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Seeking suggestions for festive holiday weekday lunch for 4 colleagues in December

r
rmanna Nov 8, 2012 08:44 AM

As foodie-elect of my work friends, I am looking for a nice celebratory holiday lunch spot for us in mid-December. We are four professionals who want it all -- atmosphere and delicious food-- and one of us has gluten issues. We work in Cambridge by Harvard Square but close to Storrow so could easily go downtown, Back Bay, etc. We have celebrated other years at Henrietta’s; we’re looking for an alternative. I know that Upstairs on the Square has a nice fireplace but the last several times I've been there -- over 8 months ago -- I was underwhelmed. Thought about Gran Gusto but the ambiance is not that compelling. We recently ate at Area Four and I just sent a few of the group to Catalyst. I don’t tend to go to the hotels but am wondering if there is one that might be atmospheric, have solid food, and not be outrageously expensive. Aside from the gulten, we are very open minded. Thanks in advance for any suggestions.

  1. g
    Gabatta Nov 8, 2012 09:03 AM

    Grill 23 is generally not open for lunch, but in the past they have done a very nice holiday lunch for the 2 weeks before Christmas. I believe it is a 3 course prix fixe for around $40, and not solely beef focused. It is a very nice atmosphere for such a lunch, but on the more expensive side.

    You might consider Harvest in Harvard Square as well?

    3 Replies
    1. re: Gabatta
      r
      rmanna Nov 8, 2012 10:14 AM

      Thanks for the suggestion. I just looked at their website and they seem to only do private luncheons starting at $68/head which won't work for us. Good thought though.

      1. re: rmanna
        g
        Gabatta Dec 13, 2012 10:05 AM

        I asked when there last night and Grill 23 confirmed that they are indeed doing their holiday. lunch now through 12/21. It is three course prix fixe menu for $39. The restaurant is decorated nicely for the holidays. I really like the atmosphere there this time of year. I was just in to meet someone for a drink last night, but will be back dinner for the first time in awhile next week.

        1. re: Gabatta
          r
          rmanna Dec 14, 2012 07:50 AM

          Thanks! We made reservations for Number 9 Park's prefix for $42 but this does look festive so I'll remember for next year. Appreciate it.

    2. f
      foodieX2 Nov 8, 2012 09:26 AM

      Might be too $$ but I had a wonderful lunch at moo not too long ago and can imagine it would really nice during the holidays.

      We split the steak tartare, I had the chicken club and my husband got some big hunk of meat. It was all really good. Nice wines by the glass and the servise was top notch.

      Some one told me that Chez Henri *might* open for lunch in December- that would be worth a phone call.

      While not big on atmospher I think Dim Sum is a really fun way to spend lunch with a group, as is shabu. Would you consider chinatown?

      1 Reply
      1. re: foodieX2
        r
        rmanna Nov 8, 2012 10:07 AM

        Chinatown is probably not the right place with these ladies but I'll check out Grill 23 and Moo--never considered either as an option before. Thanks!

      2. t
        treb Nov 8, 2012 10:37 AM

        Rendezvous in Cambridge is worth a look.

        3 Replies
        1. re: treb
          t
          teezeetoo Nov 8, 2012 01:25 PM

          if I want to be pampered and don't care about price it's lunch at L'Espalier for me. Plan on at least two hours to thoroughly enjoy the indulgence.

          1. re: teezeetoo
            r
            rmanna Nov 8, 2012 02:31 PM

            Good suggestion, sounds great. May be a bit pricey.

          2. re: treb
            r
            rmanna Nov 8, 2012 02:12 PM

            Yes, I love Rendezvous, particularly on Sunday nights or Monday tapas. Unfortunately, they don't serve lunch.

          3. m
            Madrid Nov 8, 2012 01:42 PM

            maybe BostonChefs.com will run a report on restaurants featuring special holiday lunches soon. That's how I found out Rialto was open for lunch around Christmas many years ago. Our group had a wonderful experience there...but again, long ago.

            I just checked the web site and see that Rendezvous does offer "daytime" private events for
            $35-$60 per person for sit down event. *Prices are for food only. Beverages, service charge and sales tax are additional.
            Capacity –Dining Room: 12 to 50 seated,

            so I would assume you need at least 12 for a private lunch. Rendezvous is an example of a place that would probably do great business if open to the public for lunch around the holidays. Harvest is always open for lunch but has a $29 special holiday menu in December.

            1. b
              BBHound Nov 8, 2012 02:18 PM

              No. 9 Park does lunch (or did last year) between Thanksgiving and Christmas.

              1 Reply
              1. re: BBHound
                r
                rmanna Nov 8, 2012 02:34 PM

                Interesting idea. They do seem to be offering a " traditional holiday lunch" Dec 3, 2012 - Dec 28, 2012.--either three course prix-fixe or a five course chef's tasting menu. I'm going to see if I can find out what traditional means. Has anyone been here lately. I last ate here about 2 years ago and was not blown away. Maybe I'm too picky.

              2. b
                BellaBoston Nov 24, 2012 07:48 AM

                The new Oak Long Bar would have a lovely atmosphere for this but I have not had the food there yet--so cannot speak to that.

                Also, Bristol is always decorated beautifully and you can overlook the decorated gardens as well.

                I second the Harvest suggestion as well as Catalyst.

                1. m
                  momoftwo Dec 13, 2012 01:14 PM

                  I was treated to lunch at Sandrine's this week and it was really enjoyable. Two of us had the prixe fix for $20, soup or salad, entree and dessert. We also shared escargot and the cheese plate. It was a real treat, shared a bottle of wine, the bread was delish too!

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