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Heartbreakingly preppy, Brahmin restaurants?

Swankalicious Sep 7, 2012 06:34 PM

If you had to list some of Boston's most staid, preppy, conservative, bon vivant-y places -- what might come to mind? Besides Locke-Ober, which seems a bit past its prime.

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    teezeetoo RE: Swankalicious Sep 7, 2012 06:59 PM

    Radius and Harvest come to mind.

    3 Replies
    1. re: teezeetoo
      nay1028 RE: teezeetoo Sep 9, 2012 06:18 PM

      Radius strikes me as more hipster than preppy? Good food, though.

      1. re: nay1028
        Beachowolfe RE: nay1028 Sep 10, 2012 07:07 PM

        Radius, hipster? It's full of suits!

        1. re: Beachowolfe
          enhF94 RE: Beachowolfe Sep 11, 2012 03:55 AM

          perhaps "reminiscent of '80s shoulderpads and cocaine," design-wise? Beverly Hills Cop Goes To Boston?

    2. p
      purple bot RE: Swankalicious Sep 7, 2012 07:03 PM

      Upstairs on the Square?

      4 Replies
      1. re: purple bot
        DoubleMan RE: purple bot Sep 7, 2012 08:08 PM

        I agree that it fits the bill well. I think it's absolutely terrible and overpriced, but it's preppy.

        1. re: DoubleMan
          Splendid Spatula RE: DoubleMan Sep 10, 2012 09:23 AM

          I've had nothing but good meals there. But think it was preppier when it was at the Pudding.

          1. re: Splendid Spatula
            Gabatta RE: Splendid Spatula Sep 10, 2012 09:42 AM

            I completely agree, Upstairs at the Pudding had a much 'preppier' feel. Upstairs at the Square is more offbeat than anything.

            Pudding was so much better in every way. I really miss that roofftop garden outdoor space.

        2. re: purple bot
          hotoynoodle RE: purple bot Sep 8, 2012 08:34 AM

          uots may have preppy guests, but the animal print carpet, hot pink and silver foil walls are anything but.

          agree about harvest though.

          will add bar at the boston harbor hotel. crawling with white shoe lawyer-types.

        3. BostonZest RE: Swankalicious Sep 8, 2012 05:26 AM

          Cafe at theTaj but a martini in the bar might be a better choice.


          1. t
            treb RE: Swankalicious Sep 8, 2012 07:15 AM

            what does preppy taste like. never had a button down shirt or penny loafers I didn't like.

            1 Reply
            1. re: treb
              Alcachofa RE: treb Sep 8, 2012 10:27 AM

              I find the madras at J. Press has the only authentic flavor around here. The Andover Shop's is a little too bland.

            2. l
              latertater RE: Swankalicious Sep 8, 2012 08:20 AM

              Well, the Harvard Club, of course http://www.harvardclub.com

              The Hampshire House, Sunday brunch. http://www.hampshirehouse.com/

              Maybe brunch, anywhere...

              The Sail Loft, which does not seem to maintain a web site (that's bon vivant-ness for you - "we'll get around to it one of these days...



              2 Replies
              1. re: latertater
                Wannabfoode RE: latertater Sep 8, 2012 08:41 AM

                Second The Sail Loft. Pearls and Twin Sets, khaki pants abound. Actually if you can avoid their annoying bar scene, their fish and chips are pretty good, although their chowder is abysmally thick

                1. re: Wannabfoode
                  KevinJF RE: Wannabfoode Sep 8, 2012 09:11 AM

                  The bar scene is full of very young preppies (21-30). I live in the neighborhood and do not eat there; I do not care for deep fried food. It's mainly tourists eating there, and most of them are far from preppy.

              2. MC Slim JB RE: Swankalicious Sep 8, 2012 08:40 AM

                I don't know if there's a restaurant version of preppy cuisine, so I imagine the query here is about places that attract a Brahmin or wannabe-Brahmin crowd. I'd say there are a few places in walking distance of Beacon Hill where I routinely run into people who fit this stereotype, though I don't always find it a pleasant experience: No. 9 Park, 75 Chestnut, Pierrot Bistrot, Toscano, the Hungry I (though I haven't been back there in years), the bar at The Taj, the Bristol Lounge, and, oddly enough, Durgin-Park.

