Tag Archives: boston

Poland, Boston, and the Human Spirit

23 Apr

Poland was mainly a blur of food, sleep deprivation, drinks, people, and brightly colored buildings.  Krakow is called the Magic City for a reason. There is something to it that as a tourist, I couldn’t quite put my finger on. The city at night, I would compare to even the bright lights of Paris.  Tourists and locals alike strolled the city into the pink hours of the morning, laughing and filling the air with vibrancy. The life there seems to have actual quality. But I found myself most impressed with the people I met on this journey.

The people of Poland have a hospitality all their own. People genuinely wanted to meet you, speak with you, and like their European cousins–feed you.  The people I met while in Krakow, returned my ability to communicate face-to-face. For so long, I’ve been attached to the computer screen or my cell phone and in the States it is not uncommon to sit across from someone while you’re out to dinner and have nearly no conversation. Instead, there is a wall of cellphones between you both as you take turns surfing the web on your smartphones and exchanging minimal conversation. In Krakow, I felt a sense of intelligence return to me that I had thought I had lost completely. As it turns out, it had never left–but had simply gone into hibernation and  needed to be woken up.  Conversation ranged from music, to politics, to sports (which I know nearly nothing about) to the more complex issue of languages and how they may or may not translate. I was alive. Krakow revived me.

In five days, I experienced more powerful moments in my life than I had in months. This was even more amplified by my visit to the concentration camps, Auschwitz and Birkenau on my last day in Poland. Though most people will flinch away from a difficult trip like this: I sought it out. More than ever, I feel that keeping the horrors of history alive so they are not repeated and so the lives lost in such an awful way are given their proper respect and recognition.

The camps were  overwhelming. A sense of feeling watched or hunted pervaded Auschwitz. My friend who had joined me looked faint much of the time, if not downright sick to her stomach. Openly, she wept for the loss of life while I stoically paid my respects to the lives lost. The place gets under your skin in a way I’ve never experienced before. It felt alive.

Birkenau felt more sad than alive. Abandoned bunks lay in places that had been built to house horses and instead housed starving, sick and dying human beings. The remains of the destroyed crematoriums sat like craters in the landscape that may have been otherwise beautiful. Our guide pointed out a family of deer that grazed nearby as if to prove this point and stated, “See how life must go on?” There is a large stone memorial here which is littered with tiny stones as a sign of respect. I left these places with a whole new perspective on the problems in my life. My problems were nothing. I was not starving. I was not being torn from my family, or watching loved ones be gassed, shot or beaten to death. I was not wondering if I would see another day, or live beyond barbed wire fence. I was alive. And I would embrace that blessing with all that I had. I left the camp with a need to celebrate my being alive–if for nothing more than to live in the place of those who had never had the chance. And for the ones who survived and still managed to live (almost) normal lives. These places reflect not only the power of humanity’s cruelty–but of their spirit and will to survive.

The stranger part of visiting the camps was what it coincided with here in the states. I didn’t know it yet, but my city was under attack at the very moment I was touring these Death Camps. The Boston Marathon Bombings have been plastered on every news channel here in Massachusetts ever since it happened. I found out what happened in Boston, a day after it happened. In a panic I found myself reaching out to loved ones for assurance that they were alright.  The city of Boston came together as one in a way that makes me proud. Here, in today’s history I witnessed the power of the human spirit that I had sought out at the historical sites.  It is something that I never imagined would happen. Only this time, when terror struck we charged it head on. Stories continue to come out about every day people who became not-so-everyday Heroes. A dancer who lost her foot, continues to hope to dance again, a man who lost both sons to war–saved others who would have been lost in much the same way. I am alive again–and grateful, and amazed by the ever powerful presence in the past and now in the present of the strength of the human spirit. Just as when I exited the camps in Poland, I find myself constantly humming the tune from Fiddler on the Roof, “To life…to life…L’Chaim…”

Boston Strong

Poland Strong

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The Amazing Spiderman and the not so amazing restaurant The Back Deck

6 Jul

As today I decided that I was too beat to actually work on my novel draft, I decided instead to fill in my lovely readers on my fourth of July adventures and misadventures.

