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Where have you always had a bad meal?

Are there any places that you scratch your head as to how it can remain open, given your personal experiences?

I have a place reserved in one of the inner circles for Antonia's in Davis Square - it is very rare for me to find food inedible, but I've been twice and both times, it was as if they served me jarred sauce. Really bad.

And yet, there it was on Saturday evening, packed! ?

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  1. Hee hee! Another great topic. Hmmm...this is a tough one, because if I have a really bad meal somewhere, I usually don't go back. I guess the Hilltop Steak House in Saugus would be pretty close, though, as I have been there several times and didn't think much of it whenever I went. And yet it remained open for so many years.

    So Antonia's isn't very good? Perhaps the college kids around there are looking for value over quality?

    14 Replies
    1. re: hiddenboston

      I think Antonia's epitomizes the dark side of "location location location".

      An Italian restaurant of such noteworthy mediocrity simply couldn't survive in metro Boston (let alone Somerville!) if it were even the slightest challenge to get there. But there it is, occupying arguably the very best restaurant real estate in all of Davis Square, and lo and behold, it is doing just fine.

      1. re: finlero

        Actually, I would argue that the location at Mike's in Davis Squre is better and the food and surly service is even worse.

        1. re: LeoLioness

          I kinda like Mike's. :-D It is what it is, as Bill Belichick would say. Cheap grub that comes to you really quickly if you're in a rush to get to the Somerville Theatre or just don't feel like cooking or going to the market. They do a huge takeout business, with lots of families coming in there to take stuff home for the kids.

          Not that anyone should go there on a date or for a business meeting, of course...

          1. re: hiddenboston

            Really? I find the food all but inedible. I've tried the pizza, a pasta dish and chicken (over teh course of maybe a year) and they were all godawful. I think yours is the only non-negative review of the place I've ever heard.

            1. re: LeoLioness

              Whenever I'm there (or walking by), there are so many people--parents, college kids, etc.--picking up food to bring home, so they must be doing something right. Granted, it's not great food (if I'm not in a rush, I'll hit any number of places on nearby Mass. Ave. in N Cambridge instead), but I'd much rather get "fast food" at Mike's than at BK, KFC, or any of those other places.

              I agree with horrible about Joshua Tree. Some of the dishes there taste suspiciously like what you might get at Applebee's.

          2. re: LeoLioness

            add Joshua Tree to this subcategory as well

            1. re: horrible

              My "never again moment" at Joshua Tree (for food anyway) occurred several years ago when I ordered fajitas, which turned out to be Buffalo wings (bone-in) served in a skillet with onions.

              Just a bad night? I don't need to find out.

              1. re: horrible

                Yeah, but the Joshua Tree is really more of a bar that gets a big student-young 20s crowd. The food isn't really very good, but it's kind of an afterthought anyway.

                1. re: CharlestownCarrie

                  the food does not have to be good for the college crowd
                  most don't have much to spend on food so they may go for quantity or it's a follow the leader thing and they go where others of their kind will be hanging out
                  i don't mean anything against the college crowd but i think they are at a crossroad in the lives where food quality is not on their list that part develops later

                  1. re: foodperv

                    Yeah, maybe you're right, but I don't agree that age is an excuse for not eating well.

                    In college, I willingly ate Ramen and mac-n-cheese all week so I could splurge on the weekend with a good dinner out. (Of course, I did not see many classmates at the Indian buffet or the Italian cafe)

                    I'm willing to bet that people who go for quantity at any age revert to those tendencies. (See proliferation in the burbs of Outback, Bugaboo, Longhorn.)

            2. re: finlero

              I've lived in Davis for a couple of years now, and I only just noticed Antonia's. A friend of mine (only person I know who has tried it) went last week, and she liked it. Based on these reviews, I'm not sure I'll go and try it.

              For really yummy Italian food, I would suggest Campagna in Waltham. It was really good. (off topic - I know. sorry!)

              1. re: sheitoon

                I really liked Antonia's when it opened 3 or 4 years ago. Then last year it got bought and now is completely terrible. Oh well.

              2. re: finlero

                What is the latest about the Antonia's space? It's been cleared out recently. 10 Tables was slated to take over but, of course, that fell through. It is a GREAT location. If I had the capital, I would open the Belgian beer bar I dream about.

              3. re: hiddenboston

                " value over quality? "
                This needs explaining, as the word 'quality' is relative. It can therefor be attached to any adjective such as bad, good, high, mediocre etc.
                Plus I think, when you speak of 'value' you most likely mean 'to spend very little money on a lot of consumable food' !?
                As always, I stand to be corrected

              4. Agree, though I've only eaten there once (that was enough!)

                The question is, who would go back to a place that served bad food? In addition to Antonia's, my "ate once and will never go back" list would have to include Vinny Testa's (not to be confused with Vinny's at Night!), Applebee's, Takeshima since the last change of ownership, Fire & Ice, and New Asia in Union Square, Somerville.

                1 Reply
                1. re: BobB

                  I can think of a lot of places (Vinny Testas/Vinny Ts comes to mind) that I personally would not go back to more than once if it were entirely up to me, but have been dragged by other people.

                2. Some of the worst have closed.

                  Marché - it looked good, but the food was so tasteless as to be inedible.
                  Geoffrey's Back Bay - And the worst part is that the South End location was a decent restaurant. They must have left things like cooking skill in their old location. I won't go into it.
                  Inq - Someone I know started putting an ST in front of their name. Even messed up a cocktail with two ingredients.

                  Strangely enough, they're all in Back Bay.

                  1. i've had several bad meals (admittedly years ago) at ban chiang on centre st in jamaica plain, and i don't know anyone else who likes it either. i'm amazed they've stayed open while so many other great places have closed. some people must like it, right?

                    1. Those place you are dragged, kicking and screaming to by some member of the family who wants an "elegant" meal.

                      I won't beat on the little places who don't even know what good food is about, I have had a number of terrible meals at Anthony's Pier Four and Capital Grill.

                      I have finally developed an reply to those who want to take me there. You go and enjoy your meal, we'll met you for a drink after dinner.

                      1. Piccolo Venezia on Hanover Street

                        5 Replies
                        1. re: Northender

                          Actually, I've had three perfectly decent, although unremarkable, meals at Venezia - manageable with kids, prompt friendly service, large portions, decent wine.

                          1. re: Northender

                            I agree! That was some of the worst food I've ever eaten. Very embarrassing, since I was with a friend from out of town. I stil haven't been able to convince her to give the North End a second chance.

                            At least we got good cannolis.

                            1. re: maillard

                              Piccolo Venezia's food may not be on par with the rest of the North End, but they do have a wonderful staff. I always stop there for an after dinner drink when in the area, and I like their hot appetizer special with the sauted shrimp, garlic bread, fried calamari and mozzarella sticks.

                              1. re: Pegmeister

                                I think the worst of the North End has to be Cafe Pompei. Amazing how awful that meal was - frozen, improperly cooked gnocchi, canned "red sauce" (no recognizable tomato product in it), cheese that may have once been melted but upon serving had the consistency of a half-dried paint puddle.... ugh. One of the worst meals I've ever had - and expensive to boot!

                            2. re: Northender

                              Here, here! The most disgusting Italian food I've ever eaten. Dragged there a 2nd time by out-of-town idiots who tried to convince me that the North End was near Union Oyster House, across the Dig.

                            3. For me it is Fire + Ice. 15$ for a 5$ stirfry where everything always tastes the same. It's like anti-food. I refuse to go there on principle now.

                              12 Replies
                              1. re: Jesseve

                                I think the key to Fire and Ice is to pile up on only one or two items. I went there a few years ago not knowing this, and got about 15 different items. They mixed them all together, poured sauce on them, and served it to me. Not the best of ideas to mix steak, fish, potatoes, onions, peppers, chicken, pork, and pasta into one big gloppy pile. I still feel sick just thinking about it.

                                1. re: hiddenboston

                                  I think the key is to be 17, and pretty ignorant. Somebody that age was just raving about it. I smiled politely.

                                  1. re: Aromatherapy

                                    You are right- best to be 17. My nephew goes to school in Boston, and every year for Christmas I give him gift certificates for Fire and Ice. He loves it. I was there once and it was way way way beyond horrible.

                                2. re: Jesseve

                                  I couldn't agree more - and "anti-food" is precisely right. I was just in Boston and young college friends suggested it - I shuddered and refused!

                                  1. re: Jesseve

                                    "It's like anti-food", what a great turn of a phrase. God I love that and I'm gonna steal it!

                                    1. re: Jesseve

                                      Ding ding! We have a winner here, especially the wretched Back Bay branch. I used to work across the street, and for the love of god, my co-workers kept insisting we go there for a "fun dept lunch". Not only was the food boring and came out tasting the same regardless of what I selected from the bar, I left the place having to smell like the food all day. *barf* I dreaded going there.

                                      1. re: Jesseve

                                        Yes! I can't stand this place. They took Mongolian BBQ, which has three positive qualities (cheap, impossible to pick a bad combination of ingredients, and sesame pocket bread) and ruined every one.

                                        When I went there, I seem to recall that they had Italian-style pasta but no pasta sauce and "Asian" sauces but no Asian-style noodles. There was actually no way to make a noodle dish that wasn't a disaster. I also think that one of the options was BBQ sauce, which just might be the very last ingredient any stirfry should have.

                                        Even if I didn't like to cook myself, I would feel insulted by being asked to pay so much for the service of tossing food I picked out on a griddle. Not to mention that all of the "fresh" vegetables were limp and gross, stuff that you would pass right by in the grocery store! Ugh!

                                        1. re: Jesseve

                                          omg... fire and ice is the WORST restaurant. anyone who thinks that thats actually good needs to have their head examined!

                                          1. re: NiKoLe1625

                                            Well please examine me because Fire and Ice is my favorite...lol

                                            1. re: Johnresa

                                              i'm sorry, but its gross. but hey, we're all entitled to our opinions!

                                              1. re: Johnresa

                                                Johnresa, do you have any suggestions for combinations or sauces? I'm working right by the Back Bay Fire and Ice, and it would be really convenient if I could put something together there that I liked.

                                            2. re: Jesseve

                                              Can't agree more. Every time I go the place is jam-packed with hooting, yelling teenagers being "wacky" (I remember the teenage girls doing 'shots' of the various sauces to gross each other out... excuse me, can I get some teriyaki, thanks!), terrible service, and an atmosphere like a crowded airplane hangar.... and the end result is a bad stir-fry for $15? I'm done with that place.

                                            3. Hi

                                              My vote goes to OM in Harvard Sq. Food was OK but miniscule potions and extremly high prices. Excellent service and very good drinks.,

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: RoyRon

                                                I'm surprised by this one. I had a vegetarian tasting menu there and thought it was really inventive and tasty.

                                              2. I don't think I've ever had a good meal at the Pour House. Food has ranged from "eh" to mediocre. Everything they make can be had much better at other places.

                                                I still like it though. It's a fun, cheap place that is very convienent. I think of it as cafeteria food w/ beer. I guess it's the best of the rest of the bad options on Boylston St.

                                                The worst of the bad options is Whiskey's. They should just give up nad get rid of the kitchen and expand the bar space.

                                                3 Replies
                                                1. re: horrible

                                                  I agree. the quality at the Pour House is, um, poor(sorry, I had to do it!)

                                                  1. re: horrible

                                                    Ok, now you've invaded sacred territory. The Pour house gives you massive beers, pretty decent food, and if you go on the right night, it's super cheap!

                                                    I hope to get married there some day...just kidding.

                                                    I'm going to have to go ahead and agree with you on the Whiskey's front, except I think the bar blows just as much as the food does. It's like they're a dive, but they don't want to be, but they are, so they fight it, but not really.

                                                    1. re: horrible

                                                      I had a god awful cheese plate at Pour house. I never send things back adn I had to return it. It tasted like it was left uncovered in the fridge.

                                                    2. Petit Robert Bistro

                                                      7 Replies
                                                      1. re: Gabatta

                                                        People to seem to love or hate Petit Robert. It's also in the "always have a good meal" thread. I'd definitely put them in the always good category.

                                                        I think people may expect more than a French bistro, which is all that they are. The word "bistro" can connote fine dining to some people, but it's really the French version of a pub in many ways.

                                                        1. re: kbw18

                                                          Thanks, I spent a year working in France so I am quite aware what bistro implys.

                                                          That aside, this place sucks IMO.

                                                          1. re: Gabatta

                                                            Why, IYO, does this place suck?

                                                          2. re: kbw18

                                                            I agree- I have never had a good meal there. Once the service was just horrible, and the food tasted like it came from a frozen dinner box, and the other time it was just so-so. I won't go back even though I work right near by!

                                                            1. re: kbw18

                                                              Another surprise. The kenmore location does a great lunch in my opinion. and the bread is always fresh and warm and something i look forward too whenever lunch time comes around

                                                              1. re: bluestbluesea80

                                                                I wouldn't say I've always had a bad meal at PRB in Kenmore, but I have definitely had enough bad ones - burnt sweetbreads, undercooked beans in a "cassoulet" - that it's no longer on our regular restaurant rotation.

