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Boston Area Restaurant Week

Restaurant Week....why bother?


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Restaurants & Bars 11

Restaurant Week....why bother?

Cladmadder | Aug 25, 2005 09:11 AM

After having dined in various eating establishments during RW over the last two years, I have found myself asking the question "Why bother?" One might think that at $30 for a three course dinner it's the bargin of the century. That may be true, but I have found that RW does not properly represent a particular restaurants quality. It seems it is more of a showcase for what the restaurant could be if one were to dine there on a regular night. For example, last night at Meritage two of us had a perfectly reasonable meal. Starters were scallops and a simple cucumber salad and entrees consisted of chicken and a beef tenderloin. Everything was good but not spectaular, in fact were this the offering I would have recieved at Mertiage on a regular night my dissapointment would be off the charts. This is a place that you do not expect 'basic' but basic is what arrived at the table. While fine for a $30 prix during RW, on a regular menu night it would have been a disappointment. This has been the case at every RW I have attended. The food generally being average and getting a pass because of RW, leaving only one option for judging the quality of a restaurant, the service.

At Meritage the service was perfect. We arrived early for a 7pm reservation and expected to sit at the bar for 20 mins or so until 7pm arrived. The host offered to seat us right away, but when we saw the table offered we chose to wait. Meritage has great views of Boston harbor, we had hoped to get a table with a view. We asked if it would be a possibility, the host offered a maybe but ultimately rewarded us with an excellent table near the window. The waitstaff was attentive and helpful, they didnt hover or annoy but were available (even during a somewhat hetic RW night) if needed. They didnt assume that this was your first time in an upscale restaurant and treat you like you a fool. The staff showed respect for the customer during a time when there most likely were people who may be dining upscale for the first time. By contrast at Luimere the service was terrible, alomst combative. Our waiter was annoyed by the fact the we actually asked to have water refills, then disappeared into the black hole called the kitchen after we were served our entrees.While serving the entrees and wine he offered explainations for both and proceeded to speak to us as though were we boreing him and backhandedly scolded me for ordering a glass of cotes du rhone with my chicken. Add this to the fact that we had to wait 35+ minutes after the time of our reservation to be seated and it all adds up to a bad food experience, even though the food at Luimere was 'ok'. The food at both places was fine (with Meritage being better)but we would never go back to Luimere because of the terrible attitude and awful service. We look foreward to another visit to Meritage since we know the service will be excellent and hope to fully explore the potential of the regular menu. It seems that during RW what needs to be showcased is the total establishment, with the hope that patrons will return anxious to taste the resturant at its fullest potential. When a staff acts as though this is the case the experience is great. However, when they act as though the are simply putting up with a bunch of precieved cheapskates, intent on getting a deal, they fall flat.

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