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Red Fez - please help

I am obligated to go to The Red Fez soon. Of course, I've read everybody's complaints about the place's downward slide, so let me ask: if you had to go there (no getting out of it), what dish is still worth trying? What's the best possible Red Fez meal now?

Thanks!

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  1. IMO, the "best possible Red Fez" meal is to say you have to go to the bathroom, then run over to Foley's for a quick bite.

    1. Don't order anything you'd normally expect to eat with pita, like hummous, babaganoush, muhammara, etc. For reasons I cannot fathom, they now only serve a crappy supermarket-grade foccaccia with these dishes.

      I just wish they'd die already and make way for something decent; every time I walk by on my way to someplace worthwhile like Foley's, they have maybe two souls in the entire bar. A shame: I used to like this place, but they obviously stopped giving a damn about customers a while ago.

      1. I used to love this place, too. They've gone downhill, uphill, downhill and uphill again. But I don't trust them anymore. I stay away.

        11 Replies
        1. re: TheScribe

          The vegetarian mussakka is veyr good althoughI don't know why they spell it that way.

          I was at the Red Fez last Friday and the dining room and bar were busy.

          It is a lovely room.

          The main problem of the Fez was that they gave away too many drinks when they were at the top of their game and this comprimised their finanaces.

          The place is far better than its reputation.

          1. re: postemotional1

            The anecdote about the Fez ruining its finances is interesting -- are you suggesting folks should give them business out of pity?

            My last two meals at the Fez were nasty, service and drinks were terrible, and when I mentioned to the manager that I thought it was ridiculous that they were serving Middle Eastern dishes without the advertised pita, he just shrugged. I think they richly deserve their reputation that they just don't give a rat's ass anymore, and have gone downhill past the point of bothering with.

              1. re: bear

                To be more accurate, it's more like Wonder Bread in the shape of foccaccia. Insulting.

                The first time I visited after they started serving this, they gave me a BS line about having run out, on a Friday at the very beginning of service. "There's a Foodies down the street", I pointed out. The next time, they didn't even bother with that lie, just said they don't serve pita anymore.

                1. re: MC Slim JB

                  Thanks for the warning. Last time I was in the area, I stopped and looked over the menu and thought of giving it a try. I'll stick with Cafe Barada in Cambridge when I need a fix.

                  1. re: MC Slim JB

                    I have reported about the problems down there before and it just breaks my heart. It was once a fun place but then EVERYONE stopped going. Foccaccia with hummus is just crazy.

                2. re: MC Slim JB

                  No, I am not suggesting that anyone should give any place business out of pity.

                  I am saying that the source of their problems was high liquor costs.

                  I was at the Red Fez this past Sunday and I am happy to report that the Vegetarian Mezze was quite good and pita bread has returned.

                  The lesson, as always, is that failure to control costs will inevitably comprimise quality.

                  Right now they are back on the right track.

                  1. re: postemotional1

                    I'd love to hear more reports that this place is on the upswing. As I said, I used to like it, but have gotten sick enough of the quality roller-coaster there to have written them off for good.

                    I still don't understand the comment about high liquor costs. Are they somehow paying more for booze than the thirty places with full liquor licenses within half a mile that are doing well? I'm going to guess their rent is a lot lower than some of their nearby competitors that have crowds every night.

                    1. re: MC Slim JB

                      The Red Fez' high liquor costs were the result of bartenders "hooking up" their friends.

                      "Friends" meaning servers in the industry.

                      Many, though not all, of the "superstar" bartenders in Boston owe their dubious status to giving away cocktails.

                      They got their jobs by having a "following".

                      Eventually owners and managers figure out that customer counts exceed cash received.

                      At that point the bartender is out the door just ahead of the inevitable dismissal.

                      The Red Fez was unable to use liquor receipts to properly staff and maintaint their facility.

                      This was a direct consequence of the bar staff's lack of integrity.

                      When will people realize that losing money ALWAYS causes the decline of an establishment?

                      When will realize that the bartender who has a drink with you is putting himself/herself on the road to alcoholism?

                      When will people realize that free booze gets people killed?

                      The Beehive will soon be taken down by a full room with an empty register.

                      The owners of the Beehive are in for a rude awakening very soon.

                      1. re: MC Slim JB

                        Wow Slim. really coming down on the Fez.

                        I used to go there often - it was their massive increase in prices that drove me away many moons ago. I used to get a glass of wine and small entre for $20. Now finding an entre for under $20 is hard. Service has indeed been spotty. Maybe what they lack is a good manager.

                        Chatted with the owner one night. His approach at that time was to get higher quality meats in. Not my first choice of things to change...

                        Crashed the OD party last month. New chef was there, and got a chance to chat. Lots of the things served were new items he was trying out and was getting our feedback. Real tasty stuff. Hey here we are 6 weeks later, and still no menu change. And I still hate paying $18 for a kabob. (And my veggie friends also have issue with only 2 vegetarian entres...)

                        So they've got a decent new chef - still waiting to see if more interesting things appear on the menu, and if prices will be going up or down. We have way too many foo-foo places around now (read the latest SuothEndIsOver entry) - if Fez would drop prices, get good simple food in, I think they'd pack the place like they did when they first re-opened...

                        1. re: esnaguy

                          Inconsistency is my biggest problem with any restaurant. Happiness is mostly about expectations met; if they would just find a level and stick to it, I would be happier than with the yo-yo they've ridden for the last five years. I used to love the Fez, would love to see it get better, but most reports here and from my neighbors seem to echo my recent very negative experiences. I just feel like the owners don't give a damn about customers anymore.

              2. Sorry to hear that you have to go- I agree with the others - I used to enjoy the place- the appetizers were decent when they were first open. At this point I guess I would say that they best you could do there would be to have a few of their "Lost in Space" martini that they make with Tang in it...( a childhood taste thing...)

                1 Reply
                1. re: deshuitres

                  The fall of the fez- is do to the owner who also owns the building...he forced out the gm & the chef with threats of closing down...then made his cousin gm- who then ran it into the ground (always drinking johnny walker) last time i was in the hummus was rancid... its sad its, such a nice spot

                2. The Red Fez is the Weylu's of the South End.