Locke-Ober...Drinks & App's in the Bar or Dinner?
- Beach Chick Sep 7, 2007 10:15 AM
We will be in Boston for 2 nights next week and my friends say I must have dinner at Locke-Ober..
Can I get away with drinks and app's at the bar?
Looks like a lovely place but there is so many places I have to eat and drink with so little time.
I'll be staying at the Westin Waterfront.
You could do the lobster stew at the bar and follow it with the Indian pudding. That would probably hold you over for a while. Get a Ward 8 cocktail.
We were at Locke-Ober in January to mark Mr. Rabbit's 40th. This place is special, in my opinion, because it's a such a Boston institution. The restaurant is a beautiful landmark, and while food is competent, do keep in mind that it's basically a steak and seafood resto. If you prefer something more creative or imaginative, there are other great options in the neighbourhood - like Troquet or No 9 Park.
Boston does have so many great restaurants, and I have to say we found Locke-Ober over-rated... I think your cocktail/app plan is perfect.
PS - If you do go to Locke-Ober, make sure that you specify that you want a table in the downstairs room... they also have upstairs dining, but the space isn't as special.
I really enjoy lunch at LO..I don't think it's open weekends. As other's have said, you want the main downstairs dining room.
I would try something else. Locke Ober's is old and the food is not great. Overrated. Try Hamersley's at the bar. Grill 23 is nice and you can dine at the bar. Since you are at the Westin, try a number of North End haunts that are great -- Prezza has a nice bar you can dine at. Fantastic wine list at Prezza too.
re: Secret Sommelier
The fact that the space is "old" is what gives the place its sense of history and charm! I would also disagree that the food is "overrated;" I think it's underrated, as we never hear much about it, but I had one of my best Boston meals there last winter. I think it flies under the radar, so to speak, and is a true Boston gem.
We haven't been since Lydia Shire had taken over, but you're absolutely right: the people *are* amusing! I used to go quite a bit as a child with my grandfather during his weekly "roundtable" dinners, and have fond memories. The last time I was there (about 6 years ago) I had asked our very-close-to-retirement-aged server for more water, and he returned to our table with a very large plate of *butter*. We still say "pass the butter" when refilling the water glasses during dinner in his honor! :-D
re: Secret Sommelier
I remember Locke-Ober prior to Lydia Shire's takeover, Secret Sommelier, and your take on it sounds like it dates to that era, when the place was so rundown I worried about paint flaking from the ceiling into my lobster stew. I think the refreshing Shire oversaw of the physical plant and the menu made it very worthy again, and not just for its historical interest.
It still attracts its share of old money Beacon Hill fossils, and the hosting staff can be a bit stuffy. But the servers are terrific old pros, I love the atmosphere, and a lot of the food is excellent, if a bit pricey. I tend to go at lunch, which I find a much better value there than dinner.
To the OP, I'm not sure I'd include Locke-Ober on my "essential" tour of Boston restaurants, but it does capture a certain flavor, a milieu, a time and place that is unique to Boston. But it's a bygone Boston, one where that kind of elevated Yankee and Continental cusine was the best you could get here. That's no longer the case. On a short visit, I'd probably steer you elsewhere.