dante, scratch that, ArtBar

I did not start this blog to review restaurants. But since I went there I might as well tell.

dante has a Grilled Cheese Tuesdays and a fabulous patio with a view of the Charles River and the Boston skyline. Today is not Tuesday but no one wanted to go out last night and tonight was the kind of summer evening you are hoping for when the season turns.

Arrive at the bar. Bartender is glued to the television and does not notice or acknowledge our presence. When I approach the bar to ask for a menu, he sees that I have my hand near one that is out already and he says “Yeah, just grab that. ” He then encourages us to sit an empty bar table rather than at the bar assuring us that there is a cocktail waitress. His attention returns to the television. After several minutes no cocktail waitress. We go inside to ask for a table on the patio, I say that I will get dessert the hostess redirects us to our bar table, stating that the other tables are for dinner (that’s fair, though I did offer to eat). Since doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result is the definition of insanity (and I was out on the town with a shrink), we left. dante fail. Big ol’ F for service there.

So we head about 300 meters down the road to the other bar in the Royal Sonesta hotel, the ArtBar. Spare, linear and slightly rustic as the patio tables and bar were the ArtBar is a long way from artistic. Neither the 42 inch flat screen nor the late-nineties/ early-aughts music mix really screamed Monet or Mondrian or even Jasper Johns, but I’ll let it go. I wasn’t happy about the dirty place setting and bar stool. I didn’t need my predecessor’s lentils and my pants didn’t need the sautéed onion that remained on the chair. And, no I don’t think a cleaned dining area is too much to ask, but we were not about to adjourn again. We drank wine which was at a nice price point. And I was almost tempted to some of their incredibly reasonably priced desserts. And we enjoyed the view and the al fresco setting.

I realize that I am spoiled. I realize that hotels get a different majority clientele then local restaurants. And I realize that it was Wednesday after 9, but I was unimpressed with the service and the service ethic it seemed to represent. Finally, Royal Sonesta, if you don’t train your staff to care about representing your brand well or pay them a wage/benefits that incentivizes that behavior then shame on you.

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