Tuesday, May 20, 2008

The Beehive - Legal Drinkers Beware!

The Beehive - 541 Tremont Street, Boston, MA 02116

The Beehive was where our family celebrated my brother, Peter's college graduation. We were all looking forward to trying it, especially because we've heard great things about it and also because we were curious about checking out Boston's trendy South End district. The food more than surpassed our expectations but the service was despicable in my opinion and I wouldn't go back. I fully believe that the restaurant business is about taking care of people and this wasn't done here at all--actually on the opposite, I felt shunned and embarrassed.

Located at the Boston Center for the Arts, The Beehive is a tricky place to spot. First of all, we drove by it without noticing it (there's no sign) and even when walking up to it, it was anything but obvious. The only hint you get is the letter "B" and its address, 541 Tremont.

As you walk in, the dark, mysterious vibe envelops you. The lighting is subtle, the decor is shabby-chic and all the servers wear clothes so casual and effortless that ironically, they look meticulously put-together. Seating is available both upstairs and downstairs. If you're here to enjoy a nice dinner rather than quick appetizers and drinks, I recommend dining downstairs. There's a nice-sized stage on this floor with a vintage lace curtain and the atmosphere is reminiscent of a 1920's Parisian artist hangout--the very inspiration for this restaurant. In fact, The Beehive stays so true to its artist roots that it features live jazz, cabaret and burlesque acts on most evenings, usually starting at 10p.

You probably know that I usually save this section for last but this time I'd like to switch it up. I want to pay special attention to Beehive's rude service, which left me feeling shunned, unappreciated and insignificant.

The cause of the problem was the wine list. Since this was Peter's celebratory dinner, we wanted to get a good bottle of wine to toast the occasion. I asked our waitress for suggestions and she was helpful, offering us a small tasting before giving us a full bottle--reasonable decision. Before bringing out the sample, she asked for my ID, which I guess was customary. This is where I messed up--I stupidly forgot to transfer it from my other handbag. I was annoyed at myself and apologized for not having my ID but told her that I was 27 going on 28 and that I was with my parents who could vouch for me. Mami and Oci of course chimed in and added "this is our daughter--she's 28!" It didn't matter. Not only was I not served alcohol that night, I was given an attitude about it. There was an underlying bitterness that lingered at our table throughout the night, which came from me and our waitress. At one point, she asked us curtly if "we'd like to quit now and just call it a night." Who says that? It was condescending and unnecessary.

To make a long story short, my parents and brother ended up getting alcohol and I sadly toasted to my brother's accomplishments with a lonely water. It was embarrassing, annoying and although partially my fault, the whole thing was absolutely ridiculous and something that would never happen in New York. What can I say, Boston is the pits. I'm happy that I have no reason to come back anytime soon.

Food and Cost:
After my horrid experience with the service, I'd be lying if I said that the food was disappointing. It wasn't. In fact, it was way above average and everyone (including my dad who is the toughest food critic) loved it. Here's what we tried:

Mini Beef Wellingtons ($9): These were hands-down the table favorite. The beef was so tender that it was coming apart and the buttery pastry crust was pure divinity on a plate.

Ricotta Stuffed Red Peppers ($8): Also an appetizer, this one was yet another stand-out. Two large roasted peppers were bursting at the seams with creamy ricotta cheese, seasoned with fragrant herbs and pepper. This dish was very rich and I was starting to feel full after eating only a small portion.

Broiled Scallops with Lemon & Parmesan Cous-Cous ($22): This was my entree and it was sensational. The scallops were cooked to absolute perfection and floated in a sweet butter sauce with roasted garlic, breadcrumbs and parsley--heaven! The cous-cous reminded me more of risotto--it was super creamy and topped with garlic spinach. I was happy with the portion, which I thought was generous but not excessive.

The other entrees were also devoured by my family. I tried Peter's hanger steak ($25) but after taking that fabulous steak class with Mike Calameco, my expectations were high and I was disappointed with Beehive's version--the meat was too tough. My dad loved his salmon ($21)--a safe dish--and my mom was happy to experiment with the baked polenta, spinach, ratatouille, ricotta ($18) that tasted like homemade dumplings. My mom also tried a seasonal side dish called fiddleheads ($8). They're a type of fern shaped like a squiggly circle (sort of like a green snail) and slightly charred in the middle--they reminded me of sauteed Brussels sprouts.

Chocolate Ricotta Cheesecake: Despite our waitress's suggestion, we did not call it a night and ordered a sweet finish. I absolutely loved this cheesecake because it had a natural chocolatey taste and a crumbly consistency. I'm not a fan of super creamy cheesecakes because they often taste artificial. I reached for many spoonfuls of this delicacy, which rested on a fluffy cloud of whipped cream--perfection on a plate. And again, the portion was more than generous for four people.

Food: 3 Mmmms, Service 0 Mmmms


  1. Wow, what a jerk that waitress was! I'll definitely avoid this spot next time I'm up in Boston. Sheesh.

  2. While it sounds like the waitress was an idiot, you did forget your i.d.! you should have sucked it up and enjoyed your water and perhaps the experience would have been better. At least the food was good. And don't be angry at Boston for a bad experience at one restaurant! It is the best city out there (sorry, native bias). And I enjoy reading your blog!

  3. Hi Alan,

    I know...all you say is true. I just have to suck it up. But I have to take a little break from Boston and its stringent rules. Thanks for reading :)




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