For years Andy Husband's Tremont 647 has been a favorite; comfortable, unpretentious, creative and, always a dependably tasty meal. The wine selections have been good, and classic cocktails prepared and served without self-consciously hip contemporary twists. This summer, between travel and checking out some newer places like B&G, Perdix, and the Union, a couple months passed without a trip back to 647. This past Saturday night of Labor Day weekend seemed a good opportunity to remedy this.
We were greeted with real warmth and familiarity, and almost immediately seated. After a look at the menu we both ordered what sounded rich, sumptuous, and a nice transition into autumn; the vietnamese pork loin. I anticipated a slow cooked loin, tender and rich in deep flavors with possibly a little spicy heat to it. What arrived surprised both of us: an oversize white stoneware charger fill to the brim with huge slabs of pork, accompanied by a sensibly sized portion of golden fingerling potatoes and a serving of well past overdone limp braised cabbage. Okay, the portion size was a surprise. I wasn't looking for nouvelle sized portions, and in the past I have been grateful for Andy's slightly generous portions, but this was immense and on a scale that would make even the Cheesecake Factory blush! To describe the presentation as inelegant would be generous. More finely composed plates of meat and potatoes have been served up at steam-table luncheonettes. Ever hopeful, my husband suggested we could take the leftovers home to make "yummy sandwiches." Then we had our first tastes. Our response was surprise; first at the loin's lack of flavor, then, at its lack of cooking it was not only a little pink. Near the bone it was a true carmine red. Worse, the loin was gristly with thick channels of fat that left a lardy film on our tongues. We politely moved our portions around, ate the fingerling potatoes, which were quite good, finished our drinks, and asked for a check. On the way home we bought some cinnamon gum to cut the lingering bad flavors. We joked about triganosis and then wondered if that might be a real concern.
Tremont 647 deserves a reservoir of goodwill based on its years of good service, excellent food, and strong ties with the neighborhood associations. To be fair neither of us raised the subject to our very friendly waiter James. What went wrong? I don't know but I am curious if our experience was an isolated event or if others perceive a change at 647.