Living in Boston makes the fourth of July a holiday of madness–but the good kind. Fireworks,food, tourists and all sorts of fun seems to burst forth from our fair city. But when rain threatens a good time here in Boston, a need for alternate plans arise.

For my boyfriend and I, out alternate plan became a trip to the movies: The Amazing Spiderman.

Now, many people seem to think that this movie is trying to be a continuation of the previous Spiderman movies involving Tobey Mcguire and the storyline with the Maryjane (Kerstin Dunst)  love interest. But this is a reboot people. Not only is the storyline different, the leading lady is too. This is Spiderman done better–and thank god for that because the world does not need another Tobey Mcguire style Spiderman.

In this version of our favorite web-slinging hero, Peter Parker is introduced at first to the audience as a child in his parents house. His loving, affectionate parents are playing hide-and-seek with the young Peter, when they discover their house has been broken into. Peter’s father, in a panic, begins unearthing hidden documents in the house, stuffing them in a bag and the whole family up and leaves in the middle of a rainstorm. They arrive, rather wet for the wear, at Aunt May and Uncle Ben’s house, where Peter’s parents say their goodbyes to him and tell him to be good. They never explain to Peter where or why they are going, but the way in which the film is shot, it seems his parents explain some unknown plight to his Aunt and Uncle before they leave him there. It is a tearful goodbye. We later discover they have died in a planecrash. (Familiar? Yes, but more personal this time.)

Flash forward to Peter in high school. He is bullied, but not the primary focus of the bullies until he sticks up for another kid getting his face stuffed in pizza. A beautiful blonde, Gwen Staci steps in when Peter is getting his head kicked in, this starts Peter’s crush on her. When Peter returns home later, it seems his Aunt and Uncle’s basement has flooded, and while helping his Uncle save things from the water downstairs, Peter discovers his father’s breifcase, which is fill of strange science research and a newspaper clipping.

With a little research, and some help from Uncle Ben, Peter discovers the man in the clipping is a former co-worker of his father, Dr Connors. Of course, Peter wants to know more about his father’s work, so off he heads to steal interns name-tags at Oscorp and effectively meets the Doctor. This is where Peter also is introduced to mutated spiders that Oscorp uses to spin super-strong thread–one of which bites Peter and gives him the crazy abilities of a Spider!

I won’t spoil too much more for you, but I will let you know that there is so much more going for this Spiderman than in previous movies. Rather than being the pushover, picked on kid from the previous films, Peter is a snarky, clever and witty character as seen in more recent comics. The film not only captures great humor and whimsey, but also has a certain depth of humanity that seemed skimmed over previously. The deaths within the film are touching, and sometimes unexpected. The villain is complex and hard to hate entirely. And the suit–is damn cool.

I went into The Amazing Spiderman thinking it would be disappointing–but this storyline brings a strange animal hybrid mad scientist tidbit into the story that makes it work far better. Rarely was there a moment in this film that made me ask, “Really? Yeah Right.”

After the film and in high spirits, my boyfriend and I set out to find a good meal. As it was the fourth of July we expected crowds and probably busy eateries in full swing–so when we stumbled across a new place nearby Max and Dylan’s and Fajitas and Ritas at  2 West Street, Boston, MA, 02111 we were intrigued. On we stumbled, putting in our names with the host stand. AS you walk into The Back Deck, a replica of a back yard patio comes to mind. Chairs and tables tend to be on the lawn-chair side, fake hanging plants and painted images of men in grilling-mode adorn the walls. A bar that looks as if it belongs poolside somewhere is the primary focus as you walk in to the left. It looked wonderful. But as we stood in the doorway, watching people who had walked in after us be seated first–we began to suspect something was amiss. After fifteen minutes of waiting for a table, we were seated. My boyfriend and I had only just sat down when we realized we would not like these seats. The wooden seats and table felt unstained and rough, and I worried that before the night was out that I would have splinters in my legs. The set up of the menu was somewhat of a concern as well. At first, my boyfriend and I thought we had only been handed the drinks list–but with some fiddling found that the menu was set up in a clipboard like fashion and had to be turned upwards. It was somewhat confusing. Our waiter stumbled over to the table, looking sweaty and sarcastic.

