The Good, Back Eddy; and the Bad, Barking Crab
First the good: had an excellent dinner and a gorgeous sunset at the Back Eddy in Westport last night. The highlights were the appetizers. My wife and I shared one of the best chowders I have ever had (clam and corn); it had a very nice smokey flavor and had no thickener in it, excellent. Also delicious were the stuffed clams, hardly any breading and stuffed with clams, choriuzo sausage(sp?), scallion, etc. We then shared fish and chips, the fish was very good though a tad overcooked and the fries were excellent. If you go, go early and get a table outside for the great sunset.
Now the bad: My son is working for the summer nearby Northern Avenue in Boston. I met him for lunch on Friday and we walked over to the Barking Crab for lunch. We arrived and were the first ones seated at our long picnic table outside at about 1:20. Shorthly thereafter the waitress took our order. Subsequently, a party of four and a party of two were seated at our table. We waited about 1/2 hour and when both the party of four and the party of two received their food, we asked the waitress why we hadn't received our food. The waitress, very defensively, said that it wasn't her fault, that there was nothing she could do about it and that "...apparently there was a mix up in the kitchen." We waited a few more minutes, a few more orders came out...but not ours. We then told the hostess we had to leave as it was 2 pm and my son had to get back to work. The good news is that I got my son a lobster roll at James Hook to take back to work.
I e-mailed the General Manager of The Barking Crab to tell he/she about our experience...WHAT A SURPRISE...NO RESPONSE.
The Back Eddy is a great location - the food is fairly consistent, if a little expensive. The setting makes it all the worthwhile. I believe it used to be affiliated with the East Coast Grill folks, but no longer.
One more reason to avoid the Barking Crab - I still remember how it was closed a few years ago because of some sort of elevated bacteria in their food, or somesuch code violation.
Why is it that common sense seems to elude these folks time and again?
I think they got closed because of a sewer line back up that was contaminating their lobsters. Hell, it probably was an improvement in the flavor of their food. That place lives on the virtues of it's simple view.
These two experiences mirror my own. Back Eddy is a little pricey, but the food is superb, and the view is just lovely. And they serve 'Gansett!
The Barking Crab could have been worse: it might have a) actually served you their food; or b) responded to your complaint and given you a gift certificate, tempting you to go back and try again. I always try to dissuade people from that place: I think it's just hateful.
Don't forget, the Back Eddy is a Chris Schlesinger restaurant; he of East Coast Grill fame. That dude's kitchens couldn't put out bad food if they tried. (well, they might, but at the risk of invoking the wrath of El Jefe Loco.) Barking Crab was indeed closed because of a sewer backup... and they were bad before that. the service has always been horrid, and the food isn't much better. The Eddy's a bit of a drive, though... when i'm craving that food, I stick to the ECG.
I used to like The Barking Crab, but I also had a bad meal there recently. I was just doing a takeout clam plate. The staff there - by and large - couldn't be less interested or helpful. The clams were greasy and small, and it was a small portion (not that I wanted any more!).