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Jan 14, 2009 11:38 AM

Sensing at Fairmont Battery Wharf?

Any reviews? We're heading there this weekend and I wondered if there was any real info out there yet.

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  1. I was there for cocktails recently. There was no one there so the service was very attentive. They also gave us some free nipples, but I think we were test cases because they kept coming back asking for our opinions on the little app which was a spicy (mild) tuna salad on a carrot disc. Interesting but no wow. The drinks were enjoyable though.

    I'd be interested to see if things have picked up after the official Grand Opening.

    5 Replies
    1. re: kate used to be 50

      They officially opened last night, didn't they? I've been waiting for them to open for a long time now--wrote about the place nearly a year ago. I wonder how often Guy Martin will be there. (Probably not very, huh?)

      1. re: kate used to be 50

        free nipples, huh?! I didn't know it was THAT kind of place ;-)

        1. re: Chris VR

          yea, yea - didn't i tell you. they are going for a golden banana vibe

          1. re: kate used to be 50

            Something tells me Guy Martin isn't finding this conversation amusing. ;-)

            1. re: hiddenboston

              Who knows. May be the next offal offering.

      2. Am also going there this Sat night. Scouted out the Fairmont site, though not a lot of info.

        53 Replies
        1. re: stradacouple

          Please report back on your dinner. Thanks,

          1. re: greenstate

            My wife and I went for dinner last night. We had a 7:00 reservation. This is their first weekend open to the public. Upon entering the hotel, Sensing is to the left of an attractive lobby. The room is blonde woods and muted fabrics. You enter Sensing and you walk past a small bar on the left and there is the open kitchen on your left as well (there is counter seating along the open kitchen). The space then opens into the dining room.

            So now for the food and drink. Cocktails (a gibson and a martini done with orange bitters) were very well done. The wine list is "France heavy" with a few selections from Italy and the US. Some might consider it a smallish list, but the selections I thought were solid. I was staying with my martinis w/ orange bittes and planning to wine by the glass.

            They pass bread and you have your selection/s. For apps, my wife had the salad with yogurt dressing and I had their small plate sampler. This consisted of 6 small bites. You can either get 6 of the same or one of each. I opted to try them all. Included in this detailed presentation were a oyster, crab in jelly, fois gras mouse (next time I am going to get 6 of these.....they were that great), sushi , and a jeresulum artichoke soup.

            For mains, my wife had the steak which came with fried eggplant and a great "barbeque" sauce. The steak was perfectly done. I had the cod, which was poached in a ginger/coconut broth andlon with baby vegetables. The cod was amazing. We shared a side dish of pasta with fresh sage. With my main I had a glass of California white wine that was recomended by one of the front of the house. It was perfect with the cod.

            For desert we shared a 5 cut cheese course. The 5 perfect cheeses were accompanied by sliced bread with walnuts and cranberry chutney. We also had glasses of white port. I am a huge fan of white port and you very rarely see it on menus in the US. We then moved on to espressos (also perfectly done and well presented with a small shot of ice water). To close the meal there are small sweets delivered, finger bowls with small towels with freshly poured warm water and then our check.

            Dinner for 2 w/ tip ran $270 plus $18 for the valet.

            I though that all the folks working there were great (both front of the house and our waiter). We could not have been happier - great service and great food.

            It will be interesting to see what others think as well as how their menu evolves. I know that it will probably "not be for everybody", but that's ok. We loved it and are heading back tonight (at the bar they do sandwiches and a kobe burger that our waiter said was fantactic) to eat at the bar.

            1. re: stradacouple

              Thanks for the review. It sounds (and looks) a bit uppity for Boston but I am going to try it on Thursday night. I am looking forward to it.

