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Dress code at Arrows...

I was in Maine for the past week and I was hoping to go to Arrows. My father-in-law went there a few times for the past 10 years and told me about the food and how great was the location.

So before our departure for our vacation, I asked my girlfriend about the dressing code at Arrows. She told me not to worry (her father went there in casual clothing) and that an urban clothing would be ok (jeans + polo). When we called for our reservation (we were already in Maine), the lady on the phone told my girlfriend that the jacket was preferred. My girlfriend made the reservation and talked to me about the jacket issue. After discussing about this, she called back at the restaurant and said that I didn’t have any. The lady answered to her: ‘That’s ok. We’ll cancel the reservation for you.’ And then she hung up.

I’m really disappointed about this because I wanted to go there. I’m also surprised because, I was in vacation enjoying all my days at the beach so I never taught to bring a jacket (and kind of surprise... it’s not downtown NYC, it’s on coastal Maine!)

I’ll probably never go there because this bad “pre-experience”.

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  1. I guess some places are just to SNOTTY for there own good,

    1. This is from their website:
      Jacket is preferred for gentlemen but not required. We ask that our guests do not come in casual attire. We do not seat guests dressed in shorts. We encourage our guests to dress up.

      With so many fabulous dining options, I would have to agree that it is not a place that is on my list any longer.

      1. The "lady " was wrong. We have been eating at Arrows for years and as the policy says, jackets are preferred, but not required. They are also very accomodating. a friend travelling down the coast met us there for dinner, showed up in shorts. Clark found a pair of pants for him to wear so that he could stay. There is nothing snotty about them or their policy. It is a beautiful place and the policy really only requires a decent pair of pants with a shirt with a collar (polo, dress shirt or whatever, just no T shirts.

        1 Reply
        1. re: emilief

          The "lady" being wrong does nothing to help foie gras lover. Her attitude was undeniably snotty. I hope that this was reported to the restaurant, because such a person should be fired immediately.

        2. Don't worry, all that's lost was a meal that was in the top ten most expensive I've ever eaten, but that wasn't even in the top 50 meals I've had. They might have been "all that" when they were the only high end establishment in Maine, but no longer. Go north to Portland, and enjoy a casually dressed excellent meal at either Fore Street or Hugos. Both have better food, and with way less attitude.

          1. "Snotty" would be a compliment to these people. We had dinner there last year and the waiter got very confrontational when I asked for a glass of water. He insisted that we had to buy one of their overpriced varieties, some of which were actually filtered tap water! The arrogance of the owner equalled that of the waiter. I admit the food is good, but dinner for two with a bottle of mid-range wine came to $325.00. Its good, but its not $325.00 good!
            Overall, just a very unpleasant experience.

            1. I have a lot of mixed feelings with this, but ultimately, it is what it is. If they want to maintain that old school “privileged” style of establishment, so be it. I, personally would never eat there because I cannot stand pretension and find that most places that adhere to such wardrobe regulations are culinary “rip-offs.” I once was wearing a jacket, but didn’t get into Galatoire’s in New Orleans because my shoes were high-end sandals. Whatever. I’m sure that many of their local patrons would find it upsetting you were able to gain access to their “club” without the proper costume. Their other restaurant is very inviting, has good food and you can roll in there off the beach. Ogunquit is a weird place.

              1. Sorry, but I have eaten there at least four times, and Arrows is overrated on the basis of their food and prices. I don't give a damn that the place is half-empty with New York wannabes in their wool suits in the middle of summer.

                I do not begrudge Arrows at all in maintaining their "standards". I simply find that the emperor has no clothes. And BTW, if Arrows is in financial difficulty, perhaps the 39.95 meals on Friday, to the masses, will get them them out of it.

                3 Replies
                1. re: aadesmd

                  If they're so overrated, why did you eat there "at least four times"? :)

                  Also, I wasn't talking about you specifically. I was just agreeing with the poster who appreciates that Arrows maintains their policy regarding dress.

                  1. re: invinotheresverde

                    Easy- once I went alone, and got kicked out, so really did not eat there. The 4 times were meals sponsored by very good friends of mine, including a radio personality I much admired, who liked the place.

                    And I never assumed you were talking about me. I still remember our back and forth about the appropriateness about tipping 20% on an expensive bottle of wine for the waiter to open it. Off topic, however.

                  2. re: aadesmd

                    I can't believe Arrows is in Financial difficulty !!!!!!

                  3. Arrows is not in Maine, but Little Boston (or New York?). Their attitude is anti-Maine.

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: Passadumkeg

                      Could you please elaborate further on Arrows being "anti-Maine"?

                      I assume that you mean it's contrary to your average Maine eatery, which I would agree, but is there some aspect that is somehow antagonistic towards Maine?

                      1. re: bewley

                        I don't think that they are antagonistic to Maine. Their fish usually comes from Browne Trading, and most of their vegitables come from their garden or local producers. If they were in NYC or Boston, they would have never made the big time.

                        Again, their other restaurant, MC Perkins Cove, is awesome, with far better service and food, at a good price point. Also, for reasons I cannot understand, their staff is far more wine knowledgeable at MC than at Arrows, where the sommelier's role, when there is one, is to try to uptick the wine.

                        1. re: aadesmd

                          You know, I agree with you about MC Perkins Cove.

