Welcome back to Urban Dating: Easy & fun date ideas from urban experts!
Who: MC Slim JB, a long time Boston resident who was born in New England.
Why you should listen to him: MC Slim JB is a restaurant critic for several publications including the Boston Phoenix. He writes under the pen name MC Slim JB, an alias that reflects a long-ago youthful interest in old-school hip-hop.
Dating Advice from a Food Nerd: “From my dating days to married life, being a food geek who knows lots of good places to eat and drink has proven invaluable for cultivating romance. For a first or second date, I recommend meeting somewhere for a drink, followed by dinner. You want to keep it simple, have a conversation in a convivial setting, get to know each other. I also favor having an idea for a nightcap in your back pocket, so you can extend the evening if it’s going well without committing the faux pas of being a table camper at the restaurant.”
Central Square is easy to get to, has cheap parking for someone driving in, and has tons of Cambridge’s famously casual, laid-back, youthfully hip atmosphere. The bar at Green Street (the restaurant) is always buzzing with an eclectic crowd, and the drinks menu reflects that audience, with great beers, inexpensive but quality wines by the glass, and a craft-cocktail ethos that will satisfy even serious cocktail geeks. (Ask for the “big list” for a dazzling selection of historical cocktails.)
After a pop here, head around the corner to Mary Chung, a local Chinese institution, serving slightly Westernized versions of Sichuan and Hunan cuisine. It’s bare-bones, affordable and delicious. Standouts include suan la chow show (pork-filled steamed dumplings on top of bean sprouts in a fiery soy-based sauce), dun dun noodles (wheat noodles in a spicy sauce of ground pork – stir it up well before sharing), and Grandma’s pie (usually on the specials menu, a scallion pancake stuffed with minced bok choy). There’s also plenty of well-executed American-Chinese dishes like General Gau’s chicken and crab rangoon to satisfy more timid taste buds. Closed Tuesdays.
For a nightcap, head across the street to Brick & Mortar, located upstairs through an unmarked door just to the left of Central Kitchen. This dimly-lit hideaway, with its sinuous copper-topped bar and vinyl album sides spun by the bartenders, features more great drinks for every taste, including some dangerously smooth chilled shots: try a Double Wide (Jack Daniels and Coca-Cola syrup).
First Date Recommendation by MC Slim JB
- Green Street, 280 Green Street, Cambridge, MA 617.876.1655
- Mary Chung, 464 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, MA 617.864.1991
- Brick & Mortar, 569 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, MA 617.491.5599
Thanks MC Slim JB for your simple & fun date ideas! Keep an eye out for more of our urban experts best date tips on our CMB Blog!