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The Independent, Union Sqr: shake up in the kitchen

MaineRed Jan 29, 2009 06:22 PM

We were there tonight and the chef got fired. I don't know any other details.

The quality has decreased significantly in the past 6 months and the service is even worse. Although the beer selection is still quite good.

(Shhh. Don't tell anyone: they are pouring double IPAs in pint glasses and charging the same price as any other beer.)

  1. ponyboy Jan 30, 2009 04:45 AM

    >(Shhh. Don't tell anyone: they are pouring double IPAs in pint glasses and charging the same price as any other beer.)

    A lot of places are doing this with DFH 90 as of late.

    1. MC Slim JB Jan 30, 2009 05:08 AM

      The nice surprise to me about this place is how they got serious about cocktails in the past couple of years; it's not quite Green Street yet, but it is miles above most places in Cambridge and Somerville.

      1 Reply
      1. re: MC Slim JB
        j
        jajjguy Jan 30, 2009 08:01 AM

        Quite so. And they take excellent care of their beer draft system, so the beer always tastes as it should.

      2. nfo Jan 30, 2009 05:17 AM

        Wow, too bad it's come to this. Last time I was there in the late fall I had a pretty good meal. I hope they find someone who can sort things out in the kitchen.

        1. muscles_marinara Jan 30, 2009 06:22 AM

          Hmm, I know the chef and haven't heard anything about this... haven't been around in a couple weeks though. If there's been a decline in quality it's probably because he had a kid and was out for a little while. People use the term chef so loosely that I wouldn't be surprised if it was whoever was in the chef position that night that would have gotten fired and Paul is still there. Some people say that they've got problems with consistency but I've never had anything but an excellent meal in the dozen or so times that I've eaten there (and their cocktails are fantastic as well). I'll have to go in and see what the deal is. Thanks for the heads up!

          1. BobB Jan 30, 2009 06:24 AM

            No surprise - we ate there about a week and a half ago and waited almost 90 minutes to get our food. And it wasn't just us - a party of six or so seated near us actually broke out in loud applause when their food finally arrived!

            I asked our server if they were short-handed that night and he said no, the kitchen was just slammed. We were seated on the restaurant side, which had one or two empty tables, but he said the bar side was jammed and everyone was ordering food (at 7:30PM - can you imagine?) so the kitchen was really backed up. He and the rest of the FoH staff were trying their best to stay cheerful and keep people happy but it was a pretty stressed situation.

            1. r
              rknrll Aug 14, 2009 04:40 PM

              Went here last night for dinner and was appalled when my "Fried Clam Roll" was clam strips.
              $13 for this...come on.
              Had I known they were strips, I would have just got something else.
              The menu isn't online but I'm 99% sure the description on the menu didn't mention strips at all. If it did, I apologize as I missed it...but I'm pretty sure I would have noticed.

              Severely disappointed...as the beer selection is great, and I live a short walk away.

              6 Replies
              1. re: rknrll
                b
                bear Aug 14, 2009 06:42 PM

                We went a couple of weeks ago and had an overcooked burger and a pressed pork sandwich that was ham on one side and pork on the other, without much evidence of "spicy aioli", mustard or pickles to add interest. The service that was very apathetic. We used to enjoy the place, but won't go back until there are several good reports that things have improved.

                Precinct, on the other hand, has been quite good the couple of times that we've been there.

                1. re: bear
                  r
                  rknrll Aug 14, 2009 07:08 PM

                  Yeah I need to check Precinct out. Actually walked over and looked at the menu after the disappointment at The Independent, and it's definitely worth a shot. Much larger menu as well, and still an above average beer list.

                2. re: rknrll
                  m
                  mrsx Aug 14, 2009 08:50 PM

                  Whoops... It didn't specify. Said clam roll piqued my interest last Friday, but something prompted me to inquire "Strips or whole belly?" before ordering, sparing me the disappointment. Went "safe" with a perfectly passable (fried) chicken sandwich, DC was satisified with the cuban. Filled our bellies and made sense as we were en route to Precinct later, but wouldn't hurry back or venture out of our way, and would indeed try Precinct as others have mentioned.

                  1. re: rknrll
                    m
                    mrsx Aug 14, 2009 08:52 PM

                    Whoops... It didn't specify. Said clam roll piqued my interest last Friday, but something prompted me to inquire "Strips or whole belly?" before ordering, sparing me the disappointment. Went "safe" with a perfectly passable (fried) chicken sandwich, DC was satisified with the cuban. Filled our bellies and made sense as we were en route to Precinct later, but wouldn't hurry back or venture out of our way, and would indeed try Precinct as others have mentioned.

                    1. re: mrsx
                      digga Aug 16, 2009 08:55 PM

                      We love Precinct, especially after hitting up the Union Sq. Farmers' Market on Saturdays. The food is really wonderful (we've enjoyed steak salad, veggie shepherd's pie, burger, salmon).

                      1. re: digga
                        s
                        somerville01 Aug 17, 2009 07:14 AM

                        I've eaten at The Independent several times since the new chef took over. The specials have been exceptional - particularily impressive was the Tuna poke which was simple and well executed. His shortribs are to die for too.

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