Friday, May 11, 2007


(Originally posted 3/12/07)

Over the weekend, I dined at Kromel's in Stoneham square. This is a small restaurant that has two dining rooms, one on its second floor. It is nicely decorated and you can see into the kitchen in the first floor dining area. The menu does change regularly and contains a good selection of appetizers, salads and entrees. The wine menu is ok, with many standard selections, and there are a fair number of reasonably priced wines. I would prefer a little more variety on the list.

We began with two appetizers, a spinach salad with warm bacon dressing and coconut curry shrimp. The salad was good sized and very tasty . It had a strong bacon flavor and was very fresh. The other appetizer consisted of three large shrimp with an ok coating. I would have liked a bit more flavor. Our entrees were good-sized.

The entree was a 12 oz. hangar steak, with cheese risotto and roasted carrots. The steak was a bit tougher in a few spots though it was flavorful. The risotto was exceptional! The second entree was a duck dish, with a confit and a leg. The duck was meaty, tender and very flavorful. It was accompanied by mashed sweet potatoes sweetened with cinnamon. I should mention the bread basket we received as well. It contained some thin breadsticks, a couple of warm rolls, and a couple of warm croissants. The croissants were very good, and had some intriguing spices on them that I could not pinpoint. We ordered more of these delicious rolls.

We shared a dessert, a s'mores sundae, which was quite delicious. Vailla ice cream, crumbled graham crackers, marshmallow and chocolate. Very decadent and well worth getting. I have been to Kromel's several times and my experiences have been similar. You do get plenty of food. You won't leave hungry. And they do some dishes quite well, though some things fall short too. With a bit more consistency, this restaurant could be excellent.

(Originally posted 4/17/07)

Today I had a conversation with Melissa L. Symes, the owner of KroMels. She had some concerns about my reviews of her restaurant. So, to clarify my thoughts, and to avoid any confusion, I wanted to add a few explanatory comments.

First, this is definitely a restaurant that I recommend. There is much good there, and some of the dishes I have had were superb. Yes, I have had a few issues with certain dishes but overall, those matters did not significantly detract from the quality of the restaurant. I continue to patronize this restaurant because I enjoy the place. I have never left the restaurant hungry and it is reasonably priced for its quality.

Second, Melissa Symes, the owner, is obviously very passionate and dedicated to her restaurant. She is genuinely concerned that her customers enjoy themselves at her restaurant. When I previously had a few issues about some of the dishes at KroMels, I did not say anything to my server, the chef or Melissa. If I had done so, Melissa indicated sincerely that she would have tried to rectify any problem. I probably should have spoken up at the time. Next time I dine there, if I do have any issues, I will raise the issue immediately.

Third, I consider KroMels to be an intimate, higher-end suburban restaurant. Such restaurants are a rarity. There are only a handful of such places in the surrounding area. KroMels is intimate because of its small size and homey atmosphere. It is the type of place where you can go to enjoy a relaxing or a romantic dinner. I consider it higher-end because of its type of cuisine, quality and price. It is not some fast food joint or chain restaurant. It is comparable to what you might get in some of the better Boston restaurants, but without the aggravation of driving into Boston, and at a lower price. Restaurants such as these do deserve our support.

I appreciate that Melissa took the time to contact me and I hope that my additional comments help clarify my thoughts on KroMels.

407 Main Street
Stoneham, MA
Phone: 781-438-7243


Porter Hospitality Solutions said...

I can't disagree with you more about your second post. I have been in the business for over 30 years and specialize in Guest Service training.

I had been to Kozmel's twice before and found it to be a hidden jewel in Stoneham. However, the experience I had this evening at what is now Melissa's was appalling, inexcusable and embarrassing. Due entirely to the behavior of Ms Symes.

After returning a salad which had a large lump of dirt in it, the chef came into the dining room, with a filthy chef's coat on and loudly asked "who had the dirty salad?" We identified ourselves and he informed us the greens arrived pre-washed, I understand that this happens and accepted it. The Black Opal Basil Risotto that was the nights special was ordered and a Lobster risotto arrived at the table. This was also sent back and my companion politely refused a remake. When the bill came, I noted that the tip was zeroed out and the charge slip was totaled. It was at this point that Ms. Symes made her presence known and told us she and her staff had been eavesdropping on our table conversation and indicated that she determined that we were just there to flim flam the restaurant.

The purpose we were there, was to celebrate Mother's Day with My Girl Friend and her mother, and in all honesty was having a wonderful evening. The food, despite the few mistakes was good, the service was a bit slow, but the server was very nice and entertaining.

Ms Symes was rude, abrupt, condescending, and totally ruined a nice evening. Although her comments to you about her concern for her guest's experience and the food served are those of a concerned operator, her actions this evening indicate the exact opposite had she approached me in a professional manner I would have been happy to give her my opinions and left a satisfied guest.

I would not suggest this restaurant under any circumstances as there are many fine restaurants in the area that understand the importance of Guest Service.

PS. The guest is not always right, but it is not your job to make them wrong.

Anonymous said...

Wow, that's very surprising to hear such a comment. I am a regular at Melissa's Main Street Bistro (formerly known as Kromel's) and it has never let me down. Perhaps Porter Hospitality Solutions was either drunk or at a different restaurant, since he calls it Kozmel's, but I'll give him the benefit of the doubt. Melissa works very hard to ensure every guest has an experience to remember favorably. There is always something delicious on the menu and the wine list is extensive and well thought out. The wait staff has never been anything but courteous and professional, delivering service that rivals the finest restaurants in Boston or elsewhere. I can only suspect that the comments come from someone with an ulterior motive, because the Bistro has a steady stream of regulars, none of whom are forced to eat there. Most of us would prefer that it remain unknown, because it's a treasure to have a local restaurant with such quality and grace, without the commute or parking hassles of a trip into Boston. Try it for yourself, and I think you will come to love it as well!

Anonymous said...

Hi, just following up on my last post.. After a quick google, the poster seems to be affiliated with a food service company ( so my suspicion of an ulterior motive seems to have been right. (I guess he still could have been drunk.. but..)

I encourage you to try the restaurant for yourself. I have the utmost confidence that you will enjoy your visit and see the first poster's comments as nothing more than a libelous rant.