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Aug 13, 2012 01:50 PM

Birthday dinner ennui

I've got an upcoming Special Birthday Dinner and I'm coming up blank on where to go.

I'm bored with oddly-sized plates with an artistically placed bit of offal and the requisite "smear of brightly colored paste" or "brushstroke of aioli" off to one side.

I'm tired of homestyle southern food (pig's ears, fried green tomatoes, grits) served 'upscale hipster style'.

I'm getting sick of dinner "menus" in which every "entree" has at least three "ingredients" or "cooking styles" that are in quotation marks.

As I look at menus and photos of oft-recommended hotspots such as TW Food, Ten Tables and Hungry Mother, I'm just sort of blase about what I see. I'm sure the food is delicious but I'm having a tough time getting excited about any of it.

Anyone feel the same way? Any suggestions of recent faves that doesn't include Neptune Oyster?

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  1. I know it's a board fave, but how does the menu at Strip T's look to you?
    If not that, how about something ethnic? Order ahead and get the currently popular Peking Duck at China King. Or head up to Lowell, have the seven course beef dish (Bo Mon?) at Pho 88
    Just a coupla thoughts

    1 Reply
    1. re: justbeingpolite

      I love Strip T's -- interesting, smart, unpretentious food with neat ideas and great flavors.

      Thanks for the thoughts.

    2. Totally appreciate hipster dining burn-out. Personally, I think you should go to Santarpio's and get your fill of barbeque, pizza and Buds. Or a mountain of ceviche and fried seafood at Rincon Limeno, chased by many Pisco sours.

      Although I really like the "seven courses" idea from justbeingpolite.

      Another thing you might consider is taking a "cooking" class at Stir - took their CSA-centric class recently and it was surprisingly great - lots of good wine, good normal conversation with the chefs and other patrons, plenty of food and really just a pleasant night out - it was fun to chat while the food is being cooked in front of you. (And I am not particularly a fan of the Lynch empire.)

      1. Casa B in Union Square?

        I recently had a terrific meal at the always-reliable Cafe Polonia. Nothing trendy about that place, just solid food.

        8 Replies
        1. re: LeoLioness

          I love Polonia. Always had a delicious meal there.

          I'm curious about Casa B. I've had great meals at places like Solea and Dali.

          1. re: Boston_Otter

            Casa B is different from those places--the food leans much more towards Latin America than Spain, though there are some dishes that would be at home on a Spanish menu (salt cod fitters, chorizo).. I think it's terrific. The basement dining room is lovely as well. While I wouldn't put it in special occasion category, I think you would enjoy a meal here.

            1. re: Boston_Otter

              strip t's was my first thought as well. we liked casa b; i wrote it up fairly soon after they opened.i certainly would not describe it as pretentious.

              i wonder if you might consider a little "side jaunt for something special"? I'm thinking specifically of Black Trumpet in Portsmouth N.H. It's the only 'as good as Boston' place, for us that is,w/in an hour's drive north of us. The chef/owner is very farm to table but what i like best about him is that he is always introducing me to new food elements and he has a great way with the flavorings of many different cuisines. The place itself is in a 19th c. waterfront warehouse w/ exposed brick,granite and timbers. Dark and a bit romantic."Attitude" is not part of the experience there, in any way.
              My other fav thing about it is that Portsmouth is such a beautiful place to walk/drive around.
              Sometimes taking you away from your homeground can help the spark.

              If that doesn't work for you,I guess I'm thinking , for top food and lack of pretension: Oleana on the patio, ICOB, EVOO, East by Northeast,Myers+Chang or Rendezvous.

              Happy Bday in advance.Hope it's a treat.

              1. re: opinionatedchef

                Happy Birthday early Otter! : ) I was thinking Saporito's would be a nice place - good food, & you could take a walk along the beach afterward.
                August is a LOT of "special" dinner for me - my birthday is Friday (kona encrusted sirloin at Capital Grill on that day), my buddy's b-day is a week after that (L'Andana), & then our anniversary is at the end of the month - thinking of either Burdick's in Walpole, NH or On The Marsh in Kenebunk, ME. The last 2 are more "special occasion" type of places, but they're quite a haul from Boston.

                1. re: opinionatedchef

                  Thanks for the tips. As of the moment, the plan is to go to Casa B; I love tapas and tastings, and they've got several things that are new to me, which is a big plus.

                  Black Trumpet sounds lovely, but there isn't enough time for a side jaunt this time of year, sadly.

                  1. re: Boston_Otter

                    I've heard great things about Casa B recently

                    1. re: justbeingpolite

                      As a follow up, I had a really nice meal at Casa B with friends. Service was a little spotty (took 20 mins for desert to arrive) but that was my only complaint; the food was all really solid, lots of unique dishes I haven't seen anywhere else (salt cod fritters, chicken gizzards, beef tongue). Highlights were the cornmeal-breaded oyster, the beef sandwich, and the tres leches cake.

                      Thanks for the recommendations! I never would have thought of Casa B :)

                      1. re: Boston_Otter

                        congrats, otter! my acupuncturist is almost next door, so we'll have to visit Casa B again.