I really don't like to write negatively of a local business. I would LOVE to rave unequivocally about a local restaurant and to be perfectly honest, we've had some fine meals at Charles Street. But had a pretty bad experience at lunch this week while entertaining visitors. Nothing worse than having to apologize to the in-laws after taking them out to a restaurant we had praised and selected for their lunch meal. That said: our party of five arrived at 12 noon. There were only three tables occupied and at least two waitresses to attend to the dining room. Even so, the initial order-taking was very slow. We eventually were able to place our order, and the waitress went on her way, returning soon after to let me know that even though I had ordered fish and chips, they were all out of "chips" (fries.) Despite the fact I saw other diners eating french fries. But they had apparently JUST run out (again, this was a weekday at noon) and I was given the options of substituting fish and <soup> or <salad> or (at my own query) the house waffle fries/chips. Fish and salad? Fish and soup? When I was in the mood for the fish and CHIPS that was on the menu? Well...I opted for the house waffle fries/chips. We ordered a VERY simple burger for my son - with very clear, very simple instructions as his preferences are for basic, bare food. But then, the wait began - and we weren't served until 45 minutes after arriving. Well, SOME of us were served at that time: the waitress brought out only three of our five meals, and had blown it on my son's burger order, with fried onions added and melted into the cheese - he doesn't like onions at all. We tried to scrape them off and salvage the remains, but it wasn't what we had specifically ordered. My fish and "fries" was really bizarre: the "fish" weren't recognizable as such either by appearance or taste: they resembled three stubby little cigars. Literally. Extremely meager size and the bits of fish inside the batter tubes was nearly indistinguishable and tasteless. But it wasn't until at least five minutes later that my wife and mother-in-law received their food. After already waiting so long for our food to be delivered, we then sat there and waited until the entire table was served. And again - there were only THREE other tables and it did not seem as though there was a deficit of staff on hand. For those of we who had the house waffle fries, they were overcooked to the point of being darkly brittle, and greasy to an extreme. And I hate to make even slight light of the situation, but in the words of the old vaudeville punchline, "....and such small portions!" I had had it at that point and firmly told the waitress our complaints and disappointments, and that we were locals. She apologized and left....and that was about it. Matter of fact, we didn't receive refills of iced tea or any other attempt to check on us after that point, after all the food was finally delivered, with errors made on the orders and all. I felt badly for my in-laws, who were visiting from out of the immediate area....and also felt badly that we had told them Charles Street was a fine restaurant, only to have my wife and myself made out to be fools or liars. The check arrived and NO adjustment had been made on any aspect of the tab, but I paid without complaint, leaving a healthy tip for the waitress, and we left. However, and again, we are locals: we will not be returning any time soon. We've had many fine meals there since its re-opening but this particular lunch left such a bad taste in our mouths (literally) that we won't consider dining at Charles Street. CONSISTENCY is paramount in a restaurant - but it's clear they're having problems delivering the goods...and I don't want to take a chance that we'll dine there on another bad day - especially when entertaining family/visitors.
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