Boston >Food & Dining > Symphony 8
8 Westland Ave, Boston, MA | Directions 0211542.343154 -71.086495
Neighborhoods: Fenway, Fenway/Kenmore
AWFUL! DO NOT BOTHER! – Went there Friday night before a symphony performance and it was downright AWFUL. We ordered 3 apps and drinks. The bartender was never behind the bar, it took forever to just get a menu, let alone our food and our check. The mozz triangles had no flavor, the nachos were plain (hardly any cheese) and the spinach dip was basically frozen green giant spinach de-thawed and thrown in a casserole dish with no cheese, cream or flavor. Would not recommend to anyone and will never go back!
Classical it ain't – To be fair, I wrongly assumed that a venue near SYMPHONY HALL and the BU THEATRE might be a little cool, maybe upscale. Yeah...no. We got to Symphony8 after the theatre around 10:15 and were carded at the door...bad sign there for a "restaurant." We wanted a decent decibel level where we could discuss the play we'd just seen-but the music was too loud and there were drunk students shrieking next to us. The lighting was garish (though finally about 11pm they dimmed them a bit) We asked for a little bread with our drinks and got 5 toast points with prepackaged butter. The pizzas were OK but globbed with cheese.
Please won't someone put a decent restaurant within easy walking distance to the theater and Symphony Hall, anyone? anyone? Back to Brasserie Jo's I guess.
If this was Irish Food, the Irish would all be Fat – Ah, ye old public house. Purveyor of dark beers and guilty comfort foods, your allure is as timeless and spiritually quenching as your fare is... ahem... calorically dense. We're not holding that against you; no, we're asking you for it. You're perfectly fine in moderation, after all, and you make us so darned happy. Health is about more than just your body fat percentage.
With that in mind, I took my inaugural Symphony 8 trip -- Siansa 8, to be specific -- on the rainy Monday last. My DP and I sat, fittingly, by the window: if ever there was a gray and storm day for a restaurant to make us feel like we were in a cozy Irish pub, this was it.
Here's the thing, though: they sort of didn't.
We entered, sat, ordered a couple beers, and sent for a house salad, a Reuben, and some fish and chips. When a restaurant implies it's a something-or-other, it's practically your job to put it through the paces. What better commonplace dishes to test the chops of the newest so-called Irish joint in town? For a city with as rich an Irish heritage as Boston, it's somewhat wanting for kitchens that can crank out a stinkin' coddle or a boxty.
We got our beers in short order; service was prompt and friendly, and while our salad was heavy on the dressing, the olives were excellent (I'm a stickler). A fine portent.
Our food came out after about fifteen minutes. The table, at present, was strikingly brown: a mountain of tater tots gave way to crispy rye, while to the north, a large slab of battered-and-fried fish was nestled against a forest of skin-on fries. Newcastles dotted the landscape. Tartar sauce waved for our attention.
Our salad was now an afterthought: fried food is delicious, and hell, it's what we ordered, but one would imagine that the conscientious restauranteur would design his menu so that any given combination of dishes would feature something -- anything -- that was green. A spring of basil. A touch of parsley. Hell, it doesn't even have to make any sense. Just put it there. It helps our stomachs -- and minds -- be at ease. Even a quarter-pounder has pickles on it.
The food itself was tasty. The tater tots were great: supremely crispy, much more crunchy than the fries, which were good, though a bit pallid. Both were sprinkled with coarse-grain salt, a friendly detail that pointed toward the promise of careful improvements in the future. The Reuben was delectable: all its elements were present and distinguishable, and though the bread sogged up after a few minutes (it had been crisped up on a very buttery griddle), I really had no complaints about the sandwich itself. The fried fish was average. The batter adhered well. My DP compared it to a Chicken McNugget.
The problem -- and please, keep in mind, this comes from a fryer-friendly diner -- was that there was just too much fried-ness. It's grease without the soul. The portions were screwy: on both plates, the volume occupied by the sides (i.e. the fries and tots) very much outweighed the volume occupied by either the sandwich or the fish. That, as a customer, is a little bit grating: unless you're primarily concerned with selling your fabulous sides, please give me more of my entree.
After a Newcastle, a plate of tater tots, a side of Reuben, and a healthy sampling of the DP's plate, I was done; not in a satisfied way, but in an "I shouldn't have just eaten that" sort of way. It's not a feeling I get very often, but my stomach was letting me know that I'd given it too much batter, too much oil. DP felt the same way: hours later, as we contemplated dinner (more out of habit than hunger), all we could seem to muster up was the names of vegetables. "How about... carrots? Or... *gurgle*... do we have any cucumbers?"
Go with an empty stomach. Go with restraint. And, for the love of god, go prepared to soak up some greasiness. Above all -- and no, you didn't hear this from me -- go with some celery in your pocket or something. Weather the storm. You'll thank me later.
Prohibited - Speakeasy for NEU kids... maybe. – This review only pertains to Prohibited, the bar downstairs. A modern "speakeasy" of sorts. I'll keep it short and simple.
My expections were based off what they said on their facebook page. I'd need a password to get in (which you get from facebook). The door is behind a sliding bookshelf. Neat. Downstairs your greeted by a prohibition era-style bar with fancy cocktails.
What I found was different.
1) The secret door was open, nobody to give a password too. That removed the initial fun and excitement. It also removed their gimmick.
2) The cocktail menu was "Sponsored by Rogue" spirits. Seriously? It looked like Rogue gave them the menu. Whiskey or gin, your pick.
3) The bartender didn't measure out any drinks.
4) The atmosphere is a hodgepodge of barrels, stuffed animal heads and a few pieces of prohibition-era artifacts on the wall and post-modern-chic furniture. its got an identity crisis.
5) Drinks were $12. Sorry, I pay less at Drink for an amazing cocktail.
The patrons were all NEU "bros". So if you like that, enjoy. If not, go elsewhere.
Best fries in town – Redsox08 is one of those people?
I generally don't leave reviews but I've been to this place enough to know thats not a proper testament at all.
Food is way above average and more than reasonable.
Drinks are good and best savored in the cool basement area called Prohibited?
Have been back 3-4 times.
Staff are attentive and polite
Citysearch Editorial Review – Arriving at Symphony 8 is just the first step--the next is choosing which restaurant you’d like to check out inside. Three outposts under one roof comprise this hodgepodge of a scene, anchored with the flagship Symphony 8 restaurant offering classic American fare and more than 50 brews on tap. Alternatively, clink pint glasses at next-door Irish pub Siansa 8, or let your inner wild child roam at the speakeasy Prohibited (duck down the hidden staircase, cleverly concealed behind a moving bookcase, to enter). The triptych of establishments share a relaxed, vintage feel with lots of dark wood, dim lighting and food that tastes like something your mom would serve, slathered with gravy. If you’re feeling truly inventive, try bouncing around to all three spots in one night.
worst place ever – We went here for a Christmas party and the waistaff thought it was ok to eat our appetizers. When asked what he was doing he replied "I haven't eaten all day" and continued to pop them into his mouth while he mingled with our party. UNBELIEVABLE!!
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