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“The dining room is fancier than their food.”
Review of The Boon Island Ale House - CLOSED

The Boon Island Ale House
Price range: $10 - $15
Cuisines: American, Bar, Pub
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Business meetings, Bar scene, Special occasions, Local cuisine, Families with children, Large groups
Dining options: Late Night, Dinner, Full Bar, Parking Available, Reservations, Seating, Serves Alcohol, Waitstaff
Dining style: Casual Dining
Description: Casual, Comfortably Elegant Chef Inspired Restaurant with a Nautical flare.
Charlottesville, Virginia
Level Contributor
54 reviews
42 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 23 helpful votes
“The dining room is fancier than their food.”
Reviewed June 28, 2013

My family and I arrived at The Boon Island Ale House, “BIA”, a little desperate. If we had not been in the situation we were in then we never would have eaten here. It just so happened that we had been driving around Wells looking for a place to eat, because we had plans to go to another nice area restaurant, but learned it was closed on Tuesdays. After driving around we found that there were many other restaurants closed. I don’t know if it’s like this all year in Wells or if it’s because technically early/ mid-June is still considered the offseason. When we arrived at "BIA" it was getting late and the kids, 2, 4 and 6 years old were hungry. My brother and I went in to check out how kid friendly the place would be. His thoughts were, “it’s an Ale House, how fancy could it be?” We found out. The dining room had white table clothes, leather chairs and sofas with pillows on them. The décor was nautical with a few fancy model ships. It’s definitely not the place you would want to take 3 young children. We asked the hostess if they could accommodate a party of 8 with 3 children. She said it would be no problem, because they were not very busy and surprisingly she handed us a children’s menu. They also had pages printed up of sea creatures for the kids to color. The hostess was very nice and we decided to try it rather than drive into Ogunquit looking for someplace else.

When we were seated the waitress came for our drink order. She never told us of any specials. She never told of about their beers or about any of their other drinks. There was no wine list or beer list. Most places that present themselves as an Ale House want to promote their own beer and have a pairing of beers and wines with their food. Our waitress disappeared a lot, and it was almost an hour from when we ordered our food to when it arrived. When we did see our waitress again we asked about a possible beer sampler. She brought us one and we found out why they do nothing to promote their beers. They were not very good. By now we were all very hungry and despite everything if we had some good food all would be forgiven, but much like the beer most of the food was a best mediocre with one surprising exception.

When the food finally arrived we should have been expecting what we got. Let’s start with the kid’s meals. My 2 year old niece got a bowl of pasta off the kids menu. It came in a giant bowl with what had to be at least a half-pound of linguine tossed with what tasted like an unseasoned can of diced tomatoes. My kids got the chicken fingers which were overcooked, dry, unseasoned and inedible, but they did come with some really good fries. We gave them some of my niece’s pasta and they didn’t really like that either and I couldn’t blame them. I had the seared scallops; it is described as “Scallops pan seared with sweet pea and potato hash mustard vinaigrette”. The scallops were not seared they were in fact burned around the edges and the hash was undercooked and under seasoned. The sweet potatoes had a raw crunch with each bite. I'm not sure if this was by design or unintentional. My brother got a Caesar salad with a side of boneless buffalo wings. The salad dressing was flavorless and the wings were the same chicken fingers the kids had, but were coated in a tradition buffalo wing sauce that was not half bad. My mother was happy with her house steak. My wife and sister-in-law both got the Gnocchi. It was in fact absolutely delicious. I will give "BIA" credit for their large portions. There was so much they shared it with everyone at the table and we all loved it. The kids liked it so much it was pretty much all they ate. When all was said and done we paid a lot of money for 2 bowls of Gnocchi that everyone nibbled on, a good steak, some good fries, an average Caesar salad and boneless wings, burned scallops, some bad beer, and a couple kid’s dinners no one really liked.

  • Visited June 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank fletch958
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

201 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
    123
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Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • Any
English first
Georgetown, Texas
Level Contributor
31 reviews
25 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
“Big Improvement in Wells!”
Reviewed June 28, 2013

We have lived for about ten years around three miles from the building that became Boon Island Ale House last year, and watched a succession of restaurants come and go. We think this one will stick for quite a while if they stay with the current roster of players. Previous businesses at that location did little to distinguish themselves from the dime-a-dozen like them in the area. Mostly small operations that served very common, not bad, just undistinguished food.
Boon Island looks different when you walk in the front door. First off, it looks different. White table cloths, leatherette chairs, a mixture of tall and regular tables, and some real decor! Everyone seems to know there job, from the front of the house to the back. If you want pompous, this is not it! But, if you want good food, reasonable service and a relaxed atmosphere, this is likely your place. In a recent visit, my wife had a salad with steak topping it, and she pronounced it delicious. The steak was medium to medium rare, just as she likes it and the vegetables in the salad were varied and fresh. I had the breaded fish sandwich and it was not the usual. It was not fried, but baked with a breading that was certainly different. It was delicious, although I would have like somewhat less breading as the haddock was just wonderful. It was light, flaky and a bit too mild to make it's statement over the flavorful breading in the quantity used. About half as much breading and it would have been five stars!
There was so much food in our meals that we could not even consider desserts, although served at the adjoining table looked very good. The ales range from okay to very good, and it seems they are improving each time we go there. A new place always takes some adjusting to get just right, so this one definitely shows promise. We are very hopeful they stay and continue to develop!

  • Visited June 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
1 Thank 19don36
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Toronto
Level Contributor
41 reviews
21 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
“Surprisingly Bland”
Reviewed June 20, 2013

We visited Boon Island Ale House in June of 2012 and had a great experience - good food and service in this slightly quirky environment. After last year's positive experience, we looked forward to visiting again this year, and it is with some disappointment that I have to rate it as very average. Dumplings and vegetable tempura were good sized portions and well enough prepared, but served with what seemed to be a commercial Thai sauce. The Caesar salad was so bland I wondered if they'd forgotten the dressing. Ditto the tuna tartare which I had remembered fondly from our last visit - this time seemed to be roughly chopped tuna and cucumber with no spicing served on a bed of chopped avocado that, again, was very bland. My husband's lobster ravioli was good, but the sauce - yep, bland again. To their credit, everything was very fresh - but ordinary. On the service side, our waitress was very pleasant, but seemed untrained. In response to requests to replace knives cleared with our appetizers, she handed us the cutlery and napkin sets from the next table - leaving me with four forks (and no, it wasn't busy). I'd like to think this was just an off night - but will hesitate before going back.

  • Visited June 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank Jandy49
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Cambridge, Massachusetts
Level Contributor
82 reviews
59 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 29 helpful votes
“This place is on the fancy side, but good!”
Reviewed June 15, 2013 via mobile

Don't be fooled by the exterior, on the inside there's white tablecloths. Leather/pleather chairs and attentive service. I'm not a beer expert but I sampled their lighter beer and it worked for me. We dined on scallops, lobster, fish tacos and prime rib. There was something for everyone and kids were happy with their meals ( chicken tenders excepted ). It's a bit pricier than average but it worked well for our group of 7.

  • Visited June 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
1 Thank dougwig
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
1 review
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
“We love the clam chowda . I stay with in walking distant so I usually get take out . Staff is always friendly when you walk in .”
Reviewed May 3, 2013

I have gone by my self or with friends staff is always friendly . I get the clZm chowda and haddock bites , a great value

  • Visited May 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
3 Thank rachsel1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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