I'd heard some good things about Fresh, so I was looking forward to dinner there this evening for my friend's birthday. The first thing that struck me was the near-top-o'-the-line pricing for libations (Oban, $15) in a space that feels vacuous and sterile and with service that while generally sensitive and competent is by no means top-shelf (for instance, an attempt was made to clear that Oban from the table when barely half of it had been consumed; for another instance, there were a number of confusions when it came to the serving of entrees--forgivable miscues, certainly, but when a restaurant at this price point is no more than half-full, as it was, things should be a l-o-t smoother).
Culinarily, things started off well with an appetizer of fried Ipswich clams served in a funky little paper takeout container at the unfunky price of $17. However...the entrees--mine and those of my neighbors that I tried--tended to the bland and soulless. My selection, the "Kobe" tuna ($29) that I'd seen raves of, was utterly forgettable as was the birthday girl's "Bostonian" mixed shellfish; my neighbor on the other side had a softshell crab dish that was perfectly acceptable--but two and a half times the price of the far superior version at NY Noodletown. Right--entirely different category of restaurant that...but again, in terms of ambience, decor, and service, Fresh doesn't come close to achieving its pretensions to ITS price-point and stylistic category. My strawberry crisp dessert ($11) was very nice. The $32 Alsatian riesling was a sorry joke.