“Sorry folks. I’ll be right with you. Have you ever waited tables before?”

The question took me off guard but I admitted I had previously worked as a hostess and bussed tables at Fenway. The boy smiled and laughed and admitted that it was a hard job and that he would be with us shortly. Well, shortly ended up being much longer than I anticipated. I should have never given him the feeling of sympathy with my answer. I did not feel sorry for him. I felt annoyed. By the time he came over to take our order we already knew what we wanted for food, and drink as of twenty minutes beforehand. He was brisk with us, and hurried off after our orders were taken.

Once the food arrived, I wasn’t any happier. I had ordered the waldorf salad (which generally shouldn’t be hard right?), but wasn’t exactly pleased with the state of the lettuce. Much of it was brown and wilty. Luckily, the apples were fresh and the dressing was tasty. But even the Walnuts had a stale sort of taste to them. Our drinks were the worst of all. Mine ended up tasting disgusting, but as our waiter was mainly absent, I couldn’t order a new one. Instead, I watched in irritation as he chit-chatted with tables that hadn’t been there nearly as long as we had, and growled under my breath when he ignored me calling him twice.

I believe that the waitstaff is the heart and soul of a restaurant. If they aren’t pleasant–the whole place falls apart for me. This waiter was a shining example of who not to hire in a restaurant.  When he finally came to check on us, we just wanted the check and wanted to get out of there. It took him fifteen minutes to bring it to us, then as he put it on the table he said,

“Yeah sorry, don’t do this Fucking job.” and left. He never told us his name either.

I was aghast at his professionalism. My boyfriend happily left a shoddy tip. We will never go back there again.

So to all you waiters and waitresses out there–I know your job is difficult. I have done it. But please, dear god, be polite and courteous as possible. Or accept the fact that your tips will be cruddy.

A Night to Remember at The Top of the Hub

15 May

If there will be nothing else I can recall, years later when I try to unearth old, pleasant memories–I pray that even if my mind is gone I’ll remember last night.

Dolled up (a rarity for me) in a little black number that tied around my neck and slim gladiator-like wedges, beside an equally well-dressed Mickey in a blue blazer, button up shirt and a black tie–we enjoyed a view of Cambridge that I can only compare to being in an airplane. High above the city, hidden (but not really) on the 52nd floor of the Prudential Building in Boston, the world below was a mass of glittering lights, and back-lit, misty, skyscrapers that seemed to curve around the edge of the Earth.

Around us, we could feel the eyes of the waitstaff as well as other diners. Younger than most of the other patrons of the Top of the Hub restaurant, we were acutely aware of the judgement that was happening around us. The worry in the staff members eyes that we were perhaps going to skip out on our bill, or under tip for our meal. Of course, they needn’t have worried. (Though on the way there, Mickey and I had a moment where we shared the fear of not having quite enough for such a lavish experience.) As for the other diners; I could only assume they disliked our youth and the  occasional boisterousness in which we enjoyed life, our meals and each other.

The Top of the Hub, is known for its high class dining experience, and we came prepared to pay easily over one hundred dollars on our evening. We had never been to a fine dining eatery prior to this; and there has always been a certain image or two in my mind as to what sort of an experience it would be.  High prices with small portions. Snooty waitstaff and hostesses. A certain, unbreakable law of how to use your silverware appropriately. Luckily, I found most of these situations to be untrue to The Top of the Hub.

