So my family of 7 plus a baby dined successfully last weekend, with no major glitches.
Went to Schwarma King at Coolidge Corner with my brother and his girlfriend. We were unimpressed by the schwarma plate (the schwarma is better in sandwich form because it is kind of dry on its own), but they loved the hummus and cucumber/tomato salad, plus the pickles, and the moulabiyeh desert. I never would have tried this one, but it's delicious. It's a pistachio and rosewater-flavored white custard, very cool and refreshing. These two have very high standards when it comes to middle eastern food, so their thumbs-up was gratifying.
The next day I took the whole fam out for a quick pizza lunch at Il Panino on Mass Ave. between Central and Harvard. Not bad at all, large pizzas with a thin-ish crust and not too much cheese. It was a hit, especially the basil and cheese pizza.
That night we decided to go to Dok Bua, and everyone loved it. The duck larb was amazing that night. The tofu in all the dishes was pretty dry and tasteless - I think I'll avoid it in the future. We had mango curry (always a favorite), pad pring khing (chicken and green beans in chili sauce), some wide noodle dish, quite a good pad thai, that's all I can remember. It was a big success and the staff was congenial as ever about the baby, etc.
The last night I was stumped about where to take my parents out to dinner, just us 3. We ended up at the B-Side Lounge. It was pretty good but so expensive! (Entrees all around $18 I think) I thought the list of entrees was really short and nothing really appealed to me, so I ordered a scallops appetizer with a side of mashed potatoes. Quite good. Nice presentation. My dad liked his special of striped bass on celery root puree or some such.
If it were up to me, I would spend $3 more per entree and go up the street to Oleana, where the atmosphere is a lot more pleasant. (It's so dark in the B-Side!) But my parents aren't really into the fancy-restaurant thing, so they dug it. I'm glad I checked it out but I would not choose it as a dinner destination.