              1. re: greenstate

                here's the problem... "a bit uppity for boston"???

                i'm new here and new to boston and wondering why the amount of quality places are limited.... i found sensing, while slightly pretensious, a soothing atmoshpere however it was quiet, and very clean and delicious food. the tiger eye bar which, by the way had some interesting cocktails, is a fun and interesting way to dine. you can sit at the bar which at a 90 degree angle turns into a dining counter where you can see the well executed food being prepared.
                i liked l'espalier, but in comparison, i thought the food at sensing to be more exciting and thoughtful rather than safe, as well as it was very clean. 4 courses and i clearly could have com=ntinued. not because the portions were small but because it was clean and not very rich. the one negative i would say is that the wine list is need of serious help.
                excellent addition to this food scene, i hope they do well.

                1. re: cockscomb

                  The wine list is very small. The bartender told us that they "wanted to start small, quality over quintity" and are planning to expand it. On our second visit (we were having the cheese plate again for desert) I wanted a desert wine by the glass and there was only one selection. The bartender let me try ut to see if I liked it first. It was quite good. One thing I did appreciate was that they had a white port on their list. White port is one of my favorites and typically never seen on Boson menus. Oh......welcome to Boston.

                  1. re: stradacouple

                    As a wine consultant who advises restaurants on their wine lists... when a restaurant says they "want to start small" and they "plan to expand it later" it's code for not having the money to invest in the list. Not uncommon in today's economic climate.

                  2. re: cockscomb

                    I'd be curious to hear some specifics on what you thought about your meal at Sensing.

                2. re: stradacouple

                  Great review- we were there last night as well- I think you two were sitting at the table behind us.

                  I thought the decor was nice but bordered on bland. I also really hoped that we'd have a restaurant in Boston that offered a good water view and excellent food, and was disappointed that the view didn't deliver... but luckily the food did (albeit at a hefty price point!)

                  We started with cocktails. I loved my Pisco Sour. Hubby had a ginger drink which had some serious ginger kick. We shared the tasting platter for an app and I agree, the foie gras mousse was definitely the best thing on there. The Cheese Sage Maki was odd. We debated it- and decided that while we didn't think the cheese/sesame combination in particular worked that well, we also liked that it took a chance and made us think about the flavors. The crab/grapefruit jelly thing was fine, not much crab flavor but we liked the grapefruit. You didn't mention the mussel/beet root thing, and I liked it but others didn't. We also had the lobster salad which I didn't love but again appreciated what was done with the dish- the lobster was served with a bit of mango sauce and I thought the tail was a bit tough, although the crab was moist. It was served over firm butternut squash which was finely diced. I think that was our favorite part of the dish. The breads were delicious.

                  It's not a large menu, besides the starter assortment platter, there were maybe 5 starter choices, 5 seafood options and 5 meat options, plus 3 or 4 sides and 4 desserts. I don't recall seeing any vegetarian mains.

                  At our table, we also had the steak, which my friend absolutely loved- she said it was one of the best steaks she's had. She subbed the eggplant for the mashed potatoes in olive oil, which I really liked- it was a very fruity olive oil (this is offered as a side for $4). I had the scallops, which were delicious- not for people that don't like celery, though, as it was served on a bed of diced celery and apples, and served with what I believe was a celery foam over the top. They were perfectly seared. The other diners had the peanut butter crusted lamb tenderloin, which worked surprisingly well. The lamb was very good, mild, moist and the peanut flavor worked really well with it. There was also a sauce that complemented the flavor. The sweet potato gnocchi was disappointing to me- leaden nuggets which may have tasted fine but i just couldn't get past the texture. I felt the portions were quite generous. I had (I think) 5 good size scallops and all the meat portions were larger than I tend to see in fine dining around Boston. Each dish came with a small carafe of the sauce on the side which I thought was a nice touch.

                  Dessert was chocolate caramel tart with peanut ice cream, which received mixed reviews- I really liked it but my friend though tit was all sweet and didn't have the richness she was looking for. The cheese platter was excellent although personally I like a few other accompaniments, such as non-flavored bread, nuts and membrillo. But the cheeses were excellent and that's what counts.

