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Anyone been to Meadhall?

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DoubleMan May 5, 2011 09:33 AM

Apparently Meadhall opened last week and has been busy since. I'll definitely head over for beers, but I'm interested to hear reactions to the food. I remember hearing that it would be an "upscale gastropub," but when I saw the menu, I laughed out loud.

http://www.thefeast.com/boston/play/F...

$23-28 for entrees (with no vegetarian options)? 'Upscale' actually means upscale it seems. The food better be great, because I think it will take more than a long beer list to sustain a giant restaurant in that lightly-populated location. I may be alone, but when I want some beers and dinner, I don't want to be dropping $60-75+ per person.

And am I missing something, or do they not sell mead?

I'll certainly give it a try and won't write it off early, but this is one of those places that I greatly anticipated and now the anticipation has been seriously deflated before I've been there. Same goes for Floating Rock with their 60% price increase from the old location and their bizarre FB posts hyping DJs and playoffs watching - maybe it's a Cambodian sports bar/nightclub now.

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Floating Rock
485 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, MA 02139, USA

  1. e
    emannths May 5, 2011 09:46 AM

    They have one mead on the menu. I think they're using "meadhall" in the ancient Scandinavian sense of simply "feast hall" (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mead_hall ).

    I actually laughed more at the $2.75 oysters and the $12 brat (pictured here: http://www.yelp.com/biz_photos/KPFscT... ). And a $13 cheeseburger? $7 French fries? If they can sell it, all the more credit to them. But with beer prices higher than Lord Hobo and food prices higher than CBC, I'll be in no hurry to head over to Meadhall.

    Edit to add: reading over the beer list a little more carefully, there are some decent prices on there if you order wisely, but there are some so bad they look like typos. The worst offender may be Pretty Things Jack D'Or, where a 25cL pour (that's 8.5oz) costs $6. A 16oz pour of the same beer is $6 at the Publick House.

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    Lord Hobo
    92 Hampshire St, Cambridge, MA 02141

    1 Reply
    1. re: emannths
      d
      DoubleMan May 5, 2011 10:00 AM

      Ha, that brat pic is funny/sad. It should be half the price. The $13 club sandwich at lunch also raised my eyebrows.

      I agree that the $2.75 oysters are ridiculous, but I guess the market allows it. It seems like only yesterday when Neptune was in its infancy charging $1.25-1.50 per oyster. Local oysters for $2.50+ don't appeal to me when I can often find them retail for $1 each.

    2. r
      robwat36 May 5, 2011 09:49 AM

      I stopped by last Saturday and resisted posting anything because it's so new. We stuck to snacks (frites, pate, hummus), none of which were memorable one way or the other. I do like that the giant, airy downstairs space has no TVs, while upstairs is set up like a rec room with comfy furniture and big TVs.

      They did seem to be out of various draft selections. The server seemed to have very little basic beer knowledge; we actually had to point to items on the menu (and it wasn't loud). But that's the sort of stuff that you hate to even point out in the first week.

      13 Replies
      1. re: robwat36
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        Pete Lyons May 5, 2011 10:16 AM

        I asked out bar tender about the taps being out and he said that due to the soft opening - they only ordered just enough barrels to put on the taps with nothing in backup. He said that will obviously change and that the keg room was huge and one of the nicest he's seen.

        1. re: Pete Lyons
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          emannths May 5, 2011 10:23 AM

          Here's a picture of the keg room: http://yfrog.com/h7kaozpj

          1. re: emannths
            okra May 5, 2011 11:44 AM

            So... from that pic we should assume that all the kegs are being kept at the same temperature, ales, lagers, lambics? Hmmmm...

            I'm all in favor of appropriate glassware, but from looking at the beer menu, I see 8 different serving sizes (in ounces 6.76, 8.45, 10.14, 11.16, 13.53, 14,16 and 16.9). some defined in ounces, some in centiliters Couple this with the alcohol by volume (abv) listing, makes for quite a bit of confusion for those of us who don't travel with our calculators or have let our chisanbop skills lapse. 40cl is just shy of 14 oz, and 33cl = .33 L. Some of it doesn't seem to have any rhyme or reason. Berkshire Steel Rail Ale is served in 16 oz glass, yet the Notch Session, with lower alcohol is served in a 14 oz glass?

            Shrugs.

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            Meadhall
            4 Cambridge Center, Cambridge, MA 02142

            1. re: okra
              e
              emannths May 5, 2011 11:55 AM

              They try to serve out of branded glassware as much as possible, so this probably explains the wide range of sizes. Any of the glasses for the imported beers will be metric.

              As far as the temp goes...do many/any bars in the US have a range of keg room temps to from which to serve their beers? Given the number of too-cold beers I've been served, I had always assumed bars had one temp and went by the coldest-common-denominator.

              1. re: emannths
                a
                Area Man May 6, 2011 08:23 AM

                It's possible they have heat exchangers in the lines to adjust the temperature for each beer as it's tapped. Note, I said "possible".

                1. re: Area Man
                  ponyboy May 6, 2011 08:32 AM

                  What other bar does this?

        2. re: robwat36
          Alcachofa May 5, 2011 10:32 AM

          rob basically says what I would say. I also resisted posting because of the newness. I was there on opening Thursday. While the beers were great, there were certainly items on the menu which didn't make sense, price-wise. The brat, however, was excellent. Typical yelper probably doesn't realize sometimes you have to pay more for quality. That picture does not show how the brat came out; at least mine looked better than that anyway. I did not feel ripped off. The burger was perfectly cooked; it certainly held up to other $12 burgers around town. The cheese plate, on the other hand was a bit of a joke. It was labeled as a trio of cheeses, but I suspect we only got one cheese. It was about 6 tiny shaped mounds of soft cheese. I asked the waiter, "are there three different types of cheeses there?" and he said yes. Again, newly opened shakiness, he just didn't know. But for $15, you really should be able to point out the three cheeses, where they're from etc. And if it is going to be all soft cheeses, you need more than two toast points. The nuts were ho-hum for $4.

