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Nov 10, 2013 05:22 PM

A Chowhound Challenge: Older, Finicky Theatre District edition

Greetings, savvy hounds! Hoping for some dining advice in or near the Theatre District -- an area I don't know well.

My parents are taking us to a matinee for Hanukkah, followed by a nice dinner out, on a Saturday in December. There will be a group of six: My somewhat older parents, a sister and brother-in-law in from the Midwest (but sis is Boston native), and Mr. Swank and myself.

Looking for a tasty, satisfying group dinner spot for about 5:30pm on a Saturday that could cater to a small and perhaps finicky group that doesn't want to overspend. Parents are on a somewhat fixed budget (and they are treating); more than budget, they have a very set version of what quality means. They are not into ethnic cuisine. They are willing to spend but not for food they find "weird" or confusing. I suggested Chinatown (they do like Chinese) and they said no. For some refernece, previous city meals with them have been L'Osteria North End, or 75 Chestnut. They are big fans of The Cottage in Wellesley.

My sister and brother-in-law are adventurous but sort of want to "see Boston." Sis hasn't lived here in 20 years, bro-in-law is from Chicago and a steak and potato like to take them to a newer place that feels urban and unique. They would do Chinatown, but parents aren't having it.

Any ideas? Mr. Swank and I will eat anywhere or anything. Walking distance of WANG Theatre would be good.

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      1. With the caveat that I haven't been there in quite awhile, have you looked at Teatro? It's more urban than L'Osteria but safe for the not-adventurous. It used to be quite loud, but perhaps not at that hour. Davio's would probably fit the bill food-wise but is more pricey. Neither is new, but I haven't been impressed by the 'new' places I've tried down that way (which is not to suggest I've tried everything!).

        1. Teatro or Troquet. My mother is also picky and set in her ways re: food. Will not eat anything " ethnic" either ( would rather chew off her own arm than eat anywhere in Chinatown) and nowhere with staff younger than 30. Is always an issue. Best of luck!

          1 Reply
          1. re: Kat

            Troquet is really spendy ...

            This is quite a challenge. Does it have tone within walking distance?

          2. J.J. Foley's might work. It would probably be my first choice given your restrictions. Da Vinci is upscale and good Italian and provides a different direction. Bistro du Midi is probably a little pricey for your folks, but check out the menus. I have not eaten at Abby Lane but it has the distinct advantage of being right across the street from the Wang and looks pretty mainstream.

            19 Replies
            1. re: teezeetoo

              Foley's was my thought too. A little casual but old school Boston. Easy walk if its not freezing. Easy for the Brother-in-Law and not pricey.

              Probably no issues seating which there can be at Myers & Chang ( or thats my experience).

              Picco isnt far but it seems to always be full.

              1. re: hyde

                Are you serious? This sounds like a horrible idea to me. Old, finicky parents who like The Cottage in Wellesley, out for a Hanukkah celebration post matinee... and you'd send them to JJ Foley's? It's a great place to grab some beers and OK bar food, nothing more.

                Not to mention that walk to the South End location is godawful. (DTX location is a bit closer I think).

                Maybe Kingston Station would work. Foley's? No way.

                  1. re: MC Slim JB

                    The Kingston St Foley's has a much more stripped-down food menu than the South End though, mostly just basic bar appetizers and sandwiches. Definitely not "a nice dinner out".

                    1. re: LeoLioness

                      And in fact there is no business connection between the various Foley's establishments around town (which include J.J. Foley's Fireside Tavern in JP, Foley's liquor store in Brookline, and Foley's Backstreet Grille in Stoughton).

                      I believe the owners of the DTX and South End Foley'ses are cousins, but that's it.


                      1. re: MC Slim JB

                        Interesting--I thought that at least the South End/DTX locations shared owners, but that explains the wildly different food approaches.

                  2. re: Beachowolfe

                    I guess you are right.

                    I was thinking of my parents who into their 80's would have found the place a hoot and would have laughed out loud that you find a walk of 800 yards "godawful".

                    Also beer, and i dont think their food is that bad.

                    Sue me.

                    1. re: hyde

                      thinkin about it... how much are you worth?

                      1. re: hyde

                        How is it 800 yards from the Theatre District to E. Berkeley Street? And it's not a pretty walk that you could enjoy, like the walk to Bistro du Midi or Troquet.

                        1. re: MartyF1112

                          A little over half a mile, a 10-12 minute walk. Two quick stops on the Silver Line bus. That stretch is a little desolate at night.


                          1. re: MartyF1112

                            It was a guess. I lived in the neighborhood for ten years and its a two minute bike ride. One block up on E. Berk and all the way up Tremont, 1/2 mile +, around 800 yards or so. It is NOT "much farther".

                            In NYC one walks this far to buy a newspaper.

                            I will concede that its not a pretty walk, which is why they put the gallows here.

                            My point was my view is skewed as my parents would have not thought twice about the walk.

                            1. re: hyde

                              It's not an especially safe walk. I have worked in the area for 25 years.

                              1. re: Bellachefa

                                Then you remember when it was REALLY bad.

                                I will restate.

                                "Though not a particularly pretty walk and possibly questionable late at night, the walk from jjFoleys to the Wang Center is about 1/2 a mile and should take no more than 10 minutes."

                                Thats it. Im out.

                                1. re: hyde

                                  I had two joint replacements in my forties. walking distance is very person dependent. When I could walk, I walked miles upon miles and also ran miles. Now after my third joint replacement, I am lucky to walk a block.

                                  1. re: hyde

                                    I suggested Foley tfirst so let hyde off the hook! I was thinking of the Kingston Street one which is exactly 800 meters (1/2 a mile). If you are mobility-challenged, that's maybe more than you want to walk. I had thought of J.M Curleys but that's closer to 3/4 of a mile. Swank will know if his family would comfortably walk either distance. Bistro du Midi and Teatro seemed too pricey for his question re: his family picking up the tab. I also suggested Da Vinci which I think has a less expensive pre-theater and is definitely closer. So sue me! I'm not really getting the deep investment in the distance issue as it's always a personal matter how far you want to walk. I tend to assume folks check this out for themselves and also recommend they check out menus for anyplace they are considering. Seems reasonable to me.

                                2. re: hyde

                                  actually, the gallows were further down -- closer to what is now malden st.

                                  and obvz the whole area looked nothing like it does now.

                              2. re: hyde

                                Its MUCH farther than 800 yards from the Wang to JJ Foley's on E. Berkeley St.

                                And a crappy/creepy walk at night.

                              3. re: Beachowolfe

                                Imagine if they suggested taking the T as well! Horrors!