Thursday, November 12, 2009

The Son Needs A Lot of Tinkering

One thing that we're trying to accomplish with this blog is to educate parents about which restaurants are actualy worth taking their children to.  Can the kids be entertained and the parents get a decent pint of beer? Can this all happen without the parents searching for credit cards with a high enough limits to pay the tab?  It's as simple as that.

When we first moved down here, one of the places that our friends told us to check out was Mount Blue, literally walkingistance from our new home.  It was restaurant and bar that occasionally had some good live music playing.  At that time, about ten years ago, it was owned by a couple of Aerosmith guys, Steven Tyler and Joe Perry.  Except for being forced to buy Joe Perry's crappy hot sauce and a strange siting of Steven Tyler cleaning the windshield of his red Mercedes in the parking lot, I didn't have many memories of the place.  A couple of owners later, Mount Blue was recast as The Tinker's Son.  An Irish Tavern with authentic music and furniture (including authentic imported church pews where the live music would be playing), run by an authentic Irish restauranteur.  Together with the promise of my favorite beer on tap, we decided to go the weekend that it officially opened for business.

Norwell, MA.  After a grueling 3 hour soccer marathon, the five of us hopped in the car and drove to the "the Son."  It was quiet, and we were informed that they were still serving brunch.  My seven year old immediately decides that he wants waffles at 2pm.  How did he know what the meaning of brunch was anyway?

GROG.  The best beer I've ever had was a pint of Murphy's Stout in a Kinsale pub back in 2007.  The chocolate and caramel flavors followed by a smooth finish puts the Guinness commercialization machine to shame.  Frankly, I'm not even sure what my wife had, or what other beers, wines or specialty drinks the place had.  Probably Guinness, Smithwicks and Harp, I imagine.  Two pints of Murphys were all I needed, though.  10.00 Happies out of 10.00.

KIDS CRAYONS AND OTHER ENTERTAINMENT.  Things quickly fell apart from there, however.  First, no crayons, no paper to write on, no games to play.  Then the only things on TV were horse racing and college football and they had to "specially make" chocolate milk for the kids in giant red soda cups.  I think they went across the street to get a couple of bottles of Nestle myself.  That would explain why it took our waiter 15 minutes to serve our drinks even though we were sitting about 10 feet from the bar.  It was either that or the pot the guy was smoking made him forget that we were there in the first place.  Jesus.  On top of all that, they didn't have a band playing at Saturday brunch, just a jukebox left over from the previous regime. 

At the end of the meal, the three kids ended up climbing all over the authentic church pews, despite our protests.  Oh well, now the pews are authentic American, too.  2.00 Happies out of 10.00.

SPEED.  Don't even get me started on this one.  There is one thing I can't stand about restaurants.  Waiting.  I don't like to wait to be seated, wait to be served or wait for the check.  Come on.  In a business like this, I expect and down right appreciate being herded in like cattle, thrown some food and herded right back out.  I don't mind subpar food, surly service or expensive meals, so long as I don't have to wait for it.  Well, our guy was just getting used to balancing work and smoke breaks, because we found ourselves waiting an eternity through every stage of our meal.  Even the other waitress on the floor was helping us, sympathizing for our plight. This is not going well.  2.00 Happies out of 10.00.

DESSERTS.  Not a good sign when I have to promise to take the kids to ANOTHER restaurant for dessert.  Even my dessert of another Murphy's wasn't enough to drag this score past 1.00 Happies out of 10.00.

WHO'S PAYING?  The prices were reasonable.  It was Saturday brunch so grilled cheeses and waffles were fairly inexpensive.  But it felt like we were paying for everything, like the extra ketchup we had to get and the cup of water we had to order.  5.50 Happies out of 10.00.

20.50 Happies out of 50.00.  Yikes, was it really that bad?  No, but remember, I'm rating a place based on whether parents can bring their children.  Despite satisfactory food,  Tinker's Son got hurt for beng child unfriendly.  I'm not a restauranteur, but in the suburbs, places should either cater to families or be too fancy to bring children, period.  Norwell isn't Boston, and here there is no in-between.  I suppose I understand the attempt at authenticity as a selling point that might dissuade children, and if the kind of clientele they want is the 50 year old twice-divorced bar flies, then they have made some shrewd decisions.  But I will tell you one thing, I will spend four times as much money bringing my family to a place they enjoy than I will spend on myself having a couple of beers with the "flies."  Steer Clear of This Place.   

1 comment:

  1. I was just here on a recent Saturday afternoon at 5pm. The only people there with us were 8-9 50 year old bar flies.