Scarlet Oak Tavern- Long Review
DC and I finally made out way over to Scarlet Oak Tavern in Hingham this weekend and I have to say it was very, very, good. The building itself has been around for about 100 years and has been a number of restaurants over the years- The Whitton House having the longest tenure. But it's reincarnation as SOT has updated the dining area, expanded the bar dramatically, and modernized the decor to give it a handsome, rustic, dimly lit elegance. It's both cozy and bustling.
We arrived around 6:30 and were told that there would be a 45 minute to 1 hour wait. We opted to sit in the "Tavern" (I.E. bar) area as there were open tables. Being in the bar did not diminish our experience at all. The bar manages to carry the feel of the restaurant while being just a bit more casual.
They had a good draft selection; I went with a BBC pale ale. The wife is pregger so she went with a soda water and cranberry. Prices for drafts range between $4.50-6.25.
For an App. We had a hot crab dip. It was creamy, thick, and had large chunks of crabmeat. It was served with house baked crackers. (I'm tempted to say they bake most of their breads in their wood fired oven- but I’m not positive.
Then came the breadbasket. This was a big surprise and something other restaurants should take note of. Its contents- 2 pieces of cornbread, 2 pieces of cranberry walnut bread, and 2 thick pieces of warm, soft, and chewy sourdough- were all excellent. Complimented by the superior butter- probably prugla or some other higher quality butter- I was almost dizzy with excitement. Restaurants, especially on the South Shore, neglect the fine art of a well crafted bread basket.
For dinner, I had the Steak Frites ($21); DC had a 6oz Filet ($24).
My steak, a hangar steak, sliced and drizzled with bone marrow butter, was requested medium rare but probably was closer to rare than to medium, which didn't bother me at all. The steak was chewy, buttery, and well charred on the outside with a delicious crust. The accompanying frites were just as good. The generous portion of shoe string potatoes was very crisp and enhanced with truffle oil and rosemary. Oddly, they tasted more like truffle oil than they did of the herb, which seems counterintuitive. The final complement to the meal was a watercress salad, mixed with pickled red onion and semisweet vinaigrette. If anything, there was too much dressing but it was still delicious; I ate it all.
I accompanied the meal with a glass of a class of Cab. The wine list is OK. prices range from 8$-14 per glass. I think this is the most neglected part of the operation.
DC's filet was cooked perfectly medium. It was accompanied by asparagus and mac and cheese. The asparagus were OK given the season and the mac and cheese was passable but nothing groundbreaking.
It was a very good meal.