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1.25.11 Globes review of Citizen Public House & Oyster Bar

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I've been thinking about checking out this place...I had read about it back in the fall and now that its in full operation, I may finally go check it out...Boston Globe seems to like it...any others feel the same way? any menu favorites to date other than the "pig roast" the globe speaks of...

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  1. i liked the duck and sausage cassoulet, but i think they have work to do on much of their menu options. . . been there twice and my DCs were "meh" at best on their dishes, and i've read similar subpar reviews of dinner entrees. but check it out. . . .great atmosphere, oysters, craft cocktails.

    1. I live close by and have been a couple times and have enjoyed it. Really good chowder and cheapest Fernet in town. I wouldn't go out of my way to go there because there are a dozen places similar to it around the city but its perfect if you are in the area for a Sox game or something.

      Glad that the review mentions they are adding more vegetarian options because the menu definitely needs lighter dishes.

      4 Replies
      1. re: Kinopio

        I don't know about it *really* being the cheapest fernet, at least by volume. When I had the fernet on draught, the pour seemed a lot smaller than that of some other places which aren't that much more expensive.

        1. re: jgg13

          Where are you getting $6 2oz shots of fernet? Because, I want to go there... actually, no I don't.

          1. re: ponyboy

            Maybe it's just a perception on my part but the fernets at trinas & RHT are what, $4? When I had the fernet off the tap at citizen it seemed like it came in a thimble as opposed to a tumbler type glass.

            Perhaps I'm wrong but I just didn't feel like per volume it was any cheaper (not that I'm complaining about the price)

            1. re: jgg13

              I've found the biggest pours of Fernet at restaurants/bars that don't really sell much of it. I've gotten it comped at Tresca as they wiped the dust off the bottle and poured me about 4oz.

              -----
              Tresca
              233 Hanover St., Boston, MA 02113

      2. I enjoyed my visits, but feel Devra's review is too generous. Although I hate to legitimize the star system, three stars is one to many.

        Some of the menu items are uneven, and the service at the bar isn't always great. The oysters are fine, but they aren't the best oyster shop in town. That trotter schnitzel is pretty good, though.

        Certainly worth checking it out, though. It isn't a large time or money commitment. Sit at the bar and enjoy a drink, some oysters, and an appetizer.

        1. I wish they accepted reservations.

          1 Reply
          1. re: scotty27

            ME TOO! I love Citizen - been there twice, and had fantastic meals - but we got there at 5:50 pm on Saturday night and it was an hour wait for 4 people... And really no place to wait, since the bar was full.

          2. Star ratings are stupid, and every critic forced to use them hates them, Devra included. One scale doesn't fit all.

            That said, I think she captured the plusses and minuses pretty well. I need to scare up a crew to do that pig roast. I haven't experienced the inconsistency issue the way some here have -- it's a very Franklin-equse menu up and down, with the plus of decent raw bar. Really liked the clams casino I had recently, perfect fresh clams.

            That $3 Fernet is small, but still a deal, and portion-sizing it is a really good idea if you're having more than one.

            Reservations are accepted for 6+.

            http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

            10 Replies
            1. re: MC Slim JB

              As a relatively new Bostonian, I am still getting used to First's reviewing style. Having lived in Washington DC and New York, I've come to expect more skepticism (for lack of a better word) in reviews. Tom Sietsema of the Post is a favorite reviewer of mine. I'm still adjusting to First's more good-nature'd, warm style. I came away from this piece feeling like I knew a lot about the atmosphere of the restaurant and that it's cheery and fun, but not quite enough about the food. I am still curious to try the place, though.

              1. re: MC Slim JB

                Slim, wanna do a pig roast with me?!?!?!?! :)

                1. re: jgg13

                  now that the holiday season is over, small baby pigs (10 lbs and under) are available again and you can get a small whole roast suckling pig for $130 or so at Quik Pik BBQ (Chinatown) (i haven't tried it yet but would like to)

                2. re: MC Slim JB

                  On the topic of not experiencing the inconsistencies: How many times have you been to Citizen Oyster House?

                  1. re: rlove

                    Four, maybe five, starting very early on, and also very recently, a couple of times with big groups that let me sample a bunch of stuff. Haven't tasted the whole menu, but most of it by now, except the pig roast.

                    http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

                    1. re: MC Slim JB

                      def. interested in checking out the pig roast at some point ...but i feel that could be more of a summer things...has anyone experienced an usually a long wait for 2 on a weeknight? is there parking near by or is it street only?

                      1. re: northshoregrl

                        Most of my experience there is on weeknights, and waits vary from none (my last visit) to an hour. With recent raves in the Globe, Herald, BoMag, and the Phantom, expect those to go up. There is parking in the same building, entrance around the corner on Jersey St, cheap with Citizen validation.

                        http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

                        1. re: MC Slim JB

                          this is good to know...perhaps next week i'll check it out after my MFA trip...i had posted another thread asking what was w/i walking distance, but knowing there is a parking garage right near, i might relocate after all for dinner !! ...although i expect u are right now about the waits being longer...reviews can be glass half empty or full when u look at the bigger picture lol

                          1. re: MC Slim JB

                            slim, this old 2011 thread is all i could find on CH. Have you been lately, since Brian became the chef? He did a really good dish yestday at the Lamb Jam so I wondered about trying the restnt before Sox season gets going.

                            1. re: opinionatedchef

                              I've stopped in several times for drinks over the past year but not eaten anything but oysters and some snacks like the ham spread, so I haven't sampled much of what the new guy is doing. The other day was the first time I noticed their exterior sign touting the pig roast, so that clearly is still a big deal for them.

                              No lamb on the current menu, unless it's hiding somewhere on the charcuterie board.

                              http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

                  2. Shoutout to Citizen Public for amazing hospitality, food, and drinks last night - we showed up without a reservation at 6p hoping for 7 people to eat and drink before heading to a show later. The place was packed following the Sox win / marathon weekend, and the large tables were occupied or reserved. We gradually occupied 5 adjacent seats at the end of the bar, got some very well made drinks (BTW the Ideal Manhattan is not a Manhattan, really, but it is a delicious, balanced cocktail) and were helped SO well by a very busy, very friendly server.

                    She overheard that we needed to eat and leave by 7:30 and recommended we order apps with our drinks and then we could slip into the full large booth nearby to enjoy our mains quickly if we would leave by 7:25p so they had the table for a reservation.

                    Her plan worked perfectly and we loved the drinks, the raw bar, the deviled eggs, and the burgers all around - each perfectly cooked and juicy as ordered from rare to med well. Good value at $14 with nice fries.

                    We left happy with full bellies and feeling taken care of - can't wait to go back and try one of the fish dishes that looked so good going by.