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Oct 8, 2012 08:30 PM

College Student Birthday Dinner suggestions needed off the Red Line

We're heading up to Boston in two weeks for Parents Weekend and want to take our just-turned-18-year-old and his friends out for a celebratory birthday dinner. Need ideas for a place with American cooking, good quality but not too exotic food combinations, that could handle a party of 8-10 on a Sat night. And off the red line so we can take one train from Medford, keeping it simple... Ideas? Thanks!

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  1. Russell House Tavern in Harvard Square would fit the bill.

    4 Replies
    1. re: VintageMolly

      Big second to Russell House. It's at the right end of the Red Line for you; the food's excellent and interesting but not scary; and they take reservations and could handle a group of that size. It's also at a very reasonable price point, so you wouldn't have to mortgage the house to pay for it, and you'd be introducing them to a place that they could potentially afford to visit for a treat now and then. Sit downstairs for better atmosphere (I think reservations default to downstairs, but I always ask to be safe).

      1. re: VintageMolly

        I totally agree with the Russell House Tavern suggestion, but would also add Park as an alternative. Also in Harvard Square, and under the same ownership as Russell House. Have eaten there three times since they opened and have been pleased each time. Very similar menu with plenty of straight-forward American classics, but (to me anyway) feels like less of a bar scene than Russell House, particularly on a Saturday night. That might be a plus for a group of 18-year-olds with parents in tow.

        1. re: hcraddock

          Good to know, hcraddock. Can anyone say if the cocktails at Park are on a par with those at RHT?

          1. re: pollystyrene

            They definitely run a similar type of program, following the classic cocktail revival trend that has been so popular of late. I have had a couple of nicely balanced whiskey drinks before my meals, and my SO has sat at the bar and delved a bit deeper, going "off menu" and reporting consistently well executed drinks, both original recipes and things from the standard repertoire.

      2. Redbones doesn't take reservations, but if you're into barbeque and would be okay waiting for them to pull a couple tables together, it's a really great time. Foundry on Elm, also in Davis, would fit the bill.

        The Red Line has so many choices for this sort of thing. Central Square, Inman Square, Kendall, Harvard, Porter, Davis... You could even do Franklin Southie. It's enough to make a man miss living along it.

        1. Also Green St. and Rendezvous in Central Sq. Abigail's, Area Four, Blue Room in Kendall Sq.

          1. Central Kitchen in Central Square

            1 Reply
            1. re: mwk

              Rendezvous, Green Street, Central Kitchen all near Central Square stop - Red House, Russell House, near Harvard Square stop, EVOO, Abigails, West Bridge, Catalyst near Kendall Square stop - my favorites would be Rendezvous and EVOO but I consider them all good.

            2. The red line doesn't go to you mean the orange line?

              4 Replies
              1. re: Niblet

                I'm guessing the college student in question goes to Tufts.

                1. re: Niblet

                  I don't know with 8-10 folks, but could take #96 bus from Medford Sq. all the way the Hrvd Sq or to Davis Sq. & pick up the Redline to Hrvd Sq.

                  1. re: Taralli

                    Thanks, he is indeed a Tufts student so can take the shuttle bus to Davis Square and catch the red line there. But he wants to head further into Cambridge/Boston for dinner, feeling like they've explored Davis Square pretty thoroughly. I will look into all these options, and try to pin him down on how many kids are coming!

                    A question re Open Table reservations - I keep getting "no tables available within 2.5 hours of your requested time. Is that because I'm trying to reserve for 8 or do you think these restaurants are all booked for a Sat night two weeks in advance, already?

                    1. re: jsl_nyc

                      Hard to say - it's Parents' Weekend so things might well be booked that far ahead - but I would try calling the restaurants directly, especially because it's a larger group. It might be that they don't let OpenTable handle special requests like that.