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Aug 1, 2012 10:02 AM

Upcoming trip - loose outline enclosed, advice needed!

Okay Boston Chowhounders - I have come up with a bit of a schedule and am looking for guidance.

Coming from Chicago in two weeks without a car, but I'm not afraid of cabbing, walking, or a bit of public transit. Staying at the Sheraton right by the Prudential Building from Thursday-Sunday and Sunday-Tuesday I'll be in the theater district at the Revere. I'm not a breakfast guy, so I'm cool without.

Thursday -
Arriving late enough that I probably won't be eating lunch (dozen oysters at Island Creek when they open maybe?)

Dinner at No 9 Park. It appears they don't take reservations for the bar, but I'll be alone and arriving by six, so this seems like it would be fine.


Friday -
Up in the air - I'll be alone, I am debating going to Salem. If I don't, and there's someplace I'm missing that does weekday lunch, let me know!

Dinner at Craigie on Main
Dessert at Toscanini’s.


Saturday -
Another day completely on my own, but I'll definitely be staying in Boston.

I have a lunch reservation at L'Espalier, I'm doubting whether I should do it, it's spendy, especially after Craigie.

Dinner is tricky - my wife will be working all day, is unsure when she's off, and probably won't want to hit the town. The only thing I can think of is Legal is down the block from the hotel and does carry out. This seems like a better idea than room service.


Sunday -
Brunch at Mike and Patty's.

Pre-dinner cocktails at Drink

Dinner at Erbaluce.


Monday -
Lunch at Neptune.

Stop in at Union Oyster House for a drink perhaps....the idea is to go, but not for a meal.
Dinner at Blue 13 - this place gets mixed reviews, but I'm a sucker for liquid nitrogen. Feel free to
persuade me one way or the other.


Tuesday -
Pre-flight lunch at Flour

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    1. re: KevinJF

      He means Blue, Inc., the Jason Santos place.
      The OP should search the board for the recent trip planning threads - your plan is almost identical!

    2. you've got some great meals planned, so i don't see the need to blight your mouth with seafood from legal's, even as take-away.

      brasserie jo is a skip from your hotel. i really like eating at the bar and it's a very casual vibe. you could get take-out from douzo or chili duck, even cafe jaffa -- all easy walking distance and better food than legal's.

      island creek opens at 4 and besides oysters, their food is excellent. so is their cocktail program and service. as a solo diner i have always felt far more welcome at icob, or its parent, eastern standard kitchen, than i ever have at no. 9 park. i also feel that the inconsistency of execution at no. 9 makes me feel cheated because of their steep pricing. honestly, all that combined with the utter gouging on wine prices, i have given up on the lynch empire entirely. others on this board feel differently.

      if you don't travel to salem, friday lunch i would vote coppa or toro, also an easy walk from the sheraton.

      saturday, you could consider a lower-key place like aquitaine for lunch.

      sunday, drinks at no.9, then take a lovely walk through the public gardens and common to erbaluce.

      7 Replies
        1. re: hotoynoodle

          Thanks for the advice! I think it's all coming together.

          Brasserie Jo looks like a good option if I can drag her out (right around the corner, shouldn't be hard) and if not, Chili Duck looks good for take out. Legal definitely wasn't an ideal choice and I'm glad you gave me strong alternatives.

          I've decided to skip L'Espalier. I'm sure it's lovely, but I'm thinking it's a bit overboard. Also probably going to skip Salem - there's plenty to do around town. Friday and Saturday I plan on grazing - popping into a few places and having a small something - Neptune gets enough raves I think they'll get some repeat visits. Coppa's bone marrow pizza looks like a winner and I can hopefully snag just a drink at Blue Inc during their lunch service.

          Toro was a place that fell off my radar for some reason and now that I look at it, it's back. Toro will be Tuesday's dinner now.

          I've read a lot of praise about No 9 Park, but I now see much of it is dated....I wanted to hit a Lynch place, forgetting Drink is part of the empire. I may just sit tight at ICOB.

          1. re: chris

            Next door to ICOB is The Hawthorne, one of Boston's best new cocktail bars.

            1. re: kimfair1

              The Hawthorne looks totally my style and next to ICOB will be a great one two punch. Thanks!

              1. re: chris

                It's also not the zoo that drink can be (Drink is a real "scene" with loads of people there to be seen, and not to drink the great cocktails they make there).