After slipping past the security in the lobby, we took the elevators up to the 52nd floor. (Large silver lettering points the way as you head to the lifts.) As you step off the elevator, beware of a large floral display as you move toward the tall glass doors. (I nearly ran into it with all my grace and poise.)  Overwhelmed by the whole situation, I hardly got a look at the entrance way. From what I saw, the walls were lined with a well-polished mixture of dark and light woods. The hostess stand is immediately to your left as you enter, and a well-dressed, high-haired young woman greeted us cheerily asking if we would like to dine casually, or formally.  (As I hadn’t thought to bring a coat, I wore a hooded sweatshirt over my nice dress to keep warm in the drizzling weather. Mickey told me later that the hostess eyed me, almost unpleasantly when asking where we would prefer to dine.) She explained that the menu was the only real difference in the two options, and as we had planned for the real experience, we opted for formal.

A second hostess was instructed to take us to a table, and we quickly weaved toward the back of the establishment; passing walls of fine wines, partitions where groups chatted and celebrated someone’s birthday, round yellow almost old-fashioned looking lamps hung at even intervals across the floor shining dim romantic lighting across the tables. Our table was close to one of the multiple large glass windows overlooking the city below. I heard myself take a breath in sharply, amazed, and felt Mickey smiling with pride somewhere to my left. The hostess pulled my seat out for me, and upon sitting, daintily folded my napkin in my lap for me as well. Unused to such treatment, I felt slightly embarrassed but appreciated the gesture all the same. Mickey quickly pulled his napkin into his own lap to avoid such treatment. Our menus were presented to us and she left us to own own devices.

The tables were all carefully arranged with white table cloths (real linen), wine glasses (short and tall), napkins, utensils and one tiny plant for color. Our waiter was swift to approach and greet us, removing extra place settings from the table, as he explained the night’s specials. Knowledgeable, skilled and pleasant–I admired our servers work. Unlike other establishments, I noticed that our waiter at the Top of the Hub was attentive to all details and patient. After putting down our appetizers, a salad and the clam chowder, he realized before I did that after I had asked for the dressing on the side the kitchen had put dressing on the salad. He apologized and took it back to the kitchen without me even asking, returning moments later with a dressing-free salad. Once the food was on the table, he made a point to stand and wait at the table before we thanked and dismissed him–being sure that we needed nothing more at the moment.

Though the appetizers weren’t much to write home about–the entree will forever haunt my taste buds. Never again will I be able to enjoy Lamb anywhere else. They have made it impossible for me to ever hope to find a better prepared, more delicious meal. Portions are sizable, giving you what you ought to get for the prices. (which range from $25 to $70 a plate depending.) My lamb arrived as what seemed to be a whole leg, slowly cooked until the tender, dark meat fell from the bone without help from a knife. Spices and a tomato-based stock made the meat tender and moist–not dry. Paired with a fruit compote, whipped potatoes and asparagus–it was heavenly. Mickey’s eyes lit up as he took a bite of his Haddock, served with surprise steamers, mashed potatoes, and lightly dusted with cheese–he has rarely ever looked so contented during a meal.

If nothing else, I would go back just for the view. As we left, I stared longingly at the skyline once more and staff members that hadn’t even helped us bid us a good night, thanking us for coming as if we were royalty.

“I shouldn’t have done that,” Mickey said as we made our way home. “It was like blood to a shark. You’re spoiled now.” I smiled, knowing he was probably right.

A Night at the Theater–Addams Family Musical Review (Spoilers!)

9 Feb

They’re creepy and they’re spooky, mysterious and kooky–they’re all together ooky–The Addams family!

Well, creepy certainly was the word. Crammed in the tiny balcony seats of the Schubert Theater in Boston, I was trying with some difficulty not to allow the overly-nosy eight-year-old boy in front of me to look up my dress in the awkward angle and sitting beside my boyfriend who looked even more uncomfortable. There, we awaited the start of The Addams Family Musical. ( My poor boyfriend’s first words once the show ended was–“I think my shins are bruised.”) I felt lucky that we had managed to even get seats on opening night–the place was packed– and even the cramped space of the balcony weren’t under $50 dollars a ticket.

