I know Noir (in the Charles Hotel) isn't everyone's favorite, but you may have seen that they're having this 12345 special on weeknights from 5-7PM. You can get a cookie for $1, salad for $2, skewer for $3, flatbread for $4 and sandwich for $5. And it's regular sized and choice of menu! They've got some pretty interesting choices too. Bacon/ricotta/caramelized onion flatbread wasn't quite a Sandrine's flammekuche but pretty tasty, nice spinach salad w/ goat cheese/pear/walnuts, 6 little chicken skewers marinated w/ ginger and lime and a duck confit sandwich that would have been so much better with some butter or oil on the grilled bread, but pretty good nonetheless. We ended with choc. cookies straight from the oven, yum. I had a peach martini and glass of pinot grigio ($11 and $8, good pour of wine, decent "martini"). Friend had two dirty martinis and a cab ($12 and $10, martini not the best, he loved the cab). Pretty friendly service but one drink screw up. Not packed which surprised me, altho she said it was slower than it had been since they started this special. If you could do it with one glass of wine, you'd get out of there for less than the $69 we did, but it was a good overall experience.
Another good deal was Tues. nite, the newish Athans in Brighton Center. The space is so much bigger and more pleasant than I thought it would be. Altho they really need to put a menu in the window (and hours) because at first glance, you just assume it's a coffee/dessert cafe. But the back section is for dinners, pleasant, high ceilings, nice service. Many interesting choices of hot and cold sandwiches and about 8 entrees, all of which sounded good. Friend had lamb shank after being told they were out of steak. Huge amount of well cooked lamb, sides were okay not great (spinach something, can't remember, $12.95). I went with a grilled prosciutto/cheese/pear sandwich ($6.95) which I still give fairly high marks to despite the quality of the prosciutto, it was pretty poor. I couldn't bite into it and tried to make it go with the grain and all sorts of maneuvering, just too tough. But the execution was good and I know a different meat would have been better. Ordered a side of their fried potatoes ($2.50) which is not quite a chip, not quite Portugese style fried potatoes. More chip like but good. We split the figo dessert, a mousse like cake with fig and chocolate that was very good and something you don't normally see. People here had complained about the desserts lately but this was moist and delicious. Definitely will try again.