Boston >Food & Dining > Bonfire
64 Arlington St (Park Plaza Hotel), Boston, MA | Directions 0211642.350800 -71.070100
Neighborhoods: Downtown, Central
Very Good, Excellent Service & Tasty Food – I went here last Friday for Restaurant Week and was really impressed. The staff were extremely friendly and attentive. Bonfire also had one of the better Restaurant Week Menu's I have seen. I was a little nervous about the whole Restaurant Week deal because I had heard some places really don't care and put little to no effort into pleasing patrons who choose to order off the RW menu; Bonfire certianly did not fall into this category. The Drinks were some of the best I have had in Boston - I had the French 45 Martini and it was amazing. The chicken I ordered was well seasoned and cooked to perfection. My friend had nothing but good things to say about her steak. My only complaint is that my chocolate mousse had a consistency more similar to ice cream than mousse. Other than that, the cool atmosphere rounded out the dinner making for a great experience...I would definately go back agian.
Not all it's cracked up to be – My husband and I went on a whim on a Monday night. We did not order any wine or drinks so our palates were fresh. The butter with the bread was tasty, but we were underwhelmed by some of the food. Both the calamari and the smoked duck taquitos were disappointing. The duck taquitos especially missed on flavor, with the avocado cream simply bland. The tuna tartare tacos had flavorful components, except for the taco. I ate the filling, but left the shell. The mac and cheese side (only six bucks) was a full sized meal (I couldn't finish it) and was probably the best mac and cheese I've had in a long time. My husband ordered a mixed meat dish and, while most components were tasty, it was only slightly above average. For two, this meal came (with tip) to about 100 bucks. I think I would have gotten the most for my dollar (not to mention a tasty meal) if I had only ordered from the six dollar side menu. The food service was slow, while the water service was very prompt. We probably won't go again unless I have that mac and cheese hankering, in which case I would go and order the mac and cheese side for 6 dollars. It is probably the only thing we had whose value met or exceeded its price. On the plus side, portions are relatively large for a restaurant of this supposed status.
Meh. Good, not great. – Thought we'd give this a try since it had the Todd English name on it, more reasonable prices than Olives, and without Olive's arrogant $25 per person reservation cancellation fee... First warning when walking in the room - place was empty on a Thursday night... Sat down in the large, creaky chairs and wondered if we were going to fall over. Room is dark, and a bit dungeon-like. Hostess was extremely pleasant, and the runners were very attentive. Waitress was a bit odd, but no complaints about the service overall. Menu was interesting, food was good, but not "iron chef" knock-your-socks-off caliber. Calimari app was good. Scallops were smallish, but artfully presented and very good. Paella was good. Halibut not so great. None of us ordered steaks, so can't comment on the quality of the beef. Drinks tasty. Would I return? Probably not, in this town with so many other dining options.
Worst dining experience ever... no joke – All six of us were disgusted by our experience at Bonfire. The horrorfest began when it to our "waiter" over 30 minutes to make any contact with our table. When he finally graced us with his presence he neglected to inform us that they were out of several menu items (despite in being earlier than 9PM on a Sat. night). I only found this out after he said that BOTH the appetizer and entree I wanted were unavailable. The appetizers came in a reasonable amount of time and were decent but then we waited endlessly for our entrees. Despite having not yet been served our entrees an hour and half after being seated our "waiter" never once came to our table to apologize. When I finally approached him, he said "they were having a problem," but that was it. When our food still didn't arrive, WE approached the manager who was again, neither empathetic nor apologetic. When the food finally arrived, one of the orders was wrong. In a stunning display of incompetence, they had run out of another item (clam tacos) and brought our friend (who was pregnant) lobster tacos WITHOUT ever asking her or telling her. The orders that were right, were thoroughly mediocre: my steak was underdone, my wife's was overdone and our table's ribeyes looked curiously identical to our table's sirloins. I could have driven to Whole Foods, bought a better piece of meat and prepared a much better meal at home in less time than it took them to plop an unimpressive brown slab on our plates. They comped our entire meal, but we still felt like we overpaid. To recap: if you want to endure unimaginably bad service to wait an unthinkably long time for food that was fair at best, then Bonfire is for you, if not, you would be better off going to any other restaurant in Boston, including any local McDonalds. Maybe Todd English should spend less time being a "celebrity" and more time paying attention to the horrors diners are forced to endure at the restaurants that bear his name.
