Gourmet Hospital Food--Fine Dining at Brigham & Women's???
- whs Aug 22, 2006 11:53 PM
My domestic partner is going in for surgery and is staying in the Shapiro Pavilion at Brigham. The online brochure says:
"The Shapiro Pavilion provides fine dining and gourmet food service for patients (depending on dietary requirements) and visitors, with extended hours and the ability to accommodate international patients. Afternoon High-Tea service is offered daily."
Has anybody had the pleasure?
I only had post-op snacks and breakfast, but it was very nice. The real bonus is the service, not the food. After all the "personal chef" hype, my breakfast smoothy was delivered still in the Tropicana bottle. There was plenty of good quality ice cream, juice etc. Each suite has a refrigerator with juices, water, and a little basket of cookies, teas and other snacks for guests. My friend got more from it than I did, he was waiting for me to wake up, I slept most of the time. Patients are treated like royalty though. It is really quiet and private, not like most hospital rooms! I'd do it again if I had to go back.
I haven't eaten at the Shapiro Pavilion, though I can report that the rooms are really swank and nice, for sure. The care is not superior in any way except that (as PBAL explains above) it's more private and quiet. And though I'm sure the food is better, you have to ask _how_ much better. Those baskets described by PBAL are things you can basically bring up yourself but you could do a better job of it.
In terms of chowhounding the Brigham, I'd recommend first finding out what your partner's surgical team expects in terms of food in the post-op period. Lots of times you're mostly eating chicken broth and jello anyway in the time before discharge so that wouldn't be worth any extra price for your partner to get the extra snacks and so on. If you can eat, then for my money I would bet that some of the stuff at Au Bon Pain downstairs would be as good as whatever they make at Shapiro, although like I say I've never eaten at Shapiro. But ABP does better than Tropicana. Also if you can bring back food for your partner, there is Penguin Pizza around the corner; and then if you can get in the car Oriental de Cuba has just reopened in JP. The latter options would be discouraged by your surgeons, I would guess, but, it really depends on the surgery you get. There is also a Stop and Shop across the street and you could probably get some salad makings or prepared food or snacks there that would beat whatever the cafeteria would offer. Certainly any Whole Foods could almost certainly beat the snacks you'd get at Shapiro, though like I say that's just my guess.
If your diet is going to be restricted, chowhounding the Shapiro is going to be of very limited tastiness; and if your diet isn't restricted, take-out might be better. If your nursing team is nice you can probably even get delivery to the floor. True, most patients don't do this, but on the other hand, most patients don't choose their rooms based on Chowhound, so...
Best of luck to you and your partner.
Thanks for your in depth post. Actually, my partner is going in for a colon re-section (or "kishka-ectomy" as he calls it) so he won't be eating a whole lot--jello and broth sounds like the menu. However, I will be sleeping on the pull-out for a couple of days, and was hoping I could do better than rice pudding and salisbury steak. Does East Coast Grill deliver???
There's a Thai place within a reasonably close walk that we
liked when I was stuck there for a week (and without any 'gourmet' hospital food option presented) last summer, called
Rod Dee. You can look it up on google maps (we just did) - the one on Petersborough is very close. After nearly a week of
trying to make variety out of mixing-and-matching the hospital menu items, I was probably biased about how good it was, but
it was tasty.
If you do have to order the rice pudding and salisbury steak, bring your own seasonings as well as ordering everything
with salt and pepper - they don't season, and then they tend to forget the salt/pepper packets even if you ask for them, which makes it all so much worse.
I've worked at the Brigham for six months now, and I've eaten at the cafeteria maybe three times. The salad bar is good, though I don't recall anything organic, but the hot foods - entrees, soups, etc. - are unexciting and very salty.
Part of the reason I've eaten there so rarely has to do with the fact that I work at the opposite end of the hospital - the walk from the 15 Francis St. end to the cafeteria at the 75 Francis St. end can take close to half of my short lunch break! Au Bon Pain does seem to have some good choices, although every time I go in intending to get lunch there I find that nothing quite suits my mood.
The place I end up at most often, both because it's MUCH nearer my office and because I like the food, is Pat's Place, the little cafe beside the exit from 15 Francis St. to the medical school. They do a fine tuna melt, and I like the cheeseburger sub.
I have spent a ton of time at the Brigham in the past couple of years between both of my parents, although none of it at the Shapiro. Chowhound-type food options in the immediate vicinity are limited. It strikes me though that if there is a fridge you can bring picnic stuff for yourself. There is likely a microwave at the nurses' station (there is on the regular floors) so you could even bring soup for yourself and good homemade broth for your partner. (My parents credit the homemade soups I brought them for their recovery but I suspect they are biased.) Good luck.
I've worked at the Brigham on and off through the years from doing a rotation as a 4th year medical student to attending on a hospitalist team. Years of working in hospitals has taught me to avoid just about any hospital cafeteria like the plague (with the possible exception of Mount Sinai in New York, which I recall had an outstanding bagel bar, oddly enough).
