The Ledge Settled in?
I held off on trying the Ledge in Lower Mills based on mediocre reviews early on. So today, I was toying between the Ledge, Basta Pasta and Abby Park. Well, Basta Pasta is supposed to be open for lunch on Saturday, but it wasn't, and since I have an attitude about their take-out policy, they are now totally off my list. Next stop was the Ledge, parking, is horrid, but I took a chance and parked in the CVS lot without getting towed. As for the meal, I really have to recommend it. clam chowder was delicious, tasted homemade, good ratio of clam to potato, and the clams seemed fresh rather than canned. Crabcakes were really delicous, with loads of crab and little filler. DC had panko fried haddock and loved it. Bartender was totally attentive and even offered a tour of the outdoor patio. After seeing the patio, I absolutely know I will back.
550 Adams Street, Milton, MA 02186
150 Hancock St, Quincy, MA 02171
Pegmeister, I hope your experience there is more typical than mine. I live a block away so I really want to like the place, but I've had a lot more misses than hits there so far. The front of house does seem to have settled down - friendlier host station and bartenders than when they opened, though service in the dining room last time was friendly but still kind of unpolished.
It's the food that's been the disappointment for me. I had dinner there recently and after some seriously overpriced drinks at the bar (I guess $12 cocktails either means "our bar chef trained at Pegu Club" or "we have flavored vodkas and no competition nearby") we sat down and shared the "R.I.-style" calamari - decent fry job, a little bit of spice, reasonably tender squid - good enough but nothing special. My friend then had the scallops with mushroom ravioli and spinach - the spinach was spinach, the mushroom ravioli were tasty, and the scallops were a touch overcooked. Not terrible, not great. I had a special of chicken cacciatore which was pretty terrible: sort of like a misbegotten italian stir-fry of chicken chunks, undercooked red peppers and onions, a few mushrooms, and a slightly scorched tomato sauce, served over little pasta shells. I could have gone across the street to Pat's Pizza for a better version at about half the price. We did split a bread pudding with caramel sauce that was tasty, so that helped redeem things slightly. The server was nice but when he asked if I wanted the remainder of my entree to go (and I said YES in some pavlovian reaction that I couldn't help despite it being terrible!) he dropped a takeout box on the table. Well, okay, but that's a little clutzy in a place with $20 entrees.
I've also had lunch at the bar a few times recently - once was a REALLY underdone hamburger - ordered med/rare but still mooing near the center, otherwise pretty tasty. The other time I had a rather good chicken sandwich that I'd get again. I also had one of their flatbread-pizzas when they first opened - pretty good, and huge - probably a good choice for sharing with a group.
I'll have to try some of the dishes mentioned above - those crabcakes sound great. The room looks great, the patio outside will be nice during good weather - I want to like it there, but I do feel that their prices reflect the fact that they're the only game in the town. (Well, except for 88 Wharf, which I have yet to try.) It's nice to have a restaurant in the neighborhood, but I wish it felt like more of a genuine neighborhood restaurant, rather than a wannabe destination restaurant without destination-worthy food. I'll keep going because I can walk there but I can't imagine driving out of my way to get there.
I have to tell you that I was really somewhat dragged there, having seen some less then favorable reviews I had very low expectations. That said, they were busy. We sat at the bar. The bartender's name was Tim and he was really attentive, social without being intrusive, and the crabcake was great. I believe I make some really good crabcakes, and theirs was on par. The dinner menu looked promising and my lunch was good enough to make me curious on trying more. Glass of sauvignon blanc was $8, minimally higher than my regular place in Quincy. Also, was really tempted to stop at Mrs Jones a few doors down and bring home some ribs and sweet potato pie. Haven't yet tried the Wharf, wish they were open for lunch on the weekends.
My one time during Dorch Rest Week in the winter was quite pleasant. I like that they serve wine in nice glasses, the meal was very good overall, the room is nice. Hopefully Michael B's bad experiences were long enough ago that they've turned a corner. 88 Wharf is next on the list.
That $8 glass of wine probably comes from a 1.5 liter bottle that sells for $11 at Stop and Shop. I see bottles of my fridge brand in their chiller. That's a bit annoying. I think their wine markups are very high.
Overall, I have started to dislike their bar dining/cocktails/wine/beer more and more, thinking them overpriced and served with increasing attitude, especially once when I dined by myself at the bar about 6 weeks ago. The bartender TOTALLY ignored me, Hence his lack of a gratuity -- he luckily escaped my planned chat with the manager who was addressing an angry customer when I left.
BUT 4 of us had dinner there about 3 weeks ago and the food was much better than I have ever recalled it. Still pricy, IMO, but it was very good and the service was fine for a change.
I also live about a block away and have been more or less disappointed with this place from the get go (and have posted to that effect). That said, I also ended up there for lunch this past Saturday out of a need to get food with some folks immediately and it being the closest place. I have to admit that I agree it was better than previous experiences. Still not really worth the money in my opinion, but better. We all had salads and pizza and the pizza was tasty although the crust was a bit soggy in the middle. Service was still pretty amateur-hour in my opinion, but at least it was friendlier than in the past. Totally agree with C Hamster that the wine selection is truly terrible.
I wanted to update this post to say that I went again last night and was impressed with the changes they've made to the menu. Less focused on sandwiches and burgers, more focused on entrees. We had the seafood stew (tomato based version with lots of fish and shellfish), salads (the chopped salad was a nice surprise with the unusual addition of salami, chickpeas and greek yogurt dollop to basically a chopped greek salad) and the siracha chicken wings which were extremely spicy (good flavor, and served with decent cole slaw, although they could have used some type of dipping sauce to cool the heat). Overall I thought the food was much improved from my prior visits.
They also upgraded the wine list a bit. The good news is that they now have some more decent wines to choose from, the bad news is that they charge more than other restaurants for these same wines (e.g. Kim Crawford Sauv. Blanc was $12 I think, which again is basically what the bottle retails for at the grocery).