                  Worthy of note was the flatware and plates- really nice stuff, felt great and the way the plates sloped toward the diner was very interesting. The scallops were served on a beautiful green glass late that elevated an already nicely plated presentation to a simply beautiful dish. However, our biggest complaint was how poorly the plates worked on the blond wood table surface. I'm not sure what the solution is but we were chasing our plates around the table every time we tried to cut something on them.

                  Very high marks to the staff- from the bartender to our wonderful waiter to the solicitous front of house staff, they didn't miss a beat at any point during the evening (although I was surprised that the staff left the ring on the table that was left by one of the carafes of sauce.) So often I order something and by the time it comes I can't recall what all the components are, so I particularly appreciated how our server took time to describe the dishes when they came.. Dinner for 4 of use, including tip, cocktails, a bottle of wine and glasses of cognac and Johnny Walker Blue was over $500. At this price point I won't be back soon, but I'll definitely consider it for the next time I want to pull out all the stops.

                  1. re: Chris VR

                    Yes, given your descriptions, I believe we were at the table behind you. I agree with your comments on the space. If the restaurant were on another level of the hotel, you could leverage a better view and avoid what I think will be a fair amount of pedestrian foot traffic going by in warmer weather. I read somewhere that they will add outdoor seating in the summer. I think that it will be hard to support outdoor dining at that price point.

                    I forgot to mention the mussel w/ beet root (it was my least favorite, though I am not a "big mussel person"). All your comments on the tasting platter items are spot on. Actually, my wife thought about gettting the lamb and I the scallops, so it is good to know that both were good.

                    Hopefully there will be nightly additions to the menu, because I agree i
                    t is not expansive and if they want "regulars", some variety needs to be there.

                    We live in the neighborhood and eat out 3 or so times per week, thus our interest in trying the bar menu tonight.

                    My wife noted "the slick" table surface too (I always prefer table linens). Also, the tables for two are somewhat small (between bread plates, dinner plates, water and cocktail glasses and gets crowded fast)

                    1. re: stradacouple

                      I don't get the hyper reviews. Maybe I am not a true Chowhound. We had dinner there last night and we were very disappointed. The place looks OK, although not very warm and inviting or conducive to settling in for a wonderful (and expensive) meal.

                      We started at the bar and had some great drinks. Of note was a cocktail made with Grey Goose, Patron, lime and cilantro. Very delicious and pricey. The Merlot was good. The bartenders are great, very friendly and accamodating. There was no one eating in the dining room so we decided to stay at the bar and eat.

                      We started with the lobster salad and a tossed green salad. The lobster was fresh and delicious. The tossed greens were uninspired. The menu IS very limited and given special dietary considerations, we were limited to fish and we both ended up ordering the cod. Although it was good - fresh and tasty - it was not anything that I would sit home and crave. We both had a couple of glasses of Chardonnay with dinner. We finished with a cappuccino, which was perfect. Total, with tip - almost $300.

                      The problem I have with Sensing is that it seems like an LA restaurant, both in terms of design and menu. I do not see Boston embracing it and making it a "regular" destination. We live right next to it and we were looking forward to a local place where we could sit at the bar and have a meal. It did not leave us with that feeling, at all.

                      To be opening a new restaurant, in January, an economy such as this, they seem to be flagrantly thumbing their nose at their curious new audience. No thick, satisfying bowls of soup, rather something with chestnut foam. No complex, interesting salads, rich braised meats or ethnic hints at anything. Boring and bland. Clearly, they need to identify their clientele and tweak their menu appropriately. If they were going for an international crowd at the hotel, they are out of luck, since the hotel/condo aspect of the business is less than what they had hoped for. So basically they are serving a Boston crowd, for now anyway and their finger is not on the pulse.
                      Since we are so close by and we do want them to be a success, we will go back, for drinks and a peek at the menu, with hopes that they have made the necessary changes.

