Great ambiance, modest service, food sucks

Ember in Harwich Port is overdone and shockingly bad

I grew up in the restaurant business, ate every meal of my life in one until college, and after a half dozen successful start-ups, we learned two things;

  1. The owner never knows what or how their customers are served, and
  2. The greatest gift a customer can give a restaurateur is a warning about an imperfection.

The stupidest thing an owner can do is not heed such warnings before their business fails.

I love it when I walk into a new restaurant and the staff acts like they just received Michelin 3-Stars.

The Ember on Route 28 in Harwich Port is such a place, or as they say in Texas, "All hat and no cattle." That unearned swagger will turn off the hungriest diner. Their website and ads promote their "coal fired pizzas and wings."

That explains the taste of coal in my mouth for hours after leaving.

They received a glowing review by some press panderer recently, and they must believe their press clippings, because they weren't interested in hearing anything from the people in our party this week. They obviously already know everything.

In fact, the manager made us feel stupid by telling him, and when we mentioned the tasteless, canned olives to our waitress, she rolled her eyes and fled.

The chef was no better, taking umbrage and telling us that the customers asked for canned olives instead of fresh Kalamatas.

Yeah, all in the few weeks they've been open.

The Ember is the third or fourth restaurant at this same spot in recent years.

The others failed, and we assume the Embers is trying to carry on that tradition.

Here are three examples of what we mean: the Puttanesca Pizza uses canned, water-packed olives instead of the proper and more expensive Kalamata olives, the thin crust was soggy, not cooked in the middle and the Hot Wings were enough for a nursing home.

If you're in the 'hood and looking for good pizza, drive another block west to George's Pizza where the food is good, the prices lower, and the ambiance nonexistent.

Well, it's actually old-time Cape Cod Pizza decor, and George's has won every culinary prize a pizza parlor can win.

Here are just a few of the online reviews by Ember customers:

  • We were burnt too
    "Seriously, burnt, the crust the bottom, just as black and burnt as possible and very cold. I could not eat it. The irony was I ordered the White Pizza. At $15 bucks I also got burned. I called; the hostess said 'sorry'".
  • Stay Away
    "We tried Ember the other night and had the worst time. The food was burnt, and the waitress was rude and unfriendly. Spend your money elsewhere."
  • Disappointing
    "The restaurant is beautiful but even the high ceilings do nothing to absorb the noise - extremely noisy. I could only see the lips moving as our friends talked - couldn't hear a word they were saying... Upscale decor - mediocre food. You can cook pizza in a wood burning oven, or a coal fired over, or a regular pizza oven - but if the kitchen doesn't know how to make a good pizza - who cares? The pizza was dry, the ingredients ordinary and the combinations of ingredients - uneventful. Note to management: hire someone who knows how to create good food! And then you'll be all set to match the decor."

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