                                                            2. re: Gabatta

                                                              Agreed. I've eaten there a number of times thinking that each bad meal that I had eaten there was just a fluke. But nope, each meal was bad - over or under seasoned, over or under cooked, and mismatched flavors (tonic water in a cold asparagus soup?).

                                                              The service has never been great. I once listened to a waiter tell the bartender about his 'adventure' the previous night while waiting to be noticied and seated. Service is erratic and the staff lack training - I won't go into details which abound.

                                                              I really want to like it since it's close to home in the South End and eating on the sidewalk on a warm evening is wonderful but . . .

                                                            3. Border Cafe in Harvard Square, but I know better not to expect the world of this place.

                                                              5 Replies
                                                              1. re: Prav

                                                                I agree on their food, but I love their margaritas! great price too!

                                                                1. re: sheitoon

                                                                  Third. Ditto for the margaritas, which use the familiar powder-chemical sour mix. Yeesh.

                                                                  1. re: jajjguy

                                                                    4th. blech!

                                                                    1. re: saltyair

                                                                      Have to disagree, it's one of my favorites! Probably not top-end Mexican but for the money it's unbeatable for families.

                                                                      1. re: saltyair

                                                                        borders is really bad, cheese cake factory is the worst though

                                                                2. Betty's Wok & Diner. It baffles me that they are so busy.

                                                                  3 Replies
                                                                  1. re: cheryl_h

                                                                    aww! I love Betty's Wok! I always have good food! Give it another try!

                                                                    1. re: irisell

                                                                      I used to adore Bettys, but the last time I went (~9 months ago) it was not as good as I remembered... and I think their prices had gone up. I was so disappointed!

                                                                    2. re: cheryl_h

                                                                      I wanted to like Betty's when I moved close by... but I actually think it's pretty awful. It's a slightly trendier Fire & Ice, in my opinion. Although, they do have some yummy cocktails.

                                                                    3. Anthony's Pier 4

                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                      1. re: Chaumiere

                                                                        Bingo. My sister and BIL got married in Las Vegas 10+ years ago, and his parents didn't attend - but wanted to have a party for them. I cringed when my sister told me it was going to be at AP4. I told I'd go (she demanded I be there as I was the only person from our side of the family in the area) only if she, my BIL, and his sister with whom I had roomed in LV were at my table, and we'd leave as soon as humanly possible. We left before dessert and went out to eat. :-)

                                                                      2. I've really only eaten there once, so not sure if this counts, but the Chart House was REALLY bad and REALLY expensive.

                                                                        1. The Greenhouse in Harvard Square. Tried it a couple of times and found it not so good, which is a shame for what could be a reliable neighborhood place. Mediocre burgers, sandwiches and battered fries that remind me of taco bell. Don't think I'll go back again.

                                                                          The Wrap/Boloco. Never left without feeling regret, self-loathing and a vow not try it anymore.

                                                                          Sonsie. Only positive eating experience was sharing a small pizza at the bar. More ambitious food orders have fizzled.

                                                                          Summer Shack. Overpriced and underwhelming.

                                                                          Bukowski's. The food is ok, but the louder-means-we're-cooler aesthestic has slowly killed it for me. I can't wait to leave by the time I've finished a burger and PBR.

                                                                          1. Gotta second the Greenhouse, even with the location I can't believe it's still open.

                                                                            I'm gonna put Sandrine's on this list, I've been four times, every time hopeful, in part because of good experiences of other Chowhounders, but every time I left sad.

                                                                            Is there any consensus on here about what is definately bad, what we've merely had bad luck with and what's simply a matter of taste? Two of the above, Petit Robert SE and Om are two of my favourites, for example. I also like Summer Shack but merely because it's kind of the neutral ground between the Outback Steakhouse in the suburbs and decent city person food. [not that there aren't good suburban food places!]

                                                                            1. in Cambridge, I'm particularly annoyed by Greenhouse (breakfast there was just awful), Three Aces, and Charlie's Kitchen (I ordered a salmon steak sandwich, and it turned out to be an inedible processed food product)

                                                                              4 Replies
                                                                              1. re: fenian

                                                                                I've always wondered what the food at the Greenhouse was like. After waiting 40 minutes for the waitress to take a food order, we finally left the one and only time I was there. Maybe the waitress was actually being nice by denying us food.

                                                                                1. re: kbw18

                                                                                  I've always liked the Greek salads at the Greenhouse. They are big enough for a meal and cheap. You would never mistake it for a gourmet lunch, but it does the trick sometimes.

                                                                                  1. re: TheScribe

                                                                                    The Greenhouse is now closed. Has been for awhile

                                                                                    1. re: bluestbluesea80

                                                                                      Well, yeah. But this thread - at least this section of it - is from 2006.

                                                                              2. Stephanies on Newbury and Sonsie.

                                                                                I was in this cycle of giving them another try
                                                                                every two years or so, but each time was amazingly worse than the last - inedible food, horrible service. Now I don't bother.

                                                                                1. Emillio's pizza in the south end. No sauce on the pie but the place is buzzing.

                                                                                  1. Ken's Steak House in Framingham....
                                                                                    No matter how much Jay Severin hypes/humps the place, it's still an airless mausoleum

                                                                                    4 Replies
                                                                                    1. re: Harp00n

                                                                                      I could not agreee more on Ken's in Framingham. The most horrid meal i have ever eaten- they gave me a gift cert, and I tossed it. Why would I torture myself twice?

                                                                                      1. re: magsnbean

                                                                                        you could have givin it to someone you don't like!

                                                                                      2. re: Harp00n

                                                                                        Ken's Steak was probably the worst eating experience ive had. Poor quality food, instant mashed potatos and even the salad was bad

                                                                                        1. re: danyboy

                                                                                          Will agree with this. Geez, even Hilltop looks great compared to Ken's -- yuckko!

                                                                                      3. can this conversation be complete without mentioning the S&S in inman sq? i mean, come on!

                                                                                        1. I have to add my vote to Anthony's Pier Four. I had heard it referred to as a Boston Institution - I didn't know better so I went there. The experience was awful from start to finish - the food, service, ambiance (does anyone under 60 frequent this place?!).

                                                                                          We had a bunch of leftovers (see comment above about bad food) so we decided to get them wrapped up for home (we were not so well-off grad students back then). Well, our waiter, who had been inattentive all night, "forgot" and the food was thrown away. Rather than comp us for something or even offer a sincere apology, we received a shrug and a blank look. Ugh!! I have never been back.

                                                                                          1. Hi-Rise on Concord Ave. Bleeck!

                                                                                            Injectable dessert at Trani in the N. End. Even drunk off my @ss, I didn't eat that.

                                                                                            Ditto S&S and I'll add - certainly with detractors - Umbria. Lawd that was a godawful meal for big money. Ick.

                                                                                            1. i'm most familiar with JP, so that's what i will mention. unfortunately, there're a bunch of them.

                                                                                              1) sorella's. always crowded in the weekend, but we found it grimy, overpriced, surly and totally unimaginative. could do better breakfast at home without even thinking about it.

                                                                                              2) bukhara. food's boring and bad, and the "random cloud of apathetic waiters" approach to service. i once had a regional speciality dish--i thought it would be better than their average b/c, after all, it was being touted as one of their particular specialties--and it was salty and greasy (and i usually LIKE both of those). the menu said it came with a "bun"--and that it did. i kid you not, an indian restaurant and they served me a toasted stop and shop hamburger bun.

                                                                                              3) emack & bolio's. ok, not really a restaurant, but that place was stinky, filled with crazy people snoring, crappy coffee and the tables were spaced about 2" apart.

                                                                                              4) junebug. again, not a restaurant, but they played the worst music ever. every single time i was there. and it takes them 30 minutes to make a sandwich, and they look stressed out as hell while they're doing it.

                                                                                              i also had a pretty lackluster meal at ban chiang (mentioned earlier). and not exactly what the post is about, but i really don't understand the buzz about galleria umberto in the north end. stood in line there for 30 minutes for a couple slices and one of those fried potato ball things, and they were both very "eh," at best.

                                                                                              12 Replies
                                                                                              1. re: autopi

                                                                                                ill second the umberto's mention. terrible! soupy-soft oily pizza, long lines. a real disconnect here. cheap, but so what!

                                                                                                1. re: missthebagelsbadly

                                                                                                  Oh but it is more than just cheap! Their arancini (rice balls) are the best I've had, a trip to Galleria Umberto is nothing without them.

                                                                                                  1. re: missthebagelsbadly

                                                                                                    Not everyone likes Sicilian pizza. Several of my friends won't touch the stuff. But I can't get enough of the pizza at Umberto's, plus the people behind the counter are great (especially nice to children) and the line moves pretty fast.

                                                                                                  2. re: autopi

                                                                                                    While you may not think Sorella's executes well, can you really call them "totally unimaginative"? You don't see the combos they have for pancakes, french toast and omelettes too many other places. And I think $5.95 for pancakes, which is a typical price there, is pretty reasonable.

                                                                                                    1. re: Joanie

                                                                                                      Okay, I'll agree that their breakfast combos are quite unusual, but for me, Sorrella's actually fits this category perfectly, because they're one place I went to quite a few times before I concluded that I just didn't care for their food.

                                                                                                      The first time I went I learned that quick breads (I think it was banana bread) are not actually very nice as french toast. Then I went a few times trying different pancake combos, but I found those pretty disappointing too. Finally after several visits while I tried to convince myself that I just wasn't choosing the right things, I gave up.

                                                                                                      1. re: Allstonian

                                                                                                        That makes sense. I agree, not a fan of french toasting quick breads. But I do like some of the pancake combos and I think you could get a good funky omelette tho I tend to get pancakes my couple times a year there.

                                                                                                    2. re: autopi

                                                                                                      Sorry to reply to something from 2006, but could it be that you ordered pav bhaji at Bukhara? That would explain the bun. Regardless, I hate this place as well.

                                                                                                      1. re: Prav

                                                                                                        yeah that's what it was. (i think we may have had this discussion before.) i'm glad to see that in time between the original thread and now, emack & bolio's has left, 2 new cafes have opened up, city feed is moving in to that terrible old videosmith space, vee vee has opened up, etc.. now we just need bukhara to go away and the guys who own punjabi dhaba to come to jp. oh and some halfway decent chinese would be nice too.

                                                                                                        1. re: autopi

                                                                                                          Agreed, 100%! (JP is my hood too)

                                                                                                          1. re: autopi

                                                                                                            Do y'all view the addition of a JP branch of the Real Deal Deli from West Roxbury as a good thing? I went to the original the other weekend - it was decent - you know - it's a Phantom "Hidden Gem." :-b

                                                                                                            1. re: Bob Dobalina

                                                                                                              dunno, never been to the original. well i guess i view it as positive b/c i thought the emack&bolio's sucked big time, and this presumably won't be worse. there's lots of room for improvement in jp.

                                                                                                            2. re: autopi

                                                                                                              pav bhaji is served with hamburger buns--they are said to be quite similar to the Indian pav used.

                                                                                                              We like Bukhara, but avoid Sunday nights, where we've found the quality of the kitchen takes a dive. We tend toward the vegetarian dishes (bhindi, bharta, paneer) though I like the gosht saag. Agreed that the floor is in total disarray these days--and we trading out the chafing dishes was a bad idea to say the least. Still, we are picky about Indian at my house, cook it some at home, and can't agree that Bukhara needs to leave town (especially not to be replaced by Punjabi Dhaba, which is no more than ok in my book).

                                                                                                        2. Sabur in Teele Sq

                                                                                                          No Name restaurant on the waterfront

                                                                                                          Antonia's

                                                                                                          Ken's Steakhouse

                                                                                                          Hard Rock Cafe

                                                                                                          7 Replies
                                                                                                          1. re: Sal Monella

                                                                                                            Sabur? Wow, I've heard great things about the place, too. Has anyone else had a bad experience there?

                                                                                                            1. re: Sal Monella

                                                                                                              Every meal I've had at Sabur was delish.

                                                                                                              1. re: tallullah

                                                                                                                I'm happy to hear that some people have had good experiences at Sabur. I guess I'm the skunk at the party. Perhaps we'll give them another try at some point...

                                                                                                                1. re: Sal Monella

                                                                                                                  I've been to Sabur three times and have never been impressed. The space is so fabulous, I wish they could get their act together.

                                                                                                              2. re: Sal Monella

                                                                                                                I think Sabur is great! We go when we want a different kind of breakfast, and I thought dinner was good too. I really like the burek. yum!

                                                                                                                1. re: sheitoon

                                                                                                                  Been to Sabur 3 or 4 times and it was good each time. Such a nice space and I think the food and drinks match the setting very well. Fun little spot.

                                                                                                                  1. re: saffron10

                                                                                                                    We've been to Sabur a few times. The food is good but not worth a drive. Mostly go there for outdoor seating in the summer which is very pleasant...

