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Problems At Sagra

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FrankFausto Feb 10, 2008 09:30 PM

Went last night to sagra in Davis. Won't go again. The food is nothing at all like before. Staff mentioned the chef left. Any idea what's going on there? Maybe the place is cursed after all.

  1. p
    phoebek Feb 11, 2008 02:48 PM

    Thanks for the heads up. No idea what's going on there, but we stopped going to Sagra after one good experience and several that ranged from "meh" to bad.

    1 Reply
    1. re: phoebek
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      FrankFausto Feb 12, 2008 08:16 PM

      I don't know. Never had a bad experience, except for my most recent jaunt. Place seems different. New decorations (crappy ones) and looks like a big push to get the drinking crowd in. I saw signs for drink specials and cheap beer. Thought (for about two seconds) about going for Valentines but when I called I was told nothing was going on but a DJ (no special dinner or anything). Kinda weird.

    2. pamalamb Feb 13, 2008 03:58 AM

      A friend who just ate at Sagra reported to me that they've stopped making pizzas, which were my favorite part of eating there. Too bad.

      1. Sal Monella Feb 13, 2008 05:06 AM

        We tried to like this place when it first opened...I think Marissa Iococo from the old La Bettola was guest chef'ing there so there was potential for it to shine. Unfortunately, the layout isn't the greatest (kitchen in the basement) so that hampers the food (use of food warmers?). We could live with this but the management let the place slide IMO. I believe this place will go the way of the previous restaurant incarnations. Sad but not very surprising when considering the other options available in Davis Sq/Som/Camb.

        7 Replies
        1. re: Sal Monella
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          penny Feb 13, 2008 05:53 AM

          I liked Sagra ever since it opened. Although the food preparation has been uneven at times and they've had front of the house issues, I really enjoy the food. It's simple but tasty, and draws upon a region that you don't usually find, La Marche (e.g., the fried, stuffed olives; lots of simple grilled meats; the lasagna Vincisgrassi).

          From what I was told when we discovered they stopped serving pizza (the Margherita DOC with fresh bufala mozzarella is delicious and I am bummed that I won't be able to have it) was that they were having issues with the split kitchen. But, my DC had the pork and I had the gnocchi, and they were as good as usual.

          1. re: penny
            digga Feb 13, 2008 06:33 PM

            This is a bummer...the pizza was the only reason we'd ever stopped in. Even then, sometimes it'd be really nice, another time, soggy with the tips sagging like hell.

            Won't someone take over that space and make it work?! This space might be too big for the Ten Tables team (who are reputedly looking at Antonia's), but I wish someone could reverse the curse (of this space)! Hell,I'm tempted to do it myself!

            Edit: Service was always Davis Sq.-lousy. Why can't Davis Sq. attract decent waitstaff?

            1. re: digga
              yumyum Feb 14, 2008 12:04 PM

              The Ten Tables team is looking at Antonias??!!! How incredibly awesome. Tell me more.

              Agree about Davis Square lousy service ... lots of college students who don't give a rat's. BUT one of the former food runners is now at Highland Kitchen. He wasn't very polished at Sagra, but it seems like he's getting a good education at HK -- I sense a chowhound in the making.

              1. re: yumyum
                digga Feb 14, 2008 12:17 PM

                Weird - I could have sworn there was a recent post about the Ten Tables' owner looking at the Antonia's space and now it is nowhere to be found (there is talk that Antonia's is up for sale). Perhaps it was too speculative and so the mods deleted it? Regrets for bringing it up if it is still in rumor stage.

                That's cool about the runner.

                1. re: digga
                  yumyum Feb 14, 2008 12:25 PM

                  Gotcha, I had heard Antonia's was up for sale, but missed the TT connection. A girl can dream.

                  And yeah, cute local kid getting schooled at HK. Another reason to root for them.

                  1. re: digga
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                    penny Feb 14, 2008 01:02 PM

                    I read about it on the Davis Square Live Journal community (see http://community.livejournal.com/davi...). Krista Kranyak from Ten Tables was at Monday's Davis Square Task Force meeting to talk about Antonia's space. Somewhere in the LJ entry there's a link to a Craig's List posting about the sale of Antonia's.

                    1. re: penny
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                      phoebek Feb 15, 2008 02:11 PM

                      Someone I know was at the meeting and reported that yes, Krista K was at the meeting and made a good presentation, but won't take over the Antonia's space without a beer and wine license, which doesn't transfer automatically with the sale of the restaurant. I was pretty bummed to hear that, as I was already counting those 10 Tables to be added to the Davis Square scene!

