One thing I have to say for Prose, an Arlington MA eatery, is that it is aptly named; it is
entirely a prosaic affair, nothing poetic happening here.
The decor is strictly utilitarian in this storefront bistro. Some
pictures adorn the walls in a quasi-artistic arrangement. The tables
are sturdy Formica; chairs tolerably comfortable; ambient temperature
a little sticky, unless you are able to hover over the air
conditioning vent. Be prepared to settle in for a few hours.
A more well-disposed reviewer would call this place "a quirky little
charmer. "I rather prefer to think of it as a little
weird. Consider just a few of the situations our party of four
encountered on our first (and last) visit there:
1. My brother, admittedly not a bon vivant, had the temerity to ask
for ice in his water. Our young waiter was completely flummoxed by
this request. He seemed to be unfamiliar with the substance or
unaware that some people used it in beverages. He valiantly promised
to do his best and miraculously within an hour produced a six-ounce
glass brimming with solid water prepared in cubes.
2. This place has only ten tables and one chef-owner. The menu is a
tad – how shall I put it? – spare in offerings. And the delightful
chef, who floats about the premises, is always within earshot to
respond to your comments, regardless of their intended
audience. Thus it happened that my sister-in-law, who expressed some
misgivings about ordering a steak with chilis, was informed that this
was an apparently unalterable preparation. Would not a small
establishment with a limited number of diners offer to produce a
simple grilled steak? Her decision was ratified by the people at the
adjoining table, where the same dish was deemed too spicy by a young
diner. Curiously enough, I sallied forth and ordered it anyway, only
to have it presented without the offending garnish! On the other
hand, the kim chi actually caused my nasal passages and retinas to
3. The web site invites you to plan your Valentine's dinner now. I.
wasn't sure if this was a remembrance of Valentines past or if six
month's advance was really required.
4. At around 9:30 two unsuspecting diners appeared at the door
inquiring if they could still obtain service. "Yes," they were
informed. Yet although there were more than half a dozen free
tables, they were required to stand in the doorway for an
unnecessarily uncomfortable number of minutes. Perhaps the staff
needed to prepare themselves mentally for there were no signs of any
physical preparations undertaken before the new arrivals were
permitted to take their seats.
5. In a curious stylistic touch, the name is spelled with a long mark
over the "o." Is this to insure the proper pronunciation? Perhaps
an invitation to linguists? Or, is this to betoken some foreign
word, not to be confused with the English word "prose?"
As for the rest of the foods: Bro opted for the chicken dish – a
soupy affair with lots of corn swimming in some rust-colored
liquid. The only thing missing was … some chicken. Trust me,
Mickey D's McCluckers contain more fowl material than found
here. Perhaps, true to the emphasis on fresh and local, they were
free range chickens and had opted to walk away.
GalleyGirl had the usual "piscatarian" special – in this case a whole
sea base that kept casting a dejected eye in my direction (Maybe it
was a see bass). And, of course, my kim chi had her breathing fire,
which is to say, it was almost hot enough for her.
Sis-in-law chose a salad. How bad can a fresh salad be? In a fit of
pique and as an act of passive-aggressive response to GG's choice of
venue, she was unable to finish it. Yes, lettuce can be very
filling. I personally had all I could do to finish the salt cubes
that sat on my plate.
The highlight of the evening was a scrumptious home-made cheese cake
served with fresh berries. Four jousting forks vied for every
morsel. Whether from desperate hunger or sheer appreciation of its
rich taste, only the dining muse can say for sure.
Take your $ 90 somewhere else.