          Anyway, I'd go back in a month or two. The beers were excellent, and not badly priced. And though maybe it sounded like I was defending the food prices, I agree generally they are too high, but maybe they'll figure that out soon. Though, comparing the food prices to CBC is ridiculous--completely different.

          1. re: Alcachofa
            chickendhansak May 5, 2011 11:53 AM

            I was there on the first day I think (Wednesday) and also resisted posting. But it's interesting to see that people are also commenting on the high food prices. It felt to me that the menu was a bit gappy -- appetizers, two sandwiches IIRC (the burger and the brat) and then off to $25+ land where you get a small portion of (no doubt unimpeachable, checkbox-ticking) protein and a spoonful of vegetables. It really could do with more drink-soaking options if it's meant to appeal to session drinkers. They were actually out of the burger by about 8 p.m. on the first day, which maybe indicates most punters felt the same!

            1. re: chickendhansak
              l
              LStaff May 6, 2011 07:50 AM

              > It really could do with more drink-soaking options if it's meant to appeal to session drinkers

              Obvious to me that it is not considering I saw a beer list where they want $7 for a 14 oz. pour of Sierra Nevada Pale Ale. I can't imagine what condition those 100 taps are going to be like once the newness wears off and people decide to stop going due to price structure.

            2. re: Alcachofa
              b
              bobot May 6, 2011 07:01 AM

              I assume they have the same issue Lord Hobo does, which is that to get their liquor license from Cambridge they had to agree to a certain ratio of food sales to alcohol sales. Given that they are first and foremost a bar, this means they have to jack up the food prices to keep the ratio.

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              Lord Hobo
              92 Hampshire St, Cambridge, MA 02141

              1. re: bobot
                d
                DoubleMan May 6, 2011 07:39 AM

                Yeah, that may be part of it. It's a stupid system, IMO. I think it's easy to tell during the application what kind of place it will be. Lord Hobo/Meadhall-type places are clearly going for a different market than a place like Sissy K's. I wish they didn't have to jump through additional hoops that result in less affordable and lower-value places.

                Or, maybe, the Meadhall owners are really ambitious and confident about what they can do in the Kendall area.

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                Sissy K's
                4 Commercial Ct, Boston, MA 02109

                Meadhall
                4 Cambridge Center, Cambridge, MA 02142

                1. re: DoubleMan
                  r
                  rknrll May 6, 2011 07:42 AM

                  Part of the Hobo thing was also due to zoning, since it's in a neighborhood.

                  1. re: DoubleMan
                    chickendhansak May 6, 2011 09:09 AM

                    I can see it doing well in the dead of winter given how close it is to the Red Line. The route through the Marriott means you can get much of the way there from the T indoors.

            3. p
              Pete Lyons May 5, 2011 10:13 AM

              Went on Sunday just for the beer but ordered some fries just to check them out. The portion seemed small for the price.

              1. Luther May 5, 2011 07:49 PM

                The first couple days they had all the beers for like $5, plus they were serving stupid large pours of high-gravity stuff so it was a good time. I see they are going for the Kendall VC business meal crowd with the prices, which is fine, I can see there being a great market for that.

                Sort of the same deal - I was really eager for Floating Rock to open but they have changed their product entirely. To pay Central Square rent on their enormous space they have to sell alcohol above all else. Therefore they made the decor "nice" and full of TVs and put more expensive cocktails on the menu than actual food items. It's a shame.

                1. c
                  charlestown_matt May 6, 2011 05:50 AM

                  I stopped by Meadhall on their second night. I was dissapointed after hearing all the hype, but some things I chalked up to the first night/week growing pains. Service was poor; bartender was pleasant but was totally unfamiliar with the beer choices; server and bartender failed to mention that the $14 cheese plate was only one kind of cheese because they had not yet received shipments of the other kinds; bartender could not remember the name on our tab for the life of her.

                  These are nitpicky things, and I realize that it's a new place and everyone is trying hard, but when I am paying full price and getting half-assed service and food (cheese plate) then I do feel ripped off. I complained about the cheese plate and heard crickets. I did have the burger too and have no complaints, it was fine. I fault management for rushing to open when the staff is not trained on the products or service protocol in general and the menu is not accurate. I will eventually go back for the beer selection, but not for a few months.

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                  Meadhall
                  4 Cambridge Center, Cambridge, MA 02142

                  1. b
                    bobot May 6, 2011 07:03 AM

                    I stopped by and had a great time. Big beer list, and it's always nice to get beer served in the proper glassware, and I loved that the downstairs is a huge space with no loud TVs. Food looked boring and overpriced, but I don't plan to ever eat there.

                    1. s
                      scrappyhappy Jun 8, 2011 01:40 PM

                      I came here on a whim today while waiting for Lord Hobo to open. The place was sparsely populated in the pre dinner lull, and they were only serving the all day menu. The beer selection was impressive, but there are some overpriced pours for the size.
                      I had the pork rinds which were crackling hot when they came out, and fairly priced at $4 for an appetizer. I did look at the dinner menu and the prices seem too high given the selection.
                      The place itself looks nice, and I like the clubroom feel upstairs. Sadly I found the waitstaff to be a little distracted and inattentive, but I'll chalk that up to a shift change before dinner.
                      All told, i dont think the mix of overpriced food and fancy beer will work. It doesn't provide the food menu I'd want to accompany a long night of beer tasting. Its a great place to have one or two beers in the afternoon, but I don't think it will last long on that kind of business.

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