|Who Needs Donuts|
And this, my friends, is why I don't love Boscos Squared, deep in Germantown on the edge of downtown Memphis. Boscos has no love.
Boscos does have great beer. It has an absolutely gorgeous building, comfortable chairs, good art on the walls, and a wood fired brick oven. It has enormous copper fermentation tanks encased behind glass and lit with a sexy yellow-tinged light. It has a kick-ass gastropub menu with little departures like smoked duck spring rolls. All that, taken together, makes for a pretty good Yelp rating, but it doesn't make for a great restaurant.
We walked in and were greeted with the strong scent of boredom. The hostess walked us to our table with a grim determination. Our waiter, when he appeared, was so apathetic he bordered on unconscious. After a long while the food arrived, showing that the kitchen was about as pleased to be there as the front-house staff. The salad - fresh from a box of field greens, was a little wilted and presented in a towering mound. If there was love in that salad, it'd have pecans and baked brie, like the house salad at Eastside Cafe. Others fared no better - the burger my wife ordered contained gristle so palpable it nearly crunched. A burger made with love would have green chile that made you cry out with pleasure as your eyes streamed tears, like The Horesman's Haven. The mini ciabatta rolls Ella's sliders came on were soft to the point of soggy, nothing at all like the ciabatta made with love and a crust at Sweetish Hill.
Spectacularly Good columns are filled with places that vary widely on available budget, but have in common a love of food and a passion for building an experience that transcends sustenance and invites you in to play. Places like Veritable Quandry in Portland, East End Eatery in Gainesville, Sugar Mama's Bakeshop in Austin, Madcap Coffee in Grand Rapids.
In the end, Boscos wasn't the worst place I've eaten - they make an extraordinary pale ale and do enough things right for me to believe that they could have been a kind of OK place having an off night. But they will not be getting a repeat visit from me. For that, you need love.
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