The crowd seemed restless and eager to start the show. Ages varied from young kids to so elderly they needed assistance getting up and down the narrow (and without a middle railing, which was terrifying in heels) stairs. After all, who couldn’t recall the memorably grim but laugh-inducing Addams? I knew I couldn’t resist. My childhood was riddled with memories of Saturday morning cartoons, in which The Addams Family often frequented the screen. The show was grim, and hilariously twisted, which is the main reason I enjoyed it. It is that spirit of twisted humor that was kept alive throughout the opening night of The Addams Family Musical.

The premise: The creepy cold child, Wednesday, has suddenly found herself in love and wanting to be engaged to–dramatic pause–a “normal” boy! Hiding the ring from her over-protective mother, Morticia, she confides in her father, Gomez, about the reason for a sudden dinner party with this boy and his family. She begs him to promise not to tell his beloved wife–and so hilarity ultimately ensues.

All of the characters I knew and loved made their premier on stage, portrayed with care and confidence by their respective actors and actresses. (Well–with the exception of a rather annoying little boy who played Wednesday’s brother, Pugsley. Him, I could have done without.) Even Thing and Cousin It make a few short appearances.

The show was much better than I anticipated; the music was catchy, saucy and well-composed, the scene changes were fascinating to watch–and the use of puppeteers was a pleasant and fun surprise throughout the production.I found myself bouncing in my seat to the music as performers sang and danced, grabbing your attention and ultimately keeping it.

The only issue (depending on who you are) that I found with it was the massive amounts of sexual humor that permeated the whole performance. As an adult–I have no problem with sexual humor. In fact, it’s kind of my favorite. But it does get somewhat uncomfortable when there’s an eight-year old in front of you and Gomez just made several penis jokes. All I could think was, God, I hope this goes over your head. Oh, also, the occasionally topical humor that Uncle Fester tosses into the performance–I found somewhat jarring. Funny, sometimes–but other times just unneeded.

I must admit, that I was thrilled to realize that the actor playing Uncle Fester had also played Edna in Hairspray when I went to see it with my Meme five years or so ago. All of the cast did a bang up job–particularly the actors and actresses who played, Fester, Gomez and Wednesday,  who stole the show. Even the actor playing Lurch surprised me with a suddenly solo singing performance that gave me chills in ways that only seeing The Phantom of the Opera on stage had done previously.

All and all I give The Addams Family Musical a 4 out of 5 stars. It’s only here in Boston for this month–and I would definitely recommend it to the younger generation looking for a laugh. (Or perhaps even the older. People are DYING to see this show.) Sorry, I had to. If you can afford it–skip the cheap seats. But honestly, the view from anywhere in this theater is fine. It’s only legroom that gets tricky.

Learning the Hard Way and To Eat or Not to Eat in Downtown Boston

15 Jan

This post was going to be completely positive–I had it all set in my mind to be pleasant and non-whiny and fun until I discovered that I overdrew on my bank account paying off my loans last week and I am now negative 105 in my account. Now, I’m in an awful mood about it. Mostly upset with myself for not following my own banking rule: one loan a week. I was trying to be sneaky and get them all out of the way at once with some extra Christmas money that I had managed to squirrel away. As you can see–that did not go over well at all. Another lesson learned the hard way.

 

Now that that self-loathing is out of the way, let’s get on with what I actually wanted to share today: food.

My extremely supportive boyfriend has often made the suggestion to me to write about food. It’s always been one of my passions along with eating and cooking– which all essentially boils down to food. I sort of dismissed him originally, because frankly: we don’t get out a lot. As such, we often get into a restaurant rut and wind up going off to places that we’ve been to at least a dozen times before because we know the food isn’t going to disappoint us. This weekend has been different, however, so now I find myself with actual information to share with the rest of the food-loving universe. (If they feel like taking a simple pony-crazed foodie’s advice that is.)