                                                                                                              3. I've always had a great experience at Sabur (especially with their brunch!). The service can be a little slow, but the lounge area is so comfy, it has never really bothered me.

                                                                                                                1. Village Smokehouse in Brookline----I keep getting tempted again, then disappointed just as badly as before. So mediocre.

                                                                                                                  I tend to have that experience at Silvertone's, but I know the place has some hardcore foodie fans. So maybe I order wrong every time.

                                                                                                                  Agree on Fire + Ice---nice idea, bad in practice.

                                                                                                                  1. I would also add Ferrari's on Eastern Ave in Malden. I love to try small local restaurants, and thought I would give this a try. It was really the most vile place I have ever been to. It was dingy, booths not really comfortable, service was horrible, the food was barely edible, the pasta sauce was worse than any jarred sauce. It was just so, so bad I did not even complain- I knew I would never be back, and if a place is this bad- they either know it and don't care, or are totally clueless.

                                                                                                                    1. there's a big difference between a bad experience at a joint and one at a restaurant. i don't think emilio's, (maybe worst pizza in town)and the pour house really belong in a thread with places that aspire to more.

                                                                                                                      that being said, the food AND service at both stephanie's and sonsie are atrocious. lunch at the bar, and both places, after waiting patiently about 20-25 minutes for my food, turned out the dingbat bartender had "forgotten" to order it. lemme see, you have 3 customers and a mostly empty dining room...

                                                                                                                      every time i go to sonsie (which is under duress, even with other people paying, mind you) there is a calamity -- wrong dish, 30 minutes to get a bottle of wine, cold food. horrible. i guess they make lots of money on the cappuccinos.

                                                                                                                      1. That would be Gerard's in Adams Village area of Dorchester. While they make a good breakfast, dinner is another story. For some reason, it's the type of place you want to like. The people are pleasant and the atmosphere is comfortable. It's a good place to stop for a glass of wine. I've had probably 3 meals there, the worst was the pizza and I generally like all pizza. So, the next time I tried the turky and while edible, it wasn't something I would order again.

                                                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                                                        1. re: Pegmeister

                                                                                                                          When you walk by and there is no one -- not one diner -- in the dining room at 6:30 pm, that's a clue. Personally, I don't think their breakfasts are that great either but I agree that they are better than dinner service.

                                                                                                                        2. The late, but not lamented, Pauli's in Melrose (now home to the lovely Mexico Lindo.) Simply awful.

                                                                                                                          2 Replies
                                                                                                                          1. re: Bob MacAdoo

                                                                                                                            I had heard that, too. I remember when they had a small take out place (across the street from where their restaurant was). That place was ok- just had a meatball sandwich or something from there. Never tried the restaurant, though. The family is really nice- now they have a breakfast place on E Emerson Street- I think it called Cedar Perk.

                                                                                                                            1. re: Bob MacAdoo

                                                                                                                              OH GAWD AGREE AGREE AGREE AGREE AGREE on Paulis.

                                                                                                                            2. Who goes back to a place after a second disappointment? The list of places I didn't think were worth a third chance would run to pages.

                                                                                                                              I guess I could weigh in with some places I get dragged to periodically as part of business entertaining that I wouldn't patronize on my own nickel, as I think they're inconsistent, mediocre and/or overpriced: Olives, Anthony's Pier Four, Stephanie's, The Federalist, Mistral, pretty much every luxury chain steakhouse in town (though I have yet to try Ruth's Chris), Radius, 33, most red-sauce places in the North End, Hamersley's, Sibling Rivalry, Masa, Blue Ginger, Great Bay, Turner Fisheries, the Union Oyster House.

                                                                                                                              6 Replies
                                                                                                                              1. re: MC Slim JB

                                                                                                                                Generally agree, although there are some places where I forget why I didn't like it, go back and then remember again. No elephant, me.

                                                                                                                                1. re: MC Slim JB

                                                                                                                                  Sibling Rivarly was definitely a bit disappointing. I went with 4 people, and although we liked their food, I wouldn't have called it amazing. The service we got was great though! I'm not sure I'd go back.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: MC Slim JB

                                                                                                                                    Had several lovely meals at Blue Ginger, an excellent one at Radius, and think the cocktail hour oysters/app deal at Great Bay is fabulous. Chacon a son gout. Consider going to a place like Anthony's Pier Four or Cafe Escadrille in Burlington akin to a trip to the dentist and costing almost as much. Once each was enough. Am seriously not a fan of any Aquitaine group restaurant as i've found them bland, overpriced, and moving toward the "chain" level of "good" food. On the other hand, had several perfectly enjoyable meals at Petit Robert Bistro and while its not on my "must return" list, I wouldn't feel awful stopping by again if i was in the neighborhood.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: teezeetoo

                                                                                                                                      I had some excellent meals at Radius in its first couple of years of operation, but think it has slid downhill sharply of late, despite being one of the pricier restaurants in town. I had a particularly wretched meal there last year. Blue Ginger failed to impress me on many visits; I can't be bothered to get to Wellesley to give it one more shot.

                                                                                                                                      I don't hear many people decrying the Aquitaine Group's restaurants as being chain-like. Their menus certainly aren't very adventurous, more like reliable crowd-pleasers. Aquitaine the original has come in for some slagging here lately, but I had another fine meal there recently. It certainly feels more Americanized than some of its newer French-bistro competition, but I've long noted that about its menu. Aquitaine Bis always struck me as the least interesting and most suburban of the bunch (those oversized portions, ick).

                                                                                                                                      Gaslight is uneven at best, but it's great-looking and pretty versatile. I think you have to pick your spots carefully (terrible Cubano, for example), and I'm less convinced it's the bargain that it first seemed. A recent brunch felt like a swindle.

                                                                                                                                      Metropolis and Union continue to be terrific, in my book, suffering only from menus that don' t change frequently enough, and limited wine lists. Union also allowed its best bartender to walk, a big loss.

                                                                                                                                    2. re: MC Slim JB

                                                                                                                                      i love mistral and sibiling rivalry

                                                                                                                                      also really disliked blue ginger, union oyster house

                                                                                                                                      do you dislike grill23 too?

                                                                                                                                      1. re: kweesee

                                                                                                                                        Mistral is very good, just not worth the money, in my book. At those prices, I've had a lot more fun at Sorellina lately.

                                                                                                                                        Sibling Rivalry might be my least favorite fine-dining restaurant in the South End at the moment: I took it for another spin not too long ago, based on a friend's assertion that it had gotten better -- my friend's dinner recs now have an asterisk next to them ("* likes Sibling"). I can forgive crappy, cramped atmosphere and bad bartending, but not food that reminds me of chain-hotel dining, not at those prices.

                                                                                                                                        I've long said I find the town's luxury steakhouses a snore, but I dislike Grill 23 less than most. It has better non-beef options than most, excellent private dining rooms, and at least one great bartender. The level of din in the main dining room can be distracting.

                                                                                                                                    3. I hate bukowski's. Overpriced heady food, loud, and the food is not good. Why is it always packed?

                                                                                                                                      4 Replies
                                                                                                                                      1. re: David_A

                                                                                                                                        I go often because the beer selection is fantastic. The food is definitely lackluster.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: fenian

                                                                                                                                          that's the whole idea of that place and place like that a couple of beers and it don't make no diff what the food is like

                                                                                                                                          1. re: foodperv

                                                                                                                                            I used to be a regular at Buks and I certainly went there for the beer selection, the music, and the bartenders. But back then after midnight you could get a dog or burger for $1. Even earlier hours it was reasonably priced. Then I went to the Inman Sq. location and they dared to serve the same crappy frozen patty burger for $7 or $8. Come on!

                                                                                                                                        2. re: David_A

                                                                                                                                          Bukowski's (at least in Inman Sq) is WAY too loud for me! I'm ok with the food, but I don't go in expecting much.

                                                                                                                                        3. John Harvard's in H SQ. I don't think I'd call it a place that "aspires to much," but the food and service (even getting a drink at the bar is a mission) were atrocious the last time i went.

                                                                                                                                          2 Replies
                                                                                                                                          1. re: thekoopman

                                                                                                                                            I was just going to log-on to write the same thing! Although a "bad" meal is relative, I have never liked a meal I've had here. Friends like it, however, and I have found myself eating here far more than I care to admit.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: thekoopman

                                                                                                                                              Good call. The food I've had there is disgusting, produced with indifference. I do like the beer though.

                                                                                                                                            2. Red House in Union Square is truly, truly atrocious. La Hacienda near Twin Cities mall is by no means inedible, but it is certainly not good.

                                                                                                                                              We also need to reserve a special space here for the horrible Indian restaurants of Boston, of which there are many. For now, I nominate Cafe of India in Harv Sq, and Shalimar and Gandhi in Central (how anyone decides to name a restaurant after a man known worldwide for his fasts unto death has always puzzled me).

                                                                                                                                              Also, I know many 'hounds love it, but I have never had anything even approaching a good meal at Punjabi Dhaba, and the surly, indifferent service does not help.

                                                                                                                                              3 Replies
                                                                                                                                              1. re: elbev

                                                                                                                                                Red House! wow, yeah. i never thought it would be possible to screw up chicken fingers... it is possible if you use some other, normally unavailable meat... yack.

                                                                                                                                                1. re: jajjguy

                                                                                                                                                  Red House is gross. Even at 2:00am and after MANY beers it is still inedible,

                                                                                                                                                  As for La Hacienda, I have always been a fan of the pizzas and chicken parm but it is one of those places I grew up with and will always like.

                                                                                                                                                2. re: elbev

                                                                                                                                                  India Palace in Union Square. Gave it a go a couple of times; the last time I tried, we had it delivered, and the fried items smelled like sewage. It was so foul!

                                                                                                                                                  Lately I find Punjabi Dhaba to be inconsistent. Had an amazing meal a few months ago, went back a week later and the food was disappointing. They're still my favorite for the price, though.

                                                                                                                                                  Goes without saying that Cheesecake Factory is awful. If I'm roped into going there it's all about trying to find the least-terrible thing on the menu.

                                                                                                                                                3. I must add further comments:

                                                                                                                                                  -Border Cafe. All of them are really bad chain versions of true Mexican food.
                                                                                                                                                  -Any of the other chain places. Chilli's, Applebys, Denny's,etc. You go into any of them blinfolded and you would get the same type of mediocre food.
                                                                                                                                                  -The Cheesecake Factory. I cannot understand why these places are so popular. Mountains of very average food.
                                                                                                                                                  -Vinny Testa's. Mountains of over cooked pasta with over cooked red sauce.

                                                                                                                                                  1. 1) Cheesecake Factory - YUCK! Is all I can say. The only 1/2 way edible thing is the Vietnamese summer rolls on the app list. Everything else is overdone & overpriced. If it was cheap & less "factory" like, it might be so-so. Ever notice how they line you up to decend on the table the very instant the last patrons stand up to leave???

                                                                                                                                                    2) Vinny Testa's - only subjected to it once - too much food

                                                                                                                                                    3) You won't like me for this - but Legal Seafoods. Aside from their clam chowder, everything else is mediocre at best. They take perfectly good fish and completely overcook it. Their mashed potatoes taste like there is Lipton Alfredo powder mix tossed into them.....

                                                                                                                                                    4) 95% of the "Italian" places in the N. End. Really, can't we make a simple pasta sauce with overcooked frozen seafood at home and toss it over store-bought pasta for less than $15 pp?

                                                                                                                                                    5 Replies
                                                                                                                                                    1. re: jcanncuk

                                                                                                                                                      Agree on all counts, including Legal Seafoods. Had a meal at the Harvard Square branch a month or so ago - a grilled calamari appetizer was actually quite good, but entrees were worse than ho-hum. High point of the meal was a flight of Irish whiskeys (instead of dessert!)

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: phoebek

                                                                                                                                                        I had a terrible meal at the legal park plaza. Pretty much the worst seafood I have ever had. But while waiting for a friend at logan my wife and I had a great meal at the legals there. Perfectly cooked fish, veggie sides that were not "steam table" quality.
                                                                                                                                                        I still wouldn't bring anybody to a legals tho.
                                                                                                                                                        I will add my 2 cents worth for fire+ice, and the big chinese place in washington sq. who's name I can't remember.
                                                                                                                                                        I have had better at a food court.

                                                                                                                                                        gutterman

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: gutterman

                                                                                                                                                          I forgot about that Chinese place - someone gave us a gift cert. there once and I was shocked at how unauthentic the food was. It was truly terrible (& expensive!)

                                                                                                                                                        2. re: phoebek

                                                                                                                                                          "A flight of Irish whiskeys" Man, how great is that???

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Harp00n

                                                                                                                                                            Very great!

                                                                                                                                                      2. Tapeo. Yeeech! I ate the worst meal of my life there and will never go back.

                                                                                                                                                        8 Replies
                                                                                                                                                        1. re: bakemeacake

                                                                                                                                                          Here , here. I add Tasca to that - everything is in the same icky tomato sauce.

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: bakemeacake

                                                                                                                                                            I second Tapeo. I ate there and was disgusted.

