For our March NRT gathering we decided to take advantage of Boston Restaurant Week and try Locke Ober. During this week participating restaurants offer prix fixe menus for $20.09 at lunch and $33.09 at dinner. It is nice chance to try a restaurant which you might otherwise reserve for an occasion. Every year we try to test out a new place during this week and have found some favorites which we return to often.
Locke Ober is one of the old guard restaurants which are synonymous with Boston dining. The room is magnificently elegant with warm mahogany, huge plate glass mirrors, decorated tin ceilings, and graceful chandeliers. You almost felt as though you have stepped back in time. We were seated and were looking at the wine menu as we waited for the rest of the gang. We selected a bottle of Pinot Noir and the waiter returned telling us they were out. Then we selected another and they were out again. Finally, they had our fourth choice. This was a bit disappointing as they only had about eight Pinots to choose from. But, more disappointing was our waiter’s lack of interest to help us find a wine they had. Instead he just said no to each one we selected.
The food was ok, nothing remarkable. I started with the Warm Mozzarella w/Braised Spring Leeks. The mozzarella was not warm but rather cool and dense. The salad itself was nice. The appetizer which seemed to get the most raves at the table was the Mushrooms and Marrow on Toast. The marrow was lovely and rich and nicely accompanied the mushrooms. The entrées all seemed to be 50/50 with some good aspects and some bad aspects. For my entrée I had the Lamb Rump Steak w/Gratin Dauphinois, New Crop Asparagus & Meyer Lemon Hollandaise. The lamb was perfectly prepared and tasty. However, the potatoes in the gratin were undercooked and again not warm so the cheese was dense. The sole in the Paupiettes of Lemon Sole w/Coquille of Lobster Savanna and Chantilly Mashed Potatoes was delicate and perfectly prepared however, the coquille of lobster was quite plain and did not enhance the flavor of the lobster. In the 7 Hr. Braised Shortribs on Spring Risotto of Baby Carrot & Fiddlehead Ferns the ribs were delicious and tender however the risotto was uninspired without the rich creamy texture of a well prepared risotto. We also noticed that many dishes were missing components. A salad was missing the horseradish panna cotta which was to accompany it and the risotto did not have fiddlehead ferns. The desserts were all quite good, particularly the Sherry Yards Blueberry Cheesecake which was rich and creamy.
After the lackluster wine help, the service continued to be unhelpful and almost rude. The waiter rushed us by taking plates while people were still eating and he practically tossed silverware at us when we ordered dessert. I understand that restaurant week is tough for waiters as often the diners do not tip as well. A restaurant should not participate if they are not going to put their best foot forward. It is unfortunate since it is a great opportunity to introduce the restaurant to new patrons. Overall, our Locke Ober experience was disappointing for what is supposed to be one of the Boston classics.
3 Winter Place