          2. t
            tedet Feb 13, 2008 04:22 PM

            Funny. I went to Sagra this past Friday and was totally let down. Ignoring the wait for a table while I was standing next to an empty table, there were other serious problems. We did not get a voluntary bread basket even though the other tables around us had them (We finally got it by asking for bread after waiting around 30 minutes - after sitting down - to see if it was coming). Fine I thought. Then after fifteen minutes pass and we have yet to see a server, she finally arrives. We order the fried selection app that others on her have said is good, the lamb steak dish and some pasta. Mind you the fried selection app is what drove us to try the place. Long story short is that we never got our app, and when we asked about it the server said "oh yeah I forgot, sorry." The lamb pieces were unevenly cooked one overdone and the other over done and the duck ragu gnocchi was bland to say the least.

            1. c
              corduroy79 Feb 13, 2008 06:43 PM

              if this place closes down i think it'll be a good thing for everyone. i've never experienced service as bad as i did here. this is based on about half a dozen visits - each worse than the last. The split kitchen doesnt explain waiting 25 minutes for olives. And there are easy solutions to the split kitchen issue. i used to work at a restaurant with a similar setup and we just used an earset to coordinate. pretty easy. that space has so much potential - its really a shame no one can make it work.

              1 Reply
              1. re: corduroy79
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                jerrycon Mar 13, 2008 11:03 AM

                Maybe i got lucky.. Just hit up Sagra for some Italian.. Great look and feel! The lamb and gnocchi (which my girlfriend had) were both tasty.. Service was right there too.. Maybe something changed since this review, but i will return to fill my appetite!

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                FrankFausto Feb 15, 2008 04:54 PM

                I LIKED the place and really don't want it to shut down. Hoping the management fixes it up. I'm curious about St. V's Day. My DC/SO, James, and I were in D. Sq. last night (drinks only...dinner was at OM in H. Sq.....great!) and sagra seemed busy. Miss out on a good evening? Anybody go last night? I heard again that the chef left...any news where he went? Where's the new place? I saw him in Boston Magazine and, to steal a term from R. Ray...Yummo! I'm not sure which team he plays for, but I wouldn't mind him cooking me breakfast.

                1. j
                  jajjguy Feb 16, 2008 09:37 AM

                  I was there exactly once, with no expectations, about 2 weeks ago, and liked it a lot. Probably not in my top 10 of Camb/Som, but i'd go back. Service was unskilled but OK - i may have been lucky.

                  When did the alleged change in quality occur? When did the chef leave?

                  1. f
                    FrankFausto Feb 29, 2008 09:33 AM

                    FrankFausto always find the truth. The chef is gone. He is not on the website. Google search revealed an article on BBJ. There seems to be a problem between the chef and the owners. I read in Boston Bus. Journal that the chef was getting grief from the owners, including his brother. Then, it looks like the article was changed. Who knows? Family problems? What a shame! All I know is not only is he good to look at, the boy can cook. Has anyone gone recently? Is Antonia's still open and what is the deal with LeSpina? Who is the new chef at sagra? Worth trying again? Waiting to hear where de Simone went. I need some Italian!

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: FrankFausto
                      Dr.Jimbob Feb 29, 2008 02:24 PM

                      I wrote up impressions of Sagra and La Spina in July of 2007: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/426624 Would not recommend La Spina as a curative for good Italian food (not that I thought that Sagra was consistently the bee's knees, even when their old chef was still there). For the moment, you might be best off hitting the red line into town and going to Grotto or the North End.

                      1. re: Dr.Jimbob
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                        FrankFausto Feb 29, 2008 06:45 PM

                        .Thanks for the info. I read that great post of yours. Impressive work. While I really appreciate your advice, I have to say that (IMHO) Grotto kind of sucks. Sagra is/was REAL Italian. Other than chicken parmesan, everything else is hardcore, off-the-boat Italiano. I guess they had to cater to the (Tuft’s) crowd somehow. Even though I only ate there four times, it was great to know that I could always go to Davis and get REAL, honest Italian food. Not the caca you get in the North End. All the Italian people in the NE go to places like sagra. Anyway, I hope the new chef is as talented an Italian chef as de simone. I was hoping to hear something nicer about le spina. Thanks for the heads up.

                        1. re: Dr.Jimbob
                          Sgt Snackers Mar 2, 2008 01:58 PM

                          You might want to check out Gran Gusto on Sherman Ave in Cambridge. Pretty decent Italian and the pizzas are the bomb.

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