After soliciting suggestions from the hounds, the 4 of us ended up at Stellina's in Watertown. We arrived without a reservation around 8:30 and were told it would be a 15-minute wait for a table outside. 30 minutes later we were seated. We promptly ordered 2 bottles of wine and 2 salads. We didn't order our entrees at that point b/c my bf is lactose intolerant and asked the waitress whether one of the dishes had any butter, cheese or cream in it. She did not know how it was prepared and went to ask the chef.
20 minutes later she was back without an answer - apparently the chef was "too busy" to answer our question. Granted they did seem to be dealing with several large parties, including a wedding party next door but this wasn't the most complicated question and it specifically states on their menu that they will satisfy any dietary requirements i.e. low carb, food allergies, etc.
At this point, we were done with our salads. Having waited so long, my friend and I found that we were not as hungry and decided to split one of the entrees. Our meals arrived about 20 minutes later. My friend and I had the soft shell crab linguini with snow peas and tomatoes - it was decent, nothing outstanding - the homemade pasta was good. Her boyfriend had the lobster ravioli - I had a bite of this and didn't care for it...the texture of the filling seemed off and my boyfriend had fussily with Swiss chard, mushrooms and tomatoes. Again, not bad but nothing special. Our salads were good - roast beets with endives, mescaline greens, pecans and a hard Italian cheese - asiago maybe? The boys split an enormous Caesar salad (big enough for 4) and it must have been good since they nearly finished it.
We passed on dessert and our waitress eventually brought the check over. Included on the check was a hand written $3.00 charge. We managed to flag down our waitress and asked her about the charge - she confirmed that it was a split plate charge and unapologetically told us that it was restaurant policy and should say so on the menu (none of us recalled seeing it on the menu but that certainly doesn't mean it wasn't there).
Okay, I realize it is only $3.00 but in my experience, whether or not to charge this fee has always been at the waitperson's digression. We spent a fair amount of money on food and wine and adding this fee on just seemed obnoxious. Were we wrong to be upset about this?? We are generally all very laid back diners but this little thing really just soured the whole experience and i doubt i'll be going back to this restaurant.