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Eastern Standard and Rustic Kitchen???

I will applaud myself and set the record straight first that I am a seasoned restaurant person with alot of expeirence on the subject of FOOD< DRINK < and most of all SERVICE. You will hear from me from time to time as I am not a complainer or picky picky service person, but proffessional I AM...

This particular comment is about the above mentioned.

Both have a really bad person to customer ambiance.

There are two many restaurants in this beautiful town to continue to have an attitude toward customers.

Eastern Standard----------> well on a MONDAY NIGHT (no red sox game) I was told that the only way to get a bar seat was to ask the bartender to put us on HIS list as the bar seats are reserved. FORGET IT>>>>>>>>I was told this with an attitude, and also if I wanted to sit down at one of the many bar tables that it would be 45 to 1 hour wait and the only way I could put my name on the list was to give the stone face woman my cell phone number, as this is how they do it she said. We and my party of 5 left the building.
By the way we stood at the bar for 10 minutes looking not waving at the unattentive bartender and he never even looked our way. BAD BAD SERVICE...

And Rustic Kitchen do not even bother, especially if the BLONDE WOMAN BARTENDER is on... The bar was completely empty on another Monday Night. This bartender never came over to ask if we wanted anything. This woman just put down a drink menu, walked away, (I do not look at drink menu's) then put down the wine list,( we were not drinking wine) and kept talking to this one guy at the bar and never came over to ask if we wanted anything, never even put a bevnap in front of us to aknowledge our presence. BAD BAD SERVICE...

I was going to write to both owners of these establishments,whim I know personally, but I decided to post here to remind us all that "you never know who is at your establishment" Treat all customers as if they are VERY IMPORTANT. After all.......... I could be your next customer....

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  1. Weird. I have never experienced that seating protocol at ESK, and I have been by for drinks and/or a meal a couple of times a month since it opened.

    Seats at the bar have always been first-come, first-served, so I've been instructed to hover, which I do, and that works just fine, just like it does at most bars.

    I have had to wait for a seat at a table in the bar area, a table in the dining room, and a table or group of seats in the two patio areas (one conventional dining tables, the other lounge seating). I've never been asked for a cellphone number. I've also made reservations for the dining room on multiple occasions that were honored without a wait.

    As I've mentioned here before, I prefer dining while seated at the bar to either of the patios, a table in the bar, or a table in the dining room, due to ongoing service consistency issues with that dining room waitstaff. I have always found the service at the bar to be excellent, even when the place is mobbed. In terms of bartending chops, that crew is one of the two best on this side of the river (No. 9's is the other).

    I think it's better to avoid the pre- and post-Sox game crowds.

    I haven't been very impressed with the new Rustic Kitchen, but have only been to the bar a couple of times. My issue is less with their hospitality than their below-average bartending.

    5 Replies
    1. re: MC Slim JB

      Well, it was not imagination, and TOP NOTCH BARTENDERS acknowledge the patrons ASAP.... I am not a complainer or a severe angry critic... I was just dis-appointed... v-e-r-y.....

      I guess I should speak with garrett and joe....

      1. re: ponyboy

        I don't think anyone was accusing you of imagining it, just stating that their own experiences have been different. Mine have too, at least at ES.

        1. re: ponyboy

          I was about to ask the same. I go to ES often and haven't found case to complain e-v-e-r... It's one of the only places I've gone since it's opened that has consistently delivered. You have to snag bar seating when it's available, like all my other favorite restaurant/bars. I've got no beef with that.

        2. re: MC Slim JB

          I usually dine at the bar for lunch where the service has been lovely. The one time I went for post-work cocktails the bar was packed. The bartender (female, short hair) was *great.* And, while it appeared to be first come, first serve, it was clear that she was keeping a mental list as to who did arrive there first. She informed me and my drinking companion a rough estimate as to how long we would have to wait for bar seats and she subtly pointed them out. We ended up snagging bar seats on our own, but her input was much appreciated. The whole experience played well to my internal sense of fairness.

          1. re: MC Slim JB

            I ate at ESK for the first time last night. I made a reservation for 7:30 on opentable.com, knowing that the Sox game started at 7:00. We walked in and were seated promptly at a dining room table. (The bar area was not crowded, but I did not notice if there were any stools available at the bar or the adjacent bar tables.) I thought the service was very good: not extraordinary, but nothing to complain about either.

