Lacking a "go-to" restaurant
Mr. Swank and I explore various restaurants quite a bit, with and without the Young Swanks. But we're fair-weather diners. There are very few restaurants that we return to time and again, as regulars. We love dim sum brunch, but we're one in a cast of thousands. We're fans of places like Tenoch in Medford and Qingdao Garden. We love them dearly, but we're usually there for takeout or a fast meal.
I'm looking for the type of place to form a relationship. Where a waiter or host might remember us. Where a bartender might recall a favored drink. A place we could frequent every week or so, without getting bored.
Do you have a restaurant like this? If so - what is it?
The bar at No. 9 Park is like that, but I know my wallet couldn't handle a weekly dose of it. Others that come to mind are Rendezvous and Bergamot.
Also, there's a good phone app called OnTheBar, which lets you follow your favorite bartenders' whereabouts or find out who's manning the bar at your favorite restaurants.
We're getting cozy w. the Washington Sq Tavern in Brookline. The sirloin steak entree is fantastic. I've only had beer, wine & sangria so far. They have some great selections.
A friend of ours goes to Eastern Standard every week, sometimes more than once, for the reasons you mention. We tease her that she really needs to branch out...but she knows all the bartenders, and often goes there to have "lovely lunch" - a bit of this and that to nibble on and a drink or two. The bartenders are accommodating to requests & will make drinks that have rotated off the regular menu, or make up something new if she requests.
I second Eastern Standard. I always sit at the bar and it's 100% true that the bartenders remember you very quickly and are extremely accommodating (and it doesn't hurt that the drinks are second to none). The menu is extensive enough that you won't be bored...though you'll quickly find some favorites. There are other places I like just fine for weekly visits but none can match ES for the consistent warmth of their service.
We are lucky to have 3 in rotation, sitting at the bar.
Sycamore for cocktails, wine and excellent bar snacks and sides.
Lineage for wine, oysters and Chef's whim dinner to share.
Brewer's Coalition for craft beers and mussels.
Best reason we love these places is that we can get home on the Green Line or bus #11 (walk!). No need to worry about drink and drive!