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Drink: A Plea to Barbara Lynch

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I love Drink. The atmosphere, the care taken with the cocktails, the knowledgeable and outstanding staff... the experience of enjoying a well-made beverage in a comfortable setting that excludes the "what do you mean you don't have red bull?!" crowd is great.

My complaint: the food. We get it. The place emphasizes the drinks and is not about having a meal. However, if you are going to bother to serve "snacks" at all, please make them better than the present offerings. Three sad little skewers of limp, over-salted scallops... no thanks. The croquettes... ugh. A platter of beets (with limp, withered greens still attached) and mushy carrots next to a bowl of congealed butter... double ugh. I could go on.

How about something so simple it is laughable: a bowl of spiced nuts? Perhaps hummus is too ubiquitous for you - understandable. How about Russian seeniye instead? I know other threads have touched on this but I thought it worthy to put it out here on its own.

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  1. oh man, I wonder if anyone will take a contrarian view to this post. I'm not sure it's possible. While I was at Drink, I had a seat that allowed me to see all "snacks' cross my view plane. I wasn't impressed with any of them and actually seeing them disuaded me from ordering them. I think the prices keep creeping up and the portions are going down. I would love a nice refined snack to enjoy but at these prices and these sizes, I can hold out until I get back up to street level.

    5 Replies
    1. re: cannedmilkandfruitypebbles

      As rlh mentions below, the original menu was pretty good and the prices weren't at all bad. The first time I went, the gf & I ended up stuffed (we didn't realize how big the cocktail wieners were and ordered too many) for something like 30ish bucks (not including the booze). I heard that before they changed away from that menu that the prices had been raised.

      The last time I was there, Misty, Lauren of drinkboston and some other folks were seated next to us and getting all sorts of stuff from the menu brought over to them. Only a couple really looked even remotely "worth it" in terms of the price.

      All in all, it doesn't bother me that much - I like the place for the drinks and not the food. I either eat before or after I go, no mas. OTOH, I remember reading her talking about how the food was supposed to play on the "old cocktail party" theme, which doesn't really seem to be the case IMO (outside of the original menu).

      1. re: jgg13

        She also said it was going to be a neighborhood place where construction workers would feel just as at home as people in suits trudging their way across the bridge from Financial land. Anyone who's been would find this statement laughable. On my last visit I noticed that most of the "snacks' were pushing $10. To me that's more of an app price than a snack price. But I'm a believer in charging what the market will bear and if people are buying, then good for Barbara. I, however, will keep some granola in my pockets when I retun to Drink.

        1. re: cannedmilkandfruitypebbles

          "On my last visit I noticed that most of the "snacks" were pushing $10."

          Jeez, right about then you and those hordes of construction workers would've probably been delighted to scarf up on her famous Butcher Shop's onion soup. Considering it an embarrassment of riches, especially, at its newly reduced price-point of a mere $13, eh? :-)

          Harp

          1. re: cannedmilkandfruitypebbles

            Not only have the prices gone up but the size of the items has gone way down, so it's a double whammy.

          2. re: jgg13

            I agree. The orginal menu was pretty good. Individual meatbals for $.50 each.

        2. Originally, the swedish meatballs, chips/dip, and deviled eggs were tasty, OK-sized portions at fair prices - all of that seems to have disappeared now. I will admit to really liking the tiny little steak tartares recently but at $3+ each, it's too, too much. The gougeres are actually better now than initially, however, in their warm incarnation filled with a little mornay sauce.

          They do also bring out (gratis) tiny little thimbles of REALLY delicious olives and almost-empty bowls of nuts at times as well, but it takes some work to get them refilled. Why is this the case??

          Maybe the strategy is to get people to go somewhere else to eat (Sportello upstairs IS really good - Lucky's across the street is NOT) so there's regular turnover at the bar?

          1. Glad I'm not the only one beating this drum. I've noted a few times in Drink threads here that the menu gets worse and pricier with every iteration. Version 1 was the only one I really liked and would continue to order from. The most recent one in particular is loaded with unappealing and absurdly overpriced snacks.

            My theory is that this is designed to get you to dine upstairs at Sportello first (which I actually like, though it too bears the dreaded Lynch premium price tags).

            5 Replies
            1. re: MC Slim JB

              Speaking of Sportello, what the heck are their hours? Lynch seems to have an aversion to web pages which aren't completely useless

              1. re: jgg13

                Sportello is open M-Sa 11:30a-2:30p and 5:30-10p

                1. re: MC Slim JB

                  danke. i actually wouldn't mind joining a trip to drink w/ one to sportello, although if your theory is correct the lack of decent snack options at drink would never be the cause for me to do that.

                  1. re: MC Slim JB

                    I just discovered today how heavily they use Flash on their sites, but they have it set up so that it degrades gracefully if one doesn't use Flash (I don't) so I never noticed that there was actually real content there.

                    Now I just have my normal argument that companies (restaurants seem to be big on this) that use fully-Flash sites when there is no reason to do so (like Lynch's sites) are complete hacks but I guess they don't care much about the computer nerd demographic ;)

                2. re: MC Slim JB

                  I went to Drink abut twice a week for the first 2 months it was open back when "Version 1" was in play. The last time I was there was right after Thanksgiving, when I was served a wet chip (described in previous post). SInce then I have been beating the "what are you thinking, Barbara?" drum, as well. I love Barbara dearly, but why all the menu changes? Price is one thing, but I would actually pay slightly ridiculous prices for those delicious gougeres, the Swedish meatballs, and that yummy chip and (truffle-y goat cheesy) dip! Not for yucky wet chips (whatever that was supposed to be).

