When the Ritz-Carlton gutted its storied, white-table clothed Dining Room they erected "urban," "edgy" Parallel 37 in its stead. Ron Siegel, who has led the Ritz’s kitchen for eight years and earned four stars from Bauer during its heyday, stuck around. Now about a month-and-a-half in, the kitchen is busier than it's been in years, churning out sliders, scallop carpaccios and pork chops in lieu of the multi-course tastings menus of yore. Chronicle "bar star" Camber Lay oversees a cocktail menu with all the tinctures, specialty ices, and culinary herbs people want in their drinks these days.
The big questions here are whether or not the total 180 in the kitchen and the glitzy re-design will continue to attract the locals, and whether or not the new-found buzz in the dining room will be too much of a turnoff for you-know who. Read on to see what people are saying.
The Ribeye News: Foodnut declared the steak “cooked to a perfect medium rare...a dish many will enjoy,” and Madame Tablehopper agrees: “based on the excellent beef he is using,” she writes, “that dish is a steal.” Chowhound’s Corriesue had quite another experience: “the rib eye steak came highly recommended but somehow it just didn't live up to some of the other dishes.” [Foodnut, Tablehopper, Chowhound]
The Price News: Yelp’s William M. quipped it's “Priced for the 1%.” One OpenTabler agrees, writing, “The portions are...too expensive for their miniscule quantity.” Chowhound's MMerino considered his meal “Over 400 dollars worth of mediocrity,” On the other side of the coin, an OpenTable reviewer who found the food “exceptional and fairly priced.” [Yelp, OpenTable, Chowhound]
The Size News: Willie Brown snugged up to the bar, finding “sliders, the crab cake and the chicken wings were more than enough to satisfy light diners.” Chowhound’s Corriesue was blunt: “the small plates ARE small.” One OpenTabler suggests ordering “several appetizers along with an entree to be satisfied...” [ISSF, Chowhound, OpenTable]
The Kevin Kline News: Cherylynn N. of Yelp claims she has “received BETTER service at a Chinese hole-in-the wall restaurant.” She adds, “our waiter, Justin (Kevin Kline look-a-like) was unprofessional, inattentive and completely aloof.” Foodnut considers the service “a work in progress,” but at least one OpenTable reviewer found the staff “eager to please.” [Yelp, Foodnut, OpenTable]
The Voyeurism News: Commenting on the Chef’s Table, Willie Brown notes that the chefs “are so focused that it almost seems like it’s a one way mirror, but it’s not.” In his opinion, the table is “secluded and private enough for conversation but still part of the restaurant.” [ISSF]
The Noise News: Griping about the noisiness of some local restaurants, Mikey Ear Plugs mentions that Parallel 37 “registered at least 85 throughout a busy weekend night; our bomb rating kicks in at 80, meaning it’s too noisy for normal conversation.” He added, “Everyone wants a buzz, I understand that, but it should stop short of a roar.” One OpenTable reviewer agreed, stating, “My husband and I...couldn't hear one another speak. 'Energetic' is not enough to describe it. We'll not return.” [ISSF, OpenTable]
The Tech News: Out in left field, Boston.com is chiming in on the restaurant’s use of the iPad: “A full wine list is hosted on the electronic tablet, organized by region, variety, producer or blend.” One OpenTable user found the tablet use egregious, writing, “It would help if the staff explained that the Ipad [sic] is for use by the customer and how to use it, otherwise it is pointless to use up valuable table space with it.” [Boston.com, OpenTable]
The Booze News: Over on Chowhound, Corriesue writes, “the sidecar was perfection.” Boston.com urges diners “not to miss” the Maritime Sour, but Yelper John M. deems the cocktails “flavorless.” Continues John, “I heard the staff from the Burritt Room is looking, so maybe there's hope.” [Chowhound, Boston.com, Yelp]
· All Parallel 37 Coverage [~ ESF ~]