          2. i have had similar experiences at ESK. My friend and I live in the area and we go there a lot for dinner. We have gotten to know one of the managers who is probably the only decent person there. However, i cannot understand how no matter when you go there, there is like an hour wait! I mean the food is good, but not THAT good! A lot of the waiters and waitresses there have major attitude and are not overly attentive.

            1 Reply
            1. re: NiKoLe1625

              I have to agree with MC Slim on ESK. My wife and I ave dined there often and never experienced any problems. In fact, I second MC's comments regarding the professionalism of the barstaff at ESK. We always prefer sitting at the bar because in addition to having a great meal we enjoy chatting with the barstaff. One a recent visit I learned a lot about Rye whiskey which I prefer in some of the classic cocktails like an Old Fashion. I agree that is frustrating at times to try to get a seat at the bar and we have always been told that it is on a first-come, first-serve basis but hovering does work as long as you are not pressed for time.

            2. believe it or not, I think eastern standard has some of the friendliest and nicest bartenders I have ever met and their staff isn't bad either.

              who was the bartender at the time?

              1 Reply
              1. re: bitsubeats

                I agree with bitsubeats and the others - have been to ES many many times and never experienced service issues that you mentioned. On one busy night, we were told to put our name down for the bar tables and that it would be an hour wait, but were actually seated within 20 minutes. I certainly wasn't offended when told this. I've never tried to sit at the bar with a party of five, we only do that if there are two of us.

                I've only been to Rustic Kitchen once - last Friday. We all had wine, and enjoyed friendly efficient service from both bartenders, male and female.

                1. I have been to ESK a few times so not alot of expeirence, but I have noticed nothing other than proffessional service - the bartenders were busy but always aknowledged me and the persons with whim I was drinking.

                  1. At EST, I am not surprised that you were told to check in with the bartender. I have done this numerous occassions in NYC - Babbo, Union Square, when wanting to eat at the bar, alone or with others. To me it is not unusual for the bartendar to police the seats at his bar and keep track of who is waiting to dine. If you were just looking for cocktails, then it is a battle to the bar wherever you go. I enjoy knowing a bartender that seats me rather than the couple waiting for their table.

                    That said, I have had some of the worst service of my life, so bad it was laughable at Rustic Kitchen in theatre district. Such a nice looking space with acceptable apps, terrible entrees - what else is there but a strong bar - They fail completely.

                    12 Replies
                    1. re: robwat36

                      My very fussy, elderly, inlaws stayed at the Commonwealth for 5 days and they adored going into ESK for drinks at the bar, and then moving to a table for dinner. They found the service wonderful, attentive and very accomodating to them. These are very, very demanding people and they were so pleased with their experiences there, that they contacted upper management to offer kudos to the establishment, and specifically to particular servers. They were especially fond o f the bar staff. Oh, and they enjoyed the food very much.

                      1. re: robwat36

                        I agree with mostbeloved about not looking at drink menus. I really am not interested in some overdone (and overpriced) drink with a "catchy" name. I can see the taps if I want a draft, generally will order a simple "classic" cocktail, or I will request a wine list. I do not have a problem with drink lists but would certainly not appreciate having a list dropped in front of me as a replacement for a friendly greeting and a simple "what are you drinking this evening". It really isn't that difficult to interact with guests and make them feel welcome and appreciated. Who knows, maybe they will even leave a tip !

                        1. re: TonyO

                          That's a shame. You're really missing out at Eastern Standard if you ignore their cocktail menu. Their ability to create interesting originals and revive great forgotten classics, and do both with integrity, is one the things that make it an extraordinary bar.

                          I agree that a list full of sugary, candy-flavored rookie concoctions is worth ignoring -- and that chucking a menu at a customer is no substitute for a proper greeting -- but not every bar with a cocktail list is doing that.

                          I guess I understand if you're a dyed-in-the-wool beer or highballs kind of drinker, never ordering anything made in a shaker.

                          1. re: MC Slim JB

                            It is so rare to see a cocktail list that doesn't resemble something Sandra Lee would concoct ("here is my Lady Liberty Libation for Flag Day, it is a mix of Malibu Rum, Cherry Koolaid, and is topped with a Blueberry Poptart") that I have almost given up looking unless I was bored. However, you can usually tell by looking around at what others are drinking if there is something more enticing within those pages. It is always nice to be pleasantly surprised !

