The Super Duper Island Creek Oyster Bar
Had the pleasure of dining at ICOB with Japanese visitors Thursday night, and how stellar was our evening at ICOB! After the knowledgeable blond server took over from the handsome bearded newbie, it couldn't have been a better evening. Sorry I did not ask her name, but she is really a serious candidate for cloning; terrific with attitude, knowledge, follow-through.
Unusual for us, we had the opportunity to compare service et al when we dined at Clio last night. Maybe best to be brief, but, leave it that Clio was not good. I can't tell you how disappointing it was, and on all points too. No one wants to bash a potentially talented person like Ken, but we will not return to Clio. I'll just mention one very specific point that I think illustrates the service difference between them- in a mote:Not ONE person at Clio said goodnight to us as we left (too busy elsewhere and/or chatting w/ each other). But at ICOB there had to have been FOUR who did. And authentically, with authentic smiles.
Our food at ICOB was as terrific as ever: the MA oysters, the lobster roe noodles, the halibut with ramps and black trumpet chanterelles risotto, the biscuit (AH, that biscuit!), the ramps with romesco sauce..... all clean plates on our team!
Now, if Jeremy would just expand that menu a bit and let out more of his creativity, we could eat there two nights in a row, instead of going elsewhere when our friends come to town!
The ICOB Front of the house could not be better. Authentic great smile, greeted me by name, AND....AND>> she actually READ my Open Table request for seating.
My one suggestion for ICOB is that they train or repeat-train their servers - that when a server sees that they can't answer a diner's questions, they should quickly excuse themselves and seek the help of a server who can answer the questions. ( Our first server was a newbie, attractive and personable, but the wrong server for me, who asks a lot of food questions.)
One of my very fav things about ICOB has nothing to do with the food or the service. It's the room. Tall ceilings, good spacing between tables, well- designed pathways and circulation, lots of absorbent surfaces. It's prob 3x the size of Clio but at Clio, none of us could hear any of the others, and at ICOB we could easily have an intimate conversation.
All in all a really relaxed and fun evening. We were so well cared for and our friends were delighted. Happy campers all.
I went to ICOB on a weekday a day or two after the back bay blackout. Ordered some drinks and food with a friend and as we were about to pay our bill we were informed that they were going to give us our first round of drinks for free.. simply because they recognized that more people were out to dinner due to the outage. Was I out for that reason? Nope, my friend was just in town for a conference. Completely unnecessary and completely awesome. I love this place.
Haven't been Clio personally, but I can vouch for ICOB. I went there with DH and my two chow pups in tow a couple of months ago. The servers were attentive to adults and kids both. They asked my pups whether they would like crayons. I do not generally expect restaurants like ICOB to offer crayons to kids. Amazingly kid friendly. Offered to make grilled cheese or any other assortment of kid friendly items. I got the fish and chips for the kids from their menu and they split the full order into 2 half orders for the pups WITHOUT asking , anticipating that I would have to do it if they did not. Very nice!
We were seated on the high tops and I had no problems because the younger pup had a clip on seat. Servers made sure the older one was comfortable sitting at the high top. Awesome service and food all around. I had the lobster roe noodles. Spot on. DH had a special for the night, which currently escapes my mind. But I recall it was a fish dish, which he ate without speaking. It was THAT good! :) Genuine servers and several good byes at the end of the night even from the bus boy.