Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Restaurant Week

We decided to take advantage of Restaurant Week in Boston. The deal is that the better restaurants offer a 3 course lunch for $20.06 and a dinner for $30.06, again 3 courses. The idea (I guess) is to get people to try new restaurants that they don't usually get to or to return to old favorites. This is supposed to be a good deal. We tried it in the spring and had a nice lunch which somehow pushed close to three digits with the wine and tip. It was a new place. Nice view. Maybe we will go back sometime. I had a vague impression that the people taking advantage of the restaurant week menu and prices were second class citizens. Was it my thin skin or a true fact?

Yesterday, we tried a second dining spot at the second Restaurant Week. This was a famous expensive downtown spot, reputedly hard to get into, famous chef, you know the drill. Here's what happened.

We had made the reservation online via the restaurant week web site, so they should have known we were part of the bargain hunter crowd. Were shown to a bad table by the front door, and then a worse table by the kitchen entrance. Did not receive the restaurant week menu, so we ordered the prix fixe menu which was only slightly more, and also offered 3 courses. Thought maybe they were a little Unclear on the Concept. Too embarassed at this point to ask for the restaurant week menu. Ordered a half bottle of wine. Fantastic! Food was excellent and unusual. Fare you would never get at home. Service was good, but lacking any warmth. Supercilious? I dunno. Maybe. We were nicely but not overdressed. Decent manners. Ate, drank and left the requisite 20% tip. Departed. We would not go back. Bad vibes. Was it my thin skin or were we second class citizens, again?

Grapeshot has dined at incredibly posh places from Hong Kong to the French Riviera and never been made to feel second class. I might win the lottery tomorrow and be able to afford a "stammtische" at one Bosotn's rarified temples to gastronomy. If so, I would return to places which seemed truly hospitable and pleased to see me.

It's definitely something about restaurant week. Sometimes a bargain is no bargain at all.

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