The food - really - at 28 Degrees
My husband & I are are new to Boston (from NYC) and are food & wine 'nuts' - want quality for money spent, freshness & at least some innovation. Our friends are coming in from the 'burbs and want cocktails & an interesting place. They've chosen 28 Degrees.... Can anyone give me a call on whether my husband & I are going to be pleasantly surprised or horribly disappointed??
Ate at 28 degrees a couple of nights ago. All in all, it's good enough food that matches the upscale, semi-club-like atmosphere, but not so amazing that it warrants special consideration...
Ordered oysters, the watermelon "carpaccio," and the gnocchi. The oysters were great, the watermelon "carpaccio" was very interesting--cold, refreshing, very summery. Super-thin slices of watermelon topped with goat cheese, vinegar, black pepper, tiny greens--a kind of refreshing, subdued sort of sweet-sour combination going on. The gnocchi was okay--I would have preferred more corn. The gnocchi are made partially with cheese, so they taste like light little pillows of cheese...I actually found it a bit overwhelming.
we hit up 28 degrees last night. started at the bar first.. had a very good dirty martini. waitstaff was very nice and agreed to seat us in a corner seat, usually for 3, eventhough we were two. ordered oysters, tuna tartare, gnocci, and a short rib special. the cilantro mignoette sauce was excellent and oysters were plump and tasty. tuna tartare was generic but well executed. gnocci was prepared with mushrooms and fresh corn. it was interesting, but needed more salt. the only disappointment of the night was the short rib special. it was almost inedible. it was almost as if they were running behind when making, therefore did not cook at a low enough heat to retain the moisture of the meat. it was served on a celery root slaw which was fine, the short rib was really disappointing. service was good. but i think we will stick with 28 for cocktails.
Sorry it has taken me so long to report back... but I will say that we were very pleasantly surprised! Food quality was pretty good all around, with some standouts, and the portions were MUCH larger than we were assuming. We actually ordered too much food!
So, a quick & dirty run-down: We sat down at 7:05pm, and our waitress still allowed us to partake in the oyster special, so my husband & I split a few. Nice & plump. Refreshing on a hot, humid, sticky day.
Calamari was excellent, very lightly breaded - addicting.
Carmelized onion pizza - nicely 'basily' pesto. Liked the strong herb flavor to help balance the richness.
Braised Short Ribs - I didn't have any, but there were lots of happy moans from the other 3!
Side of Garlicky Spinach came & I got worried - it was glistening, which I assumed was oil...ugh. But no! Lemon juice! Very nice to have sauteed spinach that doesn't come soaked in the oil it was cooked in.
The wine list is extremely oddly priced - a few bottles that I know are $12-$15 in the store for $50, and yet a few hidden gems that are in the $35 range that sell for $20 in the store! We ended up with a wonderful Spanish red wine, which I can't remember (sorry!) because it was far too yummy & I overimbibed!
My only complaint was the level of the music - our waitress was very sympathetic & turned it down twice, but it kept creeping back up. It WAS Saturday night, so you can't blame the crowd for wanting that.
All in all, a pretty good experience.
I ate at 28 Degrees on Wednesday night. The service was friendly but inexperienced. I had the beef carpaccio, (very forgettable) a good but small cheese plate and the lobster sliders, which made the meal. I had a very nice wine (Bastianich vespa bianco?) with dinner as well as a cocktail. My DC split the above and had two glasses of wine: the total was $90.00 (including tip) which is pricey but we were mostly satisfied, if a little hungry when we left.
The Chateauneuf du Pape white was nice as well.
I find that going to 28 Degrees on a non-weekend evening offers a better dining experience.
Lobster sliders are back! Also on the menu are crab louie martinis and seared yellowfin, in addition to the $1.00 Island creek oysters between 5:00 and 7:00. A great Chateauneu du Pape Blanc at $11.50 a glass! Tonight they also had a crab and avocado pizza! Good, but could have used less oregano.
Sounds like they've gotten a little full of themselves in the wake of that New York Times article, which highlighted its glamour quotient. Fake exclusivity and bad service is a sure recipe for a short shelf life: once that small local lemming crowd decides you're no longer an It Place, they move onto the next one and never come back. I hope the 28 Degrees folks take a long look at Saint and realize what a stupid strategy that is.
Had dinner with my wife on Washington St and went to check out 28 Degrees for dessert afterwards, not a good decision.
We arrived at 10 PM, a Saturday night, we were greeted by a doorman with a clipboard and 3 potential customers outside the front door. We were told that without reservations or a special card we would not be able to enter. We told him we were coming for dessert after a wonderful dinner in the neighborhood; he left us at the door, went inside for a few moments, returned and let us in.
Once inside we found the room to be far from "full" and were left to wander aimlessly as there was no host or hostess to greet us as one would expect if they had entered Avalon or any nightclub. We spoke to several servers and were given the impression that it was time to drink not eat. The bartender was not any help either. Unless you were Jared Leto, Lindsey Lohan or just aspired to be we realized a level of patience and obedience beyond what was reasonable was necessary to get a drink.
My wife and I hung our heads, exited in disappointment and went to Hamersley. We were graciously greeted, served after dinner drinks, dessert and coffee and thanked upon exit.
We now realize this is one of those "lets bring NY to the Boston restaurant scene" concepts. After living in Boston for almost 30 years and visiting NY many times for dinner and clubbing I would like to give the hounds my opinion about why club meets restaurant does not generally work here, it is because Boston lacks lemmings. NY has a population of 8 million people; add to that tourists and bridge and tunnel visitors and you have a consumer base that exceeds Boston’s by many millions.
I envy previous posters that were able to enjoy a meal at 28 Degrees, for us the visit was a complete waste of time.
I like the food here, even if it's South-End pricey, and small plates not everyone's favorite way to eat (I happen to enjoy dining that way). Lobster sliders, raw bar, and pizzas stand out in my mind. I suggest you avoid the lounge seating (the low tables) if you plan to eat. There are conventional-height dining tables, bar seating, and banquettes that provide a more comfortable plate-to-mouth distance. And they're chilling the cocktail glasses now; it made me crazy when they didn't, given how they chose to name the place, and the fact that I expect a $12-15 shaker drink to arrive as cold as they can possibly make it.
IMHO, the food is above average, sometimes very good! Apps are good but small and rather expensive. Try the pizzas, the calamari, and the mini-burgers. Nice Italian wines! The hamachi, when they have it is excellent! Between 5:00 and 7:00 Island Creek oysters are available for $1.00 each. Service is excellent, as, I'm told are the cocktails. Give it a try!