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Dec 27, 2009 11:01 AM

Legal Seafoods, Legacy Place - Dedham, Mixed Review, HIccups, and Pounding Music

My husband I tried the newly opened Legal Seafoods at Dedham last Saturday night. When you walk in, the new restaurant is open, nicely laid out and has a modern, good feel. What you notice most of all...and continue to the LOUD, hard pounding rock music, which makes conversation almost impossible. Clearly, my husband and I are not their target group. The tables are placed 'just' far enough apart so that diners are not sitting on top of each other, which is nice. And because it has just opened, managers are everywhere. When I asked our waitress about Legal Seafoods fishing sustainability practices, she went and got a manager who came and explained them to us. The gist is that he strongly emphasizes the quality of the seafood and their testing, rather than sustainability efforts of which they are making some. I do give them credit for that. The manager left off, until I asked him, which fish were farmed (the salmon and trout) and did not mention that all the shrimp come from Thailand (but don't worry - Legal Seafoods brought the farm). The menu is limited and promotes standard fish fare...typical fish oriented appetizers, the ordinary salads, grilled fish and some specialties. My husband had grilled swordfish with potatoes gratin and cold brussel spouts; I had the grilled tuna with spinach and brown rice. Presentation is not a strong point. I had my tuna, a pile of brown rice and the spinach. The tuna was excellently grilled, but seemed flavorless. Some wasabi would have been great. The brown rice could have used a bit of herbs or 'something' to make it appealing. By contrast my husband's sword fish was very good and the gratin a nice accompaniment. Our drinks that we ordered to go with the meal, came halfway through the meal. We grabbed a manager and asked if the music could be turned down. She told us that the music was set within a range, but she would try. The music volume did drop some but honestly, the rock club atmosphere was off putting if you expected a more relaxing ambiance. The meal itself would rank an 'ok' - nothing to brag about to anyone. The limited menu would quickly become tiring. The service tried hard and had hiccups, most likely due to its newness. Our meal was not inexpensive-$70 for entrees only + 1 glass of wine and 2 beers. We were really hoping for something better at Legacy Place. I think the main point to remember is that Legal Seafoods is a chain restaurant trying to convey it is not. Definitely would not take older family members with the music situation.

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  1. Well, I hope they read your review, and pay attention to improving the food and the ambiance. Quite honestly, Legal is a restaurant geared to "older family members", and if they're missing the mark with that demographic, they're in trouble.

    4 Replies
    1. re: CookieLee

      I call it the McDonald's of seafood w/ booze. Definately not what it was. Way overpriced and has become a cook by numbers joint.

      1. re: CocoDan

        I disagree. They do what they do fairly well, particularly given that they're a chain. Well cooked, high quality seafood.
        I gather they've hired a new "beverage program" manager, from the B-side, and apparently are going to up their drink game.

        1. re: justbeingpolite

          I have to agree w. CocoDan. The last time I had at a Legal's, it was the one in Kendall Sq. My mussels were not good, a combination of old mussels and improper cooking. V. surprising. My DC did like his nut crusted fish, pointing out that the crust was what made it worth eating.

          1. re: justbeingpolite

            Count me with CocoDan. Legals hasn't really delivered the goods reliably, at a real top quality level, in a long time. They hit the right notes often enough, but not consistently.

      2. Nice architecture but I won't return here because I couldn't take the noise level and the horrible music. Hadn't seen my son who had come up from NYC in a while but we couldn't talk over the stupid music and this was after 10PM, when I guess they expect the singles who must not want to talk to start with. What is it about the loud music in decent restaruarnts--do they want you to just eat, not talk, and leave?

        Does anyone have a clue why this is?

        Eddie C

        5 Replies
        1. re: eddiecoyle

          It's not Legal Seafood. It's called 'Legal C Bar' for a reason.

          1. re: joebloe

            Which is a horse of a totally different color than Legal Seafood

            1. re: joebloe

              That's a good point. Of course. I didn't think of that but will remember it next time. Still, why do even upscale bars need to play music so loud that people have to scream over it to have a conversation?

            2. re: eddiecoyle

              Exactly--they employ loud music and hard surfaces to get you to eat and go, no lingering--they want turnover. It's too bad about LS because sometimes you just need the niche that it used to fill. Over the years I learned to stick to the simplest possible preparations: the raw bar, the mussels, maybe the chowder, but never anything involving a starch or vegetable.

              Good for Brio for asking about sustainability: you would expect an establishment like LS, or even Whole Foods, to be way ahead of the curve in educating their customers about this.

              1. re: cassis

                Yes, I feel they have a lack of responsibility in this, instead harping on their "testing", as tho everyone else not testing their seafood in a lab is gonnah get you sick...They really fan that worry that some people have about seafood, usually uncalled for in our regulated industry...I mean, every bag of shell fish sold has the tag where it came from, etc...

            3. Went a couple weeks ago.
              -Sat @ "food bar", dirty dishes for 2 not cleared next to my elbow the entire meal.
              -Appetizers forgotten.
              -Abnormal amount of sediment at the bottom of my win.
              - The panna cotta had the word "solo" visibly imprinted on top, never had a restaurant use Solo cups to make their panna cotta.
              -Plastic netting in my mussels.

              -Food was not bad, bread with hummus was so good.
              -They gave me another half glass pour on the house to remedy the sludgy wine :)
              -my mussels were delish.
              *i totally understand that netting can get in when being cut with scissors and that red wine has sediment, I'm not that anal. I am glad that the food was pretty good and that my waitress remedied my wine.