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Island Creek Oyster Rec's

Heading to ICO for the first time tonight...does anyone have any favorites?

Island Creek Oyster Bar
500 Commonwealth Ave, Boston, MA 02215

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  1. Take a look at http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/742750 and some other threads for ideas. My impression is that you'll do well if you order what appeals to you on the menu, and ask for suggestions from your server--not a lot of duds to be found. Worked for me at least.

    1 Reply
    1. re: emannths

      "you'll do well if you order what appeals to you on the menu"

      I'll second this.

      Also, the Snug Harbor Smash is a nice cocktail.

    2. Went there for another fantastic meal last night. Get some oysters (all were great, but the Chatham ones were underwhelming compared to the others). I had the Cod with clams and chorizo which was great. My wife had the tuna tartare (app sized) as her main, I had it as an app, very good, and our dining companions loved their scallops and haddock. One of my favorite places in town. Enjoy!

      1. I'm always a sucker for the Lobster Roe Noodles.

        1. Gotta get some Island Creeks. I go often and used always try to include several varieties but the Island Creeks are so good I feel it's just a waste to try anything else. The tuna tartare and the fluke tartare apps are excellent however the tuna wasn't on the menu this Wednesday. The scallops are always excellent.

          1. Try the Rocky Nook oysters. They're like Island Creeks in size and overall flavor but with a more intense sweetness, creaminess, and brininess all at once. These oysters are the primary reason I go there.

            1. because the varieties change so often, my habit is to order one of each that appeals to me (after consulting w/ the waiter or other) and then order more of my favs. This last week the B.C. ones were v good. My Love had the halibut with the luscious cod set-up; the lobster roe noodles were even more delicious than last time; the epiphany was the Razor Clams. Never had had them before and i can't describe how unusual and superb they were. slightly crunchy texture, large portion,lovely simple garlic/lemon etc treatment.

              12 Replies
              1. re: opinionatedchef

                Woah, they had razor clams? Is that something they typically have or was that a special?

                From experience, razor clams are really hard to dig up without breaking their shells. I believe that is why they are pretty rare on menus. They are a real treat, though. Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall had a great River Cottage episode where they harvested and prepared them right on the beach, iirc.

                1. re: Area Man

                  If you love razor clams, Erbaluce has them pretty often on the menu. They are delicious, with Draghi's particularly deft hand at simplicity and a lot of herbs at work.

                  69 Church Street, Boston, MA 02116

                  1. re: Area Man

                    Usually a special. They weren't on the menu last night, but were when I ate there several months ago.

                    1. re: Area Man

                      I had the Grilled Razor Clams icob tasso ham, garlic butter, parsley as an app this past spring. Flavor was good, but unfortunately the clams were really gritty and I couldn't finish them.

                      For the OP. When I went I made a mistake when ordering my oysters. I should have asked for a description of the oysters and then chosen 1/2 doz. Instead I just told the waiter that I wanted 6 different oysters. I guess he misunderstood me because I ended up with 3 pairs, one of which was the Island Creek. They were tasty and well shucked, but I was hoping to try a larger variety. And if you are like me and love a good dessert you may be disappointed. The dessert list isn't that interesting. We ended up going home and eating left over Petsi pies.

                      1. re: viperlush

                        If you don't mind the MAJOR change in aesthetic, Mixx Frozen Yoghurt (5 minute drive, in Allston) with some wonderful refreshing Asian (and other) flavors-taro, coconut, lychee, mango, honeydew, blueberry, etc. - makes for a perfect sweet spot after ICOB.

                        1. re: opinionatedchef

                          Are you an investor in Mixx or something?

                          1. re: Gabatta

                            ha ha. i wish. <she said, walking out with her $13 froyo quarts> more like fool/addict.

                        2. re: viperlush

                          lush, yes, i had that same sand issue myself the other night. i wonder- can't the ICOB staff do the cornmeal flush technique like one does w/ steamers?

                          1. re: viperlush

                            If you want to DIY, they're available at H-Mart in Burlington. Looked very nice.

                            3 Old Concord Rd, Burlington, MA 01803

                          2. re: Area Man

                            FWIW, you see them a lot at chinese grocery stores in Boston...some in decent condition, some not.

                            The ICOB dish w/ ham, etc. makes them taste more like calamari then clams...I liked them a lot...

                            1. re: Area Man

                              Myers and Chang also has a really nice razor clam starter. Scallion shrimp butter doesn't overwhelm the sweetness of the clams and they are cooked perfectly.

                              1. re: bear

                                oh boy! i know where i'm going! th you.