                3. I have only been once, and it was a couple of weeks ago, and I didn't love the menu.

                  And I didn't love that they don't have utensils. At all. Except for a spork thing? Gougeres you can do, but a duck leg that is supposed to be dipped into something? I'd like a fork and knife! I'm going to get grease all on my pretty drink glass! I get the "cocktail party" gimmick, but you are supposed to be making your customers comfortable.

                  Even if they didn't have Southern Comfort, like the guy next to me wanted.

                  13 Replies
                  1. re: dulce de leche

                    The name is DRINK and no Southern Comfort,?
                    Certainly not one of my weapons of choice, but GTFO!

                    Harp

                    1. re: Harp00n

                      The issue is the Gertsen and company are terrified of certain very popular cordials: SoCo, Hpnotiq, DeKuyper Blueberry Blast. Goldschlager, etc. They're all stuck in that gin, rye, brandy, bitters, milk, Chartreuse, raw egg, Benedictine, bacon-bourbon, weird-ass vermouth rut of theirs. Weenies.

                      1. re: MC Slim JB

                        I'm damn near reaching a genetic impossibility for me, i.e;. speechless!

                        Harp

                        1. re: MC Slim JB

                          dekuyper?? goldschlager?? hypnotiq?? that's college bar stuff.... it's not a weenie thing. in fact, seems as though it's the anti-weenie. natural products my friend. any cocktail place would have those you mentioned in my mind should not be considered a true cocktail place. i hope you are kidding and i am just not getting the humor! slim, through all your quality posting here, i would have expected you to be a big fan instead of calling it a rut

                          1. re: cockscomb

                            Also, I would like to see them have more beers on their menu. Just because they're all up-their-own-butts with their crazy antique cocktails and carvy ice-blocks and flea-market glassware (what, they couldn't afford new stuff?) shouldn't mean I can't enjoy a Bud Lite or a Killian's or an oilcan of PBR once in a while. Furthermore, what kind of a bar can call itself serious that doesn't have a blender? Many of my friends enjoy Frozen Mudslides, and I see no reason why there should be any prejudice against them.

                            1. re: MC Slim JB

                              ahhhh... a sense of humor! forgive my ignorance. the big hound's bite is not as big as his bark!!!

                              1. re: MC Slim JB

                                < Clap! > < Clap! > < Clap! >

                                1. re: Harp00n

                                  thank you harpoon... i'm begining to learn "houndspeak" orwell would have been pround

                                  1. re: cockscomb

                                    That's right cockscomb, it's Hound for proud.
                                    Not to be confused with Ezra P(r)ound!
                                    BTW, in the good ole USA we prefer the much more seemingly roosterscomb.
                                    Why? Who the hell knows.

                                    Harp

                                2. re: MC Slim JB

                                  When I had mentioned to Gertsen that I had come from a networking event at 28 Degrees, he asked if I had any of their frozen drinks. When I replied no, he asked if he should make me one using his old school ice shaver. I should've taken him up on it to see what he would create, but I didn't want to put him through the effort of planing away that much ice...

                                  1. re: yarm

                                    It's worth doing some time: it's pretty spectacular, a mini-blizzard right in front of you. I think the staff enjoys putting on a show, too; everyone nearby gets to enjoy it. It's like when they make one of those Blazer drinks (flaming spirit tossed back and forth between two containers, a fire-fountain). If you feel guilty about the effort involved (which doesn't look that bad), tip large. Still, I'm glad I have an electric ice shaver at home for when I'm cranking out Mai Tais at a party.

                                    http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

                                    1. re: yarm

                                      Yarm;
                                      2 words for you: whiskey, and smash. Go ask Johnny, and enjoy.

                            2. re: dulce de leche

                              I believe it's a duck drumette not a leg. You can dip the drumette (when I went it was celeriac remoulade) and eat it with your fingers. Still pretty messy.

                              I'd prefer a duck leg with a fork but alas the focus is on cocktails. If it weren't for state laws there probably wouldn't be any food.

                            3. Gravedigging, but -
                              has this situation changed since feb? The last time I was here was early october and I didn't even see the food list. The mixologists don't push it, so maybe they know its a problem.
                              Also, re Southern Comfort: mock it all you will, but David Embury refers to it as like the nectar of the gods - if he's not old-school enough for you, I don't know what is.

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: the modern serf

                                There have been recent posts about Drink's food. There was mention of it in the best steak tartare thread, and I'm sure a couple others. So, look around a bit if no one replies.

                                Re SoCo: it is highly unlikely (impossible) that the current formula matches what was produced in Embury's day. I will continue to support mocking.

                                1. re: the modern serf

                                  The fries, fairly new to the menu, are fantastic - especially the malt vinegar aioli.

                                2. I love Drink too, but I agree that ordering food there (or beer or wine, for that matter) is a waste of time and money. I'd be all for them eliminating food altogether and just putting out a really kickass complimentary bar mix (which it seems like they only do sometimes).

                                  3 Replies
                                  1. re: robwat36

                                    their grilled cheese sandwiches w/ caramelized onion, although pricey, are tasty

                                    1. re: barleywino

                                      I had those (for free, thankfully!) and yes, they are pretty tasty. I ate a bunch of them, that's for sure.

                                      1. re: barleywino

                                        I think it's actually pretty generously-sized relative to other options as well - wonder how many fries come in that order?