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Result of Dinner Last Night: North Street Grill

Thank you everyone who posted yesterday to help me pick a place for dinner last night to celebrate my sister's engagement, I really appreciate it and will continue to look to this board for advice, please please don't take the following review personally (I just need to vent this) but unfortunately this choice turned out to be a bad experience:

I made a reservation for the 9 of us and me and my Fiancee ended up arriving first at the Grill. My first instinct at seeing the restaurant was to cancel our reservation and go somewhere else, the place was not nice looking even by downtown bar standards and it was friday night 6:30 and there were only 3 people inside and they were at the bar, there were no people eating there.(My sister's original suggestion was McCormick and Schmidts in Faneuil hall, but I suggested this place over it from the great looking menu and good reviews)

I figured since I heard so much good about the food I would try to ignore the look and keep the good food in mind. Everyone eventually arrived, we went in and sat down and again were disappointed (some of the plates were dirty/greasy, the booths were torn at the edges and greasy looking and our table against the wall was just a few feet from an open doorway to the kitchen with no curtain or door to hide the wide open view of the dishes being done)In the end I went through most of the evening mortified and embarrassed at my selection. There was only one waitress but the place is small and as I mentioned when we arrived we were the only onces there to eat and I also told her we were celebrating and engagement, she still gave us very little to no attention and throughout the night it was very difficult to catch her attention for anything.

Everyone noticed the fry oil smell almost immediately and it wasn't a good fry smell it was a slightly burnt icky fry smell. Also, it was a cool night but they had the AC on and it was blowing on all of us, we asked a few times for the waitress if she could turn it down - she never did. The chef never acknowledged us even when we were the only ones dining (I only mention because some on other threads had posted that the chef was friendly and would check in on you)

Our appetizers were ok, we shared fried clams, slider burgers and mixed green salad: The clams I heard were good, the sliders I wasn't crazy about and the salad I liked.

For dinner I got the steak and it was very good and so were the fries. However they confused the orders of two of us, the chicken I heard was good but the sides on all of our dishes were barely noticable (mine came with an heirloom "salad" and it had two thin quarter slices of tomato and a tiny sprig of green)..Also, my brother who is a big eater got the pork loin and that was probably the worst choice he could have made - it turned out to be four or five tiny medallions of pork and the only other thing on the plate was three or so equally tiny packets made with some starch which we couldn't quite name though the strange bad taste was familiar (we all ended up giving him some of our own dishes)...

Our evening at this place had many little surprises and none of them was positive...

Overall the quality of our food was "good" and that did not nearly make up for all the other shortcomings we experienced. I don't think there was any question that none of us would ever return, and if we had seen the place beforehand probably would never have chosen to eat there ever in our lives (that is not an overstatement).

We all had an ok time overall and went down to Mike's for pastry after, but walking through the other North End restaurants to Mike's after just reinforced the fact that we could have all just walked into the North End blindfolded with no plans and almost any place on Hanover street we could have fallen into would have been a better experience and better suited to the occasion...

Sorry to be so harsh, I don't think I'm picky about restaurants and and my family often goes to local casual restaurants (like Jimmy's in Saugus or local restaurants in Malden) and I've never had an experience so poor, I almost felt like I had insulted my sister by picking this place, the whole night I was wishing we had gone with McCormick and I don't even care for them, I definitely owe my sister and her fiancee a really nice dinner now...

Fun Place for Celebration Dinner Near T tonight

Ok, thank you, I won't worry about it then...we'll see when we get there...and if it does smell I don't think my family will mind the smell of fry oil too much, cigarette smoke, yes, but fry oil they probably won't mind, they like fried foods :-)

Fun Place for Celebration Dinner Near T tonight

One more question if anyone is still around...I was searching for more reviews about the Grille and noticed a lot of posts complaining of poor venilation/smell....does anyone know if this is still a problem? Should I call back and request a table by the door/windows?

Thanks again!

Fun Place for Celebration Dinner Near T tonight

Thank you, we'll try it!! ....I haven't been to this site in a while but I'm so glad I remembered...It has a lot nicer look now too...thanks everyone!

Fun Place for Celebration Dinner Near T tonight

That sounds sooo good, I think everyone would like those choices...what is the atmosphere like?

Fun Place for Celebration Dinner Near T tonight

I love Koreana's bulgogi and kalbi, but people tonight will probably be taking the T or looking for someplace very easy to get to (they rearely drive around Cambridge/Boston so aren't very familiar with getting around)

Italian might work, but I think a good piece of meat is what they are wanting....(their first choice for restaurant week was Ruth's Chris, but they aren't doing dinner and it's too pricey if we pay full price)

I went to McCormick's once and true I wasn't impressed by them at all, but I'm running out of time :-)

Fun Place for Celebration Dinner Near T tonight

Does anyone have any suggestions for a good (casual or business casual) place to go tonight up to $40 per person. We were planning to go to a restaurant week place to celebrate my sister's engagement (9 people), but that isn't going to work out....

She was thinking to try someplace new to us like McCormick and Schmidt's b/c in faneuil hall and there is stuff to do around there

or someplace Japanese/Korean where you can cook the food at your table

Any suggestions? Thanks!