Sunday, November 4, 2012

Disappointment to Avoid: 647 Tremont

Other places in the South End being too busy for our time needs, my girlfriend and I headed down to try 647 Tremont. She said something about some chef with blue hair on a cooking challenge show being connected to the place, so that sounded cool.

The host asked if we had reservations, which we didn't, but only three of the twelve or so tables were taken anyway. Perhaps the place's unbusiness should have been a red flag to us. He sat us down and told us this was his favorite table because he could just drink and drink there all night. Our waiter then approached and asked if we'd like sparkling, still or tap water. We both asked for sparkling. He returned later and told us they were out, so we got club sodas. Then he asked us if we'd care for anything "more adult." I found this to be a particularly silly and awkward way to put the question, especially since my girlfriend and I had just decided to go without alcohol for the two weeks leading up to Christmas. The expectation to order alcohol and disappointment at the failure to do so are totally understandable for the tipped, but I believe part of good service is keeping that shit to yourself and being gracious to all your customers. He wasn't horrible about it by any means, but the wording of the host and server betray to me a disturbing lack of acceptability to not drink on a Wednesday night.

My girlfriend had a cold and couldn't really taste food, so I was to order enough food for me plus a few nibbles from her. She has a thing for dumplings and obviously wanted to try theirs, so I decided on those ($9), the fried chicken dinner ($21), and a side of Andy's Famous Fontina-stuffed Tater Tots ($5).  I ordered that, then the waiter turned to my girlfriend.

Korean Dumplings with Spicy Soy Dipping Sauce - $9

They were fine, mostly generic but with slightly more flavorful meat than you often get. I ate two because generic dumplings are still tasty. My girlfriend, having a cold, just ate one.

"How are the dumplings?"

Wanting to save room for the rest of the food, I made what I considered a very healthy choice not to eat the fourth one. Normally I'm the human garbage disposal, but I'm trying to realize that getting overly full and dealing with indigestion doesn't help the starving Ethiopians.

The waiter approached us after I placed the dumpling tray on the end of the table. "You know you still have one left?!"
"We're just saving room for the rest of the food," I replied.
"You didn't like them???"
"They were fine, we're just saving room."

I appreciate the first question, disliking it when waiters try to clear my shit before I'm done, but let it go if I say I'm saving room, dude.

The complimentary ciabatta squares

"Oh! That's a cute complimentary bread idea!" I said, enthusiastically, bringing a piece to my mouth. "Huh."
My girlfriend took a bite next. It was as flavorless for me as it was for her, who couldn't taste food.

This came with the bread.

I wasn't sure what to expect but was smacked in the face by cumin. Then we had to figure out what it was. I decided it was an except-for-the-cumin bland hummus butter, which was not a good thing.

One half othe the "Buttermilk Fried Chicken with 3-Chile Gravy, bacony-collards, and a rosemary biscuit with honey butter" - $21

They were very nice to plate our fried chicken in halves, but my half of the biscuit didn't have any honey butter on it and her half had no rosemary on it. Mine only had one tiny piece anyway. The biscuit had largely been the reason for my choosing the fried chicken meal since otherwise I would've wanted to order it. The collards were soggy and too sweet. The fried chicken was one step above the chicken fried chicken we got on Thursdays in my middle school. The texture would lose a contest hands down to Pillsbury. It was dry and flavorless. Of all the bites of the chicken I had, in only one of them could I detect any chiles at all in the "3-chile gravy."

Three more times while my girlfriend and I were eating this food and discussing how sub-our expectations everything was, our waiter and another woman came and asked how everyting was.

"Great, thanks."

I really wish waiters would stop asking more than once about the food. If we are going to bother to complain, we'll do it. Otherwise, don't we all just want to be left alone instead of having to repeatedly put on a performance of pleasure at the food?

A better description for the meal would have been: "Middle School Nostalgia Fried Chicken and collards with Prison Biscuit."

Andy's Famous Fontina-stuffed Tater Tot

The tater tots were not very crispy at all, filled with shreds of potato instead of potato mush (which was itself totally cool with me, perhaps nicer, even), only had one little dollop of melted fontina in each. They were still easily the best thing we ate there.

FA Rating: )(
Price: $$$
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