                          Upon rereading Passadumkeg's comment, I think he was stating that Ogunquit was like "little Boston (or New York)" and that the town was anti-Maine . . . though I'm not for sure.

                    2. Folks, if you have an experience with Arrows, by all means share it, but posts that are just about dress codes in general are off topic, and insults directed at other hounds are always inappropriate.

                      1. Arrows used to be the kind of place where you could have a fabulous meal and dress very casually...unfortunately as they have become more famous they have lost a lot of their original charm. The wait staff years ago used to be friendly and loved to share their love of good food with the clientele. Sadly it has become more and more pretentious over the years to the point where I would prefer not to dine there anymore. The food is spectacular but if I wanted a snobby restaurant I would dine out in NYC or Boston. Mark and Clark have really lost something along the way...it's really too bad.

                        8 Replies
                        1. re: foxhill7

                          It is too bad because at one point the restaurant was about the ingredients and a lack of pretension.Now it is about ego, especially among the waitstaff. Again, MC Perkins Cove remains wonderful, and perhaps Mark + Clark do not see, or are blind to, what is happening in their signature restaurant. A great improvement would be a a season off, retraining or ditching the staff, and a refocus on what they do best, which is the food.

                          1. re: aadesmd

                            I was actually considering a weekend "away from the kids" trip here with my wife, however based on this feedback, I will be passing on Arrows. A pity -- I've wanted to try Arrows for years. Seems like I missed the window of opportunity. Oh well, on to Portland!

                            1. re: bcsuka

                              Hugo's in Portland (which I go to each time I'm in Portland) has blown away my one meal at Arrows every time. The six course blind tasting is the way to go there, IMHO.

                              1. re: bcsuka

                                Well, it is too bad that you will pass on Arrows. Every restaurant has its haters and lovers. I think Hugo's is very pretentious and the portions are laughably small. But we love Arrows- go there every year for our anniversary. Mark and Clark just received award of best chefs in the East. The dress code has always been in force. You do not need a jacket- just a shirt with a collar, no denim or sneakers and no shorts. The butter service is extra but so what- they give you butter that is just fine. You should make up your own mind. They have Bistro nights every friday- 3 courses for 39.95. That would be an inexpensive way to try Arrows without spending too much. Wherever you go, hope you enjoy it.

                                1. re: emilief

                                  The portions are small at Hugo's, which is why I always recommend (and order), the six course tasting. I'm a large guy, and I've never left hungry if I get the tasting. Now #9 Park in Boston, them's some teeny portions! I had a dessert there that was literally two small forkfuls. It was delicious, but after a three course meal there, I could have eaten a burger. The one meal we had at Arrows was just so unmemorable, especially galling to me considering the price. And while I could see someone feeling Hugo's is pretentious, I've never felt that way (plus I can go in with a t-shirt and jeans and not feel out of place). I've always felt the height of pretension was when the Arrow's "water steward" offered me a choice of 6 different sparkling or still waters, then nearly snorted with derision when we opted for the free tap variety. I'm glad you've had great times at Arrows, to each his own, but we won't be back (and I'm glad your not going to Hugo's leaves open a reservation for me!) :~)

                                  1. re: kimfair1

                                    I completely agree with this. See, I try very hard not to be harsh on people that love Arrows - as people say, to each his own - but Mark and Clark are stuck in their ways, and times change. To me, Arrows is one of the most pretentious places in the whole state - I mean, a selection of waters? How do you beat that. It's height was years ago, and the place, again, not trying to sound rude, is more suited to someone on the older side of the age spectrum because they are unable to change, kind of like the Haraseeket Inn - in it's day was nice enough, but stuck in an older time period. With so many restaurants all across the country, toning things down, becoming more casual, accessible, less stuffy and more fun, places like Arrows just don't make the grade.

                                    Concerning the food, I haven't eaten at Arrows in a year or two, but even then, it was a bit lackluster for the price, and very un-inspired. Prepared well, yes, very much so, but unmemorable and seriously doubt I would go back unless someone paid for my meal. Hugos is creative, executed well, and these days a lot less full of themselves, at least to the degree of Arrows. There is a certain humor and fun with the food at Hugos, something foreign to what comes from Mark and Clark. I want to be able to have fun while I eat, not feel like it has to be a special occasion.

                                    And on a more intimate note, i've worked with people who have passed through both the Arrows kitchen and Hugos kitchen, and those from Evans' kitchen were a bit better, so maybe my opinion is influenced by that as well.

                                    1. re: carlc

                                      I had a wonderful lunch at Summer/Winter (of the Mark & Clark franchise) in Burlington (in Marriott of all places...) Family members have recommended MC several times. I doubt I'd try Arrows - because of the ratings, I'd expect a hit. I don't want to take a chance with a few hundred bucks when there are many negative reviews regarding customer service issues. Sounds like staff needs improvement.

                                      1. re: adiosoven

                                        We've been to Arrows at least 5 times with our children. Always appropriatey dressed, summer sports jackets, etc. and have always been treated graciously. The food is expensive, but it is delicious and can be quite creative. I like to wander in the garden, too. Yeah, we go to Barnicle Billy's in shorts and t-shirts, too, but once in a while we like to dress up and go to a special place. If you don't like the ambiance of a special place where everyone in dressed up then don't go. A very immature attitude in my opinion. But, I do sympathize with the OP who was treated rudely by the employee. They should have complained.