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Jul 14, 2007 07:07 AM

Newburyport's best lunch and dinner recs please!!

Need asap for today's trip!!!!!! Thanks

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  1. I've had a couple of nice meals at the Black Cow. Very good steak. They have an outdoor area so you can eat on the water and they also have a great selection of beer, if you are a beer drinker.

    6 Replies
    1. re: Ali G

      I will second the Black Cow, and I love seafood! They have great steaks, seafood and waterfront! Have fun.

      1. re: mcel215

        I don't know if this is going to reach you in time but I have to put in a plug for Glenn's. For my money it is the best restaurant in Newburyport. Constantly changing and creative menu w/ a fairly laid back vibe. It is really the only place in town that I have never been disappointed.

        Black Cow is OK but it has an overtly corporate feel and the food is rather basic. Beware the bar scene at The Black Cow after 9 or ten. It is filled w/ over 40 divorcees humping the bar stools ... unless that is your scene (not judging!)

        1. re: BobDanger

          Count me among the folks who liked Glenn's a lot. While I've been only once, I remember liking the food very much and had no problems whatsoever with the service.

          I'll also have to agree with BobDanger that the Black Cow isn't necessarily all that and then some -- I've found it to be average bar food the two times I've been. Which will make it an improvement on TGIFridays, Applebee's, and the like, but not in the same league as Boston area places like Matt Murphy's or River Gods.

          1. re: BobDanger

            I second the Black Cow opinion. It's just ok and pretty inconsistent. Is Glenn's open for lunch?

            1. re: BillieJean

              Last time I looked Glenn's was only open for dinner

              1. re: jjbourgeois

                Thanks. Despite the back and forth here, I've heard it's very good and will give it a try soon.

      2. I know the OP won't read this until after their trip is over, but for next time...

        For lunch, go out to Plum Island/Newbury and go to Bob Lobster. Excellent lobster rolls. EXCELLENT lobster rolls.

        For dinner, either Plum Island Grille (just down the road from Bob Lobster) or Joseph's Winter St. Cafe (unfortunately, not on the water). Reservations probably required at both during the summer.

        I've found the Cow to be hit or miss, and yes - it can be a bit of an older scene meat market (just like Michael's Harborside can be a younger person's meat market).

        As for Glenn's, snooty (sometimes rude) service prevents me from going there again. And I really don't like that they "tattoo" their salmon filet and "wasabiize" their pea tendrils. @@ (See their menu). But the menu is inventive.

        Now - if you're not looking for higher-end dining, and all you want is a burger? The Grog. Best burger in town. And excellent pour on the Guinness. And live music downstairs after 9-9:30pm.

        Bob Lobster
        49 Plum Island Turnpike, MA 01951

        Plum Island Grille
        2 Plum Island Blvd, Newbury, MA 01951

        Joseph's Winter Street Cafe
        24 Winter St, Newburyport, MA 01950

        Glenn's Galley
        44 Merrimac St, Newburyport, MA 01950

        Black Cow
        54 Merrimac St, Newburyport, MA 01950

        Grog Restaurant
        13 Middle St, Newburyport, MA 01950

        18 Replies
        1. re: LindaWhit

          I have to say that I'm surprised by the comment about rude service at Glenn's. It really seems that their staff is among the most professional in town w/ limited turn over. I've dined there many times and had nothing but solid service in the bar and dining room.

          I'm not really sure what the description of the dish has to do w/ the flavor of the dish. Personally, I like that Glenn's is taking some risks in an otherwise rather conservative dining area.

          Bob Lobster is a very good lobster shack w/ fair prices.


          1. re: BobDanger

            Their descriptions just seems too "precious" to me (and wasabiized just isn't a word!).

            1. re: LindaWhit

              Wow I gotta tell you LindaWhit, we often agree but not on this one. After not having been to Glenn's in years, I posited the question on this board, about a month ago, if they were still as good and inventive as ever. jjbourgeois replied that yes, indeed, they were and also as pricey as ever. Off that rec, DW & I have since been there twice and the service, apps & entrees were all outstanding. Pricey as this may be for Newburyport, it's a fun place to go as well. I'm not a prissy kinda guy and I don't suffer fools gladly. That being said, I don't care if they call it Ford Prefect, Slartibartfast, Zhaphod Beeblebrox or whatever, it eats damn good!


              1. re: Harp00n

                Well, I guess the two times I went and the two times I got indifferent service (from two separate servers) was enough for me to say "not again". Yes, the food was pretty good when I went there - but having been twice bitten, I just won't bother offering up my money there again. There's too many other places.

