I encamped at the bar with Don Carlos yesterday evening - The Don was a semi-regular of the old Amrhein's (and an original from Southie, before it was known ONLY as an Irish neighborhood) -
As we sidled up to the new bar at the one end of a very open dining space, we both remarked that it's a nice place, but not as good as the old place. Our bartender, with her sparkling cross necklace, took our orders...over the Don's Johnny Walker Black over ice, he remarked "nice place, but a little too fancy for the neighborhood..."
She responded, "That's why I'm here, to lower the class right back down to where it should be..."
The Don quipped, "We'll work this side of the bar, and you work that side..."
The Don is a wise man.
For apps: I ordered their clam chouder - the litmus test - filled with bits and pieces of clam, it had a decent taste - had some sort of crusty dumpling floating on top that added a little bit of crunch - also had sesame crackers which didn't quite fit - one or the other I think is better.
The Don ordered a mozzerella salad, with halved cherry or grape tomatoes, what looked to be some cress and balsamic - it was finished off.
For entrees: We both ordered the same special - a grilled tenderloin with blue cheese mashed and veggies... It was ok - the blue cheese was not even - sometimes you'd get slapped in the face with a strong bite, the next one bland -
Problem: Ordered medium-rare, medium for the Don - Don's was right on, just a little pink -
Mine was well done - still tasty, and frankly didn't care enough to send back, but implored our lovely bartender to fix that problem, because it really overcooked.
Dessert: Surprisingly good tiramisu tower - not the best I've had but had a great flavor.
The new Amrhein's is definitely stretching to be something different from its predecessor, and in that, something essential is lost - the pity is that it has become like a dozen other poser restaurants.
Amrhein's is sort of like remembering that great girl you knew, who was not that great looking, had her share of problems, but man was she fun to be around -
Now you're dating that skinny little hottie, but she's kind of shallow and just not as warm and inviting.
Not that that's a bad thing, necessarily...but the fondness for the old girl remains...
But who knows...with bartenders looking to bring the class of the joint back down, there may be hope yet that you can loosen her up a bit as time goes on.