I’m from the Boston area (generally speaking more toward the suburbs in the south.) and my boyfriend lives in the East Boston area. As such, we usually end up around the downtown Boston area, trying to find someplace not too far away from our favorite movie theater on the Commons. Our favorite place as of late or as we like to reefer to it, “The place”, so as not to jinx it, is Max & Dylan’s. Located on 15 West Street in the downtown area of Boston–it’s situated fairly close to the theater district and nestled beside an old bookstore that I tend to frequent. Despite having a large white and green flag sign proclaiming “Max & Dylan’s” you might never think twice about this restaurant. I personally had walked by it over and over again visiting Brattle’s Bookshop and had never even realized that this establishment was there. The door is somewhat pushed back, and a thin window in the front is so reminiscent of the old brownstone homes that I used to resist peeking in, for fear I’d be intruding into somebody’s living room window. When you first enter Max & Dylan’s, you are immediately greeted by the long bar top and the pleasant hosts and hostesses. It seems, at first glance, like your typical Boston Bar, complete with two of three televisions behind liquor lined bar, a jute box  and dim lighting. But once the hostess leads you inside, you see there is a bit more to it than that. There is a bar on the first floor, along with a few nestled tabletop seats for two and low tabled huddled together in corners.

Then there is the second floor (which honestly seems more like a rather large stair landing) which contains more tables, each decorated a little less sparsely than the floor below. On this floor, you can look up and admire the skylight as well as polished wooden beams that again make me think this place used to be someone’s home. The second floor, is my personal favorite for when I enjoy time here. One more floor up, there is a second, smaller bar top back lit by blue and gold lights. An after work, sort of place that seems like a classy idea for a night out with friends. Yet more tabletops can be found on the third floor with the bar, pressed against the rough brick walls. There are paintings strewn throughout the restaurant, but the casual intimacy of the space always leaves me feeling very much focused on whomever I am enjoying my meal with, and of course, enjoying the meal itself.

-knocks on wood for what will come next-

I have yet to be disappointed by any of the food which I have ordered at Max & Dylan’s. The portion sizes never seem too overbearing as often times these days food serving establishments fight to give you more for your money.  Meat never seems to be over or under cooked, but lovingly and patiently grilled, friend and broiled. On top of the taste, the food is fairly priced and depending on how much you have to drink you can leave there having an appetizer, entree, drinks and desserts for two for under $60. (Though, I do not recommend the Prosecco here as they seem to only order a rather cheap tasting brand.) The staff is also generally very attentive and pleasant. Which I feel, in some cases, makes the dining experience that much more pleasant. The staff are easy to talk to, and seem to genuinely care if you’re enjoying yourself or not. I highly recommend this place for people who are looking for a nice date night excursion. Also, for first date material that is both impressive and comfortable. Then again, I also take my friends here when we want to catch up and enjoy ourselves in an environment that is welcoming and relaxed. My boyfriend and I just last night took our friend there with us for a gathering and a good time was had by all.

It was in this same gathering that our friend introduced us to a bar nearby that I also enjoyed. Once our meal was done and paid for, we agreed that more time was needed to chat. Our friend recommended a bar and Indian food restaurant nearby called, Mantra. (I was later informed that this place also seconds as a nightclub on certain evenings, but not last night while we were there.) Located at 53 Temple Place, not far from Windor Buttons, Mantra is a visually impressive place.

 

You walk through the large heavy doors and find yourself immediately greeted by walls and tabletops covered with multiple flickering candles. Unlike many Boston bars these days, Mantra still takes the risk of using actual fire instead of the plastic flickering tea lights for ambience. The walls, bar top and tables are all smooth black and white checked granite, and the place feels open yet intimate. Heavy fabrics are placed in bright colors softened by the dim lighting strategically around the room, while soft gossamer curtains partition dinners in the back into more private seating. A large wooden structure that resembled a giant slatted garlic clove (as pointed out by my friend) sticks out in the back of the room. I supposed it to be a VIP section of the restaurant. In the center of all this sits the stairs, and a large golden Buddah statue, looking placid and mysterious in the romantic lighting. I was told the place had once been a bank, and down the steps along with the bathrooms, the nightclub was located in what used to be the vault. Servers were formal but pleasant and though we chose only to have drinks last night–the smells wafting temptingly through the air made me decide that another visit at a different time for food will be required.

