One of the great joys of moving to a new place is checking out all the local spots...sketchy dive-bar..check(Abbey Lounge. Maybe i won't miss Lower Allston after all)...packie...roger that(you mean I can get GOOD beer, cheese and a pretty diverse selection of wines on this side of the river?! God bless the Wine and Cheese Cask)...breakfast joint...that's a negative! Shocking. After all the hype I had been hearing about S&S since I changed area codes I figured it was about time to check it out. Enter dissapointment, stage left.
Breakfast is a simple meal for most of us Americans. There is no amuse bouche. There are no appetizers. One need not agonize over which vintage of La Tache to order. in other words, its not rocket surgery! Coffee or juice. Or maybe both if you're feeling especially frisky. Western ommelette or corned beef hash. The only really difficult part of the whole meal is deciding how you want your swine (as a total digression, I had the suckling pig at Central Kitchen last night and it was EVIL, as in really freaking good!). Serving breakfast is also simple. There are relatively few steps of service, and the emphasis is usually weighted towards efficiency, while at dinner one might expect more interaction (specials,wine questions, etc...).
To get to the heart of the matter, the food at S&S is yummy, but the service is abyssmal. I've had brunch/breakfast 3 times there in the last 3 weeks, and after today's showing I doubt I'll be back. Which is a bummer, because the baked goods are fresh and tasty (especially the oven-warm pecan roll) and the eggs have been great every time. The corned beef hash is garlicky and the french toast is dense and flavorful without being over the top. And unlike most breakfast joints, the food is not dripping with grease! But should I really have to hunt someone down to get more coffee? Especially after my cup has sat empty for 10 minutes while I patiently waited for ONE of the servers or bussers to at least make eye contact with me!? Again, breakfast service is simple. Keep the coffee coming (I don't need 4 refills, but ONE would be nice!), be reasonably pleasant (we don't have to make out, but please DO NOT give me that look of utter contempt) and don't make me wander around the dining room, homing in on the sound of the credit card machine so I can settle up after you've passed by my check (yup, thats my credit card sticking out so you know that I'm ready to pay) for the umpteenth time in 10 minutes. in fact, 10 minutes seems to be some magic interval of time. 10 minutes between the time I'm seated and the time I'm greeted. The food comes 10 minutes after I order, which is great, if only the coffee I had ordered 10 minutes ago had showed up. 10 minutes elapse from the time I'm cleared until the time I receive the check.
In my 3 visits I've had 3 different servers. The first was just plain hostile. The second was young and friendly but completely weeded in what looked like a pretty small section. I don't even know what was up with the third server. The place was practically dead yet I felt totally abandoned. Frustration is a terrible way to start the day, no matter how happy your belly is.