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Jan 8, 2007 04:28 AM

Legal Seafoods- So ever poor

I have to admit, Legal has been my favorite restaurant for seafood since the first small place run by George Berkowitz opened its doors in Inman Square. In the early 70's, we used to go almost weekly. How tragic that it has now failed me more often than satisfied me.

Last two visits- the first in the Copley Place location. Oysters great as usual. The fried calamari sat in oil, and cold. So far ok, until a waitress off duty sat two seats away from me and my wife. I had to hear about the "deuce that f...ed" her over with a lousy tip. The waitrons on duty then started to congregate, each with a litany of complaints, obscenities and graphic descriptions of customers that they waited on. We paid, left 15%, and did not have the rest of our meal.

Second meal, Peabody location, much worse.

Qysters again awesome. Tuna sashii awful. with a liquid smoke taste that was inedible. Sent back. Beer good and cold. Famous mojito lim[, watery, with old mint and rotting sugar cane. We drank them.

My 78 yr old mother had the grilled fish combo. Waitress informed her that she could not choose the seafood selection. OK said she. Fish overcooked, mashed potatoes like school paste. Kept it.

This used to be the only place to get bluefish. No more. Off taste, way overcooked, and the mustard sauce missing.

My wifes 46.95 baked stuffed lobster. Edible, but not much more. The meat in the claws so overcooked that they had fused with the shell. The dressing was cold near the back of the lobster. Drawn butter never arrived.

Fried clams cold. Were they warm, I think that they would have been good.

Now for the climax- how hard is it to make an Irish Coffee? My mother still remembers them at the Buena Vista in SF, and asked for one. It came with no whipped cream. "No problem" said our waitress, and proceeded to bring out a can of whipped topping, shake it up, and put the last several molecules left on the coffee. Shards of cream went on the table. Well, at least we got the cream. But the taste of the coffee- it was salty. The bartender had dipped the rim in salt. "Happens", said our waitress. They are next to each other, apparently.

My 7 year old wants the same ice cream that the folks at the next table got. Time passes. Restaurant seems to be emptying. "No ice cream. It all melted" We got the check and paid, 15%, and left, never, after 36 years and hundreds of meals, ever to return again.

Too bad. They have great oysters and a killer wine list that is remarkably affordable.

If George could have only seen what was going on in his namesake restaurant. Maybe Roger cares, but who would know.

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  1. My mother and I went to the Copley Place Legal Seafood in October while visiting Boston. We shared a plate of raw oysters and they were impeccable. I thought this was a good sign, but our entrees were abysmal. I got the fried oysters and they were tasty, but the fries that came with them were ice cold and rubbery. I asked for fresh fries and while they were hot, they tasted like leftover Wendy's rejects. My mom didn't do much better with her crabcake, which was fine in and of itself, but it didn't come with anything and she felt that, for the price, it should have been a complete dinner.

    Overall we loved the oysters and our mixed drinks, but we'd never go back there for a full meal.

    1. This might be a Copley Place phenomenon--in any event, management needs to know. Because I work in Boston, I try not to go back into the city to dine there on weekends. I frequent the Peabody, Burlington and occasionally the Chestnut Hill Legals and haven't had a problem there. The salty coffee mug is truly unconscionable. I can think of absolutely no coffee drink that would require salt.

      1. We've moved our business to Skipjacks due to rude service and frankly, bad food in Framingham.

        1. This is my absolute favorite place to go on my twice yearly trips to Boston. We usually go to the one by the Charles Hotel in Cambridge or the Burlington Mall.

          BUT - the past two visits have been incredbily disappointing as well. I don't know what the story is. The asian menu is not their thing - they're good at just regular delicious fresh American seafood dishes. But they want to jazz it up I guess. I also had the ahi sashimi and it was just so bland and boring.

          Also - the mussels o'gratin used to be my favorite thing - and they got rid of that (and would not make it upon request). The chowder which I love has turned kind of watery, is always sandy, and has incredibly chewy clams.

          I guess I just have to be glad the rolls and butter, shrimp cocktail, and the bloody mary are still good. As for the food - I'd rather go somewhere else.

          Oh - and the service is way worse than it used to be. They seem to act as if they could care less if you were there or not which is very strange. I don't know how a place could change so drastically from being a terrific joint to a terrifically awful joint. Maybe they'll get better.

          1. Turner Fisheries is far superior. I never thought I'd say that.