Table Talk Online + This Week's Edible Events

Zagat‘s 2011/2012 Boston Restaurant survey dropped last week and with it some interesting news about the Boston dining scene. We were interested to hear that the average price of a meal in Boston went down very slightly. (Ok, it was only about eight cents… but still.) Tim Zagat pointed out that fact during an award’s breakfast last week before handing out plaques to this year’s most highly rated restaurants (more on those below). He said the average check decrease was “likely due to the number of new restaurants opening with lower menu prices. They’re holding down the price on average around town.” Do we have affordable spots like Citizen Public House and American Craft to thank for that? Whatever the reason, we’re big fans of scoring great dining deals (see our May issue on stands this week) so we welcomed the news.

He also noted that service is still Boston’s number one pet peeve with about 65% of customers here complaining about it when they dine out. His recommendation? The industry needs to follow the lead of the culinary school trend and start creating more professional front-of-house training programs. While service training programs do currently exist, he says there aren’t nearly enough to produce or match the talent that is currently coming out of culinary schools.

But back to those well-rated restaurants.
For the ninth year in a row, Legal Sea Foods takes top honors as the city’s “most popular restaurant” while Menton won the No. 1 spot for decor and service and O Ya got a whopping 29 points for its food. When we brought the news back to BoMag headquarters, eyebrows were raised. While everyone here appreciates a cup of Legal’s better-than-decent chowder, we were a little stunned to hear that it’s Boston’s most popular restaurant. Could it be that there is simply strength in numbers? Or do you agree that Legal’s is the coolest kid on the block? Drop us a line in the comments and weigh in.

This Week’s Edible Events

By: Katherine Brooks

4/25 – Chef Louie Night
Boston takes on New York at tonight’s Chef Louie Night. Chef Mike Bergin from L’Espalier is repping our fair city while Chef Jackie Kelly of Jerry Remy’s is holding up NY’s end. $5 from every ticket sale go to local food rescue non-profit Lovin’ Spoonfuls. ($48, 6 p.m. Jerry Remy’s Sports Bar & Grill, 1265 Boylston St., Boston. Visit for tickets.)

4/25 – Spice and the Art of Blending Class at Sofra
Oleana masterchef Ana Sortun teaches the importance of spices in Eastern Mediterranean cuisine. She will demo five dishes including hot pepper labne and za’atar, chicken bisteeya with cinnamon almonds, and lamb with toum and wild rapini. ($100, 6 p.m., Sofra Bakery and Café, 1 Belmont St., Cambridge. Call 617-661-0505 x17 for reservations.)

4/26 – Pork & Beer Dinner at Gaslight Brasserie
Chef Michael Zentner will guide diners through four courses of Berkshire pig, while Global Beer Network president Steven Villani presents five beers from his repertoire. ($50, 6:30-8:30p.m. Gaslight Brasserie, 560 Harrison Ave., Boston. Call 617-422-0224 for reservations.)

4/28 & 4/29 – 9 at Twelve Pop Up Restaurant
Home furnishings store Twelve Chairs is pairing up with Barbara Lynch’s 9 at Home for a five-course seasonal pop-up dinner with wine pairings. ($125, 6:30 p.m. reception, 7:30 p.m. dinner. Twelve Chairs, 319 A St., Boston. Call 617-742-9991 for reservations.)

4/29 – Royal Wedding High Tea at Aura
Enjoy wedding coverage on a flat screen while you sip tea and champagne and nibble on finger sandwiches, specialty pastries, and chocolate covered strawberries. ($39, 2-5 p.m., Aura Restaurant, 1 Seaport Ln., Boston. Call 617-385-4300 for reservations.)