Abby Park or 88 Wharf, Milton ?
Has anybody been to either one yet?
I went by on a recent Sunday afternoon and neither place was open. I was surprised that 88 Wharf wasn't, because it's right on the river and it was a beautiful day. A group from work went for a business dinner the first week. No one raved, a few complained, but you can't expect perfection from a restaurant that has only been open a week. Abby Park opened for lunch yesterday Aug 17th. I want to go and try their lobster pie, so if you get their first please remember to post.
Most businesses have start-up capitol (no need to explain what that's used for). Most businesses hire staff that claim they can do more than they actually can, and they need to be weeded out. It's sort of like the NFL, "game speed is a lot different than practice." Not to mention I don't want to be anyone's guinea pig. I'll try them, but not until they're up to game speed.
We stopped by 88 Wharf for a cocktail on Thursday night and it was packed. The bartender was nice and the cocktails fine, but pricey. A very pleasant space.
A decidedly older crowd, but I 'spose that's reflective of the neighborhood.
We'll definitely go back.
Here's the review I posted at Yelp:
(3 stars of five)
Category: American (New)
The restaurant is pretty in the same way that many other upscale American restaurants on the South Shore are -- dark wood, polished stone, dark bronze fixtures, and an open kitchen. It could be Fox & Hounds in Quincy or The Rustic Kitchen in Hingham. Pleasant, but no points for originality.
We arrived just before 7:30 p.m. on a Monday and the place was full, but not over-flowing. It had only been open a week, so I didn't expect to be seated right away. We waited about 10 or 15 minutes and then were taken to our table. There were only two of us, so we didn't stand a chance of scoring a booth. Abby Park is fairly loud, but not excessively so. I could see it being very noisy on a Saturday night, but we could certainly hear each other talk and even hear the background music (which I really liked -- mostly jazz standards).
Our waitress told us she'd be with us shortly right after we were seated... but she wasn't. We sat for about 15 minutes after we had made up our minds. The waitress apologized profusely for making us wait so long, which was the right thing to do. Once we ordered, the service was quick and attentive.
Because it was a hot day and still a warm evening, we ordered an assortment of appetizers instead of entrees.
1) The "Park Board", a plate of mixed appetizers for two ($14). This was a mixed bag. The "tiny flatbread" was tasteless and forgettable. The white bean-rosemary dip was tasty, but it's easy to make and pretty common these days. The marinated olives came straight from Stop and Shop. We were split about the Parma prosciutto (I thought it was thick and sort of chewy, she liked it), but we were both surprised how good the pickled eggplant was. The Great Hill Bleu with fig jam was a good taste combination (especially with the prosciutto), but 'jam' was a misnomer -- these were whole, preserved figs. A quick pass through a food mill would have improved this significantly. The spicy Marcona almonds were a win, but aren't they always?
2) Slow Roasted Pork Cigars with sweet mustard dipping sauce($7) -- I know I'm a little bit of a food snob, but the presentation on these was truly awful. The plate was much too big for the two cigars (she mused "Is one missing?") and it looked like there had been a near-miss and they had almost dropped them. A smaller plate and a touch of greenery would improve this dish a lot. The cigars themselves were pretty tasty. A hot, crunchy fried wrapper around a filling of pulled pork. A little greasy, but not bad. The dipping sauce wasn't bad -- but definitely not 'sweet'; a thin sauce made of 3 parts vinegar to one part mustard.
3) Duck Flatbread with smoked onions, thyme and Manchego cheese ($9) This was the big loser of the evening. The flat bread was tough and chewy. I guessed that it was a commercial dough that had been thawed in a microwave; she guessed the dough had over-risen and then been beaten down too much to compensate. The duck was utterly tasteless -- it could have been chicken -- and the other delicious tastes in the description were nowhere to be found. I'm not saying you should stay away from Abby Park, but if you go, stay away from this dish.
I really like their dessert concept. They have full-sized desserts, but they also offer 'dessert bites' for $2.50 each. I love the idea of having a small something sweet after a meal. We ordered the Key Lime Pie -- Key Lime Pudding served in a tall shot glass (tasty, but kind of an inconvenient presentation and misnamed. It's not pie), and the Spiced Pecan Chocolate Bourbon something or other. These were spicy pecans with a wet chocolate cake and a bourbon cream. A lot of strong flavors which would have been overpowering in a full-sized dessert but which were just about right in this small portion. I added a cup of coffee ($2.50) which is served with another pretty presentation that no one reality-tested. The milk comes in a little straight-sided glass which makes it really hard to pour milk into your coffee without getting it on the table.
All told we spent $40 after taxes, (plus tip) and left full and mostly satisfied. We'll go back again and see how the entrees do. The jury is still out on Abby Park.
Had lunch at Abby Park on Saturday. Spouse had the Margherita flatbread, overall, not impressed. I had the burger, cooked medium rare as requested, with bacon and cheddar. Pretty decent burger, not greasy, nice flavor. They are a bit dtingy with the condiments though. I asked for ketchup and mustard and received too small dishes with a dollop of each. Overall not too bad. We'll go back and try a few more things off the menu.
We went to Wharf 88 on Tuesday. I had called to make a reservation but was told they don't take them for parties smaller than 5. We almost didn't go since we didin't want to wait but figured we'd swing by. The patio seemed almost full but the inside only had 4 parties so we got a seat right away. I never understand why places that aren't packed every night don't take reservations?
I had hoped to be blown away but truthfully the place was just ok. Certainly not bad, but I prefer Ledge over in Lower Mills (and they have some kinks to work out too). There were two of us and we ordered 4 apps instead of 2 apps and 2 entrees. They then brought all the food at once which seemed odd to me (but maybe I am just being picky?)
We got the calamari, corn fritters, oysters and ribs. (Healthy eaters that night!)Nothing really stood out. The oysters were good but the accompainments were pretty standard...
We live neaby so we may try it again someday but likely would try Abby Park first and be inclined to give Ledge another shot to really impress us before returning.