But What About the Food?

1214577454At some point, everyone’s attended the kind of gathering where food figures prominently, but isn’t really the focus (and, consequently, isn’t very good). I’m talking wedding receptions, dinner theaters, transatlantic flights—the kind of “chicken or beef?” food service that prompts people like me to pre-eat in anticipation of mushy pasta and chewy steak.

It was with some hesitation, then, that I boarded the YachtStarship in South Boston last Friday night for a two-hour trip around Boston harbor. A new addition to Boston’s dinner-cruise lineup (the other players being Odyssey and Spirit), the ship’s press release promised grand skyline views, dancing on the deck, and delectable, upscale cuisine. I believed #1 and #2.

But it was, in fact, fun. A passing shower graced the harbor with an impressive rainbow, and we were free to wander the various decks. The yacht’s interior is neither stinky nor claustrophobic—two all-too-common characteristics of harbor cruises—and, while it won’t be winning any design awards, it’s pretty darn nice inside. I could actually see hosting a rehearsal dinner or summer event on this thing. Huh.

As for the food, while I’ll admit to relaxing my landlubbing standards at sea, dinner was decent. A braised lamb entrée was appropriately tender; my roast chicken salty, but moist. Flash-fried calamari were crisp, if predictable; and dessert—a green tea crème brulee—offered a light, sweet finish.

Since dinner cruising certainly falls into that category of “expect the worst,” I’d call that a home run. My dining companion and I agreed we’d go again, the scenery (and well-stocked bar) offering reason enough to deport. And at the end of the day, while good food is nice, it’s not really the point, is it?

Which leads me to wonder: Where else do Bostonians go for the ambience more than the food? The views at Top of the Hub render the food irrelevant; people-watching is the house specialty at places like Alibi, Banq, and Stephanie’s. And, of course, there’s all those patios. Where else are people going to (not) eat? Leave comments below.