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Has anyone had a bad experience at Artu?

Or was it just us?
We went for lunch today and arrived at around 2:20. We were hungry, so we ordered the main course. No wine, no appetizers. I ordered the leg of lamb and my guest ordered the sausage with brocolli rabe and fusili.

At 2:50, the waiter walked by and mumbled that it would be a couple of minutes. At 3:00 he tried the same trick - so i told him we were ready to walk out and cancel the order. But, we sat there meekly and the fusili was delivered at 3:05. My entree arrived 2 minutes later.

Now the bad part. There was a stray piece of what appeared to be chicken in the sausage and pasta dish. My plate contained cold pickled eggplant slices, cold pickled red pepper, a lot of what appeared to be quartered and grilled small potatoes and four (yes.... four) slices of totally overcooked lamb with grill marks on each of them. The lamb IMHO, had been re-cooked so it had that stringy/hard texture.

It was the singularly worst dining experience - capped off by the waiter teling me in short order, that nothing was going to please me. They charged me the full tab - and I consequently tipped the minimal,

Hopefully this is a one-of bad experience. Did anyone else have such treatment?

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  1. There are no shortage of people on this board who like Artu, but I'm not one of them. To copy what I posted some time ago about an experience I had there:

    "I know there are folks who like Artu on this board, but I didn't fare well there at all. To present a specific, I tried ordering a simple pasta with marinara sauce dish there, but the waitress aggressively upsold me to a more expensive version with added calamari ("you can't just get that!" she said). So I went along with it, definite price jump and all. The pasta was overcooked and the dish was horrendously salty. On top of that, I couldn't track down the waitress to fix things after she dropped off the plate -- in fact, it was all I could do to get a check from anyone there."

    1. There have been a few posts lately on bad experiences at Artu - you are not alone.

      Just wondering - leg of lamb - not exactly sure what that translates to, but if it had been cooked fresh - as in an actual "leg," wouldn't it take about 45 minutes to cook? Just saying. No excuse for receiving what you got, for sure.

      Knowing what I think I know about the place, I guess I would not have ordered any entree - to me they do two things well - antipasto and sandwiches.

      2 Replies
      1. re: Bob Dobalina

        Service tends to be better at the bar, not sure why. I tend to stick to grilled meats; sandwiches and pizza. I absolutely love their shrimp scampi pizza, and haven't found a better one anywhere. They make a decent meatball sandwich and the chicken stuffed with prosciutto and spinach is quite good. Bar staff is really attentive and quite friendly.

        1. re: Pegmeister

          Thank you Bob and Peg, I guess the greatness of the food that once was many years ago, has faded into oblivion. Will not be returning there again.

      2. Things have changed at Artu on Prince St, but I haven't been back since last June..mostly because of the non-accessibility situation. Before that everything I ever ordered there had been executed very well, from service to food. When I've had that lamb dish I asked for rare. It's been done exactly as I ordered. What a shame your experience was less than good.

        1. Which Artu? North End or Charles Street?

          1 Reply
          1. re: BostonZest

            It was at the North End location. I went there because years ago, I used to get fabulous take out from there. I was so excited to go back there to show off to my friend - and it ended up being a horrible mistake.

          2. My last experience there (North End location) was not that great either. The food was mediocre at best - nothing really horrible stands out. But I did toss the doggy bag after I opened it next day and decided I didn't even like it enough for leftovers. The service - while waiter was friendly enough when he was paying attention to us - there wasn't that much attention paid and orders were wrong on entrees and desserts (he left the wrong dessert and just brought us the correct one and said he wouldn't charge us for the "extra" dessert. We got a real laugh over that.

            1. I guess I'm 1 of the few remaining Artu fans. I mostly get takeout or eat at the bar. I love their roast lamb/eggplant sandwiches and sometimes get a veal or chicken stuffed with proscuitto/cheese entree. Their rotisserie chickens are good..as was the lasagna.

              My main gripe is that they give you a really crappy side dish of pasta/red sauce with your entree...

              I don't care for their dining room and rarely eat there.

              4 Replies
              1. re: 9lives

                And they charge a hefty price for that small side dish of pasta! That being said though, I am still a fan of Artu. I have enjoyed many of Sunday afternoons there eating a pizza and sipping Pante Rei (spelling) wine. Unfortunately, they are changing their wine list as well.

                1. re: Pegmeister

                  $4 last time I checked.

                  I won't buy it on principle and if I do takeout, I just make my own simple side pasta..:)

                  1. re: 9lives

                    I was there a few weeks ago and it's up to $5. I'm sorry but that's just crazy.

                2. re: 9lives

                  ah, roast lamb and eggplant sandwich! just had one after christmas when we were in boston! went to the take-out door and brought it back to our hotel room! as for dinners, we haven't gone this year....service was okay but i don't find the entrees that good anymore.

                3. Artu NE does a solid job w/ takeout as others have said. They would not be my choice for "dine in" .

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: stradacouple

                    I've eaten and imbibed at the bar many times with great satisfaction. One evening we went with another couple wherein the"Mr" was a short, large man, so the bar stools were out. We sat at a table and the food and service were a bust. Go figure ! I'll still always go to the bar. I've had fabulous eggplant, pasta fagiole, grilled antipaste, and the potato-proscuito-& gorgonzola pizza is finger-lickin' fabulous. Steer clear of the dining room and the grumpy hostess/waitress in there. Bar service rules here.

                  2. Thanks very much to everyone who replied. As for me, since it is a LONG drive from home to Artu, I will not be going back there. There are a lot of great places to go to in Boston that ... with the responses on this board, Artu is a "bust" for me.

                    Thanks again

                    1. I lived in the North End for a few years and use to get take out from them every once and awhile. Honestly, not my favorite place in the world. I think there are so many great places in the neighborhood like, The Daily Catch, Maurizito's, The North Street Grill and Carmen, that once you have a bad meal at a place like Artu you can just put it on your own personal black list. Their sauce is no good and to be honest I don't think I have ever had anything good there but since I lived right upstairs when I had forgotten how bad it was I would try it again...memory like a goldfish!

                      1. Never been to the Prince St. location. Have been to Charles St. 3 or 4 times, with large and small parties, and have always been satisfied. Prices are reasonable and food is good (not great).

                        1. Haven't been back since they refused to seat my group of two at an open table since they all had four seats. (This was at Charles St., for what it's worth.)

                          1. Have never been to the NE location, but the Charles St one has always been excellent in my several experiences. I have primarily had the sandwiches - all of them are brilliant and great value. Have also done sit down lunch or dinner a few times, and found the pastas, entrees and antipasti to be delicious and fresh (you can observe the kitchen either from the street or the dining room if you have any doubts). I do, however, try to stay away at extremely busy times when the fairly small restaurant is crammed with tourists and passerbys (yes, I can imagine them refusing to seat 2 at a 4 top during such times - seems completely reasonable to me). The service has never been lightning fast or exceptionally attentive, but I have never had a bad experience. Perhaps things are different at the NE spot.