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Aug 21, 2008 05:38 PM

Locke Ober

Gets really mixed reviews. We've been invited to dinner there and were wondering if there are certain items that hounds would recommend. Or avoid! The reservation has been made, so it's pointless to suggest O Ya...

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  1. I've heard very good things about Locke Ober, in particular the lobster dishes. Heard it's a great evening in an old Boston classic.

    1. We had an excellent dinner there several years ago, not long After Lydia took over and restored the place physically and redid the menu. I would agree with what anthonyd heard, the lobster was very good. The food was definitely a lot better than the old menu, with her modern takes on classic dishes. I always enjoyed the atmosphere there, but before the revamp, the food had gotten a little "musty", even if of good quality.

      1. Locke-Ober is my all time fav in Boston..We were there last September and it's older than dirt and the lobster is fab and from the decor to the service, I've only had wonderful is a Boston classic!

        1. I like Locke-Ober, but it has always served Old Money in Boston, and they are an odd breed, so you have to get into the spirit of the place. Hosting can be a little off-putting and snotty; it doesn't hurt to dress up a little bit. Many of the servers are lifelong pros; they can be on the brusque and formal side. I think the menu is very solid up and down, hard to go wrong, but it too is a little old-fashioned. Lydia's stamp on it is in the details, the sauces and garnishes and sides, like the leek fritters served with the vichysoisse.

          The lobster stew is justly famous. I've never tried the lobster Savannah, but it is impressive looking, a two-pounder (must be astronomically priced). Expect a very big tab and pricey wines. In its time-warp spirit, I tend to go with old-school dishes that few high-end fine-dining restaurants serve anymore: clams casino, calf's liver, Wienerschnitzel a la Holstein, scrod. The rack of lamb is very good, tastes like the lamb I remember growing up: American, grass-fed, gamier than the mild New Zealand lamb most places use nowadays.

          It's unique and cool and undeniably beautiful in its 19th-century grandeur, one of the few old-time places left that isn't just a silly tourist trap anymore (cf. Union Oyster House). And the regulars are a trip; that slightly disheveled-looking guy at the next table with the oatmeal on the lapel of the Brooks blazer he wore as an undergraduate at Harvard fifty years ago is probably a billionaire who ancestors came over on the Mayflower.

          2 Replies
          1. re: MC Slim JB

            How's the bar there? I've heard the actual bar is beautiful, so I'm curious if you can get a good traditional martini or perhaps just a whiskey there and take in the scene.

            1. re: bza

              The bar itself is very nice with friendly and capable barkeep. It's dark, really dark; the type of place you'd meet a mistress for drinks on the sly. And it's small, only seats about 10 people. But don't expect to expierence the restaurant from there becuase the bar is outside the actual dining room and there is a view of nothing other than assorted botttles of booze. The house made potato chips they serve as a bar snack may be worth the price of a drink in and of themselves.

          2. I agree with MC Slim, this is a real nice evening out to dinner. Where your best tie and get into the spirit of old Boston.