                (Locke-Ober does indeed belong on this list, though the food doesn't seem to have slipped an awful lot, based on a Restaurant Week lunch I had there. The crowd certainly has many more underdressed tourists these days.)

                Harvard Square is another place that attracts the academic flavor of the type: they have the accent and the affectations of dress if not the old-money wealth: Harvest, Rialto, Henrietta's Table, Sandrine's, the Monday Club at UpStairs on the Square, Ten Tables. Huron Village also has some Cambridge old-money types out and about at places like T.W. Food and Trattoria Pulcinella.

                But I don't think there are enough real Brahmins left to reliably find them at any one place outside of the Harvard Club or the private clubs in the Back Bay or Beacon Hill. Or maybe they're holed up in Louisberg Square, being fed by their private chefs.


                5 Replies
                1. re: MC Slim JB
                  BostonZest RE: MC Slim JB Sep 8, 2012 10:27 AM

                  Or at the Union Club or Tavern Club.

                  1. re: BostonZest
                    Veggo RE: BostonZest Sep 8, 2012 10:43 AM

                    Or Essex County or Myopia Hunt or TCC or UBC or the Chilton or...
                    MC Slim is right, the brahmins assiduously avoid public.

                    1. re: Veggo
                      Sugar RE: Veggo Sep 9, 2012 07:40 PM

                      I grew up in Brookline but the year I spent as a waiter at TCC was like crossing into an entirely different world that blew my public-school-educated mind. I agree, you just don't see that crowd, en masse, in any of Boston's restaurants.

                  2. re: MC Slim JB
                    galleygirl RE: MC Slim JB Sep 11, 2012 05:55 PM

                    OMG; anything in Huron Village...Henrietta's Table? I don't know; I love their local sourcing and in-house made stuff, like pickles and tartar sauce so much, I could never tar them with this particular feather...

                    1. re: galleygirl
                      newhound RE: galleygirl Sep 12, 2012 03:12 PM

                      As a resident of Huron Village, I must say that none of our local restaurants are heartbreakingly preppy... Armando's? Full Moon? The Village Kitchen? Perhaps Pulcinella, but these days it's mostly just heartbreakingly empty of preppies.

                  3. l
                    lergnom RE: Swankalicious Sep 8, 2012 03:07 PM

                    The ultimate is the Chilton Club, which as the name suggests is a club and you need an invite.

                    My kid worked there PT during college. Her description was along the lines of in bred blue hairs and washed out preppies. The food is of vintage.

                    6 Replies
                    1. re: lergnom
                      Veggo RE: lergnom Sep 8, 2012 03:19 PM

                      I mentioned Chilton, it's an elegant ladies club where many out of town members can relax in quiet privacy. I have enjoyed being a male guest.

                      1. re: lergnom
                        KevinJF RE: lergnom Sep 8, 2012 03:26 PM

                        The Somerset is considered the "ultimate" in Boston. Chilton is the ladies club.

                        1. re: KevinJF
                          Veggo RE: KevinJF Sep 8, 2012 04:00 PM

                          Somerset is as much for bridge games as for dining. Elegant? Yes.

                          Edit: I don't think it is useful to discuss venues that are not generally accessible to the public or to other C'hounds, tempted as I sometimes am, and in different parts of the country. Maybe it's enough to say that a lot of Bostonians have places to hide away.

                          1. re: Veggo
                            MC Slim JB RE: Veggo Sep 9, 2012 07:28 AM

                            Yep, private clubs are private. Membership is by invitation only after a long, byzantine vetting process, and access is otherwise limited to guests of members. The main Brahmin haunts in Boston are the Somerset, Tavern, Union, St. Botolph's, Algonquin (though it has acquired a reputation for being less selective than most -- Clark Rockefeller was a board member), and the Chilton (forced in the 1980s by anti-discrimination laws to admit men, but still almost exclusively a ladies' club).