                1. re: LindaWhit

                  What time-frame are we talking here, Linda?

                  1. re: Harp00n

                    Once several years ago, once last year.

                2. re: Harp00n

                  I really feel that Glenn's isn't that expensive when taking into account the quality to price ratio. It certainly isn't that much more expensive than the Black Cow or several other NBPT restaurants and the food is vastly superior.

                  I have to say that Glenn's website leaves a lot to be desired. It hasn't been updated in years. And while the menu is a "sample" I can't recall seeing any of those dishes (other than the tuna) over the last few years.

                  1. re: BobDanger

                    G'Day BobDanger,
                    I post links, almost, automatically when it hasn't already been provided in a thread, I do it for the who, what, where factor, mostly. But yes, I was a bit struck by the overall dated look of the site in general and the outdated menu specifically. Aadesmd's comments not withstanding, it doesn't reflect the vibrancy and inventiveness of their fare.

                    LindaWhit & aadesmd, sorrily, seemed to have had 180 degree opposite experiences to yours and mine and that is too bad. As I'd said in my previous post, I don't suffer fools gladly. If I encounter anything approaching their red flags it will be noted in an original post by me. In re-reading, I may have overstated, but Glenn's is on the higher end for the area. As their site is outdated, it's info that Hounds should be aware of.


                    1. re: Harp00n

                      Fair enough, Harp. And considering I haven't been there in a year or so, it very well may have changed. But since I no longer work in Newburyport, I doubt I'll get a chance to try them out again.

                      And I had also noted the website being the same dated menu from when I first looked at it several years ago.

                      1. re: LindaWhit

                        Gracias Linda, btw, have you finally extricated yourself from that "Mawby's" post, lol?

                        1. re: Harp00n

                          LOL! Yes, that thread seems to have died down.

                          I still go to Mawby's on occasion now, but they also still get it wrong at times. I was there about 3 weeks ago, and got my sandwich within 2 minutes! (A big change from previous visits.) Went out to my car, and couldn't understand why the bottom of the bag seemed warm - I had ordered a chicken salad sandwich - was the baguette fresh from the oven? Oh no - they had given me someone else's sandwich - a turkey with stuffing and cranberry, which is heated. ::::Sigh:::: Walked back in, and the owner (a guy) said as I walked up "We were wondering if you'd figure it out!" (No one had come out of the storefront to see if I was still around.)

                          I just handed him the bag without a word, and my sandwich came out within a few minutes. Meanwhile, the guy whose sandwich I had received was still standing there waiting for a new one to be made for him.

                          If service continues like this, I can't believe they'll stay open in Andover.

                          1. re: LindaWhit

                            And the reason you keep on, occasionally, returning is why??? :-))

                            1. re: Harp00n

                              LOL! Well, when they get it right, I *do* like it! :-)

                              And I've learned to check the bag I receive to make sure I'm getting the right sandwich, and I've learned to order exactly what I want (extra spread when necessary).

              2. re: BobDanger

                I have stopped going to Glenn's because of the exceedingly poor service and the lack of imagination in the kitchen. Several years ago it used to be cutting edge. Now the food is passable. I have yet to get great service, and there is a "you are lucky to be here attitude" The worst is by a 50 something blacked haired waitress with mild strabismus. Too many other good places to hit that provide service to go with the food.

                1. re: aadesmd

                  "...and there is a "you are lucky to be here attitude" "

                  THAT'S it!

                2. re: BobDanger

                  I've eaten at Glenn's several times a year for the past fifteen years, and have had 98% good service, and 98% excellent food - a better percentage than Joseph's Winter Street Cafe, where in my two visits, I found the food mediocre, and the staff imbued with the "you're lucky to be here" attitude another poster attributed to Glenn's. Perhaps I'm just angry at Joseph's because when my father-in-law made a reservation for my mother-in-law's birthday dinner, they didn't mention that the main dining room would be closed that night for a private party and that all regular diners would be seated in the jammed and uncomfortable bar area.

                  At Glenn's I have encountered the occasionally snooty server, but this is exceedingly rare. On one occasion, a winter weekday night when the restaurant was almost empty, we found that nothing on the menu seemed to appeal to us. We asked if we could speak to Glenn, to see if we could choose something off-menu, and the waitress asked "Do you *know* him?" and wouldn't get him, or forward our request. More recently, on a slow night, we asked for something off-menu, and they were glad to oblige. Perhaps it helps that we've now been there enough times that we're recognized by the staff.

