When my wife and I go out for dinner, we want to try new things and explore the world of food and drink. So, when something promotes itself as a “test kitchen”, we expect risk taking by the chefs/owners. Sadly, we experienced the wrong type of adventure when we went to the Legal Seafood Test Kitchen in Boston this past weekend.
We were in Boston for the 19th annual Boston Wine Expo,* and after a Saturday filled with great wine, smart foodie conversation, and tantalizing cooking demonstrations, we decided to go to the Legal Seafood Test Kitchen for a few cocktails and some adventuresome seafood. Unfortunately, what we experienced was a menu that was standard Boston seafood, service that was just adequate, and cold food.
Our waitress was friendly but not a fountain of conversation as she stuck to the same shtick with every table. My wife and I scoured the drink menu and settled on two cocktails. When our waitress returned, we ordered the Anjou Pear Cocktail and the Legal Mai Tai.
Our drinks were delivered and after a few sips we turned our attention to the appetizer menu. The menu contained nothing original and nothing that seemed to qualify for the description of being “tested”. Doing our standard elimination game, we finally settled on Spicy Fried Calamari as our choice. When the waitress returned, she took the order and inputted it in her mobile order device, which each wait person has attached to his/her wrist. Before our waitress left the table, our calamari was delivered! While this is the fastest service you possibly could imagine, it was not something that made the foodie in us feel very good. We tried to explain to the food delivery person that this could not be our order, as we ordered less than one minute ago. She went on to explain that it definitely was, and she went back and validated with the kitchen that it was. That left us to draw one of two conclusions: a) this order was sent back to the kitchen and they resent it to us. b) they pre-make their dishes and just serve them from underneath a warmer (e.g. McDonald’s style). We stopped arguing with our wait staff and decided to eat the appetizer. With one bite we realized that the dish was not very warm, and once we were halfway through it was downright cold.
Having been disappointed by the menu and the food, we finished our drinks, paid our bill, and headed off to our next stop for the evening. As we left, my wife and I commented that Legal Seafood Test Kitchen must be just a marketing ploy, as the only thing that felt tested was our patience as foodies looking for our next adventure.
*Editor’s note: You can find articles about the Boston Wine Expo throughout WMG publications in the coming weeks.