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Special Dinner for 2 in Boston?

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For my husband's 40th in August, we'll be taking the long trip over the Charles from Somerville and are staying at XV Beacon. I'm looking for a dinner venue that's close-ish (not looking to head back over the river, but anywhere in Back Bay, S End, N End, etc) would be fine.

It's a special dinner, and I'm happy to splurge, but I don't want stuffy (No 9 Park - tho maybe for cocktails only) or scene-y. Just great food in a comfortable (but special) environment. He loves steak, Italian, French, American, just not seafood.

Some ideas that came to mind and new to us were: Hamersley's, Moo, Sorellina, Mistral. Places I've tried and might consider going back to if I can't find someplace new (want to take advantage of a date night!): Mamma Maria, Grill 23, Erbaluce.

I feel a bit ridiculous asking for advice given that we live so close, but we have little ones and tend to stay in the Camberville area. If it helps, some favorites in our area are Oleana, Ten Tables and North by Northeast.

Thanks for the help!

PS - The first birthday we celebrated together was in 1998, and we went to Marcuccio's. Oh, how I would love to replicate their food!

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  1. Grill 23 always works for me, a guaranteed sure shot, never a risk.

    1 Reply
    1. re: treb

      I second Grill 23. We've had 3 anniversary dinners there and never been disappointed. It's quieter upstairs, if that's important.

    2. I like Hamersley and Sorellina, still love L'Espalier, and like Lucca on Huntington and Deuxave. Lots of good choices.

      1. Since you mention Marcuccio's, you might want to consider Erbaluce since Chuck Draghi the chef/owner was a worked there...

        http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/610337

        1 Reply
        1. re: FoodTruth

          Indeed, that was what got me to Erbaluce the first time about a year ago. I really enjoyed it (despite really, really inattentive service), but it just didn't seem as inventive and original to me as Marcuccio's did. Then again, I experienced Marcuccio's when I was really just beginning to appreciate good food, so maybe my memory of it is more than it should be!

        2. Sorellina is the perfect place for a 40th birthday. You could walk to or from if it's a nice night. Or take the subway/cab to the Hawthorne in Kenmore for a good cocktail and walk to Sorellina from there.