On Saturday night, Gabby and I treated ourselves to a classy dinner date. One of my favorite places in Boston is the Omni Parker House hotel on School Street downtown. It was the hotel I stayed in when I first visited Boston to check out schools, it’s where I said goodbye to my family on my first day of college, and it’s full of rich Bostonian history. About a year ago, I took Gabby to Parker’s Restaurant in the lobby of the hotel for her first taste of Boston cream pie, and I figured it was about time to treat her to another Parker House experience.
The vibe of Parker’s restaurant is comfortable and timeless. The wood-paneled walls and brown leather booths are reminiscent of another time, much like the rest of the hotel; it feels like you’ve walked straight into a Don Draper/Mad Men business lunch. This is the kind of place with more forks than I know what to do with, and beautifully embroidered tablecloths over dark wooden tables, but I’ve never felt uncomfortable there. We were the only patrons there under 50, but we never felt out of place.
Our waiter was a huge part of the reason we felt so comfortable. He was always smiling and his heavy Italian accent was endearing. He was attentive and sweet, even though he was managing two other fairly large parties across the room. The other waiter who brought our bread and dessert and refilled our water glasses was extremely nice and really funny. The wait staff is definitely a strong suit of Parker’s.
The wait staff may be a strong suit, but the food and the history are Parker’s trademarks. In addition to the table in the corner where JFK proposed to Jackie, Parker’s Restaurant also proudly flaunts its status as the home of Parker House rolls and Boston cream pie. We thoroughly enjoyed both. I ate three rolls before they even had a chance to cool down! We ordered a New England clam chowder to start, which was delicious although I have to say I’ve had better. Gabby ordered the seared branzini with fennel, cherry tomatoes, and lemon butter. I ordered the filet mignon which came with mashed potatoes and grilled asparagus, in a demi-glace sauce. Gabby enjoyed the branzini — both the taste and the challenge the bone-in serving presented — and my steak was perfectly cooked and juicy. The asparagus wasn’t the best, but the mashed potatoes were creamy, thick, and delicious. I ate as much as I could, and loved every second of it. For dessert, our Boston cream pie was borderline orgasmic, and a perfect way to end the night. I would have gladly eaten three of those as well.
Gabby wasn’t feeling particularly adventurous with the drink menu that night, and opted for a glass of Kendall-Jackson chardonnay instead. She enjoyed it enough to order another one while I was in the bathroom, so I’m guessing it was a successful choice. Just a reminder — and a selfish celebration — just a little over a week left until my 21st birthday, after which I will be able to contribute much more to this section of our posts.
Like I said, Gabby and I were looking to treat ourselves, so this place falls into the high price category. Between my filet mignon, Gabby’s two glasses of wine, and our decision to order three courses, the bill was over $100. But every bite was worth it. If you’re looking for a really nice date night or an expensive celebratory meal, this is the place.
Price Classification: Blow-Half-Your-Paycheck Swanky
The atmosphere, the excellent wait staff, and the rich history (Ho Chi Minh used to be pastry chef here and Malcolm X briefly worked as a busboy here as well), bump this place up a few points. The food was good, but not completely excellent, and that means we give it a 9 out of 10. It’s always a pleasurable overall experience at Parker’s Restaurant, and that’s almost as important to us as perfect food.
Parker’s Restaurant in the Omni Parker House hotel, 60 School Street, Boston