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British Beer Company (JP's Review) or The Revenge


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Last week I complained about these freaking dudes from the suburbs coming into my town and trying to ruin my night. Well, I figured it's time for some revenge. How would these people like it if I came into their town and made a ruckus at their restaurants? (In actuality, we spent the day trying to find clothes for a wedding at the Natick Collection, then went along route 9 in Framingham to the Wal-Mart for some Totino's pizza, and then to Natural Sound to listen to some home theater systems. I've decided I'm going to save up some money to equip the condo with the B&W 686 series of speakers.)

So it was 6pm and we were just about to head back to Boston. Last time we were in the area, we noticed the British Beer Company being built with a sign saying they are opening soon. We were kinda hungry and thirsty, so we thought, "Hey, a brewery, lets grab a nice micro-brew and have a snack." As we drove into the parking lot, it was bad news immediately. Why they hell were there 20 people waiting outside? Why the hell was there no parking space available anywhere? This is the god damn suburbs at 6 freaking PM!!! The only people who should be eating here are geriatrics and Boston-folks who came out of the city to do shopping. As we finally parked and walked in, past the people waiting outside, the inside waiting area was twice as bad. This did not look good...maybe the bar will have a spot. Abby went to go check it out while I waited in line to add our name to the list. Just as Abby came back shaking her head, I was putting our name down and was told it'll be a 45 minute wait...45 freaking minutes? In Framingham? I felt like I was in Bizarro world. Oh well...we can easily kill 45 minutes having a few beers, so we walked into the extremely large bar area and tried to find a spot to stand and get a beer.

I was disappointed to find out that this place was not a brewery at all. Oh, well, I'll just have myself a Boddingtons. Wrong again JP. The bartender said that they didn't have any, so I went with the Tetleys...and that was out, so the Monty Python Holy Grail was my next choice. We paid for our beers and then went to a large open area in front of the stage. (Oh yes, there's a stage here...apparently live music acts will come play out here to play. I believe it goes: garage => high school party => British Beer Company => Boston Garden.)

So now we had time to wait and people watch. (The pager they gave us also had various forms of tetris on it that you could play...clearly we were in a classy place.) Well, the crowd was as diverse as any restaurant could be: there were the old, who were grumpy and angry that they weren't seated first and that there was no early bird special, there were the families, who were showing their kids what a fine dining experience really was, and there were the younger crowd, clearly dressed up for a night in Boston after their wonderful meal at the BBC. As we were talking amongst ourselves, this girl apparently walks by in a slinky dress that is way too short. At least that's what Abby says. I couldn't see this girl because her larger, uglier friend was blocking my view. I guess Abby was right, because a group of people next to us started making comments about how short her dress was and why was she dressed that way, this is Framingham, not Boston. Now I had to see what this young lady was wearing, to judge for myself if it was too short. The circled the bar, and finally was in my view...and I gotta say, I don't think it was short at all. In fact, if anything, it wasn't short enough. I mean, this young lady clearly had a different opinion about herself that what the truth actually is, but as my mom used to say, "Go ho or don't go at all." (My mom never really said that, in fact she rarely speaks English, and when she does her main phrase is "No money, no honey." But I'm sure if she would have saw this girl, she would have made some sort of snide comment...gotta love mom for being mean.)

As we were waiting, there were not one, but two tables (high tops as those in the industry call them) empty as can be. Every time people sat in them, they were promptly told to get up and put their names in at the front. An old, grumpy (and fat) couple decided they had enough and sat down. A waitress came over and asked them if they were seated here, and they flat out lied and said they did. Well, the hostess was brought over, and she clearly did not sit this couple and they were told to get up and put their name into the list. Now, there wasn't much to like about the service tonight, but that was very nice to see. This group definitely didn't understand how to work turnover, but boy could they stop an old couple from getting their way.

Now we were 30 or so minutes into our wait, and something exciting happens. No, the pager does not start beeping indicating we have a table, but the group next to us drops a pint glass shattering it on the ground and getting Abby's back a little wet. Talk about excitement! This must be what they do in the suburbs when there's an awkward pause in the conversation. The group apologizes profusely, we say it's no problem at all, and I decide to use this opportunity to voice my displeasure about waiting so long for what will surely be crappy food. "And we'll keep throwing glasses on the ground until we are seated!" I scream out loud. That really got the suburbanites laughing...I should see if I could book the BBC for a stand up routine.

Anyway, this is a review of the food, not the people. After we ordered another beer (this time I did get a Boddingtons...that young blonde waitress should really know what beers they stock) our beeper goes off and we get seated at a 4-top that's on the stage that has been empty for over 20 minutes. We sit down, order some water, and look over the menu. What the hell is "Vietnamese Fresh Rolls" doing on a British menu? (Why it's priced at $7.95 is an entirely other question.) There were other Asian-inspired dishes on this menu as well...clearly, British food is not what I thought it was. I asked the waitress what's the deal with all the Asian-styled dishes, and apparently the chef is some sort of Ming Tsai wannabe and he made a menu that is England meets Southeast Asia. Interesting, I think I'll stick with the British side of the menu. After debating between the bangers and mash or the fish and chips, I decided on the latter. It comes with french fries, onion rings, and cole slaw, but I switched out the cole slaw for "panko crusted green beans" which caught my eye. Abby got the Pork PoggWich, which sounded really funny.

We got our food, and I was in fried-goodness heaven...no wait, heaven is too happy of a place...I was in fried-goodness purgatory. Not truly bad, nor truly good, but right in the middle searching for a way to be better. The fish was cook well, and had decent flavor, especially when I scooped the tarter sauce onto it. The fries were fries, nothing more, same for the onion rings. The panko crusted green beans weren't bad, but tasted more like onion rings. Also, on inspection, the green beans seem to not be panko crusted at all, but just battered in the same onion ring batter.

All in all, the prices were what you'd expect from a place that is more like Chili's or Appleby's than a microbrewery which we thought it was. It's a place worth going to once...just once. I give it a 2 1/2 out of 5.