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Jun 20, 2008 06:11 AM

Onyx Fusion, Springfield MA -- nope

Sorry to say I had a mediocre lunch at Onyx Fusion, in the old Hall of Fame Building. The decor is really something, huge wall of HD tv screens with island and ocean scenes, very dramatic lighted bar -- we sat on a balcony overlooking the bar. The menu is very ambitious (which was a red flag from the beginning). I ordered an "Asian" pulled pork bbq sandwich, which came with "Asian slaw" and onion rings. There was nothing Asian about this entree except for the hoisin sauce the shredded pork had been doused with. It was topped with oily melted parmesan and the oil had soaked down into the Italian roll, which I had to discard. The coleslaw had a liberal amount of dijon mustard in it. Nicely shredded, that's about all I can say for it. The onion rings were definitely Sysco frozen -- which sometimes has its place in life :) but maybe not at an "upscale" eatery.

My companion's meal was supposed to be Asian vegetable pasta using twisted fresh spaghetti. It came as boxed penne and again, nothing Asian about it. She said it was okay, but probably not worth the price.

We had a sushi roll starter that was passable, but nothing special. It was wrapped in "seared" salmon that was lacking a sear.

Seems like someone can write a good menu, but can't execute it in the kitchen. For 2 people, over $40 (no alcohol, an iced tea apiece). It might be okay for a post-work drink and snack, but I doubt I'll be back. Sad, as Springfield could use some accessible lunch spots downtown beyond the very good Sitar and the old-school but good Student Prince.

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  1. Compelled to agree with you. I also ate at Onyx and had high expectations after reading the build-up in the local newspapers and then having it reinforced by a truly interestingly designed interior.

    It was a business lunch which started off uncomfortably - ordered a couple of glasses of wine, which took almost ten minutes to reach the table (despite the place having only five or six other tables of customers at about 12:30 pm).

    I then had the misfortune of ordering the same meal you did - the Asian pulled pork. After two or three bites I had to give up - it was so sickly sweet and heavy. Besides appearing to be frozen, the onion rings had been left in the deep fryer so long they were almost black and hard as nails - I tried to cut one and it shattered! The coleslaw was not a highlight, but it was at least edible.

    Had I not been there with a client I would have made a fuss and sent it back. He said he liked their Tempura fish and chips and I didn't press him on it (not wanting to make a big deal... after all, I chose the place).

    I absolutely agree on the need for more choices downtown - I will be taking a colleague out for Italian tonight and even that old stand-by, in a city with a lot of Italian immigrants, has limited options: Lido is not that good anymore, Red Rose while tasty is not quite fancy enough, Pazzo is over-rated and my favorites - Typical Sicilian and Touch of Garlic are both closed Mondays. So that basically leaves Carrabba's which is not too bad (for a chain).

    11 Replies
    1. re: RCPLAUT

      I didn't mention the slow service but that was also my experience -- we were there about an hour and a half, which is about a half hour too long for my comfort level.

      Sadly I had a bad business lunch at Lido's last year -- too much Sysco frozen -- too bad as at one point they were truly an institution. I had to write off Pazzo's after a truly lousy tuna melt (I know, what was I thinking, but still).

      Actually, I will keep Carrabba's in mind if we have people here who won't go for Indian or German. I also like Pho Saigon, but not for business, probably!

      1. re: hollerhither

        With the exception of the following, Springfield dining is dismal:

        Pho Saigon (and the excellent Vietnamese across the street)
        Typical Sicilian (very good)
        Touch of Garlic (uneven but OK)
        Student Prince (going downhill though)
        Frigo's (The gem of the city)
        White Hut (loveloveloveit)
        Max's (formula dining but worthy for business lunch)

        Onyx is yet another overdone pathetic attempt to bring "upscale dining" to Loserville USA

        1. re: Big Fat Moe

          Well at least you named the one consistant place I go to when I'm out there, White Hut. Another loser is Big Mamou.

          1. re: Big Fat Moe

            Yeah, Max's only out of desperation for business lunch, it does have that steakhouse/boys club atmosphere which is good for clients, but the food is pretty mediocre. What is Frigo's?

            I still support Big Mamou for lunch once in a while, but obviously doesn't work for a business lunch.

            And WHY is there no easy takeout in this town, other than fast food...?

            1. re: hollerhither

              Frigo's is just off Columbus Ave on William St in the South End. Its the real deal Italian grocery. Great sandwiches, prepared foods, meats, olives, cheese, imported stuff etc. Its a treasure. Open only until 6 or so. Check it out and report back. Plan on spending about a half hour there really wandering around and checking everything out in the nooks and crannies of the store. Frigo's is takeout heaven too.
              Big Mamou is basically 3rd rate. Have business lunch at Frigo's or White Hut. Your client will appreciate the novelty and the great chow.

              1. re: Big Fat Moe

                Nooo...none of those 3 will work for our business lunches, for reasons best not explained here! :) But thanks for the Frigo's info, will definitely check it out!

                1. re: hollerhither

                  If you're looking for something a bit more classy and private, you may want to check to see if you know anyone who belongs to the Colony Club. That's one place I'd consider in the vast culinary wasteland of Spfld.

                  1. re: treb

                    Hmm, I've been to a couple of events there, but never for a full-on meal. Is it contemporary, or is it more about the privacy/exclusivity, and less about the food (relic of the "old days")?

                    Springfield continues to perplex me, so glad I only work here.. :)

                    1. re: hollerhither

                      It's about exclusivity/privacy and food, that's it's mission so the food, atmosphere and service has to be quality. Colony Club is very successful, far from a relic of the old days. You should give them a call, they may accommodate your party. Glad to hear you only work in SPFLD, pretty dismal.