                      1. re: greenstate

                        We ate there again last Sunday and sat at the Bar. My wife had the kobe burger and I had the chicken stuffed with smoked trout. Both were good. I was drinking triple 8 martinis (which ran $20 a pop).........their prices do tend to run on the high side. I agree with your statement on interior design/menu, but that is what I am finding interesting. It is not like other Boston restaraunts. We too live in the neighborhood and want them to to be a success. As I said in my earlier post, it will be interesting to see how they mature.

                        1. re: stradacouple

                          $20 for a vodka martini is the highest price I've seen in Boston for a cocktail that doesn't involve some crazy-expensive spirit. (A 750ml bottle of Triple 8 retails for under $30.) That cocktail price is just insane. The chicken dish sounds interesting, though.

                          The prices at Bina Osteria are similarly eye-popping. Barbara Lynch has a new high-end place in the works. I just wonder how many luxury-class restaurants the city can sustain in a recession.

                          1. re: MC Slim JB

                            interesting... i may need to check my receipt again. i had a few cocktails and don't remember them being that expensive. wow! although i did not feel like my check was that outrageous. i hope your triple 8 had something else good in it. i don't mind paying 20 for a cocktail if it's well crafted, unique and delicious so i hope yours was!!
                            i guess the thought of t=some of these restaurants opening in these economic times are worth talking about however, from what i understand, sensing was a 9-12 month project coming. hard to see that hings would be this bad 9-12 months ago. can't really blame them for that.
                            having their finger on the pulse is another story. but i'm not sure if understand the suggestions of thick braised meats and menu reconstruction. from a lot of posters on here, i see way too many "chowhounders" wanting to homogonize menus. you can get that stuff elsewhere, let a restaurant stick to what they do well. i didnt find anything bland on the menu...

                            1. re: cockscomb

                              I do find their cocktail pricing interesting. My wife has grey goose martinis and they were either $15 or 16. On our first visit the night before I had a martini w/ orange bitters ($17). When eating at the bar the following night I spotted the triple 8 (it was nor standard extras added). I think that this is the highest price I have paid in Boston. Like the 4 Seasons and a few other place I wonder if they keep their bar prices high as a deterrant/mechanism to edit patrons. The Fairmont Battery Wharf is in a very "touristy" area (just think of feast nights in the North End in the summer). You are spot on with your comment that the food is very thoughtful. On our second visit the front of the house folks welcomed us back. The kitchen sent an amuse and the chef later came over to make sure that everyting was fine. It may seem like I am complaining about the cocktail prices, but I am not (they are just comments for others to note). The current economy makes an interesting environment for those higher end restaraunts. Given that Sensing is in a hotel and also does breakfast and lunch service it might be easier for them. It would be interesting to see if in their research/business planning what % dinner patrons (that is where the true revenue is) would be drawn from hotel guests vs "locals".

                              1. re: cockscomb

                                I would not characterize the food as "exciting and thoughtful" but as lackluster and the environment as sterile. My criticisms are that Sensing does not relate to its environment. It's cold here in January and personally, I want soothing food that tastes delicious and warms my soul. Few items on their menu did that for me. I am not so provincial as to suggest that they open an establishment that mirrors other eateries in Boston but I do thing they need to embellish their menu. Come on - chestnut foam soup - in the coldest month of the year - really? That have got to do better than that.

                                The drinks that we had were fantastic, as were the bartenders. And the Kobe burger was tempting but I was interested in trying more of a signature dish. I wish that I had gotten the burger.

                                As far as opening when they did, I guess that is just bad luck. But you can't open a five star restaurant to an empty hotel in a three star economy.

                                1. re: greenstate

                                  interesting... i always thought about chestnuts being a winter thing. "chestnuts roasting on an open fire"??? come on!!! are you kidding me???

                                  "But you can't open a five star restaurant to an empty hotel in a three star economy"

                                  greenstate... i'm sorry that we disagree about the food but i don't think guy martin was sitting in his living room one night in the last few weeks thinking that he should enrage a bunch of diners by opening an expensive restaurant in boston. the economic times are what they are now. probably not when this concept was conceived i imagine. from what i have read, it looks like it should have OPENED 9-12 months ago. can't fault a restaurant for that.
                                  from what one of the servers told me is that the hotel isn't empty... it's not fully operational. i believe he said that only 40 rooms were available. and as well, the residences aren't completed.
                                  engaging people in conversation that work at restaurants is one way that i have had great experiences as well as it is informative. i learned that it was empty because it's not finished.

