Cheap Eats with Co-Workers
I'm the point person for a close knit group of co-workers who live around the country and gather at the home office in Boston a couple of times a year. When everyone's together, we like to go out for dinner, but need to keep it under or around $30 per person. The Beer will be flowing too, which makes this harder.
The last two times we've gone to Peach Farm, which worked out very well, but we're looking for a change of venue this time, and while I'd be happy to just pick a different Chinatown restaurant, there have been requests for an alternate cuisine as well. Possibly Indian? The palates in this group range from very adventurous eaters to less adventurous eaters who are somewhat game, but no one who is super picky.
The group size is around 15 people, usually more like 12 or 13. It's a lot of fun to be around the big round table with this group, but that's not a requirement. Location preference would be Back Bay/ South End/ Theater District/ Chinatown, but I might be able to convince them to go farther afield if it promised to be really good.
I'm drawing a blank on other good places that can accommodate that size group at that price point in that area that aren't Chinese restaurants, so I'm hoping you all can help.
So, it seems like it's not just me thinking this seems like an impossible challenge . . .
What about Indian? I'm not really up on the good Indian restaurants around town, but from what I know of the One World restaurants, those seem overpriced and mediocre. What about India Samraat or Bombay Cafe, both on Mass Ave? Any good? Would they accommodate a group our size? If the relocated Bombay Club hadn't closed, that might have worked. What about that place in Kenmore? I've got half a mind to take them to Darbar and order some brains.
What about other places in Chinatown other than Peach Farm? I've been to both Xihn Xihn and Pho Pastuer with sub-sets of this group, so those seem like they'd be out. The place has to take reservations. Would Taiwan Cafe, New Shanghai, Best Little Restaurant or somewhere else work?
India Quality in Kenmore used to be one of my favorite Indian restaurants in town but I haven't been in a while so I can't report on it's current quality though I don't know why it would have changed. You could have beer and lunch here within your budget, though the other thing I can't recall is whether they can accommodate a group your size though my memory says yes. Call them and find out. I like Q for festive because of the lounge and bar service and kind of bright weirdness it has. I think India Quality is a more claustrophic space.
Best Little Restaurant, New Shanghai and East Ocean City would all work.
EOC has a similar menu to Peach Farm with lots of live seafood options. The others are both strong but a different focus; cuisine wise.
EOC and New Shanghai are a little "nicer" in atmosphere. BLR has a dining room upstairs that works well for a large group.
Q would also be a good spot but might push the budget.
The Gallows does lunch Thursday and Friday or used to. Great food, drink and atmosphere, and I think you'd come in at $30/person with beer.
Also: JJ Foleys (East Berkeley), maybe Myers + Chang (I've done it for $30 and under), and Coda (fantastic beer selection, might squeak in under $30).
And Aquitaine has a great lunch prix fixe. Mela does a $11 buffet lunch but could only seat a group that size along one wall (as far as I can tell). House of Siam is also extremely reasonable at lunch.
Finally I think Masa is too.
I realize as I write this I may be underestimating the beer but I think you have options. It's not impossible.
Montein has better than usual Thai and if you're sharing, would likely work. So might Penang. Don't know how reasonable the beer is though.