Have you ever woken up in a bad mood for no apparent reason? Yesterday morning I woke up overcome with an overall “meh” feeling. Maybe it was from the Celtics losing game 7 of the finals, maybe it was from lack of sleep, maybe it was because I wanted a Bacon, Egg and Cheese and this was “protein shake for breakfast week,” or maybe it was because of the disappointing experience my family and I had at Damiano the night before…which will now be referred to as The Nightmare on Hanover Street.
I discovered Damiano Ristorante on Phantom Gourmet about about a year ago, the second I heard “Italian-style Tapas” I had to go. My friends and I went for a birthday dinner in January, and we had a great experience. We were able to get 10 people in – without a wait – on a Sunday night, and it was perfect. The service, food, wine, price, everything. So when my parents came to town last Thursday, I thought it would be the perfect place, my Mom loves Tapas, my Dad loves Italian, everyone wins! Right? Wrong!
We called 30 minutes ahead to put our name in for a party of 6. We arrived early with 4 members of our party. The hostess greeted us, not with a smile or a hello, but by making sure to let us know that we would not be getting seated until the whole party arrived, It was the owner’s policy and they are very strict about it. Apparently parties of 6 lie and end up being parties of 4 or 5 quite frequently. Fine, no problem, we can wait. Five minutes later, the 5th member of our party arrives and I receive a text from the 6th that she is getting off the T. At this point we are causing a pedestrian traffic jam on Hanover street, so we ask to be seated again, telling the hostess that the 6th person is 5 minutes away. She was not having it, looking really pissed that we even asked.
The 6th member arrives! WOO! TIME TO EAT! The hostess starts setting up the table now, taking her time (it took about ten minutes from the point that the 6th person arrived) and now a waitress was giving us the stink eye, what?! We were more than patient with everything thus far, all this hatred from the staff was completely unnecessary. It felt like they didn’t want our business, didn’t want to serve us, wanted to get us out of there ASAP. Terrible.
When she finished setting up the table, we went to sit down and realized there were only 5 place settings and 5 chairs. After all of this mess I thought the number of people in our party had been established, guess not. We get her attention again to let her know and she snapped at us, “I’m working on it!” Wow.
Unfortunately the Nightmare on Hanover Street did not end with the hostess. Our waiter didn’t greet us until we had been sitting for 15 minutes, so when he finally came over we ordered everything. The food started coming and everything was excellent.The food itself was the best part of the experience. Highlights were the penne gorgonzola, eggplant, braised short rib ravioli, mushroom risotto, fried calamari, YUMMMMMM (pics coming soon).
To end the meal, the waiter ended up forgetting 2 or 3 piatinni. They weren’t on the bill and we were already full, so we didn’t make a big deal out of it. Hello!! The bill, aka your tip, would have been larger if you actually wrote something down when I was ordering. Oh, and he couldn’t be tracked down to ask for the check.
- Damiano staff is rude for no reason
- Don’t look the hostess in eye, you might turn to stone
- Food is amazing – maybe top 3 in North End – don’t let the staff get you down!
- Prices reasonable
- Good for smaller groups (2-4)
- Go on a weekday to avoid wait (aka interaction with hostess)
- Good for a date
Remember Damiano: good service can save a bad meal but a good meal can’t save bad service.
Walking to work on Friday I snapped out of my terrible mood. It was Friday, 85 and sunny, and my parents and best friend were in town! Meesh, 1 – Damiano, 0.
Enjoy your weekend 🙂