Solo Mid-Week Dinners
I just searched for past threads on this topic, and seems time for a refresh. In the past I've had great solo bar meals at (no surprise) Craigie, ICOB, Coppa, Oleana, Strip Ts, Hungry Mother, and Highland Kitchen. I like the combination of friendly bartenders, small plate specialties, and (mostly) buzzing atmospheres at those places.
I'm looking to expand my horizons and / or check out some newer places. I work up in Burlington and live south of Boston, so basically anywhere in Boston, Cambridge or inside 128 works for me.
In Cambridge Central Square Rendezvous (bonus: Monday night tapas night), Green Street Grill (bonus: Wed. taco night), and Brick and Mortar. Easy parking at the Green Street Garage for all.
Sticking in Kendall Square West Bridge for their small plates.
Solo 5:30p mid-week is my favorite way to restaurant. I dig:
Saloon - order carefully, but the room is great
Rendezvous - I like the bartenders
The Blue Room - bartenders chat quietly
Gran Gusto - IF you're in the mood to chat with the host for a full fifteen minutes
Harvest - I think their bar service is their best service
Market by Jean Georges - one of their bartenders also teaches sometimes at CCAE, fun to chat cocktails with - Domingo something? He has interesting hair
Painted Burro - to my surprise, if you get there before it's crowded.
Sandrine's! - perfect bowl for a salad; it needs only a fork so you can hold your book. Staff very cool with solos and can either chat or leave you alone.
Sportello - particularly if you sit up front, so you can watch them cook.
For solo dining, I did _not_ dig:
Basho (one of the few places I've gotten single-diner stares from staff)
Chez Henri (nice for the cubano, but the bar's small and crowded)
Ten Tables Cambridge (I don't mind no bar, but staff seemed quite pressured and anxious)
First Printer (pretty crowded seats. haven't been since menu revamp)
writing this, I realized that I tilt strongly toward uncrowded rooms, a non-drinkin'-scene clientele, and medium-to-small rooms. Serious bias alert.
Some recent enjoyable bar-dining experiences: Sycamore (Newton Centre), Puritan & Co. (Inman Square), Franklin Cafe (South End), Franklin Southie, Estragon (South End), jm Curley's and also Bogie's Place (DTX), Steel & Rye (Milton), Shojo (Chinatown), Cinquecento (South End), Khao Sarn (Coolidge Corner), Vee Vee (JP), Daddy Jones (Magoun Square), Tres Gatos (JP), Park (Harvard Square), West Bridge (One Kendall).
These are all great ideas. I have also enjoyed solo bar meals at Posto in Davis and Abigail's on Third Street in Cambridge. Catalyst has a large bar, which seems busy and fun, but I have never eaten solo there, only at the tables with friends and family. I'm eager to try Puritan and Co.