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Dec 16, 2012 06:18 PM

Romantic Restaurants

We have visited Las Vegas and dined in some great restaurants including Le Cirque, Picasso, Olives, Sage and others. We visit Boston a few times a year (about a couple hour drive) but visit more casual places in the North End. I guess we don't consider Boston a place for high end dining. Anything new that can be suggested for a "foodie" couple?

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  1. Your post isn't clear. Are you looking for romantic or high end?

    Why are those LV restaurants comps? Do you consider them romantic?

    1. Sorry for the confusion.....I was attempting to ask why one doesn't hear much about higher-end
      restaurants in such a great city (Boston), like you do for cities such as Las Vegas, New York, and Chicago?
      Maybe they are there, but I don't know of many. L'Espalier comes to mind. Maybe because the "rock star" chefs have not set up shop ...yet.

      2 Replies
      1. re: gdiego

        i think that you do not hear about our restaurants nationally because they are not world class. Von Gerichten worked in Boston with Ken Orringer as his sous-chef, but he quickly left. The attractions of NYC, what Bourdain calls "the Bigs" also got both of them to move to New York.

        For the opinion of others, you can read this post about Michelin Boston:

        1. re: gdiego

          I didn't understand the initial post or the subject line at all, but thanks for the clarification now gdiego.

          So, I think one does hear about some high-end restaurants in Boston, especially O Ya, Menton, and Clio.

          But it doesn't matter what I think, because we can investigate this question empirically. I used Lexis-Nexis to search all world news sources in the last five years for the following restaurants in each city below. In each case I searched for the restaurant's name (as a phrase) and the city in which the restaurant is located. In the cases of "Daniel", "Per Se", and "Moto" I also required that the article return the chef's last name, for obvious reasons. I used the standard Lexis-Nexis deduplication algorithm at the "moderately similar" level, and then subtracted the number of total articles from the number published by organs within the restaurants home state.

          So the number that follows the name of each restaurant below is the deduped number of articles in all world news sources from 12/17/07 to 12/17/12 minus the deduped number published in that restaurant's home state. I am sure there are lots of valid quibbles about the methodology or the specific examples. If your quibble is strong enough, please redo my analysis your way and post the results here as well.

          Additionally, I did the same thing on the names of some famous Boston chefs.

          I'll show the data below, but my conclusion is quite simple. New York is a humongous outlier. It has many world-class fine dining establishments, and they get an enormous amount of international press coverage. This is not surprising, since New York is the second-largest city in the world by GDP, and the largest, Tokyo, has the most Michelin stars. New York and Tokyo are justifiably in a class by themselves. But the amount of press attention those restaurants get is certainly also over-and-above how good they are. How do I know this? The French Laundry got only 77 mentions in the press outside of California over the last five years; Per Se received 850 mentions in the press outside of New York.

          But other than world-wide sensations like Alinea in Chicago, I also conclude that Boston's best restaurants get a reasonable amount of outside-of-Massachusetts press coverage compared to restaurants in Las Vegas or Chicago. Now this doesn't "prove" anything --- a real study would involve controlling for lots of covariates, such as how long each restaurant has been in business, cuisine type, average menu prices, an indicator for whether the chef has a TV show, and so on. But I think you get the idea. =)

          Boston's most famous chefs, however, are not necessarily the chefs of Boston's most delicious fine dining establishments.

          Blue Ginger, 44
          O Ya, 31
          Clio, 17
          L'Espalier, 15
          Craigie, 14
          Menton, 12

          Alinea, 1226
          Topolobampo, 312
          Moto, 33
          L2O, 28
          Les Nomades, 19

          Las Vegas:
          L'Atelier de Joël Robuchon, 61
          Bouchon, 42
          Aureole, 27
          Twist, 23
          Picasso, 15

          New York:
          Daniel, 2335
          Jean-Georges, 1491
          Alain Ducasse, 1481
          Momofuku, 1303*
          Le Bernardin, 1189
          Per Se, 850
          Blue Hill at Stone Barns, 136 **

          Boston Chefs:
          Ming Tsai, 571
          Todd English, 226
          Jasper White, 77
          Barbara Lynch, 37
          Jody Adams, 34
          Ken Oringer, 31

          As an aside, I wish we could use simple HTML <table> tags in Chowhound posts. I know it's unusual to report data like this, but it would be sometimes helpful to display menu items and their prices or names of dishes and their translations.

          * Yes, I know "Momofuku" is not a single restaurant.
          ** BHSB an hour north of New York City, but it is in the same class of any of those top restaurants in NYC. NYC restaurants get an extra boost of media coverage, even when one removes the enormous number of news outlets based in New York State.