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Oct 14, 2007 11:13 AM

Exchange St. Bistro, Malden....A solid D+

Ventured to Exchange St. Bistro in Malden for brunch this morning. I was intrigued by the reviews on this board and the 1 star rating from the Globe.

The atmosphere is very warm, modern and hip. Granite tables and big windows in the bar/lounge area where we were seated. There was only 1 other table occupied.

Server did not write down our orders. After 45 minutes, the food came out and, as expected, she got my dish completely wrong (I hate when they don't write it down). My wife was nearly finished with her mediocre omelet when my order came back. It was missing one ingredient (according to the description on the menu) and was not at all hot.

During our 45 minute wait for food, we overheard the table next to us tell the server that their omelet was totally wrong and they would have told her, except she never came back to ask how the food was.

I would not recommend spending $35 for brunch for 2 at this place. Bad service, average food and high prices.

I knew I should have driven to Saugus for doughnuts instead.....

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  1. Servers memorizing the order. That's a real pet peeve with me, too. Recently, at the Beacon Hill Bistro in Boston, which is a quality place, we had a similar experience. My husband was just about done with his breakfastl when I finally got the actual meal that I had ordered and that the server had not written down. I almost never send anything back, and was tempted to accept the bacon I was given instead of the chicken hash I had ordered, but really was in the mood for hash. Not too much to ask of a paying customer.

    I'm not sure why this is such a wide-spread practice.

    Industry people, any insight as to why servers should be expected to remember orders for the entire table sans pen/paper?

    1. That's too bad. Exhange Street was really good when they first opened, and it was a great addition to that neighborhood.

      I haven't been for 6 months or so, but I was terribly happy with it then, either.

      1. that's too bad. my experience was just the opposite. waiter was very efficent and attentive. didn't mess up my order either. pretty sure he wrote it down

        1 Reply
        1. re: galangatron

          same here - I have been to ESB 4 times now and I have never been disappointed - awesome mussels, a creative (for chicken) chix dish and one of the best bruschettas I've had in recent years - the goat cheese is the star. However, consistency is a key consideration when rating any restaurant, and even though I have been lucky, I am starting to wonder if my luck will run out next time b.c of the rants it has received, and would now hesitate to recommend ESB. but, I will add that based on my own positive experiences, I myself am still likely to go back. it's local and they make an solid cocktail for my buck.

        2. I will chime in and say that I am with Frank.

          We've tried exchange street several times since they opened, and each time we have been significantly underwhelmed with the food. We also found the service to be very amateur at best (very young people with no apparent training - not blaming the youth factor, just the lack of experience or guidance).

          We kept going back from time to time, trying to give them the benefit of the doubt, especially in light of neighbors saying how much they loved it, and good reviews here, but we finally gave up. Either we have terrible luck or bad karma or ? Meh. I'd much rather spend my money at Tivoli's or All Season's, or even Fu Loon, O'Neill's or pho 99

          But the mixed drinks, yes, the drinks are *quite* a bit better than anything else I've found in town. Kudos on that front!