The plates are slightly pricey ($5-10ish) but the upside is they are hardly small. Last time we went, there were four of us. Three ordered 3 plates and I ordered 2. We had SO. MUCH. FOOD!!! Some of the high points are the garlic glazed boneless chicken thighs ($7.50) , the lamb meatballs in truffle cream sauce ($9), the Jamon Serrano with toast points ($10), pork sausage, foie gras, poached apples, fig & port wine sauce ($9.50) and the Pork loin with Cabrales blue cheese and mushrooms (delicious at $9.50). There are lots of veg options as well - we were just very meat-centric on this particular recent rainy day. I remember the cauliflower broccoli fritters ($6) and the vegetable and goat cheese stuffed eggplant rolls ($7.50) as being very good. The white sangria is excellent. FWIW - I have also dined at Moksa - I would skip it. Been there twice. Everything, and I mean EVERYthing was oversalted. Heavy smokers on the line is my guess. Inedible.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Small Plates

      Thanks. I was leaning towards Kika but I wasn't sure if the prices worked. Its a shame about Moksa, oversalted food is the reason i look M+C off the list.

    2. Look at Za and Evoo in Kendall. The Evoo appetizers are amazing, and the za salads are as well (though this may be too informal and crunchy for what you are looking for). the appetizers at Rendezvous are also wonderful, though they only do tapas on Monday nights at the bar and the apps are somewhat bigger plates. Toro in the South End also has amazing tapas but is loud, noisy, very crowded, often long wait and well, no parking. Same for Coppa. Check out the report posted by a recent visitor from San Francisco; he loved Russell House Tavern.

      I liked Dali about 20 years ago and then got turned off...but there was a recent very positive report so do search for it. Also, I've never been to Bondir but would love to, you probably can't get a weekend reservation there but all the dishes come in half portions as well (still kind of larger rather than small plates). Oleana is my very favorite place but that won't work for you.

      5 Replies
      1. re: Madrid

        Za is already on the list along with Area 4 if they want to do "gourmet" pizza.
        I want to stick with small plate restaurants and avoid those with just good apps and salad though evoo is on my list of places to try.
        Rendezvous Monday night tapas at the bar is one of my favorite week day specials. Unfortunately that is where we take all our guests for dinner so I'm kind of sick of it.
        Toro and Coppa are also on my list of places try. But this time I want to avoid going into Boston.
        Bf and I had an okay brunch at Russell House so we aren't really interested in going back.
        Ill look for the Dali review. It was at the bottom of my list because it isnt walkable and I got the impression that there are better places.
        Bondir is #1 on my places to try. Not to sound mean but I would rather wait until I have guests who will appreciate it more.
        I think Oleana might be too much for them and its one of my least favorite restaurants so I avoid it when possible.

        Thanks for the suggestions. What doesnt work for these guests will work for others.

        1. re: viperlush

          at dali everything is either microwaved or fried. yuk. it's also become a "celebration" place, so you hear the staff sing happy birthday about 20 times a night.

          evoo does excellent house-made charcuterie, but not so much "small plates."

          have eaten many, many times at m&c, and never had food that was oversalted. i love that place.

          no interest in a real tapas place, like taberna de haro or estragon?

          1. re: hotoynoodle

            That's kind of the impression that I got of Dali. Kind of why Cuchi Cuchi is also off the list (along with price).

            When we ate at m+c all four of us had problems sleeping because we kept waking up to grab glasses of water. Too many places to try before going back to a place were we had a bad meal. Plus don't want to deal with parking in Boston on a holiday weekend.

            Does either taberna or estragon fall under the $50 per person and have easy parking (preferably free)?

            1. re: viperlush

              a neighborhood like the south end is actually quieter on long holiday weekends like that because the locals all go away. you can definitely do estragon for under $50 pp. coppa too.

              taberna de haro will depend on the sox schedule. now i see fri-sat sox are home with night games so street parking in that area of brookline will be impossible. however, it is right off the t, at the first above ground c-line stop. st. mary's.

              1. re: hotoynoodle

                Ill have to show the bf the menu for taberna. Its within walking distance or a short bus ride for us. And its probably easier for the friends of our guests to meet up with us after. Its a shame that the sox are in town that weekend. Might just go to Kika and stay in the Kendall area and avoid the fans.

      2. Before going to Kika, I'd look at Solea in Waltham. Same owners, lower prices, and terrific tapas.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Boston_Otter

          Thanks. Unfortunately I don't think the bf will want to venture out that far (because Waltham is soo far) this time. But I'm always looking for places to try on our weekend wanders.

        2. I think I have come up with my food itinerary:
          Friday if the weather isn't conducive to grilling we will go to Za, Area Four or somewhere in Inman
          Saturday either Yankee lobster (or KO Pies) and Harpoon tour, Russell House (or somewhere in Harvard Sq) and Harvard museums or somewhere in Inman (or KO Pies) and Museum of Science
          Saturday night will be Kika and wander around Kendall and Central aftr
          Sunday will be either ECG for brunch or Friendly Toast for breakfast (depending on when they depart).

          Thanks for the help

          1. The best laid plans..

            Ended up at Tupelo Friiday night. At 9pm there was no wait and a parking spot out front. BF and I shared the fried chicken and a side of jalepano Mac and cheese. We loved the Mac and cheese. Creamy with a lot of flaavor without all the heat. Sister enjoyed the crepes and he husband battled through a bowl or gumbo. He didn't talk much so I amuse that it was good. Dessert was ice cream at Christina's. Saturday after a morning at the MoS (I love library museum passes) we headed up to the DeCoreova for a picnic. Picked up sandwiches at that Verril along with a couple brownies. I like my brownies soft, but these were bordering on raw. Wasn't too surprised because ive often felt that the pies are a bit under cooked. Sat night grilled. Sunday brunch at ECG. Wasn't as good as we .remembered (hadn't ben in a couple years). Service was slow (45min for entree) and portions seemed a lot smaller. Food was lukewarm when it eventuallly arrived. Fish tacos are definately not as good as they once were. Overly sweet fried fish with watery slaw. Over all our guests enjoyed their meals

            2 Replies
            1. re: viperlush

              Thanks for your concise and frank report.

              1. re: bgavin

                Concise with poor spelling and grammar appears the best that I can do on a kindle fire.