HOME > Chowhound > Chains >


Legal -- what should I get along with the chowder?

Per my other post, we're on a Boston chowder crawl... I've read dangerous things about the rest of the menu. We'll be there with family for dinner, and I want to be sure I don't drop a lot of money on something they do poorly.


What should I get along with the chowder that would be least offensive? Simple fish, lobster, etc is fine with me. (We don't have east cost lobster in Los Angeles, my home city


Mr Taster

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. They do fine with a lobster roll, but it really is outrageously overpriced IMO. When I end up at Legal's I generally opt for the crab sandwich (delicious) or fried clams. They also have an interesting stiry fry type of dish with catfish, shrimp in a creole sauce that's quite good, but Im' not sure it's still on the menu as it's been awhile.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Pegmeister

      Like Pegmeister, I haven't been in several years, but my last meal there was a miso-glazed black cod listed as an appetizer with an entree portion option (I chose the latter, and it was delicious). I had heard it recommended somewhere but can't recall where.

    2. They used to do a great spicy fish and chips, not sure if they still have the spicy version. The plain version is fine too but the spicy one was unique with the spice in the batter.
      Also i have always liked their fried calamari app.

      1. The fried calamari, Rhode Island style with hot peppers is great. The lemon caper grey sole is delicious. The raw oysters are very fresh and briney- usually a few choices. Don't know about the age of your kids but they have a lobster on the kids menu which they remove from the shell. The chowder is good and there is a list of different fish that they will grill for you.

        2 Replies
        1. re: emilief

          Oh yea. This is calamari crack! You can ask for the appetizer size if you don't want the fries/potato/rice.

          1. re: emilief

            I fully concur in the fried calamari rec.

            I'm not a big fan of their chowder -- or really thick chowder in general (must be my RI roots).

          2. My go to lunch dish is the tortilla apple and goat cheese salad with grilled scallops. I have had reasonable luck with the grilled fish. I believe bluefish is a new england only type fish - it is mackerel-like in that it is more oily and dense than most. One of my favorite fishes, especially when fresh caught, but many people dislike it.

              1. Maybe it's just me, but I wouldn't get the chowder - can't stand theirs. I had luck with their Greek chopped salad w/ grilled shrimp and calamari. And I also like their south Asian inspired seafood soup whose name I can't remember right now.

                4 Replies
                1. re: almansa

                  I understand your point... Legal has a lot of detractors, and I wouldn't be surprised if there are many others like you who don't like the chowder. However, given the sheer number of chowhounds who do love the chowder (with many believing that it is the only good thing on the menu), excluding it from a Boston chowder crawl wouldn't be prudent.

                  Is there a significant difference between the fish chowder and the clam chowder, other than the titular ingredient?

                  Mr Taster

                  1. re: Mr Taster

                    There's no pork in the fish chowder, there is in the clam. The fish chowder has a lot more flavor, but it's a fish flavor. Personally I like the fish better, but they both benefit from a healthy dose of green tobasco.

                    1. re: trufflehound

                      That's it, thanks. And my favorite chowders are milk-based with a lesser amount of roux.

                  2. Raw bar oysters are always solid, the tuna burger is tasty but not at all low cal/healthy as you might expect, and the baked schrod entree has always been simple, healthier, and delicious for me.

                    When their spicy tempura fried calamari or fish is done well, it is awesome, but more often than not recently it has been overbattered and underfried so not that great.

                    1. I'll recommend getting fried clams or steamers (steamed clams), or try both! These use local soft shell clams and are regional specialties, and Legals does them well.

                      A great alternative would be to have steamers at Legals and then drive up to the Clam Box in Ipswich for the fried clams.

                      1. I have had very poor luck with the grilled choose-your-own-adventure fish in three attempts, including the bluefish, which I usually love. They do a good job with oysters (at least the Kendall location), so that and something fried is what I usually go for.

                        1. The shrimp won tons steamed are heavenly. Served with a few bites of seaweed salad. The crab meat rolls are delicious too.

                          1. Raw oysters and NE clam chowder. What more do you need to be happy?

                            2 Replies
                            1. they used to do a pretty good piece of grilled bluefish. i like it with their mustard sauce. caveat is that i haven't been in a while.

                              1. the shrimp w/ garlic, cherry tomatoes and fettucine in lemon chive butter is surprisingly good...I've had less good luck with their fish, to the point that I've given up ordering fish there

                                1. the bloody mary - one of the best i've ever had! seriously.

                                  they also have a drink called the red tide. this is a bloody mary w/tequila instead of vodka - but it comes with this enormous shrimp on the rim. so - unless you order this, order the bloody mary with a shrimp (it's like $1 more).

                                  they used to have a dish called mussels o'gratin that was open faced mussels with breadcrumbs/cheese on top broiled. very good. the rest of the menu is pretty ho hum these days.