                1. re: kimfair1

                  I kind of had a feeling about that, so the plan is to arrive at Drink AT 4 pm, when they I'm hoping to avoid much of that.

                  1. re: chris

                    That's a good plan. The best times I've had there were going early on off nights, so you can actually discuss what you like with the bartenders, rather than fight off the vodka tonic drinking scenesters.

        2. I hope you have not missed this thread, very similar plan including Salem.

          Your program looks generally good but I agree that you can do MUCH better than Legal Seafoods. I would also suggest that you look at the Sunday brunch at Craigie on Main, which I think is outstanding. And I have to agree with hotoynoodle, the one time I went to No. 9 Park I felt really fleeced, and not all that happy with my food. YMMV.

          1 Reply
          1. re: GretchenS

            Indeed I have - lots of great advice on that thread and the (in progress) followup report is helpful as well.

          2. If you do go to Salem I would recommend Finz on the waterfront for a meal. Had a really nice lunch there a couple weeks ago.

            Some great choices - personally I wasn't impressed with Erbaluce but perhaps you will be.

            Toscanini's is the best ice cream ever!

            Get the lobster sandwich (hot) at Neptune. And stop at Modern (biscotti and nougatine) and Maria's (cannoli) for goodies.

            Have a great trip!

            7 Replies
            1. re: TeacherFoodie

              Toscanini can't be the best ice cream ever, cause Christina's is better!

              1. re: Blumie

                I also enjoyed Christina's but found Toscanini's to be creamier. Depends what you like I guess.

              2. re: TeacherFoodie

                Your post (and the loads of replies) helped significantly in my planning....Erbaluce is going to be part of Restaurant Week and the menu looked good....that said, RW in general is iffy, but at least I know exactly what it's going to cost and I'm willing to gamble it.

                1. re: chris

                  where did you find the erbaluce RW menu?

                  1. re: chris

                    you don't have to eat off the rw menu. you may want to make a reservation though since those weeks are so very busy.

                    1. re: hotoynoodle

                      It's booked. I've done RW in Chicago and it's pretty much 50/30/20 for being "great," "okay," and "offensive."

                      1. re: chris

                        My advice is don't order a pasta dish.

                2. I would note that Erbulace is probably the most raved about/disliked restaurant on this board. I personally think the chef is trying to do some very interesting things, but falls short in execution/taste. I note that the last person who had like 200 comments on her itinerary post went and thought Erbulace was very dissapointing. My co-worker thinks it is the best Italian place in Boston, so who knows, I guess it just depends on who you ask.

                  5 Replies
                  1. re: ScotchandSirloin

                    my meals there have been great from start to finish. the chef is intensely detailed-oriented. like the pear slices we had on a cheese plate came from the same orchard as the honey also on the plate.

                    the wine list is all-italian and full of off-beat values, not just stuffed with mammoth $$$$ barolo and amarone that would bully the food.

                    this is a very modern interpretation of italian food, by an american chef of italian descent.

                    is it out of the ballpark everyday? dunno since i can't afford to eat there everyday!

                    1. re: hotoynoodle

                      Only young Barolos are bullies; the more mature ones play better with others. Unfortunately, the former are more prevalent on wine lists.

                      I am a big fan of Erbaluce's chef/owner Charles Draghi, since his days at Marcuccio's. Marcuccio's and Sage are the two restaurants that I wish were still in the North End.

                      I think the root of the disagreements about the food is based on his style, as explained on the Erbaluce website:

                      "punctuating the dishes with the bright flavors of fresh herbs, and sauces based on fruit and vegetable essences, as well as various roasting juices, without the attendant heaviness of added butter or cream reductions. Freed from this heaviness, the dishes have bright, focused flavors, with the freshness of the ingredients being the primary characteristic sensation for diners."

                      A lot of people like cream and butter.

                      1. re: KevinJF

                        Scotchandsirloin likes cream and butter (not surprisingly). However, I've been to some truly great restaurants that do some incredibly strange things, often without heavy sauces (SaQuaNa in France comes to mind), and pull them off, in my opinion, much better than Erbulace. That being said, Sage while in the N.End used to be one of my absolute favorite restaurants in Boston, so I like the chef's history, if not his current work.

                          1. re: KevinJF

                            Oh well then. I was trying to say something positive, because I don't hate the place or the chef, but I guess I read too fast.