A little over a year ago, I wrote a post in which I speculated about whether 88 Wharf was going out of business. I had liked this Milton restaurant a lot back in 2009–2011, but by 2012 it had gone downhill. Now, however, we decided to give them another chance and had dinner there last night. We returned there especially for the new Italian-oriented menu. The current incarnation of this restaurant turned out to be adequate but still disappointing. Some confusions by the server didn’t help, including mixups on a side dish and salad dressing. Those aren’t biggies as mistakes go, and I’m always forgiving about servers, but they turned out to be indicative.
Another disappointment was there was no espresso. Here’s a restaurant with a new Italian menu, and no espresso!!! What’s up with that?
Most of all, we had picked the 88 last night because of an email ad from them featuring an enticing, juicy-looking, rare Prime Rib. (See image below.) What I actually received was a gray-on-the-outside slab of meat between medium-rare and medium, a bit tough but with OK flavor — altogether more like a sirloin steak than a prime rib. It came with onion soup (with neither melted cheese nor crouton), which oddly enough the chef wanted to serve with the prime rib rather than as a starter. The server brought it first anyway. Thank you.
The side dishes, which of course were called “contorni,” were all decent. Sauteed mushrooms had a good flavor, as did the brussels sprouts, though the sprouts were a bit overcooked — at least by my standards. Barbara had better luck with her short ribs, which she liked, and her sides of sautéed spinach and whipped potatoes.
Altogether it wasn’t bad — but with many good restaurants to choose from these days in and near Dorchester, I don’t see any compelling reason to return to 88 Wharf. Next on my list is the new restaurant called ester, opening soon where Ledge used to be. (Note the lower-case “e,” as it’s the last five letters of “Dorchester”; I’m assuming that it will be followed by a companion restaurant called “Dorch.”) Stay tuned.