The last leg of our NJ/Boston/NJ trip just so happened to coincide with our 17th Anniversary. And since I'd chosen, correctly or incorrectly, all the dining spots in Boston, it was only fair that my wife choose the spot to celebrate this event.
Two years ago (a very long time in the restaurant business) she and her sister had lunch at The Restaurant (Yup, that's the name of the place) and liked it. They told me it was so pretty and the food was very very good. Outside dining, nice decor, etc. Hey, I'm a roadfood guy at heart...I sensed I was in trouble.
All I knew of the place was it was situated in a residential area (how they pulled that off I have no idea) between to very upscale apartment buildings on Prospect Avenue in Hackensack, NJ. A very unusual setting and one clearly designed to take advantage or service, depending on how you view it, the residents of these two buildings. A captive clientel, if you will.
I tried my best to "softly" influence them to choose another place by just suggesting they might want to go to a nice Italian restaurant in Bergen County. But, they insisted and so I stopped trying.
My wife made the reservation on Wednesday for our Saturday dinner. At no time did the person taking the reservation mention that there would be a wedding taking up the ENTIRE restaurant. Perhaps it ws a last moment wedding?
When we arrived, we were immediately met at the door and taken upstairs, via elevator, to some non-descript, room with a small service bar! I mean...what the hell was this all about?
I was furious. My wife and Sister-in-Law wanted to make the best of it. I suggested finishing our drinks and leaving for another restaurant. They were concerned we would not be able to get in at another nice Italian restaurant on a Saturday night without a reservation. I was more than willing to try...they were not. A situation I'm sure the management of The Restaurant, hoped would play out with other unsuspecting customers, who also had been duped into coming this night.
Thank G-D it wasn't my decision to go to this place. It was absolutely ridiculous. We were the only ones in their little room....Later, it would fill up with two loud couples at the service bar, a family of 10 including 3 small children (just wonderful for a Saturday night meal)who'd obviously come from one of the two buildings, and some older people.
I had linguini and clam sauce that was dry and void of any taste. My wife enjoyed her chicken and my sister-in-law had a salad and their goat cheese and crab cake. I tasted that and it was loaded with filler. The two desserts were very good.
If you are going to try this place (we'll never return) then be sure to ask if you will actually be dining at "The Restaurant" or simply in their attic!