I made Thanksgiving dinner Reservations for my very elderly mother ,my sister and myself,at Pier 4. My mother was thrilled since she has many happy memories of family meals there long ago. I have been reading horrifying reviews. We are looking for old fashioned Boston feel and food but not anything dreadful. Price not a factor but a good wine list and nice view would be nice. Anyone who does not hate Pier 4? Any suggestions?
In a different life, I used to work at two of Anthony's Pier 4 Restaurants. The General Glover and Anthony's Hawthorne by the Sea. Back in 1990, they were tired and old. The Hawthorne is still open and nothing has changed. The Athaneses were miserable wretched people to work for. I have many stories of how miserly they can be. My wife had her 1st wedding at Pier 4 in Boston, (I am her current husband) I always wanted to go to the "flagship" restaurant of this family chain. What a dump! They are simply waiting until it has to be torn down for the redevelopment of the pier. On a more upbeat note, they do an okay job at Thanksgiving. The food is traditional. It will be crowded with the over 65 set. The food will be slung because of the larger than normal crowd but your mother will probably love it if she is over 65. If you ar elooking for something basic that is an institution that she will recognize, you can not go wrong. I have long since learned what good food is and I will never go there. If you are looking for something trendy and hip, forget it. The only hip is in the many hip replacements of the patrons. All in all, a basic good traditional Thanksgiving meal that your mom will like. Remember, you are doing this for your mom, not you.
I think the dividing line on Anthony's is about age 65; if you're younger, you will probably think the food is gross; otherwise, you will be very pleased to see that somebody else's idea of fine dining hasn't evolved since 1973. That said, Thanksgiving is probably the easiest "big meal" to deliver, since everyone's expectations are of familiar dishes routinely produced by modestly-skilled home cooks. And the popovers are indeed delicious: I wonder if they use the traditional beef suet as the baking fat these days. Plus, you'd be getting a last look at a local institution, formerly the acme of fine dining in town, that may soon be demolished and rebuilt amidst the upcoming flurry of Seaport District redevelopment.
Two places to look for other options:
I'm thinking they might not screw up a traditional Thanksgiving meal and if they have some nice popovers to start, it will help. But there are several place serving expensive Thanksgiving meals like Aujourd'hui and Meritage, two with a good view. There was a list in last Thursday's Calendar section of the Globe and more on bostonchefs.com.