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Early Saturday dinner not too far from Cambridge Hyatt; ambient noise and mobility considerations?

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A friend is in town for a conference, staying at the Hyatt-Regency. We want to get together for dinner, could be as early as 5 if need be. My friend has limited hearing and finds conversation difficult if there's a lot of noise in the room or if it has bad acoustics. I have arrhythmia and bad knees that make it hard to climb more than a few stairs, or to walk more than a hundred feet.
We'll be taking a cab to whatever restaurant we go to.

Other than avoiding places where everything is very spicy, there are no menu restrictions and both of us like a broad range of cuisines. Neither of us drink; up to $60 per person per meal is okay, as long as casual dress is permissible. My friend likes lobster so we could always go to Summer Shack again but our previous visits there have been off-hours when the noise level was lower. Seafood option is nice but not essential.

Help, pretty please!

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  1. Might something in the Kendall area qualify as close enough since you will be cabbing it? I could recommend Catalyst--not too loud and always has some tasty seafood options on hand.

    1. Rendezvous in Central Square would be a good choice. Very good food, attentive service, and not too noisy an environment. http://www.rendezvouscentralsquare.com/

      1. How about Baraka Cafe? Algerian, close, quiet and maybe something that your out of town friend is likely not to get to sample at home.

        1 Reply
        1. re: 9lives

          Baraka is delightful especially if you don't drink as they serve no liquor - lots of options in Cambridge not far from Hyatt - West Bridge, Catalyst, Rendezvous, EVOO are fine on the early side particularly. Salts is excellent but may go above your price limit. East by Northeast is interesting and quiet, and perhaps the most unexpected cuisine. I always suggest checking menus to see what interests you but I believe all of these would be reasonably quiet and reasonably accessible.

        2. hi grey, Rendezvous is def. closer and would be a v good choice: ground level /no steps for entry or bathrm, and not noisy, esp. early. Suggestn: explain the noise thing and ask for the booth furthest from the front>> bound to be the quietest table. I particularly rec the portuguese sardines, his hand formed lasagne w/ comte cheese and his signature lemon dessert. Ah yes, that lemon dessert... When did you say we were meeting? :-}

          1. The Helmand for Afgahni food (great lamb, bread and a pumpkin app not to be missed). They have have some seafood dishes as well, but that's not their specialty. No stairs, and a reasonably quiet, comfortable environment.

            1. My friend chose Catalyst from the menus of the suggested restaurants that I e-mailed Friday. The meal was excellent from start to finish. We split a side dish of roasted fall vegetables as our appetizer, and split the rotisserie drippings potatoes to accompany our entrees. My only quibble with the meal was that these dishes are listed as "for the table" - in other words, to be shared. That being the case, the quantities were stingy, about 8oz of each. The entree portions were more appropriate. My friend's scallops with buttery creamed corn and chanterelles was very nice, and I hit the jackpot with tournedos of beef with bacon, fois gras, and black truffle involved in the buttery sauce. That was one of the best beef entrees I've ever had. Desserts were a peanut butter chocolate fondant thing, and coffee cake ice cream. Both good, though not as memorable as the entrees are. The room is welcoming and the service was attentive, knowledgeable, and inobtrusive. We asked them to call a cab. The MOD reported back that they'd called several companies, all of which said it would be a long wait, so on his own initiative he sent someone out to the street to hail one, which took less than 5 minutes.

              Thanks very much for the recommendation!

              2 Replies
              1. re: greygarious

                happy you made a good choice and thanks for letting us know it worked. I like Catalyst and I'm impressed by your description of the service in finding you a cab. I do think you did the right thing in checking menus: there are many good options in Cambridge and it helps to see prices and descriptions in making a choice.

                1. re: greygarious

                  I went to Catalyst this past weekend as well (in fact, we were probably there at the same time as you, more or less), and also ordered those tournedos of beef. Omigosh....were those ever yummy! I had the squash soup with curry oil for my app which was also lovely.

                  i agree with you about the vegetable sides. They are fine "for the table" if its a table of 2.

                  I will add that any place that offers Turley zin by the glass gets an extra +! in my book. That went perfectly with my beef.