Boston >Food & Dining > Hamersley's Bistro
553 Tremont St, Boston, MA | Directions 0211642.344049 -71.071478
Sun-Thurs 5:30-9:30pm; Fri-Sat 5:30-10pm. Sun brunch 11am-2pm
Neighborhoods: South End, Shawmut
A little short of expectations. – We had looked forward to trying Hamersley's for quite sometime; it promised to be a little quieter than the typical South end bar and restaurant scene. We started with a terrific Washington red, bread and an olive tasting, but would have liked a few more minutes to enjoy that before our soft-shell crab appetizer came, which was fine but not outstanding. We had barely finished that before our entrees came. Mine was actually very good. I had oven-baked polenta topped with gorgonzola with sundried tomatoes and olives. However, my boyfriend ordered a steak medium rare, and it definitely came medium-well, with nearly spreadable asparagus, which is a major strike against this restaurant since that particular entree cost $36. Desserts were good, but while I was using the ladies' room, my boyfriend witnessed an argument between a waiter and a busboy. Not professional at all.
Overall, the food was delicious and the place is beautiful, but the experience was not quite worth what we paid for it.
Great Food, Great Patio – I went in the summer and got to sit outside. Because it is right on the sidewalk, it has a great bistro feel to it. The food was superb, great service, no complaints at all. It was pricey, but not overly so. Definitely worth checking out. I'll go back again.
Listen to the hype – I listened to the hype and dined on the patio at Hamersley's last summer for the 1st time. I found it to be ok but not great. I have since given it 5 more tries to see if it can redeem itself as I now live around the corner from the restaurant. How thrilled I am that all 5 times I have been impressed. I have dined in the bar, on the patio, in the restaurant and have yet to be disappointed. The bartenders are wonderful, the waitstaff is so incredibly professional and the food is executed perfectly. Yes, the prices may be a tad high but if that is the only thing working against this place....long live Hamersley's!
Too Much Hype – I found Hamersley?s bistro to be a vexing and confusing experience. It seems to me that the restaurant is torn between reality and aspiration. Hamersley?s, by all outward appearances and advertisements, aspires to be a four or five star restaurant. In reality it falls well short of this goal on a number of fronts.
Upon entrance last Friday night the girls at the door presented themselves as indifferent to our arrival and after informing them of our reservation they seemed generally confused about what the next step was. Our waiter seemed similarly unwelcoming and confused, as a simple wine question took 20 minutes to answer. It should be noted that the wine list is entirely uninspired and doesn?t contain anything you can?t buy on your own so this might not be a focus there.
I will say that the food was solid; the kitchen is technically proficient and provided us with above average fare. It is unfortunate that it gets hidden behind the service and general demeanor of the staff.
All in all Hamersley?s is a good restaurant, and one worth visiting. But don?t look for an experience that will make you want to move to Boston, a decent restaurant in Chicago, San Francisco, Atlanta, etc. would be a better use of $200 per couple.
South End institution sets the city's benchmark for upscale bistro fare. – The Scene
The Hamersleys' labor of love--Gordon is the chef, Fiona the sommelier--combines a French country environment with award-winning cuisine to yield the city's classiest (and priciest) bistro experience. Foodies travel great lengths to sit in the comfy dining room and feast on Gordon's nationally renowned roast chicken, while locals looking for a slightly more casual experience grab a seat in the intimate bar or outdoor patio to share an appetizer or dessert.
Most of Hamersley's hearty, rustic dishes feature seasonal, local ingredients. The bustling open kitchen churns out an astounding number of chickens--rare is the first-time diner that skips the immensely moist and flavorful bird in favor of crispy duck confit or a grilled quail appetizer that's served with lentil salad and a curried peach. Desserts, including a light lemon custard souffle, are also excellent.
Delightful – This was my second visit to Hamersley's Bistro and I couldn't have enjoyed it more. We dined outside in the evening. The atmosphere was relaxed and, when the light garlands came on, magical. I tasted my son's soft shell crab appetizer . . .very fresh and perfectly cooked. I had the mussels in saffron cream sauce. The mussels were tender and the sauce had a perfect consistency. The saffron was subtle enough not to mask the flavor of the mussels but rather complemented it. For my entree I had the trout with crab and pea shoots in tarragon cream sauce. Fresh, perfectly cooked, again with a masterful blending of ingredients for taste and textural enjoyment. A request for a bit more sauce was promptly honored. The two sides we picked, the garlic mashed potato cake and asparagus with garlic and parmesan arrived hot and flavorful. The food was served at an efficient though leisurely pace and at the correct temperature. Service was gracious and accommodating. The whole experience was a delight. Alas, I live in FL so will have to wait for my next visit , but I absolutely will dine there again!
Outstanding dining experience – Hamersley's is one of the best restaurants in Boston. Outstanding food and service. I highly recommend this restaurant.
great food, high prices – for the s.end, this is as good as it gets. entrees are in the high 20s. the chicken is amazing. i could eat there every night.
This is one of Boston's best? – My partner and I went here after hearing so much about how great the place is supposed to be. I must say, I was let down. First, we were seated at a table with a cash register and silverware drawer right next to it. This is just poor design for such a nice place. The result was that the waiter casually would start talking from the register and then walk around to finish taking the order. Busboys did the same thing. Our bread was cold and not that flavorful - the focaccia seemed so outdated as a bread choice, let alone the bland wheat bread of some sort. I must say that the sauteed mushroom and toast appetizer was stunningly good, with earthy diverse mushrooms complemented by the garlic spread on toast that melted in my mouth. It was served piping hot and was all around perfect. The saffron mussel tort was an interesting idea and quite well executed. My cassoulet was pretty good, but it lacked a solid flavor base, and salt did not seem to be the solution. Nonetheless, it served its purpose. The leek and lobster stew, on the other hand, was a disappointment. The lobster was satisfactory, but the sauce of the stew tasted like some sort of lumpy bisque rejected from Legal. It was greasy, and while it had some hint of leaks, it was unclear what else I was supposed to be tasting. Cream? Butter? Maybe some sherry? Who knows. By this point in time, we had given up the pretense of pretending to enjoy our dinner at one of Boston's "best" restaurants. We recognized that we had a bad table. We saw food served with good timing, but no real effort to make it a quality experience. I should not have to listen to silverware clinking in an adjacent service area when I pay this much - let alone when a service person is dumping a pile of it on an adjacent table before he sets it. There are better ways to spend your money and better places to enjoy superb bistro food. Had we had a better table, at least I could have said the atmosphere was nice.
Great time – I went here with my wife for our anniversary after reading great things. The food was SPECTACULAR! I could not have asked for anything better. The service was great as well. Call ahead if you get a chance and ask to sit outside. Also make sure that you get dessert it was wonderful. I have been to many nice places in America and will put this up with anywhere. One small complaint was that our wine was bad, but they gladly accepted it back and quickly got us another bottle. This will be a MUST DO on every visit I make to the Boston area in the future. Anyone not rating this a perfect 10 is crazy!!!!
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