                      1. re: treb

                        I went to the Colony Club recently for dinner and the food was only fair. Tasty salad. My wife had the filet mignon and it was dry and kinda overcooked. I had the Tuscan/Florentine steak which sounded delicious but turned out to be too thin, dry, not spiced nearly enough with the promised herbs,and it was stringy. I think the meat might have been a little too old (and I don't mean aged).
                        The supposed to be classy and relaxed but actually pretentious wine and appetizer presentation in the drawing room next to the fireplace featured OK wine, some really delicious mixed nuts, some decent cheese and fruit that was too hard and not yet ripe.
                        All in all, yet another reason to badmouth Springfield.

          2. re: hollerhither

            Over the Memorial bridge, down Memorial drive in West Springfield go to the Monte Carlo for lunch or Dinner. Excellent Italian food, priced reasonable for lunch menu and better than the Italian restaurants mentioned in this post. Bon Apitite in Westfield is a good Italian place as well that not to many people know about. The best Bolognese (meat sause) by far in the area. Other entries were good as well.

        2. A few years ago I dined in an excellent restaurant on Main St. in Springfield, L'uva. I'm surprised it has not come up in this thread as one of the better restaurants in Springfield. Did it go out of business?

          4 Replies
          1. re: chowmensch

            L'uva's gone, and it went downhill for quite a while before it closed. I actually got a free lunch there once because it took them more than 45 minutes to get our order out of the kitchen.

            Believe me, if there is *anything* positive and new to report about the food around here I will definitely follow up, I feel like I've been way too negative...but unfortunately, pretty fair and accurate.

            Anyone heard anything about 350 Grill? I'm a little put off by its location, next to the Mardi Gras...

            1. re: hollerhither

              I'd be curious to know where you ended up, please get back with your comments.

              1. re: treb

                I'm lunching at "Lattitude" at the end of the month, which opened up in the old Caffeine's spot in West Springfield. Will definitely report back!

            2. re: chowmensch

              Oh & L'uva rocked but it went out of business likely b/c of the area... there were repeated "incidents" (shooting, stabbings, whatever, at the fried chicken place across the street from them).. Unfortunate b/c it was pretty good w/a great wine list.

            3. I have heard Onyx is also ridiculously priced... Have you tried Virtuoso in downtown Springfield? I've heard rave reviews... & Fusion in Longmeadow is good. The Federal in Agawam is my personal favorite-I've never been to a better restaraunt-flawless & worth every cent.

              8 Replies
              1. re: Teraesa22

                I'm going to keep my eye on these posts as I will be stuck, I mean visiting hubby's family in Springfield in a week. What is Typical Sicilian like compared to Red Rose and Lido (both of which I am VERY familiar with). My in-laws are in agreement that Lido has gone down hill as well. I still like Student Prince. My husband loved White Hut so were going to have to check it out. He hasn't lived in Springfield for 25 years but we go back once a year, me for the last 15.

                1. re: Fru

                  White Hut is a solid as a rock, the look and the food never changes, a great place, it's probably the only place I'll look forward to when I'm in 'no mans land'. Student Prince is as old as Moses and still produces good chow, I just don't like the area.

                  1. re: Fru

                    I had heard the same about Lido's and it wasn't great the last time we went years ago!
                    Have you tried Touch of Garlic? It's a small little place in Spfld and has been there for awhile. We had good meals a few months back.
                    Good luck with your i-ls.

                    1. re: lonborgfan

                      I should add that I love and enjoy the company of my in-laws as. It's just that being a California/Pasadena Gal with lots of options, Springfield is a pit gastronomically speaking.

                  2. re: Teraesa22

                    Yep, I had a pretty good dinner at Fusion in Longmeadow (not to be confused with Onyx) a year or so ago, it was a fun place for cocktails and snacks but it's a little too far outside my rather lengthy work/home route.

                    I haven't tried Virtuoso, is that the one on Worthington?

                    PS, I *love* White Hut, a true local original, but can't go in for weekday lunch as my clothes tend to smell like those wonderful grilled onions the rest of the day.

                    1. re: hollerhither

                      Hey Hollerhitcher: Ever make it over to Frigos? Verdict?

                      1. re: Big Fat Moe

                        Not yet but it is very high on the list. Ashamed to say I've been doing a lot of microwaving during my lunch hour lately. :) I will definitely report back!

                    2. Went to Onyx tonight for my FIL birthday. I'll start with the pluses:
                      * We had an knowledgeable and gregarious waiter. As our food came at half-hour intervals, he made the wait almost bearable. Definitely deserved his tip.
                      * The drinks were not bad - but I admit I am no expert. I did like the fact that I could get a martini for under 10 dollars.
                      * The ambiance was pleasant - not too loud, not too boring, and the TVs were not as obnoxious as I expected them to be. I would not consider this a lunch place, though.

                      On to the food...We shared a mussels appetizer that came with a delicate and flavorful wine sauce (we guessed miso may have been one of the ingredients). The bread was fresh and warm. They also had a 50$ for 2 deal - 3 courses and a bottle of wine that we didn't try, but it looked appealing for the price.

                      Unfortunately, this is where the pluses stop. I ordered two sushi rolls and two pieces of salmon nigiri (the latter consisted of two minuscule pieces @ $8!!). The rolls were ... meh (a melee of seafood, I couldn't discern much and it reinforced my purist take on sushi). DH had a similar opinion on his rolls. My SIL ordered the lamb dish that came with sweet potato puree, which was too much and too sweet for my taste. The desserts were also below average - nothing spectacular. The bill, however, was nothing short of that....To put it mildly, it was expensive, and for this price tag, I would have expected a lot better.
                      Oh, and the other thing that bugged the heck out of me were the spelling mistakes on the menu - for such a respectable establishment, you'd think that they knew how to spell spanakopita....

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