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The Restaurant Week shuffle

Kitchen Stress
By EMILY GONZALEZ  |  March 11, 2009


"Ready on table five," yells someone from the middle of the line. "Where's the lamb for table five?!" For a split second, all eyes turn to the line cook in charge of the lamb. He's struggling with five plates and garnish as charred lamb is filling up the grill. The other line cooks eye him with disgust; the executive chef rushes in, screaming expletives at the bewildered cook. Service is slowed to a halt just as the dinner rush starts to fill the restaurant. During Restaurant Week, emotions can get raw.

Chef Jason Banusiewicz is not expecting this kind of chaos at Top of the Hub during Boston Restaurant Week (actually, it's two weeks: March 15 through 20 and March 22 through 27), but he is expecting a swell in business.

He's not alone. As diners scramble to make reservations and prepare to gorge themselves on three-course meals all over the city, executive chefs, sous chefs, owners, and restaurant managers at 222 participating venues are poring over menus and recipes to prepare for what could be the most stressful and exhausting two weeks of the year. After a fortnight of constant Restaurant Week service, even experienced cooks can fall behind.

Top of the Hub will be serving both lunch and dinner as part of the 12-day event and could serve upward of 500 people on any given Restaurant Week day. Banusiewicz says his response to the business is careful planning. His Restaurant Week menus were planned in January; food will be prepped and ordered daily from the supplier. Line cooks and chefs, he explains, will come in a few hours early every day, and everyone will probably be working an extra day each week. Banusiewicz didn't comment on how his staff felt about this plan, but he did say he felt Restaurant Week was fun for the diners and the kitchen staff.

So for all of the Hell's Kitchen fans hoping to witness a Gordon Ramsay–worthy tantrum from the kitchen, Top of Hub might not be the place to sit close to the kitchen doors and strain your ears.

Restaurant Week participants throughout Greater Boston are offering prix-fixe menus every day — a two-course lunch for $15.09, a three-course lunch for $20.09, and a three-course dinner for $33.09 — though not all 222 restaurants will be serving both lunch and dinner. A list of Restaurant Week eateries and their menus can be found at

Related: Eatin’ good in Boston’s ’hoods, Inauguration Day Round-up, Never mind the Citgo, More more >
  Topics: Lifestyle Features , Boston, Culture and Lifestyle, Food and Cooking,  More more >
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