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: irisell

                                                                                                                                                              I'm curious - what were you disgusted by?

                                                                                                                                                            2. re: bakemeacake

                                                                                                                                                              Tapeo - really?! That's the place on Newbury? I've been - it's ok -

                                                                                                                                                              Tasca on the otherhand - totally Blech!

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Bob Dobalina

                                                                                                                                                                I love Cuchi Cuchi, if you haven't tried it. It shares the same owners with Tapeo (and partly Dali). I've had all three and Cuchi Cuchi in Central is the best in my opionion - though it is a bit pricey.

                                                                                                                                                                I still need to try Tasca

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Bob Dobalina

                                                                                                                                                                  i agree with bob. i like tapeo but tasca is horrible

                                                                                                                                                                  llove cuchi cuchi

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: kweesee

                                                                                                                                                                    Cuchi cuchi is just not for me. I just don't get the overdressed staff and too cool for school attitude. No issues with the actual food except that its a little pricey. Last time I was there a waitress clearing the table next to us spilled about 1/4 cup of oil off a plate down my arm (thankfully I was wearing a sleeveless shirt). Although I got a muttered apology from her with the prices you're paying there I felt they should have put a little more effort into making up for that incident (a comp for a dessert or just one of the tapas?) I mean I smelled like a salad for the rest of the night!

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: heypielady

                                                                                                                                                                      Funny- we were done w/our meal but passing wedding photos around and were asked to leave so another party could sit. The hostess claimed she had another table for us, but then disappeared before re-seating us. I was pretty surprised by the treatment--Soundbites, sure, hurry up eat and leave...but at that kind of $ I expected a "hey, sorry to disrupt your night, here's a free dessert/coffee for the inconvenience" much better places in the 'hood, especially with Craigie opening

                                                                                                                                                              2. 2 places in Revere...Companions and De Maino's. My mother likes to go to these places and I've had any number of unimaginably bad meals there.

                                                                                                                                                                I've had nothing but great experiences at Sabur.

                                                                                                                                                                1. Jimbo's in Braintree. To be honest, I haven't been in years. But long ago I had been many times and NOT once had even a passable meal there. Lousy food and service. Ugh. Finally, I decided to never be talked into going again - not even by one of my frugal, elderly relatives (who seem to love the place for some strange reason).

                                                                                                                                                                  1. I'm probably going to get major disagreement here, but I'm not a huge fan of The Elephant Walk. I think their overpriced, and I've always gotten REALLY bad service there.

                                                                                                                                                                    I'm also not a huge fan of Finale's - they're ridiculously overpriced in my opinion.

                                                                                                                                                                    I have no clue why The Cheesecake Factory is so popular. overpriced, often greasy, and not super exciting food. I guess it works for a crowd, and I do like their cheesecakes!

                                                                                                                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: sheitoon

                                                                                                                                                                      but none of what you said ,said anything about Bad food
                                                                                                                                                                      some over pricing, some decent although not anything to rave about food

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: sheitoon

                                                                                                                                                                        I hate the food at Elephant Walk. I really wanted to like it, but it was barely edible (before you ask, I ordered off the Cambodian part of the menu).

                                                                                                                                                                      2. -the red house (harvard square); great location, mediocre food at best (and sometimes absolutely awful food), and unfriendly service.

                                                                                                                                                                        -in the over-rated category, i'd put elephant walk and hammersley's. i don't particularly dislike either of them but i certainly don't think they live up to the buzz.

                                                                                                                                                                        1. Ah, Antonia's! One of my least favorite places in the world. I even got quoted in the Zagat review, such was my pith'n'vinegar.

                                                                                                                                                                          Also in Davis, I'm not a fan of Blue Shirt Cafe. I really want to like them, because they're crunchy hippies and I'm OK with that. But they don't season their food! So it's bland. I know, it's "natural" tasting, but on this I think they've missed the boat.

                                                                                                                                                                          Also, also in Davis, I cannot understand how the Broken Yolk thrives. Even Kelly's is better. Even Rosebud is better. Sound Bites is certainly much better. Even Renee's is better. Hell, even Blue Shirt is better. And yet several folks, knowing how I like to eat, have suggested it to me as a hidden gem - "it's really good!" (wink). -

                                                                                                                                                                          2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: enhF94

                                                                                                                                                                            Many times I have joyfully eaten a vegetarian breakfast burrito from Broken Yolk. Hits the spot when you've waited too long to eat on a day after drinking...

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: enhF94

                                                                                                                                                                              I feel the same way about Blue Shirt. In fact, I used to go there often when it first opened...things were not so bland back then. But I think it changed hands...sometimes things are not so "fresh" and my last time there was for breakfast, an egg sandwich on a bagel. Tasted of old grease....that put me off the place for good. Too bad because I want to like it, but...bleh!

                                                                                                                                                                            2. Folks, please keep this thread focused on the chow that is unique to Boston. Discussion of chow at chain restaurants is off topic for this board.

                                                                                                                                                                              1. I totally agree about service being slow at Elephant Walk - at least at the one in Boston. Good luck in getting in and out at lunch in under 2 hours.

                                                                                                                                                                                As for Finale - overpriced and mediocre, and that is being generous. Great concept though.

                                                                                                                                                                                And my all time bad meals go to Cambridge Tavern in Central Square. It has gotten slightly better in the last few months. But i've always wondered if the chefs have ever eaten what they're cooking. Things are either stone cold, inedible or they barely resemble the original concept. Sadly - the location and decor rock, and the service is generally good and friendly. I keep giving it more chances, but i've been disappointed every single time.

                                                                                                                                                                                1. Probably my least favorite meal came from Tsunami in Coolidge Corner... I've gotten better sushi (for less money) at the food court at BU (and that is saying something).

                                                                                                                                                                                  Got take-out from India Castle (who I used to really love) in Central Sq... bloody awful. I had a Dahi Wada as part of my order and it was warm and bubbling (as though something in it was breaking down at a disturbing rate...). Yeah, they're on my never-order-again list.

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. Elephant Walk.....I only went twice, the first time it was ok, even good, the Cambodian dishes being new to me and interesting. The second time, last year, I had a truly awful experience -- , poor service, wrong drinks, luke warm, gristly cloying tuna tartar that I couldn't eat as I was afraid it would make me sick and then a couple of other things I can't recall because I was so shocked by the whole thing. Have not been back and would only go kicking and screaming.

                                                                                                                                                                                    I have to add Lucky Wah, mainly because the food looks disgusting (I have not eaten there) and they were the cause of New Taste of Asia's closing.

                                                                                                                                                                                    Fire & Ice? Yuck!

                                                                                                                                                                                    Tsunami in Brookline; what happened to them? It was so awful last time I went.

                                                                                                                                                                                    Village Smokehouse.

                                                                                                                                                                                    Any chain.

                                                                                                                                                                                    4 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Zatan

                                                                                                                                                                                      I ate at Elephant Walk (Porter) recently with a group (not my dime) and it was perfectly fine. Mango salad arrived extra-spicy as requested. They mixed up an entree order but not a fatal error, not worth complaining about. The prix fixe isn't a bad deal. You could drag me back any time.

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Aromatherapy

                                                                                                                                                                                        Food experiences from the both the Cambodian and French dishes at Elephant Walk have been fine for me. Service has been dubious at times but they are usually so busy I have to cut them a break. That Zatan had a bad experience just shows how important consistency is in a restaurant. One bad night kills always kills a place for me too.

                                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: Zatan

                                                                                                                                                                                        I have to agree with your assessment of Elephant Walk. It was the only restaurant i've ever been to where the chef refused (actually came to the table to explain to/embarrass me - that he refused to overcook his fish. It was laughable. This guy was like a short order cook in a diner, and I insulted him by asking for fish medium rare - just not seared. We just left - the place was a joke - as sadly most of the restaurants in Boston are.

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: bbalmer

                                                                                                                                                                                          Your last sentence is awfully bold. I am curious as to where you have eaten in the Boston area to garnish such a statement. Please tell us why! You have only written one thing about the Woodstock Inn.

                                                                                                                                                                                      3. I went to 204 Washington in Walpole for the first and last time over the weekend. Not sure if that constitutes a "Where have you always had a bad meal?" since I only went once and will probably never return. Oddly enough, about half the people I went with loved it and half didn't like it at all. There was no in-between.

                                                                                                                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: hiddenboston

                                                                                                                                                                                          204 has some excellent meals and some that need to come off the menu. They have had the same menu since they opened in 1989. If you ever go again I would recommend ordering off the specials menu or asking your waitress for recommendations.

                                                                                                                                                                                        2. I have a new one to add. I went with a group to the Rustic Kitchen at 210 Stuart Street last week and ate the most horrible piece of beef I have ever had at any restaurant anywhere. Appetizers were OK but 3 off us couldn't eat our steaks. The manager tried to tell us that they butcher their own meat. I asked whether after they butcher it do they cook it, freeze it then reheat it in a microwave. He said that was not their policy. I wasn't so sure...

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. I think Summer Shack, can't remember a single meal I've been happy with there.

                                                                                                                                                                                            3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: steinpilz

                                                                                                                                                                                              I second your Summer Shack vote!! They're like a tourist trap cartoon parody of a new england seafood restaurant that started believe their own hype! I never understand how they stay in business....I want to run into the middle of the dining area and yell "The emperor is naked!"

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: InmanSQ Girl

                                                                                                                                                                                                i third summer shack. yuck!

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: kweesee

                                                                                                                                                                                                  A fourth Yekkkkk to Jasper White's Summer Shack - who let the dog out?????

                                                                                                                                                                                            2. LA PALOMA in Quincy. Horrid Tex-Mex food. Watered down overpriced Margaritas.

                                                                                                                                                                                              Have tried it 3 times and each visit was worse than the previous one.

                                                                                                                                                                                              On the third visit was served a burrito with BBQ beef in it! Tasted like they found the recipe on the Kraft Foods website.

                                                                                                                                                                                              They supposedly sell their completely ordinary salsa, but I have to wonder about that.

                                                                                                                                                                                              2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: C. Hamster

                                                                                                                                                                                                Too bad about La Paloma - Haven't been there for many years, but it used to be good. Once upon a time, before they had a license, we could bring our own margaritas, too!

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: phoebek

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Agree about La Paloma - they could do so much better with little effort. The last time I was there they served frozen vegetables still frozen. I love Mexican food and will accept compromises, but what they were serving that day was not even close...

                                                                                                                                                                                              2. Continuing in the tex-mex category, I'd add the Cactus Club on Boylston St. Very middling food and overly sweet margaritas reminiscent of lemon-lime Gatorade. If college kids didn't exist, well, I don't know why anyone else would actually choose to eat there.

                                                                                                                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: wontonton

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Cactus Club is indeed great if you're a college kid, but for the rest of us, it is uninspiring at best. Sadly, I have friends who insist on meeting there every now and then. I usually tell them I plan to be sick that night.

                                                                                                                                                                                                2. Fenway Park. I cringe when I get stuck eating there.I know, I know, Louie Tiant's cuban sandwhiches are good, but I don't eat pork. A few years ago there was one station that had chicken fajitas the were ok and cheap. But they got rid of them pronto to make the big bucks. Getting beer is a big pain in the butt too. Don't even think of taking a quick leak. It's the only place where people want to pay a fortune to be hassled, uncomfortable, ill fed,short changed on drinks, sing stupid songs, get your ears blasted by totally wasted morons and freeze your a-- off or burn your face off, loose you voice or die of boredom. And of course, I love it!!! Go SOX!!!!

                                                                                                                                                                                                  5 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: catspercapita

                                                                                                                                                                                                    El Pelon is so close to the park that I get cranky without my pre-Red Sox fish tacos (it would be bad luck!).

                                                                                                                                                                                                    P.S. At first read I thought you had written "totally wasted Mormons", which would arguably be much more entertaining.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: finlero

                                                                                                                                                                                                      El Pelon is awesome. Beats a burritto from Anna's, Quadoba or the Wrap anyday

                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: catspercapita

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Do what most season ticketholders like me have learned -- bring food in with you. I will bring food from Chef Changs, El Pelon, the falafel guy on Park drive -- even a pizza from Uno or a burrito from the place in Kenmore. The food in the park is horrid.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: C. Hamster

                                                                                                                                                                                                        I didn't think that they allowed you to bring in food.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Wineack

                                                                                                                                                                                                          You can bring in food but not drinks. Right after 9/11 they got a little dicey (searched my Chef Changs!) but all is well now.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    3. What bothers me is when a place is pricey and consistently disappointing. If the food is inexpensive and geared to a mass market like some of the places mentioned above, I’ve set my expectations accordingly so it doesn’t matter much.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      The food at Ivy I consider to be over-priced with zero-value. With the exception of the arancini, the menu items look promising but end up being expensive disappointments. I once mentioned this to the manager (if it were my place I‘d welcome such feedback as continuing on that trajectory is death to a restaurant) although I don’t think he agreed; fair enough. The wine, however, is a good deal.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. Sadly I am agreeing about Summer Shack as well. Beyond sell-by shellfish and fish - Jasper you have the clout and should use it on behalf of your loyal food is love patrons.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. Never once have I had a good meal at Hilltop Steak House, and my DH swears by it. Ick. To comment on above, the only Summer Shack for me is Mohegan Sun, which is quite good...but quite far.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: thegolferbitch

                                                                                                                                                                                                            OMG I hate the Hilltop --I am forced to go to brunch there twice a year and it literally makes me gag...even now --the smell of rubbery, watery eggs hits you when you walk in the overcrowded banquet rooms...