                            I've dined as a guest at a couple of them, and the food is generally very good, along the lines of the private-event catering at five-star hotels like the Four Seasons and Boston Harbor, in settings that are exactly what you might imagine an old-money private club to be. There was a time, probably forty years ago, when their food was considered superior to many of our best restaurants, back in the days when the Dining Room at the Ritz and Locke-Ober were considered the height of fine dining in Boston. But our top tier of restaurants has come a long way since then.


                            1. re: MC Slim JB
                              Klunco RE: MC Slim JB Sep 10, 2012 10:45 AM

                              Interesting. I've been a guest and dined at the Somerset, Union, and Harvard Clubs and have found the food to be mediocre at all of them (certainly nothing to be jealous of given the restaurants Boston offers). That said, maybe I just wasn't VIP/PX enough to be offered the good stuff.

                              The atmospheres of these places are certainly nice, and as someone who has lamented the death of "dress-up" fine dining in Boston (though I certainly respect the opinion of those who think dressing up is stupid and other diners should mind their business and not care) I've appreciated the dress-codes.

                            2. re: Veggo
                              nsenada RE: Veggo Sep 10, 2012 06:35 AM

                              Say, are there any clubs so super-secret and ancient that even Cabots, Lodges etc., are considered arrivistes? THAT's what I want in on, though I do like a good Indian pudding (I imagine the clubs already mentioned have killer versions of it).

                        2. Boston_Otter RE: Swankalicious Sep 9, 2012 08:03 AM

                          It's not preppy by any means, and far from a 'private club', but when I want to eat 'swank food' the way it was done 40 years ago, I go to The Castle Restaurant in Leicester. Yes, the setting is corny and incredibly dated, but it's one of those rare hasn't-changed-in-30-years places that still does stuff like Caesar salad made tableside, Steak au Poivre, Chateaubriand (all flambeed and carved tableside), Coquilles St. Jacques, that sort of thing.

                          1. f
                            FriedClamFanatic RE: Swankalicious Sep 10, 2012 02:06 AM

                            Well, I suppose Copley Plaza still has its share. There used to be afew tearoomjs on Newbury, but I suspect they are long-gone to the trendy/grunge set.

                            And, of course, the Ritz. Many out of towners, but the locals in there will tend to be as blue-blooded as they come..and mostly blue-haired.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: FriedClamFanatic
                              hotoynoodle RE: FriedClamFanatic Sep 11, 2012 11:42 AM

                              many more bluebloods at the taj vs. the "new" ritz.

                            2. nsenada RE: Swankalicious Sep 10, 2012 08:06 AM

                              I meant to mention Bakey's (which I didn't realize had closed until recently) in Boston as a lunch place that seemed to be frequented by stodgy old yankee businessmen.

                              1. s
                                Splendid Spatula RE: Swankalicious Sep 10, 2012 09:26 AM

                                L-O is much, much better than past its prime.

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: Splendid Spatula
                                  Veggo RE: Splendid Spatula Sep 10, 2012 09:33 AM

                                  After the make over, absolutely.

                                  1. re: Veggo
                                    hazelhurst RE: Veggo Sep 10, 2012 09:45 AM

                                    In a lifetime of eating there I have never been disappointed although I admit I was NOT there for several years in teh 1990's and a friend, who loves the place, stopped eating there just before the Shire years. But I have been off-and-on fairly regularly since about 2004 and everything has been wonderful. I speak in my capacity as a Certified preppy.

                                2. Pia RE: Swankalicious Sep 12, 2012 11:39 AM

                                  Does Sofra count? Are Cantabridgians the modern-day equivalent of the Boston Brahmin?

                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: Pia
                                    hotoynoodle RE: Pia Sep 12, 2012 04:16 PM

                                    eegads, no.

                                    1. re: hotoynoodle
                                      opinionatedchef RE: hotoynoodle Sep 12, 2012 10:04 PM

                                      i'll second that no. Pia, think of BBs as having conservative demeanors and Cs as having liberal ones. (and of course i don't mean 100%.)

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