                                  1. re: cockscomb

                                    I am not trying to be argumentative and we apparently have a different take on Sensing as well as different expectations for a restaurant experience. But - they do not serve chestnut soup, which actually would be appealing, they serve quince soup with chestnut foam. To be fair, I have not tried it but there is nothing about that combo that makes me want to try it. Quince is something I've had in jams, jellies and pies. It remains completely unappealing to me.

                                    Engaging people that work in restaurants is a very good way to get the scoop on what is going on. So is living there. I live there. There is a lot going on that could be perceived as "tainting" the opening of this restaurant. Sales of the residences stopped cold in the fall when the economy tanked. It has been said that the Regent backed out due in part to issues with the developer and with the economy. A high end hotel and restaurant has been excitedly anticipated by residents of Battery Wharf since the conception. Most people are eager to welcome them and to use the establishment and the facilities. So far, it has been a huge disappointment and largely vacant.

                                    I like the convenience of a good bar and restaurant next door to me. I like the idea of a high end establishment succeeding. I will go back and I will hope that it lives up to the expectations that have surrounded it. For now I will be spending my time and money at Prezza, another neighborhood restaurant that I want to continue to be successful.

                                    1. re: greenstate

                                      im sorry greenstate. my interpretation was that you were knocking them not relating to their environment by using an ingredient, chestnut as you put it "in the coldest month of the year". wasn't taking this as argumentative by any means. difference of opinion is how i take it, as well as difference in tastes of food.

                                      my experiences as prezza however have been quite good but i am never compelled to go back there. i was invited the second time, and was given a gift card the first. i didn't find the food to be quite up to the pricing.

                                      i am planning on going to sensing again soon... i have to try the other half of the menu!

                                      1. re: cockscomb

                                        That's what makes the world go round! You have your Sensing and I have my Prezza. It's a beautiful thing.

                                        1. re: cockscomb

                                          I agree w/ your perspective on Prezza.

                                          1. re: stradacouple

                                            strada.. seems like we have similar taste in restaurants. i would love to hear your opinions on other restaurants. I have another thread on here that i would appreciate your comments.


                                        2. re: greenstate

                                          I'm curious how you could dislike something you have not tried--FYI, it is a cauliflower and quince soup with chestnut foam. To my palate, that has all the signifiers of a winter soup.

                                          1. re: whs

                                            Reread my post. I never said I dislike it.

                                            1. re: whs

                                              that soup was excellent. all the flavors there but nothing dominated and not a terribly rich soup. this seems really to be there thing. clean food, minimal ingredients well integrated and excecuted

                                      2. re: cockscomb

                                        $20 for a garden variety (more or less) cocktail is absurd. Eastern Standard and #9 make some of the best in beantown and don't scratch that ridiculous price tag unless you are talking some really extravagant ingredient, not just Triple 8 vodka. The emperor ain't wearing much...

                                          1. re: barleywino

                                            That I like, endless refills for $20. Now that is a recession-buster.

                                            1. re: StriperGuy

                                              They also offer a $22 French 75. I suppose you could justify that if you topped it with Cristal.

                                              1. re: MC Slim JB

                                                it's actually done with taittinger... can't really defend the $22 cocktail, but nobody was forced to order it when i was there.

                                                i think it really is important to get more food related criticism on here rather than doom and gloom of the economy. i think we all really would appreciate if some of these higher end places are around when the money situation gets better.

                                                it's demoralizing to hear price criticism continually. kind of sours the experience before even going to new places. opinion on the food wether its positive or negative at least leaves something to be desired

                                                1. re: cockscomb

                                                  I myself am more concerned with finding places I can afford to eat than whether these higher end places are around when the situation gets better, maybe that's why these petty little details keep coming up...