                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: saridt

                                                                                                                                                                                                              since 1988-90 i have been to the hilltop 4 times the last was 2005 and i quit never again cold tough meat (never had a problem with service) .
                                                                                                                                                                                                              although prior to that , before all the bouncing between owners etc it was ok

                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. Blue on Highland is the worst meal I've had in recent memory. (in Needham, open since August or so) We go by there at least 2x per week, and the place is always busy...but we can't figure out why! Tiny portions, poorly flavored, poorly cooked, and snotty service. I wrote a review on it a while back....

                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. Whichever restaurant happens to occupy the corner space in the Porter Exchange building at any given time, including last night.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              Anna's Taqueria, but at least my expectations are low, like they would be for Subway.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              Summer Shack, and I'll keep going back anyway.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              Legal Sea Foods, and I'll probably go back.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. I really HATE Kowloon. I think it's vile. Hubby loves it, so I grin and bear it occasionally.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. The Joshua Tree and Sagra. Blec.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. Rosebud Diner in Somerville. The most hideous breakfast ever.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    They cook the poached eggs in vinegar!!
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Summer Shack bad food at $$$$ prices!!!
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Everytime I go I feel ripped.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    4 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: holldoll

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I agree that the Rosebud is not the best. However, many places cook poached eggs in a mixture of water with some vinegar. The theory is that it helps to hold the egg together.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Gabatta

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        "Many places" using vinegar to poach eggs include chez moi, but my poached eggs still suck. One of the few uses of my kitchen scissors is to make those f*cking eggs look half-way decent on the off chance someone is at my house at that ungodly hour of the afternoon.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        One of these days I'll buy a fancy egg poacher, but at least my eggs still taste good.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Oh, for on topic, Rendezvous, never had a decent meal there. Others have I'm sure, but my goodness have I been disappointed. I think I'm on my own there though.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: holldoll

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Agree with you about Rosebud and I love diners. Food is just so poor.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: holldoll

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Rosebud is such a strange place. Never had a really good meal there, and I've had several terrible ones.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          The last time I went, not only was my food (a) wrong and (b) bad, my waitress had a fresh-looking black eye and kept breaking down crying as she served us, with the other waitress running up and saying "honey, come on, let me call someone." Nothing like domestic violence to spice up a meal. Don't know if I'll ever go back after that.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. rudy's mexican in teele sq always is so average i am shocked people wait in line for it. they do have a nice tequila selection which might alter peoples minds & taste buds.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: mr mangia

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Thank you. Rudy's sux.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: jajjguy

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Yes, Rudy's is lousy. Casa Romero, even worse and more perplexing given the pricepoint.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: chilibaby

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Rudy's was awesome, had a decline whe thye remodeled and now is back on the rise. They changed owners last year and i am glad. awesome pollo verde burrito, nachos poollo verde ( i love their verde sauce) and their queso burgers are addictive......incredible tequilla selection....The new owner was there when it was awesome and is working ot get it back to what it once was.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. --Any place in the Super 88 food court in Allston. (Except Ken's.) Greasy food and dirty, dirty floor.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            --I second (third? Fourth?) Village Smokehouse. Inferior meat and miniscule, watered drinks. It's such a cute place, too. I kept trying to like it and finally gave up.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            --The Busy Bee coffee shop in Brookline. I wanted passionately to like it because it's so close to where I work. Terrifying food. They poached my "over light" egg in old french fry grease.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            --i've been to Elephant Walk a lot because my boss likes it. Would never go there on my own. The French food is edible. I think I just don't like Cambodian food, if in fact this is the real thing
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            --Legal Seafood at Chestnut Hill. I used to eat there once a week but sadly, it's fallen off a lot over the last couple of years. Food is plated sloppily. Some is obviously left over and microwaved. Fish is overcooked. My husband won't go with me anymore but I'll HAVE to go back to get my oyster fix.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            17 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: SSqwerty

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Cambridge Commons is consistently bad. It is the default spot for many of my friends because it is close, decently priced, and you never have to wait.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: figg

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Unless you are headed downstairs for a show and the B***** makes you wait ad infinitum only to tell you after more than an hour that you are out of luck. Happened to us Saturday night. Also happened to my friend (who headlined there hundreds of nights) and he was pissed. The whole place rots from within. Wish I did not have so many friends who play there and therefore need to still patronize the place. Food upstairs could NOT be worse. More thumbs down on this place than I could give to any other place in Metro Boston.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: figg

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Yes. Extremely practical, but consistently disappointing. I've been a few times for the extensive beer offerings, but nothing seems to taste right there, including the beer.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: figg

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    great beer selection though, apps are not bad. not fine dining but there are worse places in harvard square

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: figg

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Wow, really? Cambridge Common certainly isn't gourmet, but it's always been entirely enjoyable pub fare for me. Usually just get a burger and their sweet potato fries, which are yummy.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: figg

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Gotta disagree here. Whenever I'm in town, my brother and I always go to Cambridge Common. Food is unexceptional but decent pub food, and the beer selection (and quality) is excellent!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: SSqwerty

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Re: authenticity of Elephant Walk's Cambodian dishes...eh..it is a watered down version of Cambodian food. Suvarnhabumi Kiri, up in Allston Village better represents the cuisine; but for the best go to Revere (Floating Rock) or a number of places in Lowell.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: SSqwerty

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I can't agree with either part of that depiction of the Super 88 food court, frankly.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: SSqwerty

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            The Busy Bee rocks. Sorry. It's been an institution for decades because it delivers good diner food, especially breakfast. And the people who run it are the best show in town.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: C. Hamster

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Ugh. Best show in town only if you enjoy having people scream at each other while you try to eat. Which I don't - every time I've eaten there the bickering has put my stomach in knots. I will grant that they serve solid diner food, but the atmosphere is deeply unpleasant.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Allstonian

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Guess it's love it or hate it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I've been going since I lived across the street in 1979 and have heard A LOT of bickering, but I find the whole scene very amusing.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: C. Hamster

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Yep - we've had this same "conversation" in a number of different threads over time. I admit freely that I'm pretty thin-skinned about other people fighting; it upsets me, especially when I'm eating. Anybody else who finds screaming arguments to be a funny accompaniment to food, you will totally enjoy the Busy Bee. But I do think that the rest of us deserve fair warning.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: Allstonian

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  why are people screaming at each other at this diner, and why are they always screaming? weird.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: autopi

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I'm intrigued about this as well - what gives?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: autopi

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      It's the staff - they're family, and they squabble and scream constantly.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Allstonian

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Jesus, that would stress me out.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: C. Hamster

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I ate at Busy Bee once. It was so disgusting. I still can't believe the place exists.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    -----
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Busy Bee Restaurant
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1046 Beacon St, Brookline, MA 02446

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                3. Sbarro - anywhere - every few years I fall into the trap because it looks so good but I think I have finally learned my lesson. Yuck.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. The Border Cafe. Especially at their new Burlington location, where the parking lot is far too small to accomodate the after-work crowd, resulting in a bad meal before you even sit down. I was subjected to the Cambridge Border Cafe for years... my friends loved the place for the cheap drinks. As penance I made them go to Grill 23 last Thursday. One juicy steak made up for 5 years of terrible meals!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. I try not to return to places where the food is bad, but (off the top of my head) places I've hit more than once and never done well include Summer Shack, Barking Crab, Parker House, Union Oyster House (except for raw oysters), Kotobukiya (the sushi bar), Fire & Ice, S&S, Village Smokehouse, La Famiglia Spagnuolo, La Famiglia Giorgio, Piccola Venezia, Vinny T's, Prince Pizza, Kowloon, Bali Hai, Yenching Palace, and Hong Kong. Also most pub grub spots, including the Applebee's and Pizzeria Uno style chains, as well as several fast food places.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      There are also several places that I went to once and were awful enough that I'd never go back to on a bet.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. Sonsie is by far one of the worst places to eat. I have had nothing but bad experiences there and the food is just not good. The last time I ate there, I was with a friend. We both ordered a glass of wine. When hers came she tasted it and it was terrible. When we told the waitress her response was, and I kid you not, "well, what do you expect, its a $6 glass of wine." $6 or $12, it was HORRIBLE. Instead of that obnoxious remark, she could have just taken it back to the bartender. I will never go back there.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Stephanie's is also terrible. They are quite possibly the rudest people. If the food were at least good, I could look past that. However, its not good. I have had nothing but bad experiences there. It is a tourist trap at best.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Sibling Rivalry is one of the most overrated and overpriced restaurants in Boston. Its a great concept, and has the potential to be awesome, but its just not.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I LOVE Figs, but the rest of the Todd English conglomerate is just awful. Bonfire was one of the worst restaurants i've ever eaten at. The service was good, but the food was terrible and poorly executed. The first time I ate at Olives it was not bad. I really enjoyed the meal, but after that, it all went downhill. The food there now is horrible. I find Kingfish to be somewhat decent, but its definitely way overpriced for what it is.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        4 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: NiKoLe1625

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I agree w/ you on Sibling Rivalry. My experience there was horrendous. I'd never go back.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: BackBayGirl

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Horrible experience at SB as well.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: NiKoLe1625

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            re: "Stephanie's is also terrible. They are quite possibly the rudest people. If the food were at least good, I could look past that. However, its not good. I have had nothing but bad experiences there. It is a tourist trap at best."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Hey NiKoLe -

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Just noticed your earlier favorable mention of Stephanie's chinese chicken salad - it's like a game of Chowhound Concentration. ;)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            http://www.chowhound.com/topics/418210

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Bob Dobalina

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              i rarely eat there, but when i do, i do enjoy their salad!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          3. Wagamama in Cambridge. Overpriced, terrible, badly seasoned food, and the wait staff have an annoying habit of writing on your placemat. AND, they can't bother to time the dishes so that they come out together, so that either you feel rude eating when no one else can, or your (disgusting) food gets cold. And there was *buzz* when this place opened?!?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: smooncakes

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              oh i wouldn't be so harsh. i suppose it must be something they force the waitstaff to do, the writing on the place mat thing. i don't care for the vibe (too loud, too young, too privileged...but then, it is harvard square), and i agree that the prices are on the high side. but i thought the chow itself was actually pretty decent. it's certainly a couple notches up from the other 2 or 3 thai places in the square.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: autopi

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                While I don't necessarily say this in full defense of Wagamama, I will point out that the writing orders on the menu and bring food out as it comes (I've had waitstaff tell me this is to be expected) is part of their "thing"...it's also done in their UK locations and I presume they are hoping to keep some consistency as new locations open.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. The Barking Crab. Just awful!!!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: BackBayGirl

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I'll second that!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. the Hong Kong in harvard

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: jajjguy

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Nothing beats a good scorpion bowl hangover though...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. Papa Razi and Maggiano's YUCK!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: saltyair

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I agree that Maggiano's is terrible.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. Giacomo's on Hanover Street. It completely baffles me as to how the big the line is, in any type of weather, tourist season, not touriist season, doesn't matter there is always 20 people outside. The food is very unremarkable.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Hambone Willy

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      "Very Unremarkable" is paying this place a compliment! I used to live around the corner from it, and could not understand why anyone would pay to eat there, but there they were!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: ChefJune

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I don't think Giacomo's is any worse than the rest of the red-sauce places in the NE and a much better value.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. Most disappointing meal ever: My Place by the Sea at the end of Bearskin Neck in Rockport. Everything looked great, but tasted bland or worse. Well, I guess the bread was OK.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      You're paying for the view and only the view.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. OMG... in Boston? Easy! No Name! what's the big deal with this place? Lousy service, worse food! YUCK!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. am having a hard time believing no one has mentioned La Famiglia Georgio on Salem Street! So what if they give you enough food on your plate for a family of four? It's so awful who in this world would want to take the leftovers home?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. I have never always had a bad meal anywhere. Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me. If it was bad the first time, I do not go back.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: normalheightsfoodie

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Right. I simply do not understand the title of this thread.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: normalheightsfoodie

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I agree if you had a bad meal at a place, maybe you will give it another shot. But if the 2nd time wasnt good either, why torture yourself??

