Bar to Bar Through Beantown
“We would describe Vapiano as an anomaly, a place with a bit of an identity crisis.”
Neighborhood: Theatre District
Address: 191 Stuart Street
Date of Visit: Friday, September 16, 2011
Bartender Name: Unknown
Our friends had been wanting to try the place for ages, and we finally got here last week. Vapiano has locations around the world, originating in Germany. In case you’re wondering, the name Vapiano is from the Italian proverb: Chi va piano va sano e va lontano. This translates as: people with a relaxed attitude live a long and healthy life; (we looked it up when we were there).
It’s website describes the restaurant as “a fast casual restaurant with a twist – customers use a “chip card” to personally order their food or drinks from the bar or from the individual fresh pizza, pasta or salad stations.” We would describe Vapiano as an anomaly, a place with a bit of an identity crisis. It’s part school cafeteria, part classy bar, and part awkward dance club. Essentially, when you come in, they give you a card that you use to place all of your orders with at the different stations (see picture above). They have pizza, pasta, and salads, all of which are made to order. Then, you find your own seat, get your own silverware, and get up to get your own food once it’s ready. Service, as you can imagine is a bit interesting, where staff really only come by to clear your plates. The restaurant was well decorated – with light wood, fresh herbs on the tables, and comfortable seating. But then, in one corner was the bar – making carrying full drinks to the table difficult, and in another corner was a white sheet which would change colors with uplighting. The whole time we were there they were blasting Lady Gaga, Ke$ha, and the like, despite the mood of the restaurant not lending itself to club music whatsoever. It’s definitely an experience, but we’re not so sure we’ll re-live it. We could see it being good for a quick lunch or early dinner with friends before a show, but we won’t make it a regular thing.
Review: Ok, I know the image is a bit dark, but see how at the bottom of the glass on top of the napkin there is pink? That’s because not only did the drink get all over the glass when the bartender casually threw that lemon rind into the top of the drink, but then it continued to slosh all over the place on to 100 yard trek across the establishment to our table (trust me I have a lot of respect for cocktail waitresses…I wish I had a tray to help me out with this one). So, needless to say, first of all I lost about a quarter of the drink before I had a sip, and second, the pink sugar rim dripped all over the glass, the napkin, and the table, making me a sticky mess by the time I was done with it. I wish I could say that this was the only down fall of this drink, but that would not be true. It had a medicinal flavor, and I couldn’t pick up any taste of pomegranate, which I should have as typically vodka is the main ingredient in a Cosmo. Also, it could have been colder – I wasn’t entirely paying attention to how it was made, but I could barely tell if it was shaken with ice or not and it definitely should have been.
Eric’s Drink of Choice: Cucumber Mojito
Ingredients: Tanqueray Gin, lime juice, simple syrup, cucumber, mint
Review: For those who know me, you may be aware that I am somewhat of a gin snob, which leads to the “meh” review of the Cucumber Mojito. Number one, a gin mojito? Number two, a cucumber mojito without Hendrick’s Gin? Not only was this not marketed with Hendrick’s, the delicious and smooth gin wasn’t even available, even after the bartender herself said it would be more appropriate!
The cucumber-mint mixture was not quite muddled enough (shaking really hard is not equal to muddling, sorry bartendress!), and the lemon in the drink seemed confused as a squeeze of lime would have been much more delicious. All complaints aside, this drink offered a strong pour and tasted okay once I got over the fact that it wasn’t Hendrick’s. Next time…if there is one, I will be trying something different!
Wine Prices: Six white wines from $4.75-$10 per glass and $19 to $38.50 a bottle. Ten reds from $4.75 to $10.50 a glass and $19 to $41 a bottle. One rose also available at $6 per glass or $23.50 a bottle.
Beer Prices: Two beers on tap (Peroni and Pilsener Urquell) for $4.75. Bottled beer (both domestic and imported/craft) at either $4.50 or $5.00 each.
Other: Vapiano has nine specialty drinks; along with the two above, they also boast a standard martini and margarita, sangria, a lemon drop, and a “Blueberry Smash” which is made with Sailor Jerry rum, chambord, lemon juice, and mint. All of their specialty drinks range from $8.25 to $9.95.