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Feb 22, 2009 07:39 AM

Frank's Steakhouse - Awful!

Went to Frank's Steakhouse in Cambridge for the first - and last - time last night. The food was tasteless, service horrible. It looks nice on the outside, but this once again proves that looks can be deceiving. There was five of us having a birthday dinner. Two people had prime rib - one ordered medium, the other medium rare - both came out almost rare. Another person had sizzlin steak and another had New York Sirloin. I had the veal parm and pasta. Sauce had no flavor - as did the french onion soup. Don't make the same mistake we did.

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  1. Hey Mike. Thanks for the post. I have a reservation there this week for 8 people. It's a friend's birthday and someone else made the reservation. They made the reservation after reading these boards, and considering the diverse mix of people attending. I'd like to get a little more information before trying to convince the group to go elsewhere.

    "service horrible" is pretty harsh with no specifics. Please don't get defensive, but is anyone in your group difficult or hard to please? Please give me some insight about how and why service was "horrible" and what you and your group did to try to improve it, salvage the evening, and make it more enjoyable for everyone (restaurant staff included).

    Under-cooking the meat does not seem like a big deal to me for obvious reasons. I read the rest of your comments about the rest of your food. After thoroughly reading previous posts on CH, my expectations are good to average food at a reasonable cost. That works well for the group I'm meeting because they're accustomed to same-old suburban food. For us it's more about the convenience of the location and the price point than it is about the food. Is there a chance that your expectations were set too high?

    7 Replies
    1. re: skylark938

      There have been some pretty mediocre reviews of Frank's repeatedly on the board.

      1. re: skylark938

        I've never been a big fan of their steaks, but always thought the prime rib was a good value. The OP's only complaint about that is that it was served too rare, which for me would be almost impossible.

        It is what it is, not a great steakhouse but a decent neighborhood joint. Just be sure you're not booked in on karaoke night, unless that's what you're looking for!

        1. re: skylark938

          Hy, the group is pretty laid back. The service was horrible was because the waitress never came over without being flagged down. She would also only bring half of the drinks at a time and at one point served half the table salad and then came back about 7 minutes later with the rest of the tables salad/soup course. Granted, it was a busy night in the restaurant, but it appeared that the waitress only had four parties in her section and was missing for quite some time. I also didn't find the location as convinient as you may think - small parking lot was full and we had to drive around for a while to find an on-street spot. I don't think that the expectations were set to high as I can have a good time at Chili's, Applebee's or whatever. Good luck with your experience...hopefully it was just an off night.

          1. re: FeastNut2008

            Thank you for the detail and measured response. I just wanted to get a little more input to see if there was a back story. I hope our night is better than yours.

            1. re: skylark938

              I do have one thing to add, from a previous visit to Frank's. As a pescatarian, I'm usually game for any steakhouse, because they do a great job with fish. Frank's is the only time I've seen an exception. I had a pallid piece of baked haddock, certainly not the type of grilled fish that even an Outback can manage. And it was the closest to grilled fish on the menu.

          2. re: skylark938

            I've been to Frank's a number of times over the years. As they say, "it is what it is". It's a neighborhood -type place, very reasonable prices, friendly service. I think the danger is if anyone is expecting a high-end steakhouse type experience, as happened with one member of a group I was in. You are not going to get prime steak there, but you are not going to pay anywhere near the high-end steakhouse prices. I've never had a problem with service there. It is not a place I would take a chance on much else than steak like Italian or seafood. As for parking, it's in Cambridge, parking is not always easy, but you can usually find something along Mass. Ave., especially on the opposite side of the street. You might have to cross the street or walk a block or so. Big deal.

            1. re: pemma

              Same here - it is no Capital Grill for sure. I am only there once a year or so, but it works nicely on a Sunday afternoon!

          3. First; meat undercooked can be easily remedied. IMO, not a big thing. Second; I'd never order pasta at a steakhouse. As for service they may have been short handed, I find most of the waitstaff there work very hard and on a packed evening waiting 7 +/- minutes for a delivery of drinks etc., sounds acceptable. Lastly; Frank's is not high-end, it's a reasonable priced, most entree's under $20., local steakhouse serving USDA Choice meat. I think one needs to set correct expectations, it's not The Oak Room or Abe & Louie's.

            7 Replies
            1. re: treb

              It doesn't sound from their description as though FeastNut2008 was expecting high-end service. Waiting 7 +/- minutes (or even longer) for a delivery of drinks etc. might be acceptable on a busy night *if* the whole round came out at the same time. But when only half the group gets served their soups/salad, that's a long, awkward wait for the rest of the party. And with a party of 5, would it really be that difficult to serve everyone in one pass?

              1. re: Allstonian

                Thank you Allstonian! Having dined at places like Abe & Louie's, I know that Frank was definitely not on that level. But, I expected it to be better than a chain steakhouse like the Outback or Bugaboo Creek. Heck, the Ponderosa may have been better (that is a light hearted joke that doesn't need to be attacked).

                1. re: FeastNut2008

                  Boy, I have always thought Franks had good steaks, a friendly atmosphere, and cheap beer. Also, it is one of the few places that cooks a steak rare when I order it rare.

                  1. re: aadesmd

                    Franks has always been a good steak and a great value for my money.

                    1. re: sinned61

                      Went last night, honestly for a large, thirsty group, waitress did pretty well keeping up with requests; steak was cooked perfectly and there were no complaints. We were there early and the place had a wait line for tables upon our exit.

                        1. re: phonelady

                          this is exactly how I've always found it to be.

              2. Haven't been in a long time. As others note, it's not reasonable to have the same expectations at Frank's as at Abe & Louis, Grill 23, or the Oak Room. On the other hand, I always thought Jimmy's Steer House (?) was better than Frank's.

                2 Replies
                1. re: ShelT54

                  Frank's used to be one of my favorite places. Yes, it's a humble neighborhood place but I always like the service and the predictable, old-style steakhouse food. Last time I went there it was so truly awful that I will never, never go back. I do not say this lightly. They are coasting on their old reputation, and maybe they are not hiring the right people. I am actually glad to realize that others agree, because that last dinner seemed like such a change to me . . . BTW I gave up on them about 5 or 6 years ago.

                  1. re: Lucymax

                    yes 20 yrs ago it was OK
                    it was at best the type of place you go for a Fair meal ( read non-memorible) back then it wasn't bad it just wasn't good either

                    kinda like the hilltop they went bad about 20yrs ago too

                2. I've now eaten at Frank's on two separate occasions and I have to say they aren't so bad. everyone is NOT the quality or caliber of an Abe & Louie's or Grill 23, however, it's a neat little neighborhood place, the food is decent, and the staff & regulars are nice people. If you want steak, but don't want to pay a lot, I'd say go to Frank's. I've gone there these two times because I didn't really feel like cooking, didn't want to spend a lot, and was going to meet a friend. Decent food at decent prices & nice people...if you go in w/ that expectation, you'll be fine.