Hamersley’s Bistro – Boston, MA
553 Tremont St
Boston, MA 02116-6306
For the most part, I value good food over service. I used to say to people that “food is all that matters – service is irrelevant if the food isn’t good”, but i’ve since backed off such a polarized view. After all, i realized that great service often colors one’s view of the food (it can be hard to separate the two – since you *want* to like the food more). And really good food with lousy service, sometimes isnt worth it. Depending on the situation of course.
A pricey, well regarded South End bistro with a special Sunday Brunch menu, Hamersley’s Bistro continually draws rave reviews for their food and service. Seemed like a nice place to meet up with family for a tasty meal. Especially when meeting the new “boyfriend” for the first time.
The inside of Hamersley’s Bistro has a nice, though formal feeling to it. White linen, columns, high arching ceilings, there is a tremendous amount of light that makes the space feel comfortable, yet a bit formal for my preference.
We were seated quickly and efficiently. A server popped by with promises to return for a drink order. 15 minutes later, another server came over and took our drink orders – when we tried to put our actual order in at the same time, they requested we wait and left again. Finally we got our food order in – it took 30 minutes. Not the most promising of starts, but luckily, we had a lot to talk about.
I’ve heard rave reviews regarding the food, so i was looking forward to my poached eggs. I’ve found that most places actually have difficulty poaching an egg properly – a bit frustrating at times. These eggs were perfectly poached, and tasted nice with the morbier cheese. However, served on a very plain toasted english muffin, ham and greens that failed to add anything, and a herbed beurre blanc, I found it to be good, but not great.
The homemade granola with fresh fruit was visually appealing, and tasted reasonably good. A few of the berries were past prime and mushy, and for $10 I feel should’ve been picked out, but otherwise, no complaints.
Buttermilk waffle with fruit and syrup was light, fluffy, and sweet. Weren’t quite crisp enough to hold up to over saucing with maple syrup, but a decent waffle.
Lastly, a skillet breakfast with toast, eggs, bacon, and home fries. Also decent (the home fries were excellent), but nothing amazing.
The meal at Hamersely’s Bistro takes us about an hour to eat. Well, more like 30 minutes with 35 minutes of chatting. The food, for the most part, was pretty decent. May not have been worth the prices paid, but I had for the most part no complaints. Everything was well executed. What was most frustrating though, was how long it took to get the bill. 40 minutes. We were looking at leaving, but our server was no where to be found. We had difficulty flagging a server down to help us. The server we did flag down said they would look for our server, and then never came back. Ignoring that our server had a fairly condescending tone for the times we did interact (it could just be regional differences after all), taking 40 minutes to get the bill, or be checked on, isn’t acceptable in my world. Not at a “4 star” French Bistro, that prides itself on top notch food and service. Even if we failed to order over priced drinks, that shouldn’t have been reason enough.
Total time spent: 2 hours, 20 minutes. About an hour too long. With service i found less than perfunctory…i was down right insulted some of the time, but try not to project my own personal feelings onto a review.
Im not sure this review ends up being very fair – because really, the food was good. But the food wasnt good enough at Hamersley’s Bistro to make up for the bad service we had. So sometimes, i guess service does matter to me. A revelation really. I don’t think I would ever go back because of the service. Too bad really – I was hoping for a lot more.