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Mar 5, 2007 06:52 AM

Seafood (Seriously)


It has been a long time since I last lived in Boston, and a few years since I did some serious eating there. I will be visiting in April/May and want to entain a friend from Barcelona with American seafood. Not only is she from BCN, but her famaily is big in the fish business - so this lady knows her seafood. If it were 20 years ago, I suspect I would be thinking of Jasper White (or similar). What's good now ?

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  1. Actually, Jasper does have two great fish places in the area; the Summer Shack. One is near Alewife T station and the other is in the Back Bay next to Bukowski's. I have never had a dish there I didn't like and was particulary impressed with a bluefish dish served mexican style using lime. It was not overpowering yet remained full flavored, nor was it slide off the fork oily.

    There are some great appetizers and somehow I never get out of there without doing an oyster shooter (can't really explain that one.)

    As much as I despise chains and this seems to have become one, I don't think you can go wrong with Legal Seafood. It's a little overpriced and you are paying for the name, but I have always found them to be consistently good. There is one on the waterfront near the Aquarium, one in Cambridge and another in the Back Bay.

    6 Replies
    1. re: Devilsfood

      Summer Shack is controversial on this board. Many of us (myself included) think the place is just awful. Legal's is ok, but IMHO not where I'd bring someone who really "knows her seafood."

      I'd bring your friend to B&G Oysters. I think it's the best primarily seafood place we've got in Boston.

      1. re: Blumie

        B&G would be my recommendation as well. Really good variety of oysters, lots of them local as well as a traditional lobster roll that I find delicious.

        1. re: lissy

          ... and their fish preparations generally are excellent, too.

          1. re: Blumie

            Go with B&G. Legal is crap and Summer Shack is a step above but go with B&G. Pair your oysters with a Muscadet that seems fit for you on the wine list. Its not too acidic which compliments the mignonette sauce and lemon juice that you top your oyster off with.

            Thank me later

            1. re: EnderWiggin

              Personally, I stopped using mignonette with oysters for the most part as I'd rather have the clean briney and fleshy taste of the oyster without any other flavors.

      2. re: Devilsfood

        I'll join the naysayers on Summer Shack. Weak food, loud digs, perfunctory service, and Ritz-level prices. Horrible Indian pudding -- which had soft serve ice cream on top! Do yourself a favor and stay far, far away.

      3. Since the friend is so entrenched in seafood, maybe you want to go in a different direction here? Or go completely casual and take a trip to the clam shacks on the north shore (Clam Box, Farnham's, Essex Seafood, Woodman's). That's a different kind of American experience. Azure and Meritage have nice fish dishes for fancier stuff.

        2 Replies
        1. re: Joanie

          some of those north shore clam shacks don't open till memorial day.

          1. re: hotoynoodle

            The most important ones being the seasonal Clam Box, Farnham's and the year-round Village Restaurant and Woodman's are all open now, FYI

        2. Oh Dear God. please do NOT bring your friend to the summer shacks or legal's. they are so not good examples of this area's best seafood places. search this board a bit and you will find a plethora of better options. i, for one, would have you look into East Coast Grill or any one of a number of places in Chinatown.

          i do like the suggestion of a trip up to ipswich or essex. they are great local seafood places of a style that is not done, or rarely done well, outside of the North Shore.

          1 Reply
          1. re: ScubaSteve

            try the Blue Marlin Grill in Essex on the Ipswich line...always fresh and tasty, amazing prices (I'm quite sure nothing is much more than $20...including amazing tuna) and a real "local" feel but not picnic benches and paper plates.

          2. I would pass on Jasper White's if your friend knows her seafood. I've never been particularly blown away.

            It's tough to beat East Coast Grill when it comes to seafood restaurants in the Boston area. Neptune Oyster is also excellent.

            I think the the Ipswich/Essex fried seafood idea is a great one. It would be a very New England type of experience.

            If you had some great weather you might want to consider heading to Brown's in Seabrook, NH. You can sit outside and enjoy fried seafood (like fried lobster tails. mmmm) and steamers, mussels, lobsters, etc. There's a big deck and a lot of good people watching.

            1 Reply
            1. re: kittychow

              i also kinda like the idea of Brown's but i do think that they aren't the best fryers of ocean delights, a little too inconsistent. they will let you BYO and the deck can be nice if the greenheads aren't out.

            2. The Daily Catch in the north end might be worth considering.