Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Dot Dot Dot...Dash Dash Dash...Dot Dot Dot

Good evening Mr. and Mrs. America and all the ships at sea...someone should have sent some Morse Code warning me about Morse Tavern in Natick.

My mother always taught me that if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say it at all. I never listened.

On my journey getting back to local joints, I heard that “The Nicholas” had closed and re-opened under a new name. To that I say, “about time”. The Nicholas’ time had passed the minute “Nick’s” closed years earlier and opened as “The Nicholas”. These places keep opening and closing, all owned by the same family, and while they keep trying, I say three strikes and you’re out.

A year ago, we went to The Nicholas. My mother warned us that she had been a few times, and there was never anyone else here. Not a good sign, by anyone’s estimation. She wasn’t wrong, and after eating there, I could see why. A feeble, and frankly, impotent attempt at Greek cuisine. Now a year later, The Nicholas is gone, and in its place, “Morse Tavern”, a feeble and impotent attempt to create an uninteresting sports bar.

I went there on a Thursday night with the Junior Pallette and a friend and his daughter. I don’t think one of us left impressed or even satisfied. First, we had to deal with an waiter who was working his first solo shift (as he admitted when he came to take our order.) He was clearly overwhelmed, though we were his only table (and one of three in the entire restaurant that actually had people dining). Puzzling, because the parking lot was full, but I came to realize that was due to “Curves” located upstairs. Second, for the second time within a week, the description of the food didn’t match the actual food that hit the plate and our table. This is becoming an epidemic!

First, my friend ordered an appetizer of calamari. That night, they were offering a special; it was calamari in a spicy sauce. When we asked the difference between the special and the one on the menu (“Golden Fried Calamari”), we were told “just the sauce”. So my friend ordered the calamari special, with the sauce on the side. Before they delivered the order, another waitress came to confirm we wanted the “special” with the sauce on the side. That was confirmed. When they delivered the order, these were sautéed calamari, in all their naked, unbreaded, non-fried glory! I wasn’t gonna eat these things no matter what, but if I was, I wouldn’t! Just nasty little buggers. When we called the waiter over, the prison-warden waitress came with him, and with a “what’s your problem” attitude, she said “I confirmed with you that you wanted the special. This is the special-they’re sautéed.” When my friend reminded her that we asked if they were the same as the menu item, she said “whatever…I’ll get you new ones”. She’s the one who’s special! Nice, real nice.

Second, I ordered “Mustard Crusted Chicken”, which is delightfully described as “Pan seared mustard crusted chicken breast served with mashed potato and vegetable of the day”. When I ordered this, I imagined a chicken breast, perhaps coated in bread crumbs that had some mustard mixed into it, pan-seared (because that’s what it said on the menu). Imagine my surprise when it arrived and it bore absolutely no resemblance to what I expected. First, it was a very thin, flat piece of chicken; second, it was breaded and deep-fried beyond all recognition. I was so convinced that it wasn’t what I ordered, that I asked our waiter what it was. His response-“I think it’s what you ordered.” When a different server brought some more things to the table, I asked him if this was the mustard-crust chicken, and his response “if that’s what you ordered, I guess that’s what it is.”


Let’s just say, the quality of the food matched the quality of the descriptions. No wonder why the place was empty…still! Next week, I’m sure it’ll be operating under a new name. I hope it’s “Closed”.

The wrong descriptions are really troubling. How hard is it to properly describe an item, and then actually deliver what you’re telling people they’re buying? If you’re offering a grilled rib-eye steak, don’t tell me it’s roast prime rib (see the Top Shelf review) and if you’re offering mustard crusted pan-seared chicken, don’t serve me deep-fried chicken breast without a hint of mustard, and have your staff guess about what I ordered.

Not to worry, I won’t be going back to Morse Tavern…I’m sending out the SOS on that!

Until next time America…eat well, eat often.

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