Legal Test Kitchen (LTK) bad experience
Based on a previous visit this past summer we decided to go to LTK yesterday for lunch. We lucked out and found a place to park on the street which was very close to the restaurant so that was the high point of the day.
The restaurant was not busy when we walked in at around 3:00PM so we were seated promptly and given menus and asked about drinks. The first thing we noticed was the extremely loud music. They had the equivalent of KISS 108 type music playing so loud that it was difficult to hold a conversation. My wife and I felt that were at the gym. We asked our server if she could lower the volume which she did immediately but it was still annoying.
We ordered the Lettuce Wraps for an app. These were very good. Nicely cooked beef with a spicy mix of veggies. My wife ordered Fish & Chips and I ordered the Paella.
The Fish & Chips were terrible which is surprising because Legal usually does a good job with fried seafood. There were about 3 or 4 rather small chunks of fish that were heavily battered. Two of the pieces were good. The others were mostly batter. The chips were mediocre at best.
My Paella was just okay. It had a nice flavor and contained two shrimp, two clams, two mussels a few pieces of calamari, a few pieces of chicken and quite a bit of chorizo. It had a heavy tomato sauce and the rice tasted nothing like the saffron flavor the menu stated. Definitely not one of the better things I have ever had at Legal.
We patronize other Legal restaurants frequently and in most cases are pleased with the food and service. We usually stick with the grilled fish options which I feel Legal does about as well as any other restaurant. Our experience at LTK wasn't anywhere close to some of their other restaurants and we will certainly never go back.
I like Legal more than most here, but LTK is pretty horrible. On the other hand, I quite enjoy the first floor of Legal Harborside at the quieter times. That might be a better option when you're in that neighborhood.
I actually had a surprising good experience at LTK last time I went. It wasn't my choice, but I had scallops on the tortilla, apple and goat cheese salad. I had sworn off Legal after a particularly horrid experience at the Dedham location, where both the food and the service were laughably bad.
My experience is LTK does not test food options so much as it tests employees for transfer to a real Legal.
I stopped going a few years ago, but at one point I went with a group of friends 3 years in a row all at the same time of year. The menu never changed.
Our service was never bad, but never great; our food was never bad, but never great.
I went to LTK recently, and was surprised to have a fairly good experience. The group split a bottle of wine (our second choice, first choice not in stock) and calamari to start which was great. I had the hoisin salmon which was also delicious - perfectly cooked.
My only question - why the house music?? I don't go to dinner for bumpin' beats.