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Mr. Swank's fastidious-food cousin is coming to town, and she has demands...Help!

Mr. Swank's cousin is coming to stay with us for two weeks (a long story involving in an internship). She's 22 and fancies herself a "foodie." Anyway, we'd like to take her out to a few memorable meals...She wants high-end Southern and high-end Greek. I'm stumped on both. Any ideas, Hounds? My Greek go-to is Greek Corner, which isn't so haute. And high-end Southern, well -- I'm thinking Hungry Mother, but I'd entertain other options. Thanks!

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  1. Maybe Tupelo as well for Southern?

    Is there a reason she specifically wants high end? And by that does she mean fancy? Or just very good? It might be worth trying to show her that super tasty food doesn't have to be fancy and expensive...

    1. Where is she coming from? I would tell her those aren't strengths of the area at the high end and take her to some of your favorites.

      4 Replies
        1. re: Gabatta

          I agree. Why would someone want "southern" food in Boston?

          Take her to Strip T's for the fried chicken!

          1. re: Gabatta

            Amusing requests from a 22 year old......here's your chance to graciously show her how to look for the best a city has to offer, rather than trying to find good chow in a genre that doesn't exist here.

            1. re: Science Chick

              This, times a hundred.

              If she is insistent and a "foodie", she should research and find these places on her own.

          2. A 22-year old who wants high end? Don't give into this. She is lucky to be getting any food, at your expense.

            I think Desfina or Greek Corner are your choices for Greek. Not even close to high end. Hungry Mother seems like your best choice for Southern, if she means that part of the South.

            If you want to offer her several exceptional meals, I would take her where you think you can get exceptional meals regardless of cuisine.

            1. My default for visitors is to take them to MY favorites. Last visitors from Austin were blown away by thmor dat. Never would have requested Cambodian food but can't stop mentioning it. Of course if they have a hankering for something try to accommodate but in the end I think my guests have always just appreciated good food regardless of expectations. I think I'm lucky.

              1. In my experience, when visiting somewhere new, anything can be interpreted as "high end" if it's a great meal everyone enjoys. What about Sweet Cheeks? It's got the celebrity-chef thing going on.

                I'm baffled by high-end Greek. Maybe someplace unique like Pasha?

                1 Reply
                1. re: Boston_Otter

                  Would Kouzina qualify as high-end Greek?

                2. Brand-new, but another option for Southern, is M3 in Davis: http://boston.eater.com/archives/2012... "Foodie" types love to get to new places first, right?

                  No high-end Greek: how about one jaw-dropping (and then jaw-raising) gyros instead? Zo (weekday only) or Esperia Grill. Otherwise, I support your Greek Corner notion.


                  3 Replies
                  1. re: MC Slim JB

                    Yes, to second MC Slim I would try out M3 in Davis Square. Looks like the chef there is channeling good Mid South eats there creatively in a Nashville-style meat&three format. This would be like trying out the newest of the new restos in the Boston area and should excite your foodie relative intensely.

                    1. re: marais

                      Just curious if anyone has hit this place up yet?

                      Based on the yelp reviews it seems like it is pretty uneven in the early going.

                      1. re: jgg13

                        I went. I loved the atmosphere, service was very good, food was pretty uneven. Fried chicken was kind of bad. Really dry. They had a giant pile of it sitting on a shelf above the grill(?!), so I guess that's why. Also the batter has cinnamon in it (Redbones does this with their catfish), which I hate. Sides were good. Brussels sprouts were properly cooked, root vegetable hash (really just halved potatoes with shreds of carrot) was tasty, sweet potato casserole was ridiculously sweet, but very good.

                        I also got a piece of blackberry tart that was fantastic. I'll definitely go back for the pie.

                  2. Hungry Mother is your upscale-ish Southern place. After that, just take her to what's good: she chooses one cuisine, you choose the second cuisineā€”sounds fair to me!

                    Although, on second thought: Oleana wouldn't be a bad place for high-end cuisine that shares a lot of the cool moves of upscale Greek cuisine. Plus: patio season!

