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Boston Restaurant Week - Ambrosia Angst

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Boston Restaurant Week - Ambrosia Angst

JBM | Aug 20, 2002 09:56 AM

Four friends and I visited Ambrosia last night as part of Boston Restaurant Week. While we had a great time together, I was completely underwhelmed by Ambrosia and by the food.

I'll start with the good: Loved the space and the décor. Very sexy, very chic. Quite comfortable bar area and very attentive and fun bartender. Our wait for 8:30 reservations was, maybe, five minutes.

This was a promising beginning.

We were seated at a reasonably private corner table, with views right out the big windows. The seats at Ambrosia are surprisingly comfortable and more than one of us noticed this small, yet important, fact.

Immediately taken aback by the wine list. I understand that Ambrosia is "high end," but every high end place I have been to in Boston has a few, token, inexpensive wines on the menu; Something in the high $20s, low $30. Ambrosia had one single red wine under $40. That just turns me off immediately, as I really enjoy wine and appreciate the steps that places like Troquet have made to make it more accessible.

The real trouble started when our apps arrived (for those who don't know: Boston Restaurant Week is $30.02 for a 3 course prix-fix menu). 2 of us ordered seared hamachi over a risotto, and 3 ordered salmon tartar over asparagus salad. I was given a salmon dish even though I ordered tuna. No big deal, obviously, and I mention to the runner that I ordered the tuna.

"This is the tuna," he tells me.

It is clearly not tuna. It is salmon. It is served on asparagus salad just as the salmon app is listed. I mention this. I even point out the three other salmon orders on the table AND the one tuna.

"Oh," he says and takes it away.

Again, no big deal. It's a Monday, they are getting slammed – I can deal.

10 seconds later a different runner comes over with the exact same plate of food as I had been given the first time and says: "Sorry about the mix up. Here's your tuna."

To cut a long story short, my table had to actually argue with the server about whether or not the dish was tuna before she took it away. Now, in his defense, our primary server was not involved in this and when he heard that my app was being re-cooked, he immediately came over and apologized.

Fine.

The apps were quite good though ridiculously small. My seared hamachi was actually 1 cm by 2 cm.

Next problem: main course. We waited 45 minutes between completing our apps and having our main courses arrive. That is far, far too long to be waiting.

Main courses at the table included pork chop and venison racks. The pork was quite good – nice sweet sauce. The venison was mediocre. Certainly not worth the wait.

Dessert, on the other hand (Crème Brule) was worth every minute we spent waiting at that table. Interesting design on it. Very wide and shallow so it was predominantly crispy topping. I loved it.

All in all, I was let down. Despite it being a "discount" night, we each ended up putting in $60. That was dinner, tip, tax and one bottle of wine, split five ways. The price would have been acceptable had the food been better (well, just the main course, really) and the pace of service faster. Our server was fine and I doubt the 45-minute wait had anything to do with him. The runners were unimpressive (see apps debacle). I had fun, as I was with good friends, but probably wont go rushing back. Too many other places in Boston that I haven't tried to waste my time somewhere that wasn't great.

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