Ate at Locke Ober downtown last nite and didn't have the problems the other poster did. Made a reservation with no mention of cancelling 48 h in advance, just got a call to reconfirm the reservation day of. And the valet parked the car right in the alleyway, so that wasn't a problem. They did want to seat us at the first/worst table but we got a better one (not sure why they'd do that since the room wasn't full). The food of course is overpriced with no sides coming with a meal, but it was very good. Started with a caesar and mesclun salad w/ goat cheese that was dressed just right ($9 and $10). The bread basket was varied and good. I got a delicious veal chop, nice light cream sauce and mushrooms. It actually had a small fritter on the side but it was too salty. Crisped duck was good and the basic sides of mashed potato and creamed spinach were fine ($36, 29 and $6 each). Got a classic Indian pudding w/ vanilla ice cream for dessert, a relative bargain at $7. Had a really nice waiter from Brazil. I was there only once three years ago and can't tell how spruced up it got, but if you like old school Boston places, you'll like this room. The bar area is kind of cool and they've got Cara from Vox Populi who's very good at her job.
Went to Pho Republique on Washington St. for the first time last week and it's definitely a hangout spot. We split tuna spring rolls, duck wings and a grilled shrimp/chow foon dish w/ peanut sauce ($8.50, 8 and $15). It was all pretty good, not sure if I can judge properly since I've been sick forever and the raw tuna was something I think I should have skipped. The menu was smaller than I expected. The lighting was really dark, but I guess when you're as much a bar as a restaurant, that makes sense (altho too dim lighting seems to be a bad trend in restaurants these days).
Got lunch at Jacob Wirth's, hadn't been there in about 14 years. The prices weren't super bargains (altho the fish cake special on Fridays is), but $9 got me a black forest ham and smoked gouda sandwich with their waffle fries. It's kind of a fun place, again if you want classic as opposed to hip. Also grabbed a quick sandwich at Boston Beer Works. We had a spicy chicken sandwich w/ fair fries and a lobster panini w/ greens for $9.50 which was a pretty good deal. The place was a zoo, half of Avalon was there before the Mission of Burma show, but service was fine. And lastly for those who crave good fried chicken, I suggest Johnny's Luncheonette. Went to the one in Cambridge and thought it was quite good, and a deal at $9.95 (lots of their menu is overpriced). You get two chicken breasts in a nice crispy corn flake type batter, a huge serving of skin on mashed potatos, a little cole slaw and too sour cranberry sauce. It was more bang for the buck than my friend's blintzes w/ bacon. Hardly anyone was there on a dreary Martin Luther King Day so we had most of the server's attention. I'd definitely go back for that meal.