I had never been to Towne before, but four of us were walking around the Back Bay at around 6:30 on Friday night looking for a place to eat, and when I did an opentable search I found plenty of availability (and they were offering 1,000 opentable points, which suggested to me that they were not busy). We grabbed a 6:45 reservation and walked right over. When we walked in, we overheard the host telling a group in front of us that there was an hour wait for a table, which surprised me given what I had seen on opentable. (Perhaps the group was larger the three I saw, so maybe that explains it.) Still we were seated right away, and the dining room did appear to be mostly full.
First thing I noticed was that the service was amateurish. Not necessarily bad, but noticeably amateurish. Not a deal breaker for me. Boston doesn't have as extensive a class of actors -- er, I mean professional servers -- as is found in some other cities. Good food will overcome that for me. (Although I did find it quite off putting when we asked our water glasses to be refilled that the waiter suggested we buy a bottle of water.) Second, the beer list is crap. In this day, there is no excuse for not crafting (pun intended) a beer list to be as interesting as a wine list. Still, I was there primarily for the food and wanted to remain open minded.
Among the four of us, we ordered a caesar, a tuna tartare, lobster fra diavolo, a flat bread, and a duck dish. The salad and tuna were fine, but no better than fine. The person who ordered the steak liked it very much. The flatbread was eaten, but I didn't try it so I can't comment. My lobster fra divolo was edible. That's the best I can say. Overcooked pasta. A weak, not at all spicy sauce. One chunk of leathery lobster. The duck, ordered medium, came out rare and, worse yet, was cold. It was sent back and redone. When it came back out, it was much better (in terms of how it was prepared, temperature and, most importantly, taste).
So it wasn't terrible, but not a place I'd return to. I hate to judge a place based on a single visit, but there was nothing redeeming enough to make me want to return. Unless someone tells me that the beautiful looking burger I saw go by is worth sitting at the bar for (to eat with one of their crap beers).