Good Help Is Hard to Find


1204822769There’s a place I like to go near Central Square. The food is great, reasonably affordable, and the beer and wine selections are solid. All in all, it’s the definition of a neighborhood favorite.

One caveat, however: The service is dreadful. It’s not just slow. It’s painstakingly, amateurishly bad.

From the server who tried to use a corkscrew on a screw-top bottle of wine to the same misguided soul trying to perform the opposite trick on a cork, something always goes wrong. Entrees are mishandled, or forgotten altogether. Seating often devolves into anarchy. Asking the bartender what they had on tap led to this memorable answer, “What you see is what you get.” Thanks.

It’s a shame because I have vowed never to return on numerous occasions only to be lured back several months later by the intoxicating promise of the impossibly-good tater tots. OK, that’s one frustrating experience, but all of this got me to thinking: Are our restaurants undermined by sub-standard service?

I’ve lived in a few other Northeast cities (Philly and Washington) and thanks to a previous gig covering sports, I’ve spent time in restaurants all over the country. If there’s one thing sportswriters like to do it’s eat. My food experiences elsewhere keep leading me back to the same conclusion: Boston is at the absolute bottom when it comes to consistent service.

I’ve run this theory by the other Chowder foodies and there is disagreement. So, what say you? Is the service in Boston unacceptable? Just about right? Good? Awful?

Let us know in the comments.