Thanksgiving weekend poses all sorts of traumatizing tantalizing social possibilities. It’s time for high-school reunions and "see how attractive I am now that I got Lasik!" trysts with ex-paramours. It’s time to pass out drunk beneath the crookedly hung Phish poster in your childhood bedroom. It’s time to introduce your hirsute/vegan/banjo-strumming boyfriend to your Great Aunt Agnes and hope for the best.
Thankfully, we live in a city rife with possibilities for every Thanksgiving occasion. Here now, a few of our recommendations.
Where to go if…
You’re Introducing Your Boyfriend/Girlfriend/Mate to Your Parents for the First Time: You want someplace soothing and sedate, with plenty of windows should you opt to jump out of one. You also want a spot with a wide variety of parent-pleasing menu options and potent cocktails. Lil’ bit pricy, because they’re paying. Good location, too, as you’ll go your separate ways right after the check arrives.
May we suggest: Deuxave, Bistro du Midi, Post 390, Rialto, The Butcher Shop, Woodward
You Want to Show Your Old Boyfriend/Girlfriend/Mate How Cool/Edgy/Covetable You Are Now (No Intention of Getting Back Together, You Merely Desire Revenge): In this case, you’ll want to opt for a spot with menu items far more wild and crazy than whatever was served at your hometown Applebee’s. You want to suggest someplace sleek, yet comfortable; envelope-pushing, yet vaguely frisky. Tristesse? Melancholy? hangs in the air.
May we suggest: Coppa, Estragon, Rendezvous, Regal Beagle, Tu Y Yo, UpStairs on the Square
You Want to Show Your Former Paramour How Lust-Worthy You Are (Strong Possibility of Getting Back Together): In this case, the above applies, but you also want dim lighting, a slinky atmosphere, strong drinks, and/or easy access to a hotel room.
May we suggest: The Brahmin, Lolita, Red Lantern, the bar at Clio
You’re Hanging Out With High School Friends With Whom You Have Nothing in Common: Everyone wants to head into the "city," and you’ve been elected to pick the restaurant! You need to feign interest in your 7th-grade biology partner’s traumatic childbirth story, and you need help. Ergo: Select someplace boisterous, lively, and with great people-watching … because you’ll surely sink into a coma when people pull out iPhone photo albums of their new deck renovations. Great food softens the blow.
May we suggest: Island Creek, Parlor Sports/Trina’s Starlite Lounge, Sweet Cheeks, Temazcal, Toro
You’re Hanging Out With High School Friends, and You Actually Want to Catch Up: Your friend just returned from three years in the Peace Corps. Someone else just emerged from law school without suffering a nervous breakdown. You want someplace with tasty food, unobtrusive service, a quiet dining room, and plates designed for sharing.
May we suggest: Helmand, Peach Farm, Sofra, Teranga, Tres Gatos
Your Hostile Spinster Aunt Told You That You Look Fat or Tired: You need greasy food. You need to be surrounded by people who won’t judge. You need alcohol or a shotgun.
May we suggest: Cantab, Charlie’s Kitchen, Drink, the bar at Craigie on Main, Green Street, Lucky’s Lounge
Your Grandparents Are Here!: These lovely people crave nothing more than a nice relish tray and hot dinner rolls. Your grandfather will calculate the tip using a card in his "billfold" and then slip you a crisp $10 for gas.
May we suggest: Grill 23, Geoffrey’s, Jimmy’s, Locke-Ober, No. 9 Park
Your Dad, Who’s Still Afraid of the Combat Zone, Wants to Talk About Something "Important": He’s either divorcing your mother or wants to know why you haven’t held a steady job since 2009. Simplicity is key here. Simplicity, fast service, beer, and foods that lend themselves to nervous snacking.
May we suggest: Jacob Wirth, Union Oyster House, Redbones, Salty Pig
With luck, these suggestions will help you soldier through the weekend, fortified by good food and strong drink. If you have tips of your own, please let us know in the comments. Best of luck. (And no, you don’t look tired.)