                          3. Last time me and my gf were here we had a dozen oysters. 6 island creeks, 2 wellfleets, 2 misty points from va and 2 hama hama from wa. All very good. Island creek and misty points were our favorites Ask your server. They are very helpful here. Menu is printed daily. We were here at 5:00 one night and they had no menus because they were still printing them. Only took a few minutes. As someone else mentioned the snug harbor smash is a good drink. For dinner I had the lobster roe noodles. I had read so much about it i thought it would never live up to the hype. I was wrong it was one of the best dishes i've had in boston lately. gf had the seafood cassarole. It was also very good. Shrimp,scallops,haddock.and lobster. The couple next to us were telling us how good the steamers and mussels were. We will have to try them next time.

                            1. Oyster Sliders!

                              May be my single favorite food item right now. Just perfect.

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: Carty

                                I had been wanting to try ICOB for a while and finally had a bit of time to stop in Saturday as they opened. Unfortunately, they only serve the raw bar before 5PM, which isn't mentioned on the website. I didn't have time to stay and had to leave. Not sure why they don't start the rest of the menu an hour earlier - Eastern Standard was doing a brisk business.

                                Eastern Standard
                                528 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston, MA 02215

                                1. re: Carty

                                  Gotta disagree on the sliders. Mine were little flavorless thingies that came with buns. Utterly underwhelming.

                                2. Dropped in the other night for another delightful meal. Was reminded that there is a new book our about oyster farming at Island Creek Oysters in Duxbury (co-owners of ICOB). Reading it gives you a major new appreciation for all the effort it takes for us to get our euphoric oyster grins:


                                  "Shucked" by Erin Byers Murray

                                  Island Creek Oyster Bar
                                  500 Commonwealth Ave, Boston, MA 02215

                                  1. My thoughts/recs on brunch at ICOB that was buried in an unrelated thread:

                                    "OP, I'd recommend. I am an avowed brunch hater, but in the past month have somehow been to ICOB twice and Craigie once. Maybe I'm getting soft.

                                    I don't think you could go wrong with oysters and biscuits and maybe a crisp white. What I liked about ICOB is there are items to satisfy everyone and the service does a great job with the fussy/picky eaters we had in our crowd.

                                    Most recently they started us off with an assortment of pastries (muffins, cornbread, scones, etc.) all of which were very good. I'm rather picky about baked goods and was impressed with the quality for a restaurant. They may not beat Clear Flour, but they were interesting, well made selections better than 75% of bakeries out there (not that that's say that much.) Fresh oysters on a Sunday morning are unbeatable in my book. In addition, the egg white frittata with tomato and chèvre was light, tender, and refreshing. Lobster rolls were well recieved by out of towners who wanted to have one (yes we've had a number of posts going back and forth about this, but I think it's a solid roll).

                                    Lobster omelette with pecorino was classic French style with no-browning. I'm skeptical of cheese and lobster but heard no complaints. French toast was similarly fine; exactly what the person ordering it wanted. We've had the fruit/yogurt before which was very well presented. I was tempted by the beans, egg, and bacon but will have to wait for next time.

                                    The coffee was dreadful as always. First time we went we tried the chemex brewed tableside. I should've known that was a bad idea for a coffee nerd like me: it was not brewed properly. I did mention it to them, and part of the problem imo is that a properly brewed tableside coffee prep (a la Eleven Madison's Vacuum brew) requires real training and a time commitment when executed. To properly do chemex tableside should require 3-4 minutes of active pouring and should entail a scale for accuracy. The problem is, that's a longtime for a server to be held up for a single cup of coffee, plus it's probably awkward for many patrons. That said, the next time we went we got the standard coffee which I thought was poor even for hotel coffee.

                                    The space is bright and not too crowded for brunch which is a plus. Prices fair. We enjoyed Craigie but it was considerably more expensive. Both places had great service even for a Sunday morning."

                                    5 Replies
                                    1. re: Klunco

                                      Klunco, thanks for the report. My husband, who is not a shellfish lover, and I go out to brunch often. Do you think there's enough to satisfy someone who doesn't like shellfish?

                                      1. re: bear

                                        Definitely. I'd say 50% of the menu is non-seafood. It's a pretty extensive brunch selection and he could get anything from eggs, french toast, beans, to a burger. Here's the menu:


                                        1. re: Klunco

                                          Thanks, that's really helpful. The next time we're doing a Sunday instead of a Saturday, we'll head there.

                                          1. re: bear

                                            FYI you might not be able to get south shore oysters since they closed many beds recently due to suspected contamination.


                                            1. re: lc02139

                                              Yes, don't expect actual Island Creek oysters to be served