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Restaurants & Bars 37

Franklin Cafe: I DON'T GET IT

Mike5966 | Jan 31, 201108:27 PM

This is a rant.

I know Chowhound is supposed to be about steering people who love good (highbrow and lowbrow) food to places they will love, and I am all about that 100%. But as a corollary, hounds should try to steer fellow hounds away from places they find abominable.

To me, Franklin Cafe in the South End is one of them. I live four doors down from this place on Shawmut and desperately wanted to like this place (I know MC Slim JB and others hate this sentiment/phrase, but sometimes it is truly how one feels) because it could have been my tried and true neighborhood joint! The amount of love people gave them on these boards was striking even when I wasn't paying any particular attention. I was hopeful and excited. I tried their fried chicken. I tried their steak frites, their steak tartare, their mussels, their salmon, their cod, their old menu, their new menu... everything, and honestly, I cannot name a place that I dislike more in Boston.

Soups (every single one I tried) are too salty. Fries are greasy, not crispy at all. Steak tartare was just plain bad, like a cacophany of condiments with the perfunctory texture of raw beef. The butter sauce on their pan-roasted fish dishes ends up being a pool of unseasoned melted butter in which all the accompaniments drown. Mussels are cold, many of them unopened, shells cracked.

I have had so many consistently negative experiences and not a single positive one that it boggles my mind how many people love this place. I have been here over 10 times and I think I am done exchanging my hard-earned cash for a queasy sense of greasy fullness in my stomach. It honestly felt like a place that Gordon Ramsay would show up to do an episode of Kitchen Nightmares on. I really wanted to spit the food out of my mouth tonight (the rouille crostini), and I never feel that way, never. Although I feel a little conflicted and unsettled about starting a thread with such a negative vibe, I have held my tongue since the first time I went for fear that I was speaking prematurely -- I wanted to give the place a chance -- but now, at over $500 down in what I consider wasted money, I am still hungry at midnight for something that actually tastes good, and I've given up on this place. God, I hate myself for ranting like this, but I hate Franklin Cafe more. Good riddance.

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