Well, thanks for all the recs on the three places I listed, but, in the end we went to Il Cantinori. It was fabulous. Great meal, fantastic waiter. The support staff was lacking in skills, but the head waiter we had was one of the best, if not the best, I've ever had. So animated, made it such a delightful evening, even comped us a bottle of the Italian version of champagne... blanking on the name. We had barolo wine during the meal- excellent.
Anyways, the food was great. They started us off with an amuse bouche of italian bread soaked in tomato sauce. Terrific flavor in the sauce, great combo of garlic and tomato, with a little kick- just right. For apps, we got the chicken livers, grilled portabellos, caprese and I can't remember the others. The caprese was wonderful, fantastic buffalo imported mozzarella and fresh tomatoes. I have to say, my chicken livers were a bit overwhelming. The plate was packed with the things, probably slaughtered the whole henhouse for me. They were good, but I could have managed with 4 instead of 30. They were served on top of some arugala that accompanied well.
For the main course, I ordered the veal chop- this was the best veal chop I have ever eaten. Grilled simply with salt and pepper, this chop was juicy and bursting with fantastic flavor. It was very thick, probably 3 inches, and a great portion. Came with some spinach that I thought might be a little on the salty side, but I was too focused on the veal to really care. The other diners had the rib eye, veal scallopini which was alright, the lamb chops which were said to be fantastic, and the homemade pasta special, which was out of this world. The pasta was sooo tasty, handmade parpadelle (sp?), and the sauce was ground up spicy/sweet sausage with peas and some other stuff I can't remember. It was fantastic. We all eneded up ordering from the specials, which could have filled a menu by themselves.
For dessert, there was a tartuffo, a panna cotta, some tiramisu and profiteroles- all to rave reviews. I ordered the mixed berries, strawberries and blackberries, and requested a zabaglione to go with it, which wasn't on the menu, but that our waiter happily offered to make for me- it was great. My favorite kind of dessert, not being a chocoholic.
I loved the atmosphere of the place, with the cherry blossoms. We were seated up front by the window, so I didnt really get a good look at the bowels of the place, but I liked what I saw from the front. Not having seen the bill, I still know the damage was extensive- definitely a place to come to as a guest, or for a VERY special occasion, if you're on a budget. Overall, this was one of my favorite dining experiences to date, and would happily go back.
Thanks to all for the ny tips from this boston 'hound!