Au bon pain in the building trumps anything else for convenience only; food is the usual ABP stuff. The Longwood Galleria is up the street next to Children's Hospital; it's mostly conventional fast food type stuff, though the sushi place there is fairly edible, Whole Foods-level stuff. I really did like Pat's Place the one time I went there; food was quite tasty and atmosphere was interesting.
The only other thing I'll throw out there is that for those with a car, Brookline Village (with Sichuan Garden and Zoe's) and Fenway (with Brown Sugar and Trattoria Toscana) are not terribly far away. Some of them might even deliver to the Longwood Medical Area.
My partner is recovering nicely from his surgery so I think it's appropriate to talk about food again...
The Shapiro Pavilion has its own separate food preparation facility and they crank out some excellent food. Last night I was served salmon with teriyaki glaze, rice pilaf and julienned baby vegetables sauteed with butter and thyme. Dessert was cheesecake and strawberries with a raspberry coulis. Wine was a California merlot (half-bottle).
This morning: Omelet with swiss, tomatoes, mushrooms and peppers served hot, with bacon (4 slices!!), good sauteed potatoes and decent coffee.
For a hospital, this is pretty amazing.
Sounds pretty good--glad to hear your partner is doing well. Hopefully after they've stopped asking him if he's farted this morning, he'll be able to join you soon.
It doesn't sound like you're going to be venturing out much, but... for other folks who check out this thread in the future, a couple of echoes and additions:
I agree that Rod Dee is good (above), and El Pelon has good tacos next door. It's about a 10-15 min walk, past the medical school. Hard to explain the route--would recommend just looking at Google Maps.
Pat's Place is total greasy-spoon but if you're in the mood it's cheap and classic. Go down The Pike from the tower almost all the way until you get to the last security guard, the entrance (to the left) is right after that (or ask the guard if you don't see it). Open until 6 pm I believe.
I'd also echo the Squealing Pig. Owned by the same folks as Penguin Pizza (or really, the other way around). A vegie pita sandwich thing is not bad and pretty fresh. I concur with the rec of Toasties. Also I like the fish+chips--the fish is fine, and the greasy dough around it and the chips aer very good. The beer is good. This is where med students and public health students go after finishing exams.
If you are a Harvard affiliate, know someone who is, or can sign in as a guest with the security guard, the medical school now has two much improved cafeterias. One is in the "C" building of the Harvard Med School quad; looking down from the Greek temple-style administration building (you'll be relieved to know it was built well before the arrival of fascist architectural aesthetics in Europe), it's the building to your right. Also in the so-called "New Research Building" (aka the "Awaiting a major donor name here Building" I think--on Ave Louis Pasteur in the street perpindicular to the med school quad, on the left side when coming down from the quad, with a big round wierd art-museum looking thing in the front left corner of the building) there is an even better cafeteria. They usually have anywhere between 1-3 things that are worth eating--special sandwiches, a burrito/quesadilla bar, and sometimes some pasta or other items that are good. Unfortunately this one generally requires a swipe card.
It's also worth noting--and it's especially convenient for Dana Farber visitors--that the Longwood Galleria has a food court. Most of it is lousy. Sami's, a long-standing falafel stand which occupies the (mysteriously) trolley-shaped stand across the street from the med school quad (and in front of the med school dorm), now has a food court spot; their falafels, kebabs and so on are not bad. There is a sushi place tucked in a corner towards the CVS (ie in the Brookline direction) which I haven't tried myself but reliable sources (in addition to the poster above) say it is good and when I had a nibble of their larger samples I had to agree. The other places in there look like they could be good; don't be fooled. (The Red Barn has OK coffee, actually. But that's the only other one.)
Boloco on Longwood is pretty lousy.
There is now a Bertucci's near the Children's Hospital parking garage. I haven't eaten there but Bertucci's in general isn't bad for yuppie-ish pizza in a chain setting.
If you go to Au Bon Pain in the BWH (or in the lobby of Children's) I recommend ordering a custom sandwich with grilled chicken and your choice of other stuff--probably the best sandwich option. In the fall they serve pumpkin soup that's pretty good--get a roll to go with it and you're all set.
JP Licks is now across the street. Good ice cream.
Glad to hear he's recovering. I guess the trick to getting the good food is to be the guest, not the patient!
Thanks everyone. Well, the patient has passed gas and is leaving today. Even his dinner last night of poached chicken, white rice and angel food cake tasted better served on a linen tablecloth with a bud vase on the table. If you can handle the pain in the pocketbook, Shapiro is the way to go!
Just to continue to add additional info for those seeking info in the future, now that I'm back at the BWH I'm finding that the Stop and Shop redevelopment has totally changed the neighborhood. Haven't tried Mission Bar and Grill yet; did go to lunch at Flames which had very greasy and incredibly copious and tasty Jamaican food. Plantains come with. http://www.flamesfood.com/menus/entre...
BWH has a daily spec'l meal selection available every day next to the cafeteria in the Express Line across from where you can pick up pizza, subs & popcorn. Stir-frys to order w/fresh veggies, chix or shrimp & pasta on M,W,F; fajitas on Tu & prime rib w/garlic mashed & asparagus on Thurs.