                                                  1. re: galleygirl

                                                    for sure galleygirl... i'm certainly finding myself looking for bargains as well.
                                                    i was simply saying that we know the fact is that the higher end places are expensive so i see no point in dwelling on it. its almost redundant. we just continue looking for the bargains and when we find the spare change (or bag of gold at the end of the rainbow) to splurge, it is nice to have great options

                                                  2. re: cockscomb

                                                    So, shut my eyes, put my fingers in my ears, and sing, "There's no monster under the bed" -- when there is in fact an enormous, ugly, slavering monster under the bed?

                                                    Luxury-class places always seem to manage to come back when the economy improves, and a few hang on regardless: there's always some level of well-heeled locals and tourists to sustain them.

                                                    I'd welcome more food-related criticism, too, but the fact is I'm not spending on high-end places the way I used to (and I have the unusual benefit of a professional subsidy for many of those meals); many Hounds who didn't or couldn't when times were good aren't either.

                                                    But I will occasionally spend on occasion meals, and I don't think a certain amount of criticism about very high prices is going to sour it for me. If anything, those splurge dinners will be more meaningful and enjoyable for their rarity.

                                                    Meanwhile, I will anxiously await the reviews of Hounds that can afford these places. Forgive me if I shake my head at $20+ cocktails that aren't made at the level of the $9-12 cocktails at Drink or ESK or Green Street in the meantime.

                                                    1. re: MC Slim JB

                                                      wow. didn't mean to ruffle any feathers. i was simply saying that this "enormous monster under the bed" unfortunately is under all of our beds. i think it's hundai ad campaign now that says "we're all in this together".
                                                      just consider the quality of the product in regards to the price before criticizing the restaurant "gaugers" and not dwell on it.

                                                      i'm not defending the price/quality ratio of the $20 cocktail. i was trying to suggest that i believe that this $20 cocktail did not seem to be a fair representation of price/quality ratio at sensing

                                                      i absolutely agree that a big part paying for a culinary experience is going for value. (i'm not a "hound" and i don't do any "chowing") i go to eat and enjoy myself. either at fallafel king in dowtown crossing, where simply talking to those two brothers about there business, and how much pride goes into there work, makes me want to spend the 6 or 7 dollars on the chickpeas and lettuce that costs them .37 cents to make. or simply order something else at a high end place that charges $20 for a cocktail that may cost them 3 to put it in a glass.

                                                      1. re: cockscomb

                                                        No offense taken. What I was responding to was the implication that "expensive places are expensive, so why complain?", which flouts a Chowhound maxim that value is important at any price level. I like Mistral, but I think its prices are a little crazy. I will happily pay the tariff at the rather more expensive O Ya, when I can afford it. I used to love L'Espalier, another of the most expensive places in town, but the atmosphere of the new location is a big step down for me, so it's no longer my first choice for occasion dining.

                                                        There's no doubt in my mind that a luxury-class restaurant can justify its prices with a combination of kitchen artistry, service and atmosphere. And I'm not taking shots at Sensing's food; I haven't tried it yet. But they're sort of setting an uneasy expectation in my mind with that $20 vodka martini.

                                                        1. re: MC Slim JB

                                                          wait, now i'm confused. in a past response you wrote:

                                                          "But I will occasionally spend on occasion meals, and I don't think a certain amount of well-deserved criticism about very high prices is going to sour it for me. If anything, those splurge dinners will be more meaningful and enjoyable for their rarity."

                                                          and then in the last, you wrote"
                                                          "And I'm not taking shots at Sensing's food; I haven't tried it yet. But they're sort of setting an uneasy expectation in my mind with that $20 vodka martini."

                                                          that was my comment from before about the fact that i want to hear comments about the food and all i saw was talk about the poor economy and the $20 cocktail price. i'm trying to help ease your expectation and other "hounds" that it isn't a good representation. i'm hoping that helps, but like i said before, i'm just one dude who likes to eat

                                                          1. re: cockscomb

                                                            I'm not sure I understand your confusion: those two comments seem entirely consistent to me.

