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Boston Area Brookline

Unbearably poor service at Pomodoro Brookline

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Unbearably poor service at Pomodoro Brookline

BK | Jan 8, 2005 11:42 AM

Okay, maybe I shouldn't be surprised. I've loved the original Pomodoro since I was introduced to it 10 - 12 years ago. And having eaten there as may times as I have, it's no surprise that (a) the dining room is cramped and hot, (b) there's no bathroom, (c) the wine list is "red or white," (d) there's no dessert, (e) it's cash only, and (f) the service is a bit surly. And even knowing all of that, the food is so good I can't help but love the place.

So, when my fellow hounds alerted me to Pomodoro opening up two doors down from Matt Murphy's, I headed over that very same day for a terrific dinner, which I dutifully posted about. I couldn't help but be overwhelmingly pleased with the fact that the food was every bit as good, the menu was expanded, the dining room was lovely, there's a bathroom, a cocktail list, a wine list, and even a chocolate mousse dessert served gratis. All this and it's a stone's throw from home.

One week later I took my parents there for dinner, and had what was potentially an even better meal. We ordered cocktails, two apps, and 4 entrees, and Siobahn brought out a few surprises: two full servings of wonderful bruschetta and a heaping bowl of mussels on the house. The food was all wonderful, the service cordial, we left thrilled.

This brings me to last night. It's 6:00 on Friday, kind of crummy out, we don't have a reservation, but what the heck, it's nearby, let's go see if we can get a table. There are a few empty when we walk in, and Siobahn asks if we have a reservation. We say "no," she looks at her list, looks around the dining room, and says, "Give me 5 minutes, why don't you wait over at the bar." Pleasantly surprised, we ordered two cocktails and were served a lovely bread basket, olives and olive oil with our drinks, and were pretty pleased with ourselves.

15 minutes later, there's a table for two ready, the bartender asks if we'd like another drink, we decide we'll wait until we're seated, and then notice that they're seating another party of two at said table. Hmmm. Maybe they had reservations. It's only been 15 minutes, nothing to complain about, there are other 2-tops that should turn over soon.

Now the entrance is starting to fill up with people waiting to be seated. We've been here 30 minutes. I should say something. But, there a 2-top opening up. Surely they'll seat us now. Nope. They seat someone else. Okay I have to say something.

Now the guy standing next to me while eating (clearly a friend or vendor of some sort) says something to Siobahn, and she finally approaches me and asks, "What was your name?" So much for recognizing me. I say, "Brian," she looks at her list, and says, "I'm sorry, we'll have a table for you. Give me 10 minutes."

Now I'm thinking maybe we should just cut our losses and leave. The bartender asks if we'd like another drink, and at this point it's exactly what I need.

15 minutes later the couple eating at the bar to our left is paying their check. The bartender asks, "Would you like to eat at the bar?" At this point, eating at the bar sounds a lot better than continuing to wait for a table. We say sure, he starts clearing the space for us, and Siobahn arrives over his shoulder and says, "I'm gonna have a table for them in a minute." Okay, even better. So, they seat another party of two at the bar.

Now we see the 2-top we're waiting on. Two women in their 50s or 60s, desserts in front of them untouched, exchanging gifts. Oh boy. This isn't good.

But wait, there's another 2-top opening up, there we go. No, someone else is being seated there.

How long have we been here? Jeez, it's been an hour. We should just go.

"I'm gonna make some room for you at the bar." Oh boy.

So, we're finally seated at the end of the bar in a spot that has been occupied by cocktail garnishes from the moment we arrived.

We still love the restaurant, and maybe they'll make it up to us. Maybe they'll send out a free app or two.

Nope.

Well, maybe something special with our entrees?

Nope.

Surely they'll comp us something on the tab.

Nope.

The sad thing is, we tipped them 20% and didn't complain about a thing from beginning to end. Maybe I should have said something. Maybe I should print this out and mail it to Siobahn. Or maybe it's just the way she runs her restaurant. Oh well. I do love the food.

BK

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