                  The fish dishes (especially the tuna, which I almost always get) are consistently excellent - the meat dishes a little less good. Within the meat dishes, I find they do a better job with things like brisket and short ribs than tender steaks - not quite sure why. I also think their soups are remarkable, and are always changing.

                  1. re: srgoodman

                    I used to love the tuna as well, but have found the quality uneven at best. I concur with Joseph's, and certainly think it not any better than Glenn's.

                    You know, I'm much more accepting of mediocre food if the service is good, or at least pleasant. I don't want the "my pleasure" routine that you get at the Ritz. I just can't take the snooty attitude of those who think their jobs are just a short, unappetizing pause to the better life. That is what permeates Glenn's to the core.

                    1. re: aadesmd

                      "I just can't take the snooty attitude of those who think their jobs are just a short,"

                      I'm surprised by this comment as this has never been my experience at Glenn's. They seem to have one of the most consistent and professional staffs in town,

                      As for mediocre and inconsistent food - this has most certainly not been my experience at all. As the thread is focused on NBPT restaurants I would be interested to know which restaurants in town you prefer.

                      I've had really solid meals in the last few months at Ten Center but in the past it has been uninspiring at best. They seem to have gotten their act together in the last few months and the menu is a bit more interesting then it has been in the past.

                      I also lament the passing of Theory which I thought had a lot of potential when it first opened last summer.

                      I have to say NBPT is a pretty conservative area when it comes to dining. It is nice to see a few places that attempt to do something a little a different.

              3. Probably too late, but I have had several great dinner's at David's:


                4 Replies
                1. re: saridt

                  UESMayor posted this for my trip - we just were there for lunch and tried Black Cow - it was just as described; amazing outdoor seating (the highlight) and good, standard food. My roast beef sandwich was delicious, boyfriend had the haddock...fresh and tasty. It does have a corporate feel and we did miss the after 10 bar scene ;)...but the nice outdoor space made up for everything else for us. Thanks for the quick thinking!

                  1. re: gramercyfoodie

                    When I think of Newburyport in the summer, I think of dining outdoors.

                    Same with Portsmouth, or any other place on the Ocean. While the food may not be inovative, or outstanding, the atmosphere and the smell of the Ocean is a big part of my enjoyment.

                    So, when I offered my answer to second the Black Cow, it was all inclusive ;).

                    I suppose I should have mentioned that.

                    I am glad you enjoyed your lunch!

                    1. re: mcel215

                      Alfresco options certainly do skew recs for particular restos more during our all to brief "shorts and shoulders seasons". We also go to the BC in the winter months, occasionally, with our W. Newbury friends. It's one of their restaurants of choice and we've certainly had some very good times and food here. it's not cutting-edge, but still very good. They also have one of the best stocked bars in the area.

                      And speaking of bars, lol, I'll freely admit to having having no knowledge of BobDangers observation of; "is filled w/ over 40 divorcees (cougars) humping the barstools". I just learned of the term "cougar" for the first time on the Boston board the other day and had to look it up. Man, I really have been out-of-the-loop for awhile!


                      1. re: Harp00n

                        I have to admit that the Cow has the best outdoor seating in town and ambiance can contribute a lot to an enjoyable experience.

                        Plus ... it seems a lot of people get sucked in by the outdoor seating at Not Your Average Joes which is an abomination.

                2. I used to go to Newburyport all the time in the late '90s, and we always would go to this funky place on Plum Island -- don't remember the name, but searching on the web just now I think it is now called Mad Martha's. It's tiny, and again - funky (read: recall them not having a dishwasher, so everything was paper or plastic and had to be thrown out), but always really fun and I believe the food was good. It's BYOB. I'd check it out and if that isn't happening go to the Plum Island Grille.

                  The Black Cow was the raging party place at night - also fun - never been there for lunch.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: bbc37

                    Mad Martha's is still there; great for breakfast/brunch. I've never been for dinner, but I've heard (from a coworker) who says it's excellent for dinner....but always a long line waiting for dinner for those that don't make reservations!

                  2. One idea listed here is David's Tavern. It is my duty to let you all know that the meal we had there last night was, at best, barely mediocre, and for fellow 'hounds, it was very not good. We've eaten at dozens of north shore restaurants and with the lack of solid reviews for David's (excepting a fluffy sounding Globe review), we thought we should give it a try.

                    The cocktails and wine were fine, with the decent wines by the glass at $7-9. We started with the "Native Crab & Artichoke Dip heated and served with assorted homemade breads and crackers". The dip was a train-wreck of "gloppy meets too many herbs from a jar". The "homemade breads and crackers" consisted of tortilla triangles meant to be crispy, but were mostly chewy room-temp things with no flavor. And the crackers were only "home made" if that's a variety of Keebler cracker, and a not very good one to boot!

