The $20 Challenge: Newbury Street

Originally posted May 1, 2007. We could go for some Oreo ice cream right this second.

In “The $20 Challenge,” we face the daunting task of eating three square meals in Boston’s most expensive areas for a mere Jackson. As always, we recommend ordering water and getting your meal to go to avoid the expense of a tip.

Who can resist the unabashedly consumerist charms of Newbury Street? With its pretty lining of trees and gorgeously mismatched brownstones, it’s certainly one of the world’s quainter shopping meccas. The best part is that there’s something for everyone. Flush with cash? Head down to the end nearest the Public Garden and drop in on Versace and Chanel. Not so much? Stop into H&M; or saunter to the end near Mass Ave and check out the amazing sales at Jasmine Sola. In food, just as in fashion, Newbury Street can cost a small fortune, but the experience can also be had on the cheap. Behold: a full day of eating on Newbury Street for a mere $13.50.

Breakfast: Rebecca’s Cafe may be ubiquitous, but that doesn’t mean that they don’t make a damn fine apple turnover ($1.95). Grab one to go and eat it on a bench outside to take advantage of Boston’s best people-watching.

Lunch: After a morning of serious shopping, treat yourself to a sit down lunch at Steve’s Greek Cuisine, where the prices are so incredibly outrageous that you can indulge in a bacon cheeseburger ($3.25), a Diet Coke ($1.25) and some falafel cubes ($1.45) without breaking the bank. Just the fortification you need before an afternoon of gallery-hopping.

Dinner: The issue with eating cheaply is that far too often, you need to sacrifice atmosphere for value. Fortunately, this is decidedly not the case at Shino Express Sushi. As soon as you step down the stairs into the inconspicuous room nestled into a small crook near the corner of Newbury and Dartmouth, you feel transported to Japan, to a tiny local place that tourists would never think to check out. Feel very pleased with yourself for knowing the secret as you enjoy a tekka roll ($2.50 for six pieces) and a hamachi roll ($2.50 for six pieces). Though the sushi is mind-blowingly inexpensive, it’s pretty good, as is the service.

You’ve probably used up a little bit of the remaining $6.50 on tips at this point, but we’re willing to bet that you have a little left over for some ice cream at J P Licks. May we recommend a small dish of the Oreo? Mmm. Thrifty.

Rebecca’s Cafe [Official Site]
Steve’s Greek Cuisine [MenuPages]
Shino Express Sushi [Official Site]
J P Licks [Official Site]

The $20 Challenge: Newbury Street