Were you feel like a king – The first time we went to Bonfire we were sitted at one of the small table close to the bar/grill. It's wasn't that romantic, but we really liked the food, and decided to come back, and ask specifically for the main dining room. We got it, and it was a totally different experinence ! You're sitted on these big royal chairs, in this quite dark place, and you feel like a medieval king/queen. The food was great the first time, and apparently even better the many times after, when we were in the main dining room. They have one of the best seared tunas in town, and the steaks are cooked to perfection, big and tasty, well worth a steak-house. We discovered the Grand Marnier flight, it's a great way to finish a wonderful meal. We love to take out-of-town friends here, they are always impressed.
Good Food, Poor & Inappropriate Service – We chose Bonfire for the "highlight meal" of a weekend get-away. The food was very good, especially the Chichanonnes, Paella, and the dry-aged prime rib, which was served with the biggest popover I've ever seen. The Chichanonnes were excellent and somewhat exotic. The confit chicken taco was a bit disappointing as we still can't figure out if they were accidentally served cold or purposely served that way.. The meal overall was quiet good. Unfortunately, it was undermined by a lackluster waitress devoid of any personality. The runners were far more attentive and friendly than she was, and was a blight on an otherwise nice experience. She didn't listen to my wine selection, even though I gave her the number and pointed to it on the menu, and she never introduced herself, approaching the table by simply saying "Hi, can I start you off with a drink?" never telling us the specials and leaving us to have our appetizers on our bread plates. It was a disappointing disconnect from our expectations, the restaurant and the quality of food, but assume it was an isolated incident.
An exotic and expensive steakhouse experience lures Todd English followers to the Park Plaza Hotel. – The Scene
Befitting the priciest, gaudiest entity in celebrity Chef Todd English's local stable of restaurants, Bonfire entertains a steady stream of out-of-towners and local celebs. Most of the heat, figuratively and literally, comes from the bar area, where stylishly dressed 30-somethings down refreshing, house-brewed sangria while gawking at the open kitchen's fiery grills and spits. The expansive dining room, with its arched crimson ceiling, maintains a romantic, mysterious air.
English gives the contemporary steakhouse menu a decidedly Latin twist, sometimes sacrificing authenticity for quality. After starting with crisp beef empanadas or a trio of soft tacos filled with scallops and mango, most patrons head straight to one of the top-quality steaks and chops. A juicy cut of prime rib weighs more than a pound and comes with a freshly baked popover, while a tenderloin is butterflied and served with a savory potato cake.
Good food, not so romantic – My husband and I had dinner here to celebrate our anniversary after stupidly waiting until the week of it to make a reservation for dinner in Boston on a Saturday night - we got into Bonfire and we'd heard good things. The wait staff was knowledable, attentive, patient. The food was good, especially the steak - fantastic. The restaurant itself was really loud. We had a table, opposed to a booth, so we were shouting at each other to hear over the noise. I can imagine it could be romantic if you sat very close together, but we didn't have that option.
It was...ok! – The hosts weren't friendly and sat us in the worst seats, but did change when we requested. Our server asked if we wanted water and then we didn't see him again until years later when he wanted to take our order. He must have assumed that we wouldn't want to be offered a beverage other than water. We're laid back so we just giggled about it. He was VERY nice, just lacking in the basic waiter skills. The Crab nachos were YUMMY! We also ordered the ever trendy iceberg/blucheese salad, it was very disappointing. I wish we tried the tacos instead. Our filet mignon's were..well..ok! Absolutely nothing special. It's funny cuz' we really aren't persnickety people at all. We pretty much laugh at people who write negative reviews with nitpicky things sited. But I really felt the need to give an honest opinion on Bonfire because of the high price.
User review by cathy10 – Bonfire was excellent. Very nice set-up and wonderful atmosphere. Lindsy was our waiter, who unfortunately is leaving, but his suggestions were superb. The "Churrasco" was the best. Recommend the Skirt Steak Taco and Brown Butter Braised Lobster Taco. Wine and drinks were very good. The whole experience was worth the price. Look forward to returning to Bonfire and visiting Lindsy at his new restaurant in Jamaica Plain.
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