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: normalheightsfoodie

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I disagree. Some restaurants are so well-known and popular that a bad meal could be ascribed to a bad night... the chef's sick, they're short-staffed, etc... and another shot is worthwhile. I've had excellent meals "the second time" on several occasions.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  But more importantly, there's lots of restaurants that because of location end up getting my business because I'm out with friends, everyone's hungry, and Fire & Ice is next to the movie theatre. So I'll be a good sport and end up hating my meal as much as I always do.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. Howcome no one has mentioned Spike's. I'm not a regular, but when they opened in Davis Sq we dropped in for tubesteaks and fries and neither was any good. What are they a front for? Or are they just a hang-out for the cast iron stomach crowd?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  5 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: grunko

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I had such high expectations for the Ashmont Grill in Dot... given those expectations, and the prices, just ....plain... disappointed. Never really bad, just never really happy with it. So much potential in an area that is underepresented by that type of gig.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: grunko

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Ok, I've never been to Spike's. I've only heard good things about it, but I saw that you wrote "tubesteaks." I don't know if I could ever eat something called a tubesteak...it just sounds so bizarre.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: whiskeyonmybreath

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Spike's blows. Doesn't matter what they use for hot dogs, because you can't taste them in the giant wads of flavorless dough they call a bun.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I have seriously thought about bringing in a bag of basic NE-style frankfurter rolls from the supermarket and handing them to the person at the counter saying, "Here. Put my hot dogs in these. If I wanted something in a baguette, I'd go get a banh mi."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I couldn't agree more. Spike's blows.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: grunko

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        The service at the Davis Sq Spike's is terrible -- I rarely get what I ordered -- but I've always enjoyed the hot dogs I get there. The 'cheesy buffalo dog' is great stuff.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      3. The Palm. Only went once (and for good reason). Cost a fortune (over $100 each), served frozen veggies, tasteless steak & fish, and the waiter was rude.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        4 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: circle3

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          - Yenching Restaurant in Harvard Square. Sorry, I've never had a good meal here. I heard that they had gotten better and gave them a try again recently. Only the rice was edible.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          - Happy Garden Restaurant in Somerville. Even worse than Yenching! Even the rice was inedible!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          - Cambridge Brewing Company in Kendall Square. Even worse than the Asgard for food.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: lipoff

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            The key to Happy Garden was to get good and drunk first. I was actually kind of sad to see them go for those late night drunk food fixes.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: lipoff

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Aw ... not cool ... I can be as nasty as anyone else here towards places that really deserve it, but Yenching is good, cheap, and has a very friendly staff. My wife and I have been eating there 2 or 3 times a month for years, and are critical eaters, but have nothing but praise for the place.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: jpramas

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I once heard (this was a few years ago) from a Chinese friend that they made good tea smoked duck, but never had the chance to try. Have you tried it and is it any good?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. Surprisingly No. 9 Park and I think I am the only person who has negative experiences there. I want to like it so bad and have been numerous times (my friends love the cocktails), but am repeatedly disappointed by the food and/or the service. I love the Butcher Shop and B&G, its just something about No. 9.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: heard

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              It's because Colin Lynch isn't that good and now hes at Menton.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              -----
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Menton
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              354 Congress St, Boston, MA 02210

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. South Pacific in Newton -- greasy and dirty old school Chinese. Applebee's -- the worst chain I've ever tried.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: alanb

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I walked into South Pacific once. Despite the smell of ancient cooking oil, I stayed and got what I deserved. Never again!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: alanb

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  i agree, that place is no where what is used to be....back in the day

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. Guess I'll jump on this wagon....
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  No Name
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Kowloon
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Red Rock Bistro.... all horrible.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. I agree about The Asgard- definitely the worst food I've ever been served in a restaurant. I've had better beef stew out of a can. I'm also continually disappointed with Redbones- really bad service, really mediocre food.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. Liam Maguires in Falmouth. Serves me right for eating and not drinking.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: tangelo

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        love the shwarma king and falafel king-- but have eaten at rami's 3x and it was awful each time... kept trying to like since its a chow favorite here, but cant seem to get a decent dish.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. Ah, so many bad experiences, so little space!
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        OK, for the sake of brevity, Legal Seafood, you may as well eat at Red Lobster.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Also, most any place recommended by Phantom Gourmet.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: terrystu

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          i have noticed a pattern here with all the places givin here with large beer or large selection of beer. the rest/pub pays more attn to the beer than the food for 2 reasons
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          the first is it makes them much more money on it than food
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          the second is for the most part the more you kill your taste buds with alcohol the easier it is for them to spread cat food on crackers and convince you it is pate. it is True the more alcohol you Kill your taste buds with, the less likely your going to tell the diff between a good or bad pc of food

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: foodperv

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Great topic. I'm not sure anyone mentioned Ruth's Chris Steak House yet. I have been there twice for business lunches, it is packed, and each time I've been quite disappointed. The manager actually apologized and comped lots of our meal this most recent time, but I won't be back unless a client picks it. And so overpriced! I want to like them because we don't have enough good lunchtime restaurants downtown, and also because of their whole New Orleans - Katrina charity thing.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I also second what others said about Sandrine. Used to be a favorite of mine but they have burned me two or three times. In my opinion the food there is prepared by angry morons, but I am going back probably about 4 years and have not been back. Thanks to all who shared their wit on Fire & Ice -- I love this board!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. APOCRYPHA in Needham. Granted, I've only eaten there once, but the experience was so bad, so offputting and so f*ing expensive ( approx. $500 for 6 people ), I would NEVER return, not even if I was given a certificate for a free meal. First, the place tries to be a "classy" restaurant, but it comes across as simply pretentious. The portions are on the short side of tiny - both apps & mains. Example, one of us had an app and it contained 2 small pieces of calamari in a swimming in bowl of tomato sauce. You can't have a "drink" there, everything is a "libation" and they go out of their way to tell you that the salt is from Peru....Hmmm, isn't that special. They say that their food is based on a unique interpretaition of French & Italian flavors- some would say a fusion of the two cuisines. I would say confusion.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: TheTrout

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Apocrypha closed in December. No big surprise there- what a ridiculous concept- really pretentious.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. I'll add Sunset Grill and Tap, I know why it stays open (great beer selection, sports, maybe location) but the food isn't good -- greasy, cheesy, often cold. I'll go back for the beers, and mead, but won't expect good food.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            4 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: steinpilz

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I agree with you - to those folks who claim not to understand this topic, this place is a perfect example. I have some friends who like the Sunset, so I am occasionally forced to go back from time to time, with an ever-deepening grimace.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: steinpilz

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Oh, lord, the food is unpalatable there. Last time my dining companion had indigestion for days. I'll go for the Abita Purple Haze, and if I have enough of them, I'll venture onto the food menu...and even in an Abita-inspired Purple Haze, I will regret it in no time.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: steinpilz

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Stick with the nachos- those are the only thing I will order- consistently good

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: steinpilz

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    The burgers and fries are passable (for what you might expect) and a nice companion to the wonderful beer selection. I've tried to branch out into that tex-mex stuff they have on the menu and it's all miserable. It's loud and loaded with drunk BU kids, not good at all for watching sports (try coolidge corner clubhouse if that's your objective - they are normally displaying every game on tv at a given moment and they also have a decent beer selection and burger).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    If you do go to Sunset, don't let them stick you in that ridiculous downstairs "dining room" with the absurd amateur murals.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    The last time I went it took them 30 minutes to take our drink order and another 30 minutes of waiting for said drinks, which never appeared, before we walked out in disgust. We went to CCC instead, which can be crowded but its much better at executing what it is trying to be.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. Legal Seafood, Vinny T's, Atlantic Fish Co., No Name, Boston Beer Works (okay beer - god awful food), Kinsale, The Halfway Cafe - all have been consistently poor for me. I reserve the inner circle for the Summer Shack - can't stand the place, no matter how hard I try. I also consider anything recommended on The Phantom Gourmet with suspicion.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: meg1641

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I agree about the Phantom Gourmet. I think you have to advertise to get a good review...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: CulinaryBoner

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Good instincts on the Phantom: more Phantom-kicking over here: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/590899

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. Endless, interesting topic. Like many of you, I love to cook and feel that my home-cooked food is as good; and most often better then 90% of the meals I eat when I go out.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      The availability of fresh product allows us to cook fresh, healthy simple meals, or we can ratchet things up and cook more sophisticated food at a fraction of the costs these mediocre places charge. I dine out several times a month on buisness with food and wine folks, and all I can say is thank God I am not paying. I agree that all "steakhouses" are overpriced, over portioned and average. Compared to cooking a ribeye at home over a wood fire it's ridiculous. I agree 90% of all N. End rests. are an embarrasment to any of us who are Italian and understand the true essence of our food...fresh, simple and flavorful! Who needs the attitude..to that end Villa Francesca leads the pack of horrible spots. How long have they been open!!?? That is why a I give so much credit to "Neptune Oyster" for doing something that is great and original. Jeff and Kelly rock as owners...Worst metrowest: Ken's by far, Legal {price vs overall experience blows!}..and La Cantina, Rt. 135 Framingham; hideous!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. Great topic!!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        To be truly bad, the food is lousy, the service rude, and the price point high. Places that I have gone to at least twice and have met these three criteria:
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1) Hammersley's- My roast chicken is better
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2) Bonfire- always on someone else's tab.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        3) B+G Oyster- Rude nature of the staff overwhelms just average food.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        4) Radius- I can't imagine why it is still in business
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        5) Pier 4- Enough said

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I don't include Kowloon, Hilltop, Antonia's, the chain's, etc simply because the service is not usually bad and the price point is not excessive.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        It also depends on what you order. Previously, Legal's would have been here, but if you stick to oysters, bread, and the extraordinarily priced wine list, it is a revelation.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. Alta Strada in Wellesley. You have got to be kidding me......

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. Pier Four. Tip it over into the harbor.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. Blue Ginger in Wellesley and Todd English's Olives. I've only had one spectacularly bad meal at both places (because I won't go back), but I've heard lots of negative reviews of both. Who knows what's going on there.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: sfumato

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I also thought Olives was disappointing

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: misslorelle

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  So it wasn't just us? We thought it was a really terrible waste of money.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: sfumato

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Olives used to be good... not so much anymore. Figs is the only worthwhile Todd English locale in the city.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. Christopher's in Porter Square.. blagh

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: angellexis

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I was just there for the 1st time on Sat night was under-impressed with what I ordered; a decent chicken burger but in a bland roll with soft squishy fries.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. ok, definitely the barking crab...yes the ocean is nice but the food is pretty flavorless, overpriced and the service was miserable.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: SJC667

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Plus, in addition to the mediocre-at-best food, this is one of the dirtiest restaurants I've EVER been too... Blech!!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. Blue Ginger, at which we celebrated our anniversaries with our son and daughter-in-law and her father (5 of us in all). Wouldn't call it "bad" but it was Disappointing: True, we are "foodies" and have rather high standards--but we expected Ming Tsai's restaurant to be at the top of the list. It didn't come close to the delicous experience of say, EVOO or Oleana or Helmand--or (thinking of the rack of lamb) The Aegean....and it was more expensive. Don't get me wrong: All of the ingredients were top-notch, and the preparation was done with impeccable technique, the setting is really nice--cool, in fact, with the new bar area, etc., where we had a friendly but mediocre mojito and gimlet while waiting for the rest of our party. The service was great. The FOOD is where the disappointment lay: People on this board and others have raved about the Butterfish dish--I found it disappointing; the combination of a piece of wonderful fresh fish (rather like sea bass) with a plethora of garnishes made it impossible to actually taste the fish. It just was so unexpected that a chef like Ming Tsai would do such a thing! I watch his TV show and marvel at his great approach to fusion cooking, and we had so looked forward to eating in his restaurant! None of the dishes we had were what could be called memorable, partly because of their going ape with the garnishes. I had the fresh maitake mushroom appetizer, which I've fixed at home before, but its subtle flavor just disappeared among the weeds. There were so many things that had something going for them--the garnishes were by themselves delicious, but something didn't work about how things were put together. We've read glowing reviews of particularly that butterfish dish, and that contributed to our disappointment when the real thing was before us.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    We still love Mr. Tsai's show--and will continue to try his interesting and appealing dishes at home. But Blue Ginger is too pricey to give too many chances given our limited restaurant-eating budget.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: FoodFool

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      It's funny: my handful of experiences at Blue Ginger, all underwhelming, have actually caused me to dislike Ming Tsai's TV show.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      In both the restaurant and the show, now all I can see is a quiet, resting-on-laurels arrogance that seems to say "I'm a big deal now. Instead of me cooking great food and letting it speak for itself, forget about the food and let me do the talking." I know this isn't totally fair, especially to the show, but it's the effect Blue Ginger has had on me.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: FoodFool

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Blue Ginger has always reminded me of a dressed up mall restaurant.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. I'm going to say Rainforest Cafe, not only is the food bad (like stinking fish) but the waitress and manager were just like "oh, sorry." Not do you want something else, not let me take it off your bill. . . .That was just one out of 3 times I had horrible food there. Why did I go back? The answer is their obvious niche marketing to kids who love animals and ask to go there on their birthdays. . .

