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Legal's in Burlington - Horrible Experience

m
Momeaux May 11, 2008 10:43 PM

After a health emergency in the family earlier this week, my mom asked that I cancel our brunch reservations for Mother's Day at the Blue Room. We weren't planning to go out at all today but at the last minute we decided to grab something lowkey for dinner near her house. She had been to Legal's for her birthday and had a good experience so I figured it was a safe choice. I made a reservation for three people at 7:30 and told them that we wanted a table since a member of the party is in a wheelchair.

We get there at 7:30, are told it will be a few minutes, and are given a beeper (which by the way obnoxiously "speaks" at you when it goes off). We waited at least 10 minutes before the beeper goes off. They ask if the person in the wheelchair will be staying in the wheelchair and I say yes and they say, "oh ok we'll need a few minutes to get you a table." At which point a firmly remind them that I had made a reservation explicitly stating that was what we requested! We ended up sitting down around 7:50.

We ordered beverages and the waitress requested IDs from me and my husband (we're both 30+). I didn't have my license on me and she wouldn't serve me. She said she had to card everyone under 40 and that unless a manager said she could serve me, she couldn't do so. So we wait for five minutes to see what the manager would decide and she comes back and in a really unpleasant and hostile tone tells me she's not serving me because she the law requires her to card everyone under 40. From what I could gather she didn't even ask the manager if she could. So I order a soda, and my husband and mom decide to forego their overpriced cocktail to do the same. Let me be clear, I have no problem with not getting served, I have a problem with the way the server handled the whole situation.

I figured we just had a grumpy server and that the evening would pick up once we started eating.
I couldn't have been more wrong. We ordered the Legal's oysters and calamari for appetizers. The oysters were good, sadly, probably the best part of the meal. The calamari was very greasy, though not totally inedible.

For entrees we I ordered the chicken, my husband ordered the fried clams, and my mom ordered trout. The server said she thought they were out of trout but was able to check through the machine they use for taking orders. She said, "Oh I guess we do have trout." About 20 minutes after we had placed our order she came back and told her that they were in fact out of the trout. So she orders the lobster roll.

About 20 minutes go by, during which time two managers and the server stop by to apologize for the delay. Finally the chicken and the clams come out but no lobster roll. A few minutes later. Still no lobster roll, I poke at my food and notice its lukewarm at best. My husband's fries are soggy and also not hot. Five minutes later and there is still no lobster roll on our table. A manager comes by and asks if everything is okay to which my mother responds, "No. It's not. If I don't have my food in thirty seconds, I don't want it." She finally gets her food but the lobster is chewy to the point where she literally can't bite through it. She proceeds to attempt chewing every single piece of lobster in the roll individually and cannot eat at least 80% of the meat. It basically looks like it hasn't been touched because so much is left on her plate that another manager stops and asks if something was wrong with it. We forego dessert, which is unheard of, and get out of there as fast as possible.

I have never had such atrocious service and such subpar food at Legal's in my life. It was a disaster. At first I was willing to let the little mistakes slide, like having to ask for refills more than once (and still being brought the wrong drink when I did finally get one), or having to wait for the table. But it was the quality of the entrees that was downright horrifying. There were just too many mistakes for it to be only about having a hectic service.

  1. m
    mkel34 May 12, 2008 05:23 AM

    Sadly, that sounds like a typical legal experience. My trick if I go to Legals is to eat at the bar which has always provided me with much better service than the waitstaff. My experiences have been the Braintree and Prudential/Copley locations.

    1. Bob Dobalina May 12, 2008 06:17 AM

      I think this is another in a long line of complaints about this particular Legal's location.

      1. Trixie Too May 12, 2008 07:07 AM

        The Burlington Legal's is one of the worst managed in the chain. And I know this from speaking to other managers at other Legals and from bad personal experience. We vowed never to go back there again after two back-to-back lousy experiences, both resulting in comped meals AND a gift card. It seems that ever sense they renovated and expanded that space, it's been horrible. mkel34 is right that the Boston locations fair better. We used our gift card in Natick and had no problem there.

        1. Prav May 12, 2008 07:16 AM

          I'm sorry you had to go through that - sounds very unpleasant. Have you thought about writing a letter to upper management? I imagine they'd want to know about your experience there, no? They might even give you some gift certs... not that I would want to go back after that experience.

          1. e
            emilief May 12, 2008 08:33 AM

            What a shame. We eat a Legal frequently and have never ever had a bad meal. It seems that the location is the key.. we eat at Framingham and Chestnut Hill, occasionally near the aquariaum and at the airport. Saturday night we had an excellent meal with great service at the Framingham location- despite the fact that the place was absolutely slammed- crowds spilling out the door. If enough people wrote to managment and complained, maybe they would do something about this location, which seems to get consistently bad reviews.

            1. C. Hamster May 12, 2008 09:39 AM

              What did you say when the second manager came by and asked if something was wrong?

              Did he or she do anything?

              This experience reminds me of some I've had at their Pru location.

              1. steinpilz May 12, 2008 11:29 AM

                That is quite a wide variety of service gaffs. Mother's Day dinner probably had something to do with it though it's still inexcusable. I've been happy with the food (if not overjoyed) at the Kendal Prudential and Chestnut Hill locations but can think of service problems that have occurred at all of them. The carding for alcohol always surprises me, I'm almost flattered at my age, but it shouldn't ruin an important meal (AFAIK it's not a state law).

                1 Reply
                1. re: steinpilz
                  o
                  observor May 12, 2008 03:08 PM

                  My mother recently dined at Cambridge and wasn't impressed. It's a shame that good things often go bad.

                2. SaraASR May 12, 2008 04:49 PM

                  Legal's has gone downhill in the past couple of years. I have a story from the Copley location that dwarfs yours... way too long to type, but it involves our server breaking into tears/having a nervous breakdown and ultimately getting our $400+ meal comped. Regardless that they took care of the bill, I'm never going back!

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: SaraASR
                    m
                    marilu May 13, 2008 03:15 AM

                    Legal's in Peabody is a sorry restaurant. We went years ago, had a horrific experience at lunch and never went back. But I was always one of those people who thought they were always overpriced for what was served.

                    1. re: marilu
                      o
                      observor May 13, 2008 06:43 AM

                      The sad thing is it remains the most popular restaurant for Zagat, which will only continue to expand its out-of-town clientelle.

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