Ahhh… the much needed and highly anticipated “girl’s night out”. How we DO look so forward to these! One of my very best friends and I try to get together on a somewhat regular basis, though it usually winds up being no more than a few times a year. She has a 2 year old as well… and while we keep saying we’re going to get together for more playdates and more dinners out, we rarely do. However, the summer is special for us because my birthday is in July and hers is one month later in August, so we generally get to see each other for TWO GNO’s, two months in a row!
Last night we tried The Foundation Lounge in Kenmore Square… http://www.thefoundationlounge.com/ It was our first visit and I had heard some good things about this place. It is located in the new Hotel Commonwealth and is known to cater to an “older crowd” (30 and 40-something yo hipsters)… which unfortunately, we belong to (both my girlfriend and I turn 40 next year).
When I arrived at 7:30, the place was DEAD… practically empty (and this was a Thursday night). I sat at the bar and had a mojito while I waited for my friend to arrive. The drink was pretty good… strong, but a bit too much lime for my taste (my second one was better though). Our reservations were for 7:30, but since the place was so quiet, we sat at the bar for an hour having drinks, munching on mixed nuts and catching up. We finally sat down to eat at 8:30 and decided to sit outside on the patio (despite the fact that this place is know for their “loungey” atmosphere). At 8:30, the place was still very quiet.
The menu here is very limited, with a small selection of Japanese tapas (“Zensai”), so we ordered four items to share. All four were very good. We had the salmon bruschetta ($15), hand made crab rangoon ($8), mini spring rolls ($14) and the spicy double tuna maki ($14). Between the four plates we had plenty of food… though a little over-priced. The spicy tuna wasn’t very spicy, but it was good none the less. The salmon was very fresh and was also a good sized portion… though, there weren’t enough “toasts” with it to cover all the salmon.
By the time we left, there were maybe 30 or so 20-something year old (BU?) students. Not really our idea of a more mature crowd… but this could be because the hostess told me they were having an Asian theme night. Perhaps during normal nights, when they have live jazz, or on the weekends the place is a bit more happening. I would have to try it a second time to determine its actual worthiness. However, that said… I would not consider this a date night place. It is more of a singles scene. So… I give The Foundation Lounge a 3 out of a possible 10 for DNW. Perhaps if you hit this place AFTER you had dinner someplace else… and cuddled up on one of the corner couches… you could have a nice wrap-up to date night.
Last month, for my b-day, we hit Ivy Restaurant in the Financial District… http://www.ivyrestaurantgroup.com/ This was my second visit to this place, as Dan (my husband) and I had shared our date night with another couple (and good friend’s of ours), who… you guessed it… have a two year old as well!
I like Ivy. They offer Italian inspired small plates and actually have over 60 bottles of wine that “are less than $26” (as they advertise). Good food and cheap wine always make for a good date night! Couple that with good ambience and yourself a DNW (date night worthy) restaurant. During my first visit there, with our friends, we were seated right across from the bar in one of their booths. While this location was okay, I wouldn’t recommend it for DN. A little too open and exposed to the bar and dining traffic. My second visit, during GNO, we were seated in the back of the restaurant. The ambiance was much better in this area.
Of the small plates I have tasted at Ivy, I can truly say I enjoyed most, if not all of them. AND… their martinis are VERY tasty! For food, I can personally recommend the roast red and gold beet salad with a warm goat cheese crouton ($9), arancini with fontina and black truffles (my personal favorite at $8), herb frites ($6), “three cheese” macaroni and cheese with truffle oil ($12) and the formaggio plate ($14). I believe I have tried some of the other plates as well, though they did not stand out the way these did. My dining partners have also enjoyed the Italian butcher block ($14) — I don’t eat red meat and VERY rarely eat any chicken or turkey — and the grilled lamb rack with mint pesto and lemon yogurt ($12).
Overall, I give Ivy a 9 out of a possible 10 on DNW (date night worthiness). A 9 because — if you get seated in the front of the restaurant it’s not all that romantic. However, keep in mind that downstairs they have the Cava Cocktail Lounge that you can always hit up for a nightcap and some smooching… if you can afford to keep the babysitter around for a few more hours…