                            1. re: MC Slim JB

                              Classic cocktails need no explanation... If you are a cocktail drinker you should know what you want... So the tip here is, KNOW what you want...

                              1. re: mostbeloved

                                Nevermind for expanding your horizons and trying new things. If not for the wonderful bartending staff and cocktail menu at ESK I'd still be drinking nothing but dirty martinis and cosmos.

                                1. re: heathermb

                                  I've never had anything but great service and drinks at the bar at ESK. I may have had to hover to get my seat, but once I've gotten it, it's been exceptional.

                                2. re: mostbeloved

                                  This is silly, how will you ever try something new, which you might love, rather than sticking to the same old drink?

                                  1. re: mostbeloved

                                    "Know what you want." Excellent tip. Here's one of the things I know I want: a bartending staff that is capable of surprising and delighting me, even though I have a fairly broad knowledge of cocktail lore and have spent some time behind the stick myself.

                                    I think it's essential to being a Chowhound: not deluding yourself that you have encyclopedic knowledge or experience, understanding that there's always another chef, bartender, sommelier or server who has something fresh, original, and new to bring to the table, and being open to new ideas and experiences.

                                    An example: I thought I'd seen it all, and yet an ESK bartender suggested a cocktail that was new to me, the Hoskins: gin, Amer Picon, Maraschino liqueur, Cointreau, orange bitters. Sounds like a classic cocktail, but it is actually a fairly recent invention, and is absolutely delicious, everything a cocktail should be: balanced, intriguing, beautiful to look at. And yet, had I decided that knowing what I wanted meant drinking only what I already knew about, I never would have tried it.

                                    Closing yourself to novelty is one way to go through life. I imagine there's some comfort in knowing you'll never have to experience disappointment, since you've already tried everything you're ever going to try. But it's an extraordinary philosophy to express on a board where one of the few commonalities among the contributors is a well-developed sense of adventure. I like my tried-and-true favorites, too, but my life would feel comparatively arid, shrunken, and dull if that's all I ever ate or drank.

                                      1. re: MC Slim JB

                                        I couldn't agree more - eloquently put, as always, MC.

                                        "MostBeloved", one of Chowhounds 'credos' if you will, is searching out new things. As you can see by the responses, this forum would be the last place to tell someone to stick with only the things they know and are comfortable with.

                                        Here's an idea of the kinds of things ESK is doing. To not even look at it is a shame.


                                        1. re: Rubee

                                          The Aviator is my new summer drink. My boyfriend had it when we were there last because "it looked like fun" (his mantra, which covers everything from cocktails to oddly flavored potato chips) and we both really liked it.

                              2. I agree with the above posts regarding excellent service at ESK, particularly at the bar, but maybe what we're all missing is that you had a party of 5 with you. I find ESK to be packed no matter what night I go, Sox or not, and although the bar is large, seating six people at it probably takes a bit of maneuvering. I imagine it would be the same at any bar.

                                Maybe I'm just a more laid back diner, or perhaps I tend to call upon my own experiences in a variety of customer service situations, but if I bring a group of more than 3 or 4 in unnannounced to any restaurant, I go in with the expectation that I will wait standing in the bar area for at least an hour (which doesn't often happen). I can't imagine expecting any restaurant, from your average chain to the creme de la creme, to seat a group immediately, especially at a bar's limited seats.

                                1. I just returned from Eastern Standard and thought I'd share my positive experience. I went after work to catch up with a friend, and we specifically chose the location since the Sox are not playing and we had a chance to score a seat outside.

                                  When we arrived (around 6.30) the patio was about 70% full. We were seated immediately, but were put at the two top just next to the busing station. We noticed another open table nearby and they were happy to reseat us.

                                  I was in a wine mood, so I didn't try any of the cocktails I have heard about, but was quite pleased with my selection (the rioja). I had the seared tuna salad for my meal, and was more than satisfied with the small size (about 3 oz of tuna, vs the 7 oz portion of the large version). My friend had the burger, and she was almost embarrassed when she singlehandedly finished it all!

                                  Our waitress was good, and took our cues well when we had been there for a good while chatting before even looking at the bar menu. She seemed to get on our pace right from the start. By the time we left (around 9) the place was only about 40% full. I would definitely recommend it, and will surely go back to try more items on the menu.