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Unimpressed, overpriced, and rude.

I am a long time supporter of Boston's restaurant week and always look forward to the event. In the past I have had great experiences and service at all participating venues. This year for the winter 2007 restaurant week I decided to try Smith & Wollensky because of all the great reviews I have read. Not only did the restaurant come with great reviews the particular location for the Boston location is quite stunning itself and I looked forward to dining in the stone and brick medieval structure.
Upon arrival both myself and my girlfriend found the maitre d to be inattentive to her position as we stood waiting to be greeted. Hoping for the best we were seating to our table where we waited to meet our waiter. Upon arrival he was rude and inattentive as well. When I asked him questions regarding the different styles of steak such as Oscar style we were basically scoffed at by our server. Not too mention the surcharges that Smith & Wollensky charges for the different style on top of the restaurant week price. He didn’t inform us that the restaurant week menu did not come with any side and it was not printed on the menu either. I wish I was informed as I was highly disappointed that my plated arrived with just a hunk of meat plopped on top. Not too impressed.
Overall it was an expensive evening for myself and girlfriend and we both walked away disappointed. We’ve been to many participating venues where we have felt it was the chef’s and restaurants chance to shine and showcase what they can to do to many new potential customers. We visit many previous locations on a regular basis now.
Smith & Wollensky was disappointing at best. I will not be visiting or recommending their location to any of my friends or clients. Smith & Wollensky made no effort to shine or stand out to me the paying customer.

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  1. I've had a couple of unimpressive experiences at the Boston Smith & Wollensky as well, and I was paying full price. I don't think the food or the service merit their prices at all, which puts them in a big crowd of similarly low-value luxury steakhouse chain outlets in Boston. Bartending is okay, nothing special. It's too bad, as it is a cool space, especially the upstairs rooms.

    1. It's too bad that the hostess experience caried over to your dinner. What did you end up ordering? Were you downstairs or upstairs? I've only eaten upstairs and the service has been excellent (meal hasn't always been though).

      Maybe it's me, but I think to be fair to S&W, or any other steak house, it's pretty standard that sides are not included with the steak, chop, fish, etc. and come ala carte.

      6 Replies
      1. re: kittychow

        It does beg the question, though: if you can't deliver a good experience, why participate in Restaurant Week at all? So you can anger customers who will never return? That doesn't make sense to me.

        A few places do RW right, but most seem to be putting out a negative advertisement for their place. I'll guess their logic is, "These cheapskates will never come back to pay full price anyway, so let's do the absolute minimum." No wonder the servers all hate it.

        Like I said, I thought S&W was terrible outside of RW, so I'm not going back willingly regardless.

        1. re: MC Slim JB

          I don't think crappy hosts is a RW issue. I find that the host situation can be pretty rotten at lots of places, even some I love. The woman who was at ECG for years made me homicidal but I still loved the dining experience. I haven't actually had bad experiences with servers during RW.

          And actually I think maybe the server at S&W might have been too nice - if possible. I mean, I would find it difficult to tell a guest that they need to order sides with their meal. I wouldn't want to seem patronizing to someone who understood that sides were ala carte who chose not to have any.

          1. re: kittychow

            I would never return to a place that employed someone who 'made me homicidal'. Though I admire your loyalty to ECG....

            1. re: foodforthought.m

              Yeah, she was so rotten that I'd wind up feeling badly for everyone who had to work with her. Occasionally I'd get even and send the kitchen a couple six paks. ;) The folks in the kitchen LOVE it when they get a cheap six pak of Bud pounders.

        2. re: kittychow

          Yes, I wonder if Trev realizes pretty much any steakhouse has no sides included, Rest. Week or not. I went to S&W last summer for Rest. Week and thought it was just okay, but had a great meal on a regular nite. There's no excuse for a snotty waiter or host, but it's par for the course to have to order the monstrous sides with you piece of meat. And I don't think an extra charge for asparagus and crabmeat with the steak is that crazy.

          1. re: Joanie

            it's called oscar style, and it's a standard upcharge at any steakhouse.

        3. We ate at S&W last summer during RW and we also had a bad experience. We ate upstairs and all had steak (which might have come with some small side). The steak was rather tough and totally unseasoned. The service was rude and slow. The dessert was some kind of choc cake that was stale and went uneaten by all 5 of us.

          1. The topic of how restaurants approach promotional Restaurant Weeks is a universal one, so we've moved a digression to the Not About Food board at http://www.chowhound.com/topics/378888 , where more hounds can participate in the discussion. If you have comments specific to the Boston outpost of Smith & Wollensky, or any other Boston restaurants, please feel free to add them here, but more general discussion of the topic belongs on the Not About Food board. Thanks!

            1. I had lunch at S&W last year and have mixed feelings about it. The waiter was a bit stand offish but I was having none of it and just started mocking him. He eventually caved and cracked a smile and did recommend a good glass of wine. I wish I had know that I was going to get just a slab of meat on my plate because I would have ordered a different appetizer (maybe a salad instead of the calimari); but what a great piece of meat it was. Flemings did give sides of asparagus and potatoes lyonnaise at dinner this year so I don't know that the slab of meat on the plate is standard steak house protocol. I don't remember what the desserts were but they were good. I had so many leftovers from this meal that I had food for another meal.