Jun 1, 2010

Hyatt Harborside Boston

We arrive at the Hyatt Harborside next to Boston's Logan airport at 3:30 in the morning (our time). With a valet parking price tag of US$ 36,00, this must be a good hotel. We are tired and plan on a quiet room service evening, but Chang reads the fine print of the room-side menu: "All Room Service orders are subject to State and Local taxes, a Delivery Charge of $3.00, a service charge of 15% and an administration fee of 3%. Only the service charge is given to service personnel."

View of downtown Boston from the Hyatt

Why is the "Delivery Charge" in large caps but the "service charge" in small caps? We are getting suspicious of the Room Service, and descend to the Hyatt Harbor-Side Grill, where the outside patio with a view of downtown Boston across the harbor is closed because of smog ("Air Quality Alert"). Only minor confusion arises as we enter the grill --- stop, we do not enter the grill where we would burn on freshly ground charcoal, we enter the Grill --- enter the Grill at the wrong entrance, and only one waiter is irritated.

Chang reads the menu backwards but cannot find a dish below $36.00. I read the winelist backwards and cannot find a bottle of wine below $36.00. Thirty-Six Dollars is the lower bound of the financial algebra of this hotel. They must have hired a marketing psychologist from HBS across the Charles River to figure this out. "Why not $40.00," a pugnacious junior executive must have asked pointlessly during interminable Power Point Presentations. Was she fired?

Chang declares his lack of hunger. I declare a certain lack of alcoholism, and settle for one glass of Mondavi Chardonnay, an utterly pointless white wine served in an utterly smallish carafe.


Jeanine is our waitress tonight. "Didn't they have an Internet Special," I think to myself, and then to Jeanine. "Yes, they do," she thinks back, and, reading from her briefing papers, tells us that it's great, folks, the Special, lobster tail, scallops, shrimp, served on red and white potatoes, with Mexican veggies.

Chang seeks to locate the Special on the menu. I cannot tell her that Chang only wants to know the price, but the menu unfolds and gives the price away anyway: $36.00.

We order one dish. It is served, in due course, by Alberto, the Senior Vice President of Table-Side Assistance. "Do you care for freshly ground pepper?" he asks, as he produces The Pepper Mill, which is three times his size. Fresh pepper is ground over our single lobster dish with smooth circular motions. I love his work. He continues grinding. I still love his work. He gives me that look, but I still love his work. He continues grinding. He gives me that look again. And so on. It's becoming a grind for both of us. Swinging the pepper mill back and forth erratically, he shows his exhaustion, but I show no mercy. "Tell my children I love them," he finally exclaims as he jumps off the top of the pepper mill and drops dead.

The Grill, not the grill
Reception area

Postscript: the dish was excellent, American fusion kitchen at its very best.

2 comments:

baresytapas said...

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scribadiva said...

I've stayed at that hotel, and friends who came out of town would stay there. That was 15 years ago, when there were maybe a handful of skyscrapers. I also knew someone who worked there and got a special price for the room/suite: $300. Beautiful view, and there are plenty of great restaurants in that area. Besides, the VP's kids didn't need him if he couldn't grind enough pepper.
Funny, and I like the site, too! Sweet tides