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one dinner downtown

c
cambridgeMike Nov 13, 2013 10:27 AM

My brother is coming into town at the end of January, staying downtown. He has a work dinner at Marliave on Thursday night and I'm having the whole family over on Saturday night. I wanted one dinner downtown for just my wife, my brother, and I. We went to Menton last time he was in town but I'd rather not have something that expensive. He's staying at the Taj so somewhere either walking or a short cab ride would be best. In the recent past we've done Hammersly's and Bistro du Midi. Any other thoughts? It doesn't need to be formal but it should have great food and a good wine or cocktail program. I'm thinking maybe Troquet or perhaps Bogie's Place? I just moved back to Cambridge after 5 years away so I haven't been to too many new places.

  1. a
    addiez Nov 15, 2013 08:29 AM

    Erbaluce could be a fun option too!

    1 Reply
    1. re: addiez
      t
      teezeetoo Nov 15, 2013 11:51 AM

      Erbaluce is always one of my favorites downtown, but I don't recommend it any more unless I know the taste of the person I'm suggesting it to. There are too many people who seem puzzled by this chef's approach to Northern Italian food. I love it and am always surprised by a negative response to it but there just seem to be two entirely different set of tastebuds where this restaurant is concerned.

    2. k
      KevinJF Nov 14, 2013 06:37 PM

      I would go to Troquet. The wine program can't be beat, and I do not find it that formal.

      3 Replies
      1. re: KevinJF
        C. Hamster Nov 14, 2013 09:55 PM

        I love Troquet! And would recommend it .

        But I think it's one of the more " formal " restaurants in Boston. Which isn't saying much since we are not that formal.

        1. re: C. Hamster
          k
          KevinJF Nov 15, 2013 07:45 AM

          I was there last night for a 5:30 dinner. There were six male customers in the dining room; five without jackets. The owner/sommelier, Chris, never wears a jacket or tie.

          It is not "sceney" or loud, but this does not make it formal. I think the bar has been lowered so far. Many restaurants now have large bars, which frequently totally change the volume and vibe on a busy night. It also makes it so there are a lot of people at these restaurants who do not give a damn about the food, but are interested in members of the opposite sex. Troquet's format tends to attract an older and less boisterous crowd more interested in the food and wine than a night out on the town.

          Is the service more formal at Troquet? Maybe, but that's a plus in my book.

          1. re: KevinJF
            C. Hamster Nov 15, 2013 10:51 AM

            Service there is, too me, more formal.

            But one time it was very annoying, (Ive recounted this before) as our server acted as though he INVENTED cheese and literally tried to prevent us from selecting our own choices, despite our relative sophistication with the product.

            Still, it's a treat to eat there.

      2. opinionatedchef Nov 13, 2013 11:18 PM

        I would take them to Island Creek Oyster Bar, which may have opened just after you left. Terrifically popular w/ this board and long raves if you do a CH Search. It would be a beautiful 7 minute cab ride for them (R on Newbury, then R on Berkeley, ) L down Comm Ave - with all the trees lit up, just over Mass Ave to Kenmore Sq. Top service, stunning room that is large but @ table feels intimate, great raw bar and other dishes.

        1. d
          Duster17 Nov 13, 2013 01:58 PM

          Asta might be a good choice as well.

          1. b
            Bellachefa Nov 13, 2013 01:36 PM

            I might add Deaxave to your list if it comes down to finding a reservation and the others fall thru.

            Bogies might be fun. Let him think he is going to the front room, and surprise him with the back room.

            1. hotoynoodle Nov 13, 2013 01:24 PM

              troquet feels like a more formal night out with a top-notch wine program, if that's what you want. bogie's feels grown-up without being stuffy and the cocktail program is excellent. it's tiny though so make reservations asap.

              have you considered tavern road?

              1 Reply
              1. re: hotoynoodle
                C. Hamster Nov 13, 2013 02:44 PM

                We ate at Tavern Road last night and won't be hurrying back. They forgot one of our apps and the entrees were just so so. The pasta was really salty. Besides forgetting the app the service was great.

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