                                                            I'm glad to hear an opinion that the cocktail prices aren't representative, but I still think it takes big balls to charge that much these days. Does anyone know of any place in town that charges more for a mid-shelf vodka martini?

                                                            Given the wide range of opinions here on Sensing's value so far, I think I may wait for a few more data points before it moves to the top of my to-try list.

                                                    2. re: cockscomb

                                                      I totally disagree. Part of good chowing has always been good value. When a restaurant blatantly gauges it's clients, it speaks to the owners whole approach.

                                                      I can conceive of a $20 cocktail. Home distilled (probably illegal) seasonal New England pear eau de vie with fresh pear nectar and a dash of house made bitters... perhaps. $20 for Triple 8 is just plain soak the client.

                                                    3. re: MC Slim JB

                                                      Course using Cristal in a cocktail would be a total absurd waste.

                                                      1. re: StriperGuy

                                                        True, but there's a well-established tradition at certain luxury-class places of creating dishes precisely for the prodigal consumption they represent.

                                                        Manhattan and its customer base of hedge fund managers outspending each other in pursuit of the title of Biggest Dick has the most examples. Here's something I lifted from, talking about how these places are suddenly sucking wind:

                                                        "In April [2008], for example, restaurants were basically dueling over their ability to craft obscenely expensive dishes using huge amounts of truffles and other pricey ingredient. The Waverly Inn's famous truffle macaroni and cheese, Totally Baked's $55 truffle potato, and Frank Tujague's $1000 truffle and gold leaf bagel duked it out to see who could waste the most Tuscan fungus. Meanwhile, Nino's $1000 luxury pizza and Norma's $1000 Zillion-dollar Frittata did more or less the same thing with caviar.... Daniel Boloud's DB Burger and Royale Burger ranged between $32 and $150. Their competition, the Wall Street Burger Shoppe's Richard Nouveau ran $175 and featured gold leaf."

                                                        1. re: MC Slim JB

                                                          i was never a fan of those silly gimmicks... they were ploys to get that clientelle in the restaurants and apparently worked. good marketing by those places. its similar to seeing drc on wine lists. would love to drink it but definitely not spending 35,000 for it but i won't be offended by it

                                                          1. re: MC Slim JB

                                                            Wow - boy did I start something with the mention of a $20 martini. Folks should go if they like or or not.......all this "bashing" is a little off point. If you have not been.....then how can you offer real perspective for folks.

                                                            1. re: stradacouple

                                                              agreed strada. did you see my response above?

                                                              re: stradacouple strada.. seems like we have similar taste in restaurants. i would love to hear your opinions on other restaurants. I have another thread on here that i would appreciate your comments.


                                                            2. re: MC Slim JB

                                                              Exactly my point. For those places it is not at all about the food but about impressing your date/co-workers/employees etc. To me there is a certain aesthetic of a well prepared meal whether it is $2 or $200 that goes out the window when impressing becomes more important than the deliciousness of the food/drink or the overall experience.

                                                              A $20 cocktail in beantown says to me: "let's see if we can get away with this in Boston."

                                                          2. re: MC Slim JB

                                                            Do they at least serve those similar to the Oak Room? The Oak Room's cocktails hover around the $20 point, but they are practically two drinks, really, and they only serve half at first, and leave the second half in an iced carafe, keeping the second half chilled. Do they do that at Sensing?

                                                          3. re: StriperGuy

                                                            or liver-buster....when i was visiting the food basements in Japan (depachika) I saw exotic melons and other unidentifiable fruit there in glass cases with exorbitant price tags on them (like, over $100 per piece) those would make for a justifiably $20 cocktail

                                                    4. re: MC Slim JB

                                                      Am going to Bina tonight (for the second time). I enjoyed our first visit. It was midweek between Christmas and New Year and the room was perhaps 1/4 full. It will be interesting to see what it is like this evening.