                    We also tried the "Crispy Lobster and Vegetable Wontons with Thai chili dip and peanut scallion rice noodle salad", which was edible, but was not very good either. The dip wasn't very spicy at all and was too sweet, the noodle salad just didn't work either. It's as if the chef knew what he/she wanted to make, but didn't have the taste buds to make the recipe actually work. It seemed like work went in to the food, but the result just wasn't very all.

                    The lady had the bacon cheeseburger -- our baseline burgers for comparison are those at the Choate in Ipswich and the Eastern Standard in Boston. The David's burger had almost no beef flavor (even tried with the fixins removed) and she ate only half of it.

                    I had the mixed grill (petite sirloin, mashed potatoes, grilled shrimp/scallop. This was not bad overall, but still nothing above very mediocre.

                    The food at David's reminded us of what you find in one of those upstate NY towns where it's the only restaurant within 25 miles. We tipped well and agreed that we're glad we went, just so we don't have to wonder if it's an option anymore! We will definitely not be back.

                    9 Replies
                    1. re: ElmerFoodster

                      Sorry about the bad -- or at least no better than fair -- experience. We have good friends in N'port, so have eaten in quite a few places there, though not David's. The only place that has been consistently good is the Plum Island Grille. Coincidentally, we were there last night and were able to get a seat in the section that overlooks the marsh - a great place to watch the sunset (though you need sunglasses!) I had grilled tuna -- beautifully cooked, with their three sauces - couldn't decide whether I liked the cajun aioli or the tomato ginger best. DCs had tuna, salmon and a scallop and shrimp brochette - we shared a reasonably priced Cotes du Rhone. Our waitress was delightful and more than competent, keeping water glasses full, inquiring as to whether we'd like more bread (we did and she brought it right away), and checking several times to make sure all was satisfactory and everyone was happy. Everyone was quite happy.

                      1. re: ElmerFoodster

                        I agree. The food at Davids was never awesome, and in my one trip last year was less than mediocre. Are there ANY restaurants in the Newburyport area that hit the mark consistently anymore?

                        1. re: aadesmd

                          PRALINES and ABRAHAMS will NEVER let you down!!!!

                        2. re: ElmerFoodster

                          David's has always been mediocre. Somedays they were good, other days, bad. Stopped going there many years ago. There are few restaurants in the area that are consistent. Michaels isn't bad, the kitchen is at least consistent, the food will not wow anyone, but it is at least edible. The Plum Island Grill, I had such a horrific experience with service, I will NEVER recommend the establishment as a place to eat or drink, and will never ever step foot in there again. Newburyport should have better restaurants, but tourist to the area don't seem to demand a finer dining establishment.

                          1. re: jjbourgeois

                            Wow, we've been to the PI Grill a lot, and have always had good to excellent service. On a couple of occasions in the past they had some very young, inexperienced servers who were competent, though not especially smooth, and the past several times, we've had very experienced types who knew the menu, etc. Sorry to hear that your experience was so bad.

                            I do agree that Newburyport should have better restaurants in general, however.

                            1. re: jjbourgeois

                              No one has mentioned Michael's Harborside. They changed ownership and menu about a year or year and a half ago, and the food has been consistently good. You can eat outside on the roof, I believe. I still think the best lobster roll is right over the bridge at Stripers. It's really a dive in terms of inside decor, but there's outside eating on the second floor and the LRoll is fresh, not too much mayo or celery, good grilled, butter roll and homemade potato salad. I think it was $15.99 earlier this summer. I like to go and either sit outside or at the bar and read a book.

                              1. re: BillieJean

                                Did Michael's change ownership or just do a major renovation? I haven't worked up in N'port for over a year, but I thought it was just major renovations, same ownership.

                                And I agree on Striper's lobster roll. Decor isn't anything to shake a stick at but definitely good lobster rolls!

                                1. re: LindaWhit

                                  That is what I heard from a longtime Newburyport resident, but I should check. They did renovate, including the menu, which I think is consistently good with a lot of choice and some very good salads and lighter things. And I'm glad someone else likes the Stripers LR. I have tried to get some friends to eat there with me, but the divey atmosphere, even from the outside, prevents them from even considering it. For some things like lobster, we forebear!

                                  1. re: BillieJean

                                    When I take my Mom out, that's where she likes to go. 'Nuf said. :-) But it does have a nice deck and pretty good waitstaff, despite the "blue hair special" atmosphere and clientele. :-)