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Jul 23, 2001 03:48 PM

Disaster at Intrigue Cafe

  • s

I never enjoy writing negative reports. However, one of the great benefits of joining the community on this baord is learning places to avoid. While learning about wonderful, undiscovered restaurants is always a plus, it is just as useful (if not more useful!) to learn where to avoid. If last night's meal is representative, Intrigue Cafe is just such a place.

The menu, itself, is fairly dull and straighforward. But, I can hardly hold that against the place. It is located on the waterfront at the Boston Harbour hotel. Thus, it caters to tourists. A straightforward menu is probably the best way to go.

Unfortunately, the tourist problem is also prevalent in the quality of the food. Pseudo-celeb-chef David Bruce has dropped his own name throughout much of the restaurant (the menu, the website, etc. are adorned with his name). Unfortunately, instead of using the casual sibling of his more formal Rowes Wharf restaurant as a vehicle for expermineting with exciting combinations of flavours, he has used the restuarant as an opportunity to make money as a tourist trap. Essentially, he has sold out his name. Again, I can hardly blame him. It is probably a recipe for financial success. (Little effort. Big reward.) However, it is not a recipe for anything that any chowhound would want to eat.

The food was generally atrocious. Although my dumplings were passable, the burger my girlfriend ordered well-done (don't worry, I like mine medium-rare, of course) came just short of rare. It was raw. Unfortunately, she had taken several bites before realizing that the center was icey cold. Literally icey. She then started crying and rushed to the bathroom where she vomited. Not pretty.

The uneven service didn't help either. Add to that a sterile atmopshere (with an admittably pleasant view), and you have a place that I need never return.

I promise a positive review (of somehwere else) in the near future to erase this memory.

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  1. It seems like restaurants almost always undercook burgers these days. I immediately cut into it to make sure it's not too red. That said, if her burger was so rare that it was cold in the middle, couldn't she tell on the first bite that it was much too underdone?

    On a positive burger note, a friend and I got a meal at the Green Briar pub in Brighton Center and their burger was pretty decent (and actually a little overcooked). I told the waitress I wanted it pink (cuz medium means different things to different people) and she goes "oh rare then?". Uh, no. Anyway, $6.50 for a swiss cheese burger w/ fries and $11.95 for a roast stuffed chicken dinner w/ salad and two sides. You'll feel like you're in Ireland since we were almost the only ones there without an accent. We were going to eat at the newish Devlin restaurant a few doors down but they were a little fancier than what we were looking for. A good place to check out in the future tho.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Joanie

      Actually, when a burger is undercooked, it is usually undercooked on the INSIDE. That's why you can't always tell on the first bite.

    2. Simon, I'm assuming you are referring to Daniel Bruce. I haven't eaten at Intrigue so I can't comment on that but I can tell you Daniel has been reponsible for some of the finest meals I have had over the years. He is one of the finest anywhere working with Food and Wine combinations. It's worth the splurge in the main resturant upsatirs or else wait for the Harbor Hotel's Food and Wine festival which they do from January to April. Pick a Wine dinner and I guarantee you'll walk out raving.

      As far as your girlfriend's burger, she should have sent it back. It you order it well done and it's still pink on the outside you can be pretty much guaranteed it's not well done inside. My problem is consistently trying to find people that'll cook mine rare, even the best burger places hem and haw about that request, I genrally have to settle for medium-rare