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Bina Osteria: Second Visit, not so happy

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I raved about my first meal here and I think it deserved the review. Last Friday we had reservations in the lounge, before a show - arrived at 6 or so, got drinks from the bar quickly, could not get a waiter's attention until 6:30 or so, ordered anti pasti and salads and a bottle of wine, got the wine, no food. No waiter, no check-in, no food. Had told them we had 8:00 PM tickets. The place was hopping and we finally had to knock on the kitchen door, where we saw the guy who had taken our order, at around 7:30, to tell him to cancel it and give us the bill for the booze. Haven't had something quite so unprofessional happen in many years, and never at some place allegedly so upscale. It wasn't a disaster, in that none of us like to eat a lot before the theater, so we could starve a bit until after the show. But it was decidedly unpleasant and unprofessional. Don't know what happened between our first visit, where the service was as impressive as the food, and our second one. There won't be a third.

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  1. you waited 30 unattended minutes before flagging down a waiter, then another hour? then rather than flag down another staff person, you knocked on the kitchen door? wow. lol, that never would have occurred to me.

    were you at a table, or had you seated yourselves in that little loungey area?

    the opening chef is gone, but if your timeline is true, that doesn't explain something so egregious.

    anybody else been recently?

    4 Replies
    1. re: hotoynoodle

      we had reservations and asked for the lounge area because several of us don't eat dinner before the theater and we thought it would be simpler to be in the lounge area if we were going to have bar food. We did, in fact, ask several passing servers if they could find our waiter and, both times, they smiled and said sure but nobody returned. We finally saw him in the kitchen (visible from the lounge) conferencing with the hostess and several other staff in suits: my guess is there was some kind of breakdown going on. it didn't seem to me that this could be attributed to chef turnover but perhaps to foh turnover?

      1. re: hotoynoodle

        Some people, such as myself, have great patience. I notice on this board that the patron is ususally defined as the culprit. Give me a break. Somehow, I don't think an explanation from a paying customer on a respose for outrageously bad service is warranted.

        1. re: aadesmd

          let me preface by saying i am in the business. i cannot tell you the number of times a guest has said he's been waiting 30 minutes when it's been 10. (i can see on open table when you checked in and when i sat you. i can check on the pos system what time your order was sent to the kitchen, or when drinks were ordered. obviously, i don't say this out loud, but people can exaggerate.)

          i am also frequently a diner, and if my order is lagging, and possibly impacting my second set of plans, i'm not going to wait until it's too late and everything is messed up. not every server is a superstar, and sometimes being politely pro-active can save your evening.

          the op fleshed out the story, and yeah, it sounds like some kind of melt-down. i've seen plenty of those too.

          i've had many wonderful meals and snacks at bina, so i was very surprised. like i said, i know the original chef is gone and they are in transition. sounds like it might be a rocky one. but am also wondering if the night was a one-off, because their other restaurants seem to run smoothly.

          1. re: hotoynoodle

            I also went Friday before the show. We were seated at the communal table which is nice and sat there for 15 minutes before I got the attention of a bus boy and asked if we could get a drink. He went over to our waittress who turned out walked past us 3 times making eye contact and never said "Be right with you" just to let us know she was on the way. We decided to just order apps as everything was taking so long and good thing as we waited 40 mins to get 2 salt cod and 1 tartar. I had to remeind her we were going to the show and had time issues. Hopefully it was just a random night due to a heavy show crowd. I have heard many great things about this restuarant, but I will not hurry back anytime soon.

      2. For all it's worth, my wife has been a huge fan of the pastry. She would get take-away from the counter and raved about the quality. I think the last time she went was last week (for a pear tart). Not sure if this was before the pasty chef ran off with the executive chef. I haven't eaten there myself (Avila makes fantastic pasta across Boston Common) but am pulling for this place to succeed, although inattentive service is difficult to justify.

        1. I was just looking at the menu. Everything is a lot cheaper, but it seems all the dishes that I had initially wanted to try are gone. I'm very disappointed. It doesn't look very inventive anymore. The Chef's Tasting menu also looks like a huge disappointment, but it is only $45 now from $100-something.