Feast and Fete
As its name suggests, the Brahmin, which opened last summer, is all about the Boston of yore. Modeled after a Back Bay brownstone — it features exposed-brick walls, chandeliers, and tufted brown banquettes — this place calls to mind a New England manse at the turn of the 19th century. But everything else is thoroughly modern, including the shared plates — tuna tartare and steak frites, among others — and the flirty cocktails. With seating for nearly 100, it’s old-meets-new done right. >> 33 Stanhope St., Boston, 617-723-3131, thebrahmin.com.
This Newton restaurant, which has space for 38 in its semiprivate dining room, is stunning in its simplicity. The walls are adorned with black-and-white photographs of local farms. Sheer curtains let in natural light in the early evening. There’s no blaring music, no kitschy decorations, no over-the-top décor, and no glaring color schemes. Instead, the focus is on chef Michael Leviton’s French bistro cuisine, made from locally sourced ingredients whenever possible. That means delicacies like a Northeast Family Farms hanger steak served with exotic mushrooms and balsamic vinegar sauce, or Rhode Island fluke tartare with soy-sesame vinaigrette. With food and ambiance like this, it’ll be love at first sight. >> 1293 Washington St., Newton, 617-244-9199, lumiererestaurant.com.