It was quiet there last night, probably due to the Patriot’s game hat aired last night, and service was quick. The martini list at Mantra is both expansive and delicious. Prices were a bit high, but the drinks themselves were made with no lacking strength and seemed ultimately worth the extra cost. Also, at no charge, we were brought a small espresso-sized cup of soup–which we mainly dubbed as a mystery because the server who presented them to us seemed to mumble as we inquired about it. We heard “mumble-mumble Gumbo Soup” before he quickly skittishly ambled away to help other diners. The soup smelled buttery and almost fishy as it warmly sat aside our martinis. Both my boyfriend and our friend pushed the cups aside without so much as a taste–but being ever food-curious, I took two tentative sips. Despite the odd smell, the soup was creamy and pleasant to the palette, it almost reminded me of cream of mushroom soup with a more rich flavor. Plus, I appreciated that even though we only came in for drinks, the hospitality of the staff allowed them to provide us with something (small as it was) for just sitting down for drinks. I will definitely return there again for a more food-based adventure to Mantra.

I know by now you must be growing bored of all of these glowing reviews of local restaurants–so I’m serving you up the last restaurant rant for the day.

After doing date night again and again at the same place, I eventually get bored and run a quick little Google search for new places to try out. This week I came across the bar and restaurant, Scholars.  Not far from where the looming vacant space where Border’s used to be in Downtown Crossing, Scholars is at 35 School Street. Clever. Though the ambiance of this establishment is immediately impressive, my boyfriend and I noticed right away that there was also a bizarre lingering sense of awkward arrogance that seemed to come along with it. The hostesses greeted us right away, eyeing us in our somewhat casual attire, they took us to the back of the restaurant, past the extraordinarily lengthy bar, past darkened lounge seating around polished dark-wood tables, and leather couches to small tabletops arranged in an open space. The music bobbed loudly enough that talking to whoever was with you at the table felt private, because no one around you would be able to listen in, but you weren’t forced to shout over it either. Mirrors lined the back wall, and a staircase lead up toward pool tables to the left of our seats. High backed partitioning segregated diners from the bar area. Our waitress was quick to arrive to our table, giving off that same awkward aura that the hostesses seemed to present before she asked for our order. She seemed almost uncomfortable when speaking to us, and fidgeted like she wanted to be away from us as quickly as possible. The bread they presented to our table was warmed and slightly crusty on the outside. It had that sort of texture to it that made it known that it wasn’t fresh, but that they had taken the time to warm it up for us to it would taste better all the same. Oil was also given to us to dip the bread in–though significantly later than the bread. By the time our waitress had arrived with the oil, we had each already eaten one piece out of the three given pieces of bread because we thought that was all that was coming. The first item I ordered for dinner was the Veal–but I was quickly told that they were out of it. Not a good start–as it was barely 5:30 pm. I then decided on the fish as a second choice, while my date had the steak. The food seemed to come fairly quickly, but my boyfriend’s order came out incorrectly. He likes his steak nearly burned to death, which he requested, but it came out barely medium, and both of our orders on the menu had stated mixed vegetables would be included with our meals–instead we both found largely sliced, overly buttered carrots in their place on our plates. Had we been warned of this we would have asked for something else. But no warning of the carrots only was given. Our waitress occasionally came to check on us, but was overly intrusive when she did so.

All and all, we probably won’t be going back to Scholars for dinner again. The service was unwelcoming and generally unfocused. The kitchen seemed unprepared for dinners, and didn’t pay attention to detail while preparing the food. The drinks, however, were good. I WILL recommend the Prosecco here as it had no hint of flatness and bubbled pleasantly with each sip. If you’re looking for a nice drink, a place to play pool and show off your little black cocktail dress, head to Scholars–but eat before you go.

 

If you’re interested in checking out any of the restaurants I mentioned here today they each have an easily accessible website for you to check out.  I’d be interested to know if your experiences match up with mine. Happy snacking!

 

http://www.maxanddylans.com/

 

http://mantrarestaurant.com/

 

http://www.scholarsbostonbistro.com/