                                                      1. re: MC Slim JB

                                                        Here here on Bina. We enjoyed our meal but I couldn't believe that the prices would be sustainable in this economy.

                                                    5. re: greenstate

                                                      Actually, Greenstate, I think you may be the only true chowhound of the bunch...The site used to have a notice that defined 'hounds as those who don't unquestioningly follow the crowd to the latest celebrity chef, or something to that effect...You seem to be the only one here who posits that if we don't like it, we may not be in the wrong. Everyone else seems to think that if you're not on board with the exalted Guy Martin's vision, you just don't understand, and want to be dumbed down to...

                                                      1. re: galleygirl

                                                        "Everyone else" doesn't think that. I'm not on board with any vision. I reported my experience as I perceived it. I wasn't kowtowing to any celebrity chef and frankly it's pretty insulting that you're implying that only people who don't like a new place are being honest and are true chowhounds.

                                                        1. re: Chris VR

                                                          My apologies, no offense intended. I do think there were a lot of posts about breathless anticipation, and about the great value of these $300 dinners. The only thing that started a little cavilling was the talk of $20 martinis. Just my own biased point of view. YMMV.
                                                          I think it was interesting that Greenstate felt he had to almost apologize for not seeing it as others did. Perhaps he, or she, felt the same vibe that I did.

                                                          1. re: galleygirl

                                                            Fair enough and I'm sorry for getting my dander up. And I am glad you reminded everyone that we don't all need to agree here- in fact it's best when we don't. It's much more interesting that way. One person's Angela's can be another person's Taco Bell!

                                                        2. re: galleygirl

                                                          Galley Girl, I don't think that is a fair representation of this thread.

                                                          1. re: greenstate

                                                            Just how I saw it, like I said, my own opinion...

                                            2. The original comment has been removed
                                              1. I don't necessarily think a restaurant should be built to be "recession proof", but $20 for a martini regardless of the economy is ridiculous. I'd rather go to ESK, Rowes Wharf, Cragie, Green Street, Gargoyles, etc. for excellent bar-tending and food.

                                                The Fairmont took this space when the initial hotel operator backed out after an argument with the developer. I found the space cold and uninviting and nothing like Fairmont's other property, the Copley Plaza. Maybe that is what they are trying for, but I'd rather drink and eat at the Oak Room.

                                                I hope they succeed as I hate to see empty spaces and I know the condo owners definitely are worried. They do not want an empty hotel space attached to the condo. I think I may be spending my $$ somewhere else though.

                                                2 Replies
                                                1. re: kate used to be 50

                                                  The Regent Hotel Chain was the intended to occupy the hotel space. Their backing out and the Fairmont decision to the rescue the space delayed the opening to this past December. Interior design preference is such a personal one. I appreciate both ends of the spectrum from very contemporary spaces to the "grand dames" of the world. The new Fairmont is somewhat similar in design to the Manderin.

                                                  I thingk that Battery Wharf is a difficult space for a high end hotel and like you want to see them be very successful rather than evolve to a level of Marriott Long Wharf (Mariotts are fine, but their target client is different than that of the Fairmont). I am not sure what effect if any the hotel change had on Sensing and Guy Martin's vision other than to delay the opening.

                                                  In the end, I am fine with their prices and only commented to give others insight as to what it might cost them if they went. I hope that Boston can appreciate their perspective on dining and food. We are heading back this week for our 3rd visit.

                                                  1. re: stradacouple

                                                    Having grown up with an Interior Designer (and therefore having had to work for her too) design is truly a personal preference. I actually like contemporary, but I don't like "cold" which is how I view the Sensing and hotel spaces. I realize I was there on a Wednesday night after a snow storm (read gray snow on ground), but while the service, free nibble (got it right this time) and the wine were enjoyable, I really enjoyed my dinner across the street at the Waterfront Cafe.

                                                2. Between this post and the post on the above and beyond service at Bina you have inspired us to reserve at 2 new places this week...can't wait and thanks