                    1. One thought might be to branch out from Greek to take her to places like Oleana and Sofra, then check out Greek Corner, Sophia's Greek Pantry in Watertown, and a Greek festival. Sofra and Belmont/Watertown shopping could be a Saturday morning trip. Check out the Armenian bakeries and Groceries on your way to Sophia's. You could also pick up some Greek wine at Ball Square Liquors, picnic fixings on Trapelo and Mt Auburn St and then slip off somewhere for a stealth picnic (Decordova? Pond in Waltham, Cochituate?). Lowell Folk Festival might have something for you if its the right timing, although perhaps not for all 22 year olds. I haven't been, but was more interested by Abigail's brunch than their dinner menu and its remotely Southern although less so than Tupelo which I prefer to their dinner (Zoe's below has a Saturday breakfast/brunch and I think weekday too).


                      I prefer Kouzina and Farm Grill much more over Desfina. As far as Greek restaurants, its worth pointing out that Dolphin Seafood and Jimmy's (along with Legals, No Name, and many of the roast beef/seafood shacks) both come from Greek backgrounds, although they have minimal Greek dishes. But they have some good options, particularly Dolphin for fish. You also will find a few more options in Lowell -- Athenean Corner and Olympia so that could be worth a trip even outside of folk festival. Zoe's in Harvard is another restaurant with a varied menu, but some greek specialties and if she is into brunch could be an option as could Tupelo for the Southern food.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: itaunas

                        If you would to take a drive to Ipswich, Ithaki restaurant could be considered up-scale Greek. I am Greek and I love going there. I also frequent the Athenian Corner in Lowell. If there is a Greek Festival at one of the many churches, it will be a great experience with authentic Greek food, music and dancing.

                        1. re: ParisLady

                          Thanks for the reminder of Ithaki, its been on my list for a while and ipsofatso has also spoken well of it in the past (there were some negative reviews a while back), but have never been and totally slipped my memory. You should post a current review after your next visit! :-)

                      2. I am not sure that I know what "high end Greek" actually means. Would be curious to hear what cuz thinks it is.

                        1. Is she treating this "high end" dinner adventure? Does she mean she wants white tablecloths? Does she have a hankering for Greek food because there is none where she lives, so she thought she'd combine her high end idea with Greek food? If I was a visitor to Boston, and was being treated, I think people are right in suggesting that you take her under your wing, and bring her to what we have that's very good, like Neptune, ICOB. She's 22, I bet she'd like ESK.

                          1. When I hear the words "High end Greek" in Boston, I immediately think of the trout spanakopita at Oleana. I loved that dish, which uses pieces of fried trout in place of the filo dough. I definitely think you should take her there.

                            6 Replies
                            1. re: Dave MP

                              I'm sorry Dave, but in no way is "trout spanakopita" Greek! It may be delicious, BUT Greek...oh no! Please, no offense intended.

                              1. re: ParisLady

                                ParisLady and all, you may find this recent interview of Chef Sortun of interest - http://www.americastestkitchen.com/ra...

                                I might respectfully disagree with your characterization of what "Greek" food consists of - you assume that cuisine is static, but if a chef in Greece made trout spanikopita, would that qualify as "Greek"?

                                1. re: Bob Dobalina

                                  Bob, I do believe that every cuisine evolves and is not stagnant. But each cuisine, specifically referring to Greek in this case, must have certain ingredients ( proteins, spices, herbs) that remain in the recipe to "make it" Greek. I do not know what is in the trout spanakopita...I probably responded too quickly. However, if one calls it spanakopita, there must be spinach in it, a touch of nutmeg, cinnamon etc. depending on which area of Greece is preparing the dish. MANHMANH is a restaurant in Athens near the Acropolis that is constantly evolving. Check out the website and hopefully you will see what I mean. Thanks for your response!

                                  1. re: ParisLady

                                    And thank you for yours. And that menu looks awesome!

                                    1. re: Bob Dobalina

                                      If we are ever able to return to Greece, I'll give you directions :) Happy summertime!

                                    2. re: ParisLady

                                      The trout spanakopita does contain spinach. It's basically a play on a classic spanakopita, with a spinach/feta filling. But instead of using filo dough for the upper and lower crusts, the dish uses thin pieces of crispy fried trout. The result was certainly non-traditional, but it was delicious.

                                      Authenticity aside, I do think that someone who is interested in high-end Greek food would love Oleana (even though most things on the menu aren't Greek).

                              2. Oleana is not Greek but is close enough. Is she expecting you to pay?

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: cambridgedoctpr

                                  Thank ya, everyone. We're opting for Hungry Mother and Oleana. I think M3 is a bit too uneven and maybe a bit too casual for her. Now to clean out the guest room...