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Legal Seafood?

Opinions, please, about dinner at Legal Seafood. I know nothing about it. Thanks!

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  1. Twice we had office dinners there and I would say the quality has gone way downhill in recent years. I would characterize it as typical chain food, but with higher prices. Definitely not recommended.

    1. Good consistant quality, plenty of choices and preparations on the menu, nothing great or rememberable, I prefer Turner Seafood.

      1. Having eaten there twice, relatively recently, I would say that the food is fresh, the service is OK, but it is a horrible value...good chowder, though...

        1. We eat at the Framingham and Chestnut HiLl Legals fairly frequently. WE have NEVER had a bad meal. The fish is fresh, the preparations simple but nice and the service excellent. The oysters are very fresh and many varieties. The mixed greens with balsamic tomato vinaigrette is excellent. Crabcakes, sole with leomon caper butter and Rhode Island Style calamari all excellent. Also, the fisherman's platter is great. Very good wine list which is reasonably priced. At least you should try it and make your own judgment.

          5 Replies
          1. re: emilief

            the ones up near boston, kind of the originals, are much better than the chains throughout the country. they are not worth the money, imo.

            1. re: meb903

              Legal Seafoods is decent chain. I agree with meb903, the restaurants in Boston are better than the outposts.

              IMHO McCormick & Schmick's is a better (although more upscale and more expensive) seafood chain than Legal Seafood.

              1. re: mepm231

                I would third that, but the last experience at the one nearest the Theatre District was disappointing. Still it's the only chain seafood resto i'd consider going to, even if only in Boston. I'm not at all fond of McCormick & Schmick's schtick and I find their owners to be less than ethical when entering new markets.

                1. re: Panini Guy

                  i know this reply is a year after your post, panini guy, but if you are still reading, would you please explain your statement: "I find their owners to be less than ethical when entering new markets."

            2. re: emilief

              agree with all of this, but I'm from Boston as well so maybe I have only tried the "good" Legals

            3. I think it's definitely gone downhill in recent years, but I still frequent it because it's one of the few places I can rely on for bluefish during the season (not now). That being said, their kid's menu is one of the best in the industry. Lots of fresh fruit and veggies, great healthy options. Can't be beat.

              1. Stayed in Boston last September and thought we would head to Legal's since it was walkable from the Westin Waterfront..
                Went for lunch and ordered my first lobster roll...it blew...bland and just plain awful.
                Had chowder and that was terrible..no hint of salt or pepper or any type of seasoning..
                Maybe I got it on an off day but I don't think so..
                Their self importance was pretty funny..

                1. We really like the crabcakes--almost solid crab, little filler. The fish entrees are good, but a bit pricey for the size.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Steve Green

                    I always take my mom to the Hungtington, NY location for lunch when I'm back to visit. Service is always good, fish seems fresh and well prepared. A little pricey like some have said but all of my meals have been good. I usually get the special, whatever that is. Good sangria.

                  2. Good quality, but highly overpriced.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: NiKoLe1625

                      Too bad we can't have a poll here to see what people really think about the company. I find it galling that it is considered the most popular restaurant in Boston based on Zagat.

                    2. A big warning about Legals: I worked there a couple of decades ago, and we were told *never* to tell anyone there was more than an hour wait. People -- especially out-of-towners that didn't know where else to go or how to even if they knew where (ever driven in Boston?)-- would wait 2--3 hours. It was abysmal.

                      Another warning -- whether it's important to you will depend -- is that a dish was sent out from the kitchen the moment it was ready. The stated objective was to get the food out as quick -- and therefore as fresh -- as possible. A diner could easily (and often did) finish their fried clams while another diner waited long after for their order. As a former chef I can tell you that the policy was likely based more on simplifying the organization of the kitchen than on freshness. Other restaurants somehow manage to have more coordination of a whole table's order. They took a negative -- no coordination of a table's order -- and marketed it as a positive -- part of the "Legal experiance" being their focus on "freshness". Gee, why not just hold off making the clams?

                      I have no idea if they still have the same policies. (And others that would make this post waaaay too long) I'd be surprised if they didn't.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: Richard 16

                        Richard, had exactly that happen to us about 20 years ago with a baby in a stroller while visiting in Cambridge. The Hyatt directed us there for dinner and there was nothing else in the neighborhood. We were told an hour which turned into 2 hours. The good news was that they fed our toddler (now at college in Waltham, she must of really liked Boston!), immediately. They brought out some fried clams and FF which they comped for us. They also gave us a Legal Seafoods cookbook. Th lobster was pretty big. Have been back through the years but we frequent Jasper White's place, Turner Fisheries and other seafood places now. Their place in South Florida is not good.

                        1. re: Diane in Bexley

                          I also have eaten frequently at the one in Cambridge, Boston & Framingham - all three were always good (granted it has been about 7 years since I've been to MA), but I've never had a bad meal at either of those. I LOVE Jasper White's Summer Shack in Cambridge (near the Alwife, I know I'm not spelling it right, T stop). If you want you can pick your live lobster/crab/etc out of the big tanks in the dining room. I have also heard that other Legals outside of the greater Boston area aren't as good... but I have not eaten at any other than the three I mentioned above.

                      2. depends upon which Legal Seafoods location you are referring to!

                        Are you in Boston?

                        1. the food is good, but not good enough to warrant waiting more than 1/2 an hour.

                          1. I tried the clam chowder and was disappointed. The seafood is consistently fresh and well-prepared at several that I visited across the East Coast.

                            1. They've had a succession of Executive Chefs over the years - I don't know who's got the job now. It must be over a decade now, but I once went when Jasper White was creating the menu - I chose a smoked bluefish pate appetizer and a seafood sausage entree that was served with buttered potatoes and a spectacularly delicious braised cabbage side. Certainly not a typical seafood restaurant offering, but a wonderful meal. Several years ago (they might still have it) the menu had a miso-glazed black cod appetizer that was also available in an entree portion. It too was very good. As far as the standard deep-fried seafood choices go, they are no better or worse than others in a range of price points.