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Aug 7, 2007 08:43 AM

Can we talk about Durgin Park?

Ok, so I admit that I have not eaten at Durgin Park in about 25 years. But I do not understand why people continually recommend the place on this board. Is the food any good? I understand that it may be a good example of classic New England fare, but classic New England fare was never particularly good, was it? Should I be trying this place again? It gives me the heebeejeebees just thinking about it!

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  1. Well, if you like pot roast and Indian pudding, go there. If you don't, don't. I wouldn't eat there weekly, but I for one am glad it's there.

    1. Sure, we can talk about it. I haven't been since someone took me 6 years ago. They thought as a resident of Boston I should have the experience. Eh. The steak was flopping over the edge of the plate, the sides were cafeteria-good and the indian pudding was, um, pudding. I didn't love it, but it wasn't bad either. I guess as a recommendation for classic New England fare, you don't have many other choices.

      1. I was walking by over the weekend, on my way to the North End, and walked in out of curiosity. It looked like a tour bus had just unloaded at the front door. I saw 3 people with maps out. The clam chowder looked as thick and gooey as ever, like you could stand a spoon up in the middle of it. I think it's a lot of the same people that wait in line at the terrible tourist-trap restaurants in the North End just to be able to say they ate there. Someone at the Chamber of Commerce must be recommending the place...

        1. I was wondering the same thing. I grew up in Boston and it was always a treat as a kid to be taken there. I am not sure now if the treat was the food or the fact that we were actually being taken out to dinner. I always got the shortribs and I was always astounded at the attitude of the wait staff. I haven't lived in the area for 27 years but come back to visit family and wondered if I should revisit or would that spoil my good childhood memories.

          1. A few thoughts on Durgin-Park:

            * It wouldn't have to be very good to be considered one of the best restaurants in the mystifyingly-popular mall that is Faneuil Hall Market Place. I think it's pretty good.

            * Atmosphere remains somewhat novel. At my last lunch there, the fellow seated across the communal table from me was a classic sixtyish Beacon Hill Brahmin type, right down to his well-worn blazer and Harvard tie. We shared some polite conversation, a nice change from my often-harried lunch routine.

            * I thought my "Yankee cut" (I think that's the smaller one, not the "Durgin cut") prime rib, rare as ordered, was quite delicious, worth the $21 or so. It came with excellent sides (pureed squash was one I recall) and decent cornbread. I could only finish about half of it, took the rest with me for a next-day sandwich (and I virtually never doggie-bag).

            * I still like the Indian pudding, not everyone's favorite, but very nicely done here. It remains your only game in town if you're itching for a coffee Jello.

            * I think the upstairs dining room is a little nicer and brighter. The downstairs room has a bit of a dank, stale-beer-smelling tavern quality to it.

            * I haven't experienced the deliberately rude waitress shtick here in a while. My server was polite and efficient (and male).

            * Yankee food is what it is: kind of plain. But I find the quality much better than other similarly Olde Boston kind of places: Union Oyster House, Parker's. It won't make you forget the food at Locke-Ober. (What else even fits this definition anymore: the Warren Tavern, maybe?)

            So, maybe not breathtaking, but doesn't provoke the heebie-jeebies in me, either. And I'd still rather eat here than at Kingfish Hall.

            5 Replies
            1. re: MC Slim JB

              warren tavern is burgers and chicken wings these days.

              1. re: MC Slim JB

                Don't care much for the communal tables, but they make a decent prime rib. turkey dinner was passable, not much to rave about. I do like the coffee jello though.

                1. re: Pegmeister

                  seems like most people don't go for the communal table... why is that???

                  1. re: bowmore36

                    I guess it's my own discomfort or insecurity about socializing with strangers while dining. Nothing worse in my eyes than being a party of 2 being seated with a party of 12.

                    1. re: bowmore36

                      I actually like communal tables, though granted it can be a bit awkward (like when the people across from you have absolutely nothing to say, which happened to us at an unnamed place a few weeks ago).

                      The turkey dinner isn't bad there, though as Pegmeister says, it's not all that memorable.