Scarlet Oak Tavern - Hingham
Finally got a chance to eat in the main dining room for Father's Day at Scarlet Oak Tavern in Hingham. (my first father's day)
I'm originally from town and have a lot of family in friends in town. Most reviews I've heard about the food has been overpriced average food. Nothing to rave about. I'm a HUGE fan of the bar food. My wife and I used to go in, grab a few oysters a few beers and split a pizza. I've never eaten in the main dining room though. So saturday night we went. I'd say they were at 75% capacity. The bartender said on hot days they're not real busy. Got a few drinks at the bar. First drink was real weak. Got to talking with the bartender who was super nice and subsequent drinks were much stronger.. funny how that works.
The decor is pottery barn/restoration hardware meets colonial tavern. I love it. Some people would throw up. For appetizers we got wellfleet oysters which were tasty and fresh and we got standard mussels with white wine and garlic. Both were great.
For main course, I got NY sirloin ($35) with blue cheese compound butter ($1.50 add on), grilled shrimp ($7 add on) with a side of baked mac and cheese and garlic mashed potatoes. The meat quality was superb. Definite top quality steak. I was miffed I had to pay $1.50 for a sauce that barely had any blue cheese on it. Most boston steakhouses don't charge you for blue cheese or if they do charge you get an impressive one like Great Hill or Point Reyes. The grilled shrimp (3) were tiny and cold. A complete rip off. For $7 I want 3 colossal shrimp. Lesson learned. The sides were equally unimpressive. The baked mac and cheese was not creamy at all and the garlic mashed potatoes were meh.
My wife didn't want a huge meal so she got the $17 steak tips which I thought had too much fat. Her creamed spinach didn't have enough cream to them. Gasp I had to actually taste spinach. Her home made onion rings were delicious.
For dessert, I think it should be a law that anyone who bills themselves as a steak and chop house must have a cheesecake on the dessert menu. No such luck. No dessert for us.
So in conclusion. My steak was fantastic. What you really came for. The rest was overpriced averageness. Would I go back... sure. I'll probably just eat at the bar again. If I'm paying that kind of money for steak, I'm going to Boston where they nail everything.
Scarlet Oak Tavern
1217 Main St, Hingham, MA 02043
After a couple of disappointing meals In the main dinning room I took the advice of hounders and sat at the bar for some oysters and pizza. The oysters were fine but the pizza was forgettable. I was sitting in front of the open kitchen in full view of their pizziolo and what I watched was unexpected. A "board out of his mind" blue plastic glove wearing prep cook listening to his Brittney Spears type head set gets the order from someone possibly far far away and begins to make a pie. He pulls a PRE-MADE pizza shell that resembles lavash more than pizza dough off a shelf. I'm sitting there at this big open kitchen/bar with beautiful fake people, I mean fake pizza oven, all the ingredients are laid out neatly. I'm waiting, wanting to see if this guys gonna put on a show. and he's not even going to use a ball of fresh dough? He carelessly sprinkles on some decent quality ingredients then slides his creation into a fake brick oven. The grumpy cook twiddles his thumbs for a minute after checking his cell phone for any new text messages, combs his hair with latex covered hand, then retrieves the pie when the cheese looked melted. It was a cracker with cheese on it.
Was this an off night or is this what their pizza is?
Happy first Father's Day. I just had my first as well. I'm a fan of Scarlet Oak but there are disclaimers. I've eaten in the bar area, at the high tops, a handful of times; I've always enjoyed myself. The two times i've eaten in the dinning room, i had sub par meals.
If you're celebrating an occasion and looking for someplace special, this place, at this price point, isn't great. If you want a decent meal with good atmosphere and don't mind sitting around the bar (a very nice bar) then you'll be happy. Their Steak Frites are out of this world good and rival that of any Boston establishment.
Their higher end steaks are expensive but remember at the better steak houses in Boston, you're paying $35 or more for just the steak and no sides. Here you get steak and some mediocre sides. Albeit, they can be hit or miss.
Scarlet Oak is like many other suburban restaurants. They have some highs and some lows and it all seems to average out to a mediocre meal. So you have to find what works and stick with it and you'll be happy.