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: teresacooks

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Yes, yes, yes. This is one of those places that as parents of a 7 year old we end up frequenting. Awful service, noise level far beyond anything reasonable, nasty food. The only thing I've enjoyed there is the blue crab dip, and last time we were there they had taken all crab off the menu.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Eatin in Woostah

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I so wish I read this before I went there last Friday night. It was a special night since my daughter was leaving and we had young kids with us who wanted to go to the Rain Forest Cafe. We even made a reservation, a lot of good that does you. They still make you wait with the people who just show up and then shove you in a back table. To make matters worse, they gave another table our pizza order so it came after everyone finished their main meal. We mentioned this to the server who had the manager come out and he was extremely rude. I am making it my mission to tell anyone and everyone to stay away from the Rain Forest. They are over priced for the food and "service" they provide. Everyone I have talked to about the place said "yes, I know" "I have been once, and never again". Amazed that places like that can stay in business. Hopefully others will head the advice of this disgruntled customer and stay away from this poor excuse of a family restaurant.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. Going through a kitchen renovation... I have my share of them.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          * Bugaboo Creek
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          * S&S Deli - Inman SQ ... although I get dragged there by friends
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          * Sunset Grill and Tap - Allston ... stick to the beer, forget the food
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          * Vinny T's goes without saying
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          * Genaros in Quincy... Have a brother who loves it, I'm just over it
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          * Four Burgers Central Square
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          * Green Street Grill since they changed ownership... bummer I used to love that place
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          * Texas Roadhouse
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          * Tennessee BBQ
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          * Spa Pizza in Stoughton ... maybe we ordered the wrong pizza, but we made the trip all the way out there and the pepperoni was so aweful that we left it and drove over to Lynnwood in Holbrook/Randolph for the pepper ring pizza (yummmy)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          * And Lastly... unfortunately, we had tasting menu at Oleana a couple of months ago when there was a guest chef. It was about $250.00 check for two and it was a big dissapointed. Not only did we leave there still hungry, the food was only so so and we left feeling cheated. bummer!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          7 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: zizzpudding

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            La Paloma in Quincy.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: zizzpudding

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Green Street Grill has a new chef as of a couple months ago. I have eaten there twice recently and have been quite happy.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: SmokeDawg

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Their new chef was at this past weekend's Island Creek Oyster Festival down in Duxbury. They had free samples from KO Prime, Green Street, and Lineage. I only sampled KO Prime's and the Green St ones, but I loved the Green Street oysters! Grilled on the shell with this nice aioli like sauce and scallions (I wish they told us the name of the dish). I'm really interested in trying more of his food.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: SmokeDawg

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Haven't posted in a while since I can cook in my kitchen now, but thanks for the tip. I'll go back there and try it out.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: zizzpudding

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  As above with Yenching, I'm surprised to hear S&S trashed. Lots of good diner food to be had. Inexpensive. Big menu. What's not to like?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  As regards Oleana, I hope it was just the guest chef that sucked. Been there 2 or 3 times, and it was well-worth the Michelin star prices.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: jpramas

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Well, having grown up a block from the S&S back when it was a REAL Jewish deli in the '50s and '60s (at which time it occupied just the small area that now houses the take-out counter), I'm in a position to verify that the food has gone so far downhill as to be pathetic. It completely lost its soul when it expanded in the '70s and tried to go after the brunch crowd. It's not inedibly bad, but it's neither good deli nor good diner.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: BobB

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I have to agree: I've always been mystified by the crowds and lines at S&S.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                3. ...and why in the world do you keep going back?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. I find it telling that hounds so enthusiastically responded to this post. When people have a wonderful experience, it's almost expected and they often don't share it with anyone. When they have a negative experience, they're quick to tell everyone they know. I also find it interesting that so many of us continue to frequent restaurants that we don't really enjoy.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. I'm in the park that I don't return to restaurants where I have truly bad food, so my experience here isn't repeated bad experiences.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I got dragged along to Arirang House on Mass Ave (outvoted 13 to 1, dang it) for a quick group dinner. Oh. My. God. This place is even worse than I'd heard. I will almost always find something to eat or nibble on at a restaurant, but this food was so bad that I would've been only noshing on bad white rice (starting to get a little hard, barely warm). A buffet with only about 15 lukewarm items - a mish-mash of mainly Korean and some American foods tossed in (like fried wings). The Korean food was bland and clearly sat out for a long time. I would've opted for some sushi if it weren't for not wanting to risk my life. I've passed this place for years and was never tempted to go in, but now I really can say "How the heck does this place stay in business?" At $11/pp, I can get a better and cheaper meal in Chinatown. I'm totally mystified. I don't know if this place is ever packed, but it does enough business to stay afloat in a prime RE neighborhood - how???

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      5 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: kobuta

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        The question is whether any of the 13 were similarly grossed out or were you the lone voice crying out.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Bob Dobalina

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I think some people were being polite. Not many people were outright disgusted, but you could also tell not many people loved their food as most only took one trip to the buffet bar. I did find it amusing that they have big signs advertising "no msg". In their case, I might actually say they should add the msg back in, because the food was that bad.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: kobuta

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I agree Arirang House is pretty bad but it's able to survive because Boston has 300,000 students that rotate through. Now that you brought up this place, King Korean bbq lunch buffet is even worse.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: kobuta

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          The funny thing is that sometimes I see the place PACKED with Koreans. No lie!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Ew, the couple times I've gotten take-away from Arirang, my metal container has a pool of orange oil that's seeped out from the food. :(

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Prav

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Visiting Korean tour groups seem to have some kind of a deal with Arirang House, I think. I haven't eaten there in close to a decade, but I remember a couple of meals there that were at least edible, but on at least one occasion we barely managed to get seated before the entire place was filled by one or two busloads.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        3. The Union Oyster House in Boston.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Delhiwala

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            My votes have already been mentioned, but I agree with Fire and Ice, by far the worst meal in Boston. Also, Summer Shack is nothing to write home about. The Joshua Tree though...ugh, their food... I don't even have words to say how bad their food is. In addition to the fact that the only edible thing on their menu is the chicken fingers (and that is even a stretch,) I made the horrible mistake of getting dessert there once. The "strawberry cheesecake" was still frozen and had that stale I've-been-sitting-in-the-freezer-for-years flavor. So gross. That being said, I am talking strictly about the Allston location, Davis Square was not particularly good, but also not bad in comparison with the one on Comm Ave.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: joyly80

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Most of the burrito joints in town. I think Anna's is vile and Boca Yuk I mean Grande should be shut down.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              The East Coast Grill - I don't understand why people like it so much? How can a restaurant be a second away from Christina's and have zero clue how to spice foods? I've never tasted such bland overpriced crap in my life.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Devlin's - we went there one night in search of a patio, and paid a decent amount of money for congealed pasta dishes. Yay....

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              and also on the great patio, poor execution, Washington Square and it's sister place, Beacon Street Tavern.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I'm also starting to feel this way about Fugakyu.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Mr Bigglesworth

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Gotta say I've been to BST on more than a few occasions, and the food's been fine to great, depending on the item. Definitely not in Antonia's league in my book.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                As for ECG - I know some folks don't like it, but to call it bland seems off the mark. Maybe blunt instrument vs. subtle scalpel with the spices. For example, I've had greens as a side there that were whacked and whacked hard with salt and bacon so as to be unpleasant, but not bland.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                The burrito joints are what they are, to paraphrase Coach B.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Devlin's - gotta agree with you a bit there - have only been by for brunch - not in my top ten. By contrast in that neighborhood, I had a perfectly decent brunch at Athan's recently.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Bob Dobalina

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Ok, so I exaggerated a little bit about my frustrations with ECG, but I really feel like they just don't season their food. Everything on paper sounds great, but there's never nearly enough flavor. I love having brunch their, but for dinner, it's always a miss for me.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Yes, burrito joints are burrito joints, but I just don't understand why everyone goes nuts for Anna's.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  As for BST, I really want to like them more, and actually was a huge fan and proponent for a while, but my last few meals have been increasingly bad. It's never a service issue, an issue of poor execution on the actual dishes.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I have no problems spending a ton of money of food and do so quite often. What frustrates me is going to a place like Devlin's and spending $60 - $70 on something that was gross. BST, while not an expensive restaurant, charges enough that I expect a certain level of consistency I wouldn't from a sandwich shop, and I absolutely think they've gone downhill in the last six months.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Mr Bigglesworth

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Gotcha - I had the big Monday coffee too!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I have not been to BST too recently, so sorry to hear that it's been sliding. If you go there often enough, I'd hope you could chat with the manager to find out what's up, so it'll be better the next time I get there. ;-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I'd like to think that the bloom is off the rose with Anna's - for instance, I sure hope no one is taking the Wu Tang bus from NYC for an Anna's run - remember that article in the NYT a few years back?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Ok, so Devlin's is in a circle of hell - park it next to Antonia's ;)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. Maddie's, in Marblehead. Since the new owner took over I have been three times and been thrice disappointed. The first time I went with my family. My brother's tuna steak was cold- and I mean just out of the fridge cold, and I sent back fish and chips twice because the fish was absolutely raw inside. This after waiting over an hour for entrees. The wait was blamed on a broken grill, but nothing from our table was grilled. I actually heard the owner discussing the situation with the staff. It was their first Friday (or Saturday-I can't remember) since re-opening, and I really liked the old Maddie's, so I wanted to give them a chance. I went back for lunch alone a few days later, and was on a schedule and didn't have time to send back a well done burger when I ordered rare. The third time was similar to the second, but I was dragged in by a friend who hadn't yet been.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            The new Maddie's is more expensive, less predictable and disappointing.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: KitchenHack

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Worst food: Blue Ginger (Wellesley)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Worst service: Tartufo (Newton)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. I love this post! I agree with the restaurants named so far and would like to add: Lee's in Allston - when it was Pho Pasteur, it was delicious...now, the broth tastes like dishwater. Ick. Also please add Cathay Pacific in Quincy - I do not know why their parking lot is always full as the only meal I had there was hideous. Tulio's was another bad one but thankfully, they are closed now.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: bostongal

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Cathay Pacific in North Quincy is awful! I went there once and it was a big mistake.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Delhiwala

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I work close by there. We call it Cafe Pathetic. It is just disgusting.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. Sunset Grill, I'll say it again.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: steinpilz

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Sure, Sunset Grill is bad, but not nearly as bad as its horribly mutated dim-witted sibling, Sunset CANTINA. What a steaming pile that place is. And I get dragged there, despite my pleading and wailing, far more often than I'd like. Which, for clarity's sake, would be: never. Those evenings are for liquid dinners. 4 big beers, please! By that time I've mercifully forgotten where I am.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: litchick

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I have to agree that the Cantina is a huge step down from the already not-wonderful-foodwise Sunset Cafe. Seems very different to me, more like a boil-in-bag, Ninety-Nine kind of kitchen.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. Zon's in JP is awful. We went once because everyone in our neighborhood raves about it, but paying $40+ per person for crap food was once too many. Stay away and go to the Oriental de Cuba instead!

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: kalidaemon

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    C'mon now - Zon's isn't that bad or that expensive.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    You'll get no argument on El Oriental - that place rocks - but this thread is about places that truly suck, that are an insult to food, the "rape of cuisine" to quote Good Night.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Zon's does not truly suck like that.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Bob Dobalina

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Au contraire, Zon's truly "sucks like that". I've had better meals at a Taco Bell in BFE than the one time I went to Zon's.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: kalidaemon

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        What did you have on your one visit?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. I agree with all those posts about Pier 4, Village Smokehouse and Vinny T's...terrible. Also add: Smoken Joe's, Brighton, Village Fish, Needham, and Spiga, Needham. Although not bad, but underwelming and disappointing, Ashmont Grill.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. I am sure the Palms has already been mentioned but I have to throw in my two cents. Awful, awful, awful! Bitchy waiter, dirty silverware and terrible food. Afterwards we decided we could have had a better lunch at Burgerking!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      The only good note was the busboy and I sure hope he heads across the street to the Oak Room. He is wasted at the Palms.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. Bridgemans in Hull. Awful awful awful food, every time.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. Anything served at the Union Oyster House, with the exception of the raw bar.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: kate used to be 50

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            And you only want to get raw bar at Union Oyster House's downstairs raw bar, where you can see it shucked in front of you. Diners elsewhere get pre-shucked oysters: blech.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. Grasshopper in Allston, of course, Game On (ick), Mandarin Gourmet in Brookline, and i'm sorry to say Summer Shack

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: bluestbluesea80

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I agree, blue, Summer Shack is just awful, as is every Legal Sea Foods I have ever tried.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. UGH - I am nearly 100% in agreement with these comments. Seriously, Legal's? Get a grip - you just aren't the only seafood place anymore and you really need to NOT charge people $20+ for a teeny lobster roll that isn't anywhere near as good as the ones at the little ice cream place in Framingham Centre! Your schrod had worms this past weekend (I pointed it out to the server and she said the chef said "thank you" for pointing it out. Good thing I know it just happens.) Your salmon doesn't taste all that good and even your chowder is a hack now.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              British Beer Company - I so wanted to like you, you guys are so nice, but your food just plain old sucks. We gave you three tries, had widely different things each time and they were all awful. We're done/.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              PF Chang's - Please. Chain food at twice the price and ten times the attitude.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Durgin Park & Hilltop - Every person who hasn't been to Massachusetts/Boston wants to go. I try like hell to steer them elsewhere but it's always on their list. (Still? People, really!)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Olive Garden - I am almost gagging as I am typing the name. Here at home we call it the Diarrhea Garden because everything they show on the ads looks like it would force you to spend a little quality time in the loo. This is the very fave place of someone I was looking in on one weekend and thus was "forced" to go. BLECH! And for the rest of the day I had the awful taste of baking soda in my mouth. NEVER AGAIN!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Bhc

