BOSTON These new restaurants in Boston have private rooms and semiprivate spaces for groups both big and small, appropriate for events, meetings, business dinners, presentations, and other types of entertaining.
1. Slated to open in August, Catalyst is one of many new restaurants in Cambridge’s Kendall Square. The venue offers modern American cuisine in a space designed for groups: The Crick, Franklin, and Watson rooms, along with the foyer, each accommodate 100 guests seated at rounds. Each room offers opaque glass sliding walls, which are soundproof, plus flat-screen televisions obscured by wooden panels. The dining rooms also have floor-to-ceiling windows, allowing for natural light. A heated patio can host cocktail receptions.
2. Noted Boston chef Michael Leviton opened Area Four in June. The space is anchored by two wood-fired ovens, which offset the sharp-lined, industrial space. French press coffeepots dangle from the ceiling and serve as light fixtures, while lab-style countertops play upon Kendall Square’s techie reputation. The menu is divided by small, medium, and large plates, and also offers pizza and soft-serve ice cream. Wine and beer is served from kegs. Custom menus for private and semiprivate events are available. A private café space, which holds long communal tables, can seat 20.
3. Pan-Asian restaurant and lounge Red Lantern debuted in June in the South End. It offers signature menu items such as wood-fired steaks, sushi rolls, dumplings, and wok dishes. Hand-collected seashells from Vietnam line the walls, while oversize Buddha statues dot the lounge and dining areas. Decorative birdcage lanterns dangle from the 22-foot ceilings. A private dining room accommodates 40 guests and has a 40-inch flat-screen TV, along with a sound system and microphones for speaking. The venue also houses a semiprivate raised area that can seat 70 guests.
4. The sleek 49 Social, which opened in May in Downtown Crossing, offers American fare such as boar sausage and braised rabbit in a multilevel space. A mezzanine seats 50. The venue also includes a chef’s table, which seats four to six guests and looks out over the first floor’s bar and dining area. Downstairs, a granite-walled lounge with recessed lighting and hanging candles can accommodate 50 for dinner.
5. Del Frisco’s, a collection of steak houses originating in Dallas, recently opened a restaurant at Boston’s Liberty Wharf. The vast space, wrapped with windows affording waterfront and downtown views, offers two private dining options. The Harbor Room seats as many as 25 guests and has a 60-inch plasma television. The larger Doulos Room, overlooking Northern Avenue, seats as many as 80 guests and offers a 120-inch projector screen.
6. The dark, gothic-style Lolita opened in the Back Bay in December. It’s known for a long roster of tequila cocktails and shareable taco, quesadilla, and nacho plates, as well as Latin-influenced entrées. The restaurant offers complimentary Wi-Fi, a sound system for DJ hookup, and audiovisual capabilities. The crimson-lit tequila bar, wrapped in red velvet walls and with hanging chandeliers, is available for rental as a semiprivate area. It seats 35 on plush red banquettes.
7. Inside the Renaissance Hotel in Boston’s Seaport District, 606 Congress welcomed a new chef, Rich Garcia, in November. His menu updates include offbeat items like beef hearts and octopus carpaccio. A private dining room with vaulted ceilings and floor-to-ceiling windows seats 30 guests and is surrounded with escalating wine racks. The private dining area can be split into two smaller rooms that seat eight or 12 guests.
8. Noted Boston chef Michael Schlow experiments with Latin American flavors at Tico, which opened in February. Schlow's small-plates menu lends itself to sharing, with dishes like roasted cauliflower with creamy chipotle and spicy shrimp tacos. The space is decorated with items culled from the chef's expeditions to various Latin American countries. A semiprivate dining room seats 40 guests.
9. Zocalo arrived on quiet Stanhope Street, edging the Back Bay, in June 2010. This June, noted restaurateurs Erwin and Ricardo Ramos united to update the small Mexican menu, which includes braised pork with chipotle sauce and duck legs with chocolate-chili sauce. With its own bar, the lounge can host private groups of 50 and is equipped with a separate sound system and a television. Tailored private event menus are available, and LED lights can be customized to complement an event’s color scheme.
10. Bina Osteria, a modern Italian restaurant within the Ritz-Carlton Residences, added a new chef in January. A sedate private dining room, separated from the main dining area by a sheer curtain, seats 12. Cocktail parties can also take place in the restaurant’s adjacent shop Alimentari, which is reminiscent of a European grocery.