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Boat Street Cafe

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I finally made it to the Boat Street Cafe a few weeks ago with a friend. I really liked the openess of the place and the staff was incredibly friendly. It was a nice laid back atmosphere.

We had a nice appetizer and I had the lamb blade steak, which was done perfectly. I really enjoyed myself and I even found parking on Western Avenue.

Anybody else with a different experience?

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  1. since you asked - some time back, i went to the old location on boat street for brunch; a truly stunning setting. amongst other things, i ordered (and paid extra for) some of their 'famous' roasted potatoes (i am one of those people who equate a good breakfast with good potatoes). i was served a gratin dish full of plain boiled new potatoes; no butter, no herbs, no spices and certainly no roasting. when this was pointed out to management, i was informed that "this is the way we do it here"; the remainder of the meal was of a more-than-average quality. anyone not knowing the difference between roasting and boiling does not deserve my custom; i have not returned and have no plans to do so.

    3 Replies
    1. re: howard 1st

      Howard, I had a similar experience and made the same resolution. In my case "the way we do it here" was "spinach salad" with no spinach (eh??). It seemed to me at that time that the server who delivered this ham-fisted ridiculosity was vapidly clueless, but was feeling cockily confident in this loopy delivery. The kind of comfort I thought I saw was a kind that management can do for staff, so I imagined that this sort of brusque dismissal of customer concerns was a deliberate and carefully maintained part of the management culture of the place. If there is a chance management changed during the move, I might consider another fly-by. Do you know if it is still managed by the same person/people?

      1. re: mrnelso

        again, since you ask - the buzz is that there were 2 partners at the old location and that they moved to the new place and are splitting the duties by one being in charge of lunch and the other doing dinner. the oddly sexist suggestion below of going to have dinner "with the lady" (some of us manage to survive without someone filling that role in our lives) does not obviate having been summarily shot down by the existing management. i will continue to vote with my feet....

      2. re: howard 1st

        I just went for the first time. We are used to all sorts of restaurants and frequent dining out, but some of their prices were out of line. (I think the same thing about Portage on top of QA). My $20 entree of lamb sausage had a single link, a grain with a mint pesto, and a slice of grilled onioin. The sausage was dry but tasty. The starter pickle plate was also overpriced. These aren't deal breakers, but it didn't make me love the place. I think Le Pichet does a better job of what Boat Street is trying to do.

      3. I work a block away and go pretty frequently, though mostly for a sandwich at lunch. I've been for brunch a few times, a full lunch several times, and dinner maybe twice. I do really like Boat St even if the service can be a bit slow and inconsistent. The food is always very good and generally stuff that I'd have a hard time cooking at home without a lot of practice. I highly recommend the Boat St Cafe, though for dinner I think it is much more suited to a formal dinner with the lady than a 6-top with friends.

        3 Replies
        1. re: eternalX

          I go to Boat Street very regularly. I have to disagree with the formal dinner comment. Boat Street is not a formal dinner kind of place. I was just there as one of a party of six diners and we had a fabulous meal. We are the 'order one of everything on the menu and share it' type of diners and this was the perfect way to experience all of Boat Street's goodness. The little touches are the things that keep me coming back and back and back. Touches like house made pickled plums served with the pate. Fleur de sel on every table. A vegetarian dish that I actually choose to eat (it's listed as flan on the menu, I would describe it as a cross between a souflle and a fritatta). The only bread pudding that I have ever liked. Chicken liver pate and country pork pate that is to-die-for. And that's just the dinner items!

          1. re: Lauren

            Yea, maybe formal was the wrong word. But it is a quieter kind of place at night.

            1. re: eternalX

              Again, we'll have to disagree on this. I've had dinner there many, many times and in now way do I think it is a quieter kind of place. And, believe me, I'm very sensitive to quiet places - being that I'm not a quiet person ;)

        2. I've only been for lunch, and only once. That once was more than enough, as the food was eminently forgettable and the service was borderline terrible. I too have heard that it's two different kitchens, one at lunch and a different chef and crew at dinner, but if that's so, and if the dinner's good, the lunch bunch sure isn't doing the whole place any favors.

          1. Had dinner here on Friday and was very disappointed.

            My pork belly starter was underseasoned and the aleppo pepper jelly sauce was more like cheap Chinese sweet and sour sauce. I understand what they were going for but the execution didn't match the potential.

            For entrees we got the roasted sea bass with niçoise-style vegetables and the Walla Walla onion flan. The sea bass was overcooked and surprisingly dry with soggy skin. The onion flan (more like a soufflé) started out tasty but the spinach must have not have been drained because the bottom half was swimming in spinach water. Unappetizing.

            Dessert was the housemade raspberry jam tart. Not bad, probably the best dish of the night. (My Boodles martini was pretty good too.)

            I wanted to like Boat Street Cafe since it seems to be fairly popular, but I don't think we'll be back.

            1 Reply
            1. re: phong

              A group of us had dinner here again on Saturday. We also had the pork belly and I loved it. The sauce reminded me of Linghams' Panang sauce, which I love, so I was in heaven. I had the Walla Walla Onion flan and mine held up better. It was quite dark on top so maybe the cooked it longer than they did on Friday. We pretty much ordered everything on the menu and there wasn't a clunker in the bunch. Definitely give it another chance.

            2. I've been eating at Boat Street for years in both locations for dinners and lunches even to-gos in the space where sitka and spruce now is ... I've had absolutely marvelous food and service and I've had less than stellar experiences as well ... I think any restaurant (and I've been to most repeatedly) has it's off nights and those nights where everything clicks just right .. it's the nature of the beast. I'm certain if you were to ask about any place you'll find those who won't go back to a restaurant based on one unhappy experience. If you had a great experience, go back, support the places you love, it's the ONLY way they'll stick around.