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I have been told by my mother that, on no uncertain terms, if I ever eat at the Olive Garden, I am out of the family.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Durgin Park is silly as a tourist destination, but the food is still generally ok, for what it is. Hard to mess up giant cuts of prime rib. Worn out? Perhaps. But not always a bad meal, imho.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Bhc

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  On Legal Seafoods: Legal Seafoods, at least the one in Chestnut Hill, used to be a nice place to eat. I'm going back to the early/mid 1990's here. The decor back then was pretty boring, and I do think what they have now is an improvement, but the food back then was much better. It just seems to be, well, less fresh. They used to do this fresh fruit soup in the summertime back in the early/mid 90's that was so freakin' delicious. I went in there about a year ago and asked if they still did it and NO ONE knew what I was talking about, not even the manager.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Plus, the hour and a half or longer wait time on a busy weekend night is insane for a place that size since they took over space from the closed stores. It was funny because it was right next door to a Friendly's, which is basically the lowest end of the restaurant spectrum. The dumpster is also right next to the entrance, which is not cool, and even when I was really hungry I'd lose a bit of that appetite walking by it to get inside.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: fragment

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Forget the CH location. If you like the food at Legal, the Kendall Sq location is much nicer. Less crowded, better layout. It is much less hectic atmosphere. I just had the mussels there, and a lot of them were rather dried out. My dc had the nutty salmon. He said the fish was bland, but the coating was quite tasty.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Now, I see a lot of the posts above are from yrs past. And perhaps the restaurants have been reading the posts. In the past year I've had great meals at Petit Robert Bistro in Kenmore Sq, the mussels were much better than at Legal, and the steak frites and profiteroles were fabulous. We ate at the bar, and rec'd v. attentive service. I've never had a bad meal at the Border Cafe in Harvard Sq. and I've been going there since they opened. The trick at Summer Shack is to order only off the specials menu, or get the mussels. (yes, this is a recurring theme with me...) And, we bring our own bread from the Clear Flour Bakery in Brookline, as the bread at the Summer Shack is just baaaad. I love Stephanie's, particularly their seared tuna salad. I've only been to no9 once, and it was a wonderful meal, great service.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. The worst restaurant experience I have ever had in Boston, bar none, was at Via Matta. The food was mediocre. And the attitude! One of the dishes we ordered was "roasted seasonal vegetables" and out came a sliced raw tomato and a sliced raw cucumber. We thought it was the salad but when the waiter told us that was the "roasted seasonal vegetables," we questioned it. He came back in a few minutes and said, "The chef said that if you want to wait awhile he'll try to find a carrot for you." Who needs that? I never went back. They should spend more time on their food and service and less time thinking about the cute sneakers the waiters wear.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. Ah, so much to agree with AND disagree with.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    The places I always regret going (but go because I'm too nice to tell my friends it sucks)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    -- Watch City Brewery, Waltham. Was there last week, they were out of most of what I wanted. I finally settled on a special, a Kobe beef burger, requested medium rare. I was served a well-down hockey-puck like burger.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    -- Barking Crab. Yup, maybe it's a fun, summer atmosphere, but all their health code issues have me say yuck. Last time I went, I carefully thought through my options: only bottled beer, no water, nothing washed in water (salad), nothing kept in the tanks (crab, lobster, raw bar). So I went with fried clams. I figured anything bad would have to be killed by the XX-hundred degree fryer.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    -- Woodman's. I really want to like Woodman's. I'm good with the casual, even the line, and the goofy "order drinks separately" thing. But, the clam roll appears to have no clam, and they clearly don't understand seasoning food immediately after it comes out of the fryer (or ever).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    -- OM. Great patio. Had a wonderful time, except for the incredibly bad service, mediocre food and way-too-high prices.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    -- Union Oyster House -- ask anyone who works in the industry, and they'll say they won't eat there. 'Nuff said.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    -- McCormick & Schmick. Heard a horror story about the Park Plaza location. Recently tried the Faneuil Hall location (we had a gift certificate). Despite empty tables, they had a wait (yes, I know it has to do with staffing). We sat at the bar. Oysters were OK, Jonah crab claws extremely small portion for price, service awful. We would have had another round of drinks, but our server never bothered to ask.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    -- Elephant Walk. Tried it a few times, Never liked it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    -- Sonsie. Food mediocre, prices too high. What's the big deal?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    -- Cambridge Brewing Company, Cambridge Common, Boston Beer Works -- anything other than *really* basic pub grub is a mistake.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    What I disagree with:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    -- Summer Shack. I LOVE the Summer Shack. Splurge on the Jasper's lobster. It's to die for. And I love that their french fries are homemade and taste like they are made with potatoes. They scream for malt vinegar.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    -- Cheesecake Factory. Ok, I lied. I do hate it. Except if you actually want cheesecake. In which case, it's pretty good. Just skip everything else.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    -- Red Rock Bistro. Nope, never tried the entrees. But $1 bar food night ($1 oysters, shrimp skewers, corn dogs and sliders) are awesome. I've also tried the Yum Yum ribs (truly yum, yum), clams casino and scallops wrapped in bacon. I'd run to get all of them. Skip the crab cakes. Love the vibe and the crowd.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    -- Blue Ginger. Yeah, it's a little overpriced. But I do find the food to be excellent.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    -- Sunset Tap & Grill. Stick with the basics. They are OK. And truthfully, they do serve a really good burger.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    -- Border Cafe. Authentic. Nope, not at all. Cheap, OK Mexican food. Yup. Sometimes you gotta give in to that cheese enchilada craving. And their chips are very good, salsa mediocre.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. Summer Shack tops the list for me. Shell pieces in raw shucked oysters, badly cooked everything....Service that would rather be elsewhere .....the feeling that things were canned/precooked before they were cooked/reheated and brought to the table....expensive for the hype.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      A close second is the Cheesecake factory - have you ever looked at the list of ingredients in their cheesecakes? Enough chemicals to keep lysol in business for decades...hahaha.....wish people who specialized in cheesecake knew how to cook them without chemicals. The service has often (though not always) been horrible to moderately intolerable. Yet - there are peope who would rather be seen at those places (unfortunately, some of them are adults and whom I would otherwise say had very good taste).

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: cornFusion

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I had a great salad at the cheesecake factory...... Ok don't crucify me, my wife and I were at the Burlington mall around christmas and needed lunch, waited for an hour for a table (not really we were shopping so no big deal), seated on time (they said an hour wait, it was an hour), sat down expecting mediocre to lame food, took a shot at a salad, delightfully surprised that it was fresh, served quickly and quite tasty, my wife had a different salad which she was quite impressed with as well. I'll stick with the salads from now on.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. Summer Shack -- surprisingly and stunningly bad. Same with Legal Seafoods, which used to be great years ago. Now terrible consistently (except for their clam chowder).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. What an excellent topic. It's like gossip for food freaks.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Central Square:
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          -Tavern at the Square
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          -Mass Avenue Cafe (too costly for what it is)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          -Every single Indian restaurant in Central Square (I haven't tried the dosa place in the back of Shalimar though)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          -Carberry's (I know it isn't a restaurant, but I hate this place)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          -Mary Chungs (Why do people from MIT like it so much?)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          -Pu Pu Hot Pot (This is a horrible horrible oily pit of a restaurant)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          -Moody's Falafel Palace (But I keep going back because it is cheap and I used to like it)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          -The Middle East (mediocre food)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          -Cinderella's
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          -The Royal East

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Harvard Square:
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          -Wagamama (awful!)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          -Fire and Ice (went once and that was enough)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          -The old Greenhouse Cafe (mercifully closed)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          -Finale (overpriced and overrated)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          -Qdoba, Chipotle, and Boloco
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          -Flat Patties

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Other Cambridge:
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          -Anna's (Is it possible to find quality Mexican food in Boston?)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          - Most of the restaurants in the Porter Exchange, especially the Ramen ones

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Boston:
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          -Mentai (Japanese noodle place, totally awful)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          -Vinny Testa's
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          - Fugakyu (Epcot Center decor, hugely overpriced foods)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          - Upper Crust in Beacon Hill (Uncomfortable, dirty, and as loud as a rock concert -- this place was good in its first year, but seems to have gone far downhill.)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          And saving the worst for last:
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          The Chau Chow Chinese Dim Sum & Seafood restaurant in Dorchester served me the worst meal I have had in my 9 years in Boston.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: mrios

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Whooooah now. Does Mass Ave Cafe = Mass Ave Restaurant? Down in the Plow & Stars-ish area? Because I am always stunned at how precisely what it is matches the cost. Decent huevos ranchero for four bucks? Surprisingly good omelet for 5ish? Dang, son. Mass Ave Rest. is the bomb.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            p.s. Moody's is great. Best hot sauce in town.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: apes

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              That's what I assumed mrios meant. I'll admit that it's much less of a bargain than it was in the early aughts. 7-10 years ago the prices were a few bucks lower and things were more generous - for instance you could get a short stack of pancakes as your bread side to one of the breakfasts or omelette ... that hungryman's special + pancakes for something like $6.50 was ridiculous.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Still, it is what it is - IMO pretty decent diner food and not outrageous prices, albeit not *cheap* like it used to be.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: mrios

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Moody's main benefit comes after midnight, if you know what I mean.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Also, it is Tavern in the Square, thus allowing for a fun acronym.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            3. Almost 350 posts and no one has mentioned Grafton Street in Harvard Square:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/483221

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              and I haven't been back since, thank goodness.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              -----
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Grafton Street Pub and Grill
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1230 Massachusetts Ave, Cambridge, MA 02138

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: DavisSquare

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                They seem to have improved at least a bit over the last few years, FWIW. I end up getting dragged there now and then

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. You people must not travel out to the 'burbs for dinner or someone would have mentioned the Sherborn Inn by now. It's very consistent in its awfulness--even if your food is okay, someone else in your party will have a meal that is just dreadful.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. People probably won't agree with me but I had a terrible meal at TW food (only went once), and also at Grotto. My wife and I actually had one of our worst restaurant experiences ever at Grotto. The food at Eastern Standard has been pretty sub par for quite a while now.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  -----
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Eastern Standard
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  528 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston, MA 02215

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: cochon21

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Fire & Ice - Providence (ugh!)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Weathervane - Salem, NH & Kittery ME (yuck!)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Boxwood Grill - Howe Street, Methuen, MA (opened in '09, closed in '10 for "the season") Needs to remain closed - do the Merrimack Valley a favor! Reviews of Functions at the Golf Course/Club are not positive either so I wouldn't waste a minute planning an event there (or attending)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    -----
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Fire & Ice
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    48 Providence Pl, Providence, RI 02903

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: cochon21

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I love grotto, but you wouldn't be the first hater around these parts

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. I'm going to preface this by noting that while I'm a picky eater, I can generally make do at most places as long as they have a reasonable bread, salad, appetizer, entree, side, or dessert (I can make do with just one of the above). I'm frequently dragged to all sorts of places like PF Changs and Maggianos that I would never go to on my own, but have learned to navigate the menus of to eventually end up with a non-awful dining experience. So for most of those places, I can't say that I've always had a bad meal. Not great meals, but not terrible experiences.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      That said, the restaurant where I've always had a bad meal is Legal Test Kitchen (waterfront, as well as a branch inside Logan Airport - that should tell you something). Anyway, the place is terrible start to finish. Even on my one trip to Legal Seafoods, I managed to make do with a simple broiled fish of some sort (mediocre, but passable). LTK, on the other hand, has no "normal" food. It just has random crazy guinea pig food, awfully prepared. I used to work nearby and would attend work functions there. The place is constantly packed, and it just kills me to see it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I've only been here once, so I'm not sure it counts for lack of sample size, but...Melting Pot. Unlike Fire & Ice where, if you choose wisely, you can end up with an edible meal, not so at Melting Pot. Eating one poorly-cooked bite every few minutes while you wait for your next bite to poorly-cook is just ridiculous.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      -----
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Fire & Ice
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      48 Providence Pl, Providence, RI 02903

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Legal Test Kitchen
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      12 Harborside Dr, Boston, MA 02128

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. The Chateau in Waltham. A company I once worked fro used to order in from there a lot; I couldn't believe they managed to make ziti with red sauce that unspeakably vile, and we won't even mention the chicken with broccoli. We went there for company meals a few times and the rest of the menu wasn't any more appetizing. That and the Hacienda in Somerville taught me to beware of places where the ethnicity of the name doesn't match that of the food. Or maybe it's just Italian places whose name means "The Mansion" in a different language.