Mr. Swank and I need a "new" special occasion place!
OK, something happier than a post about mistresses! Mr. Swank and I have a mega-anniversary coming up in January, and we'd like to dine high(ish) on the hog. We can't afford Menton nor can we afford O Ya; mainly we'd just like something romantic, comfy, and most of all delicious. However, we're tough to please!
Problem One: We eat out a fair bit and have enjoyed lots and lots of places already. We want something brand new to both of us. Places we've been and enjoyed, either apart or together, include: TW Food, Hungry Mother, Clio, Puritan, Island Creek, Scampo, Coppa, Trade, Toro, 51 Lincoln, Lumiere, Via Matta, Taberna de Haro, Estragon, East Coast Grill, Casa B, Area Four, East by Northeast (was actually totally unimpressed - sob), Craigie on Main, Rialto, La La Rokh, L'Espalier. I know, I know, first-world problems.
Problem Two: The menus at some of the nicer New American or Northern Italian spots don't thrill me. I prefer high-end ethnic food, with lots of sauces or curries, like Indian or Mexican, so I'm fairly stumped. Therefore venues like Bergamot, Bondir, Deuxave, or West Bridge -- while no doubt lovely -- just don't pack that special punch for me. Essentially, my dream restaurant is something like the Helmand (atmosphere and cuisine) or Oleana -- but we go there all the damn time.
We've been to Strip T's and loved it, but it doesn't really have a "mega anniversary" feel to it. Right now, I'm considering Erbaluce (maybe not "saucy" enough for me--too precious?), Pomodoro (though Mr. Swank hates parking in the North End with the hot head of 1,000 sweltering suns), No. 9 Park (again, I fear it might be a bit too ... staid? ... for my tastes), Cinquecento (anyone know how it is?), Yakitori Zai (any good?), or ... or....?
So concludes the most self-indulgent first-worldy post ****ever****, but if anyone has recommendations, please, let me know. Note: It does not have to be a "splurgey" splashy fancy place -- more romantic/comfy/delicious than high-end.
I feel like I'm constantly pushing Empire (I promise I don't work there!!) but it is awesome Asian fusion. Don't leave without trying the Singapore Street Noodles--you will love the madras curry. They have quite a few saucey/ spicy/ curry items on the menu. The room is beautiful. I enjoy the sushi bar but they also have an open kitchen bar and a beautiful dining room.
Cinquecento is good--however might not be really what you are looking for. We had the buratta, which was ok, bolognese which was good but didn't knock my socks off, and arugula salad--good again but nothing mind blowing. We went once and enjoyed it but have not gone running back.
Erbaluce is excellent although the room leaves more than a lot to be desired. Also, I don't know if this would matter to you but they don't have a full liquor license so wine/ cordials only. But again, might not be up your alley.
I completely agree with you on No.9 park. It's a bit too pretentious for me. the service, the menu, the food...and I usually leave there hundreds of dollars poorer and still wanting a sandwich.
Tough request with all the great places you have visited but I will throw in in a few suggestions.
We visited CInquecento the second weekend and had a great meal with another couple, the sausage rigatoni and swordfish were really solid as was the grilled calamari. I was impressed with the quality of the pasta's and sauces, and I really like the new layout of the place.
I would also recommend IL Casale in Belmont, you would want to request a corner table maybe toward the front or back but I have been a few times when visiting family and I always come away impressed.
Myers and Chang might also be fun, the mussels and Nasi Goreng are two of my favorite dishes in the city. While not a traditionally romantic place it always has a warm comforting feel in the Winter Months for me.
Not sure if these will work but good luck. I was in the process of hunting around today for info on No. 9 Park as we are headed there tonight.....always wanted to try it...will report back current thoughts as I haven't seen much posted recently on it.
Funny - I'm not all that familiar with Boston restos, but when I saw your post, my first thought was Erbaluce. I really, really enjoyed my meal there, and the cocktail bar is nice, too.
I did not find the food to be precious, and both a rabbit and quail dish were absolutely fantastic.
I recommend it to everyone I know who visits Boston.
Have you been back to Taberna de Haro since she doubled the size of the space and added cocktails?