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The Continental (Saugus)

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We recently made plans with some relatives who live in the Boston area to get together at a local restaurant., and they chose the Continental. As a New Jersey-based Chowhounder, I first looked on this board for any reviews, but did not see much. Looked on Yelp (reluctantly), and found lots of snarky remarks, mostly about how dated the place was, the unimaginative menu, and the age of the staff.

Well, the decor is certainly dated, in fact, it is like going back 30 years in time. And the menu is not cutting edge, by any means. But, with the exception of the salads (a typical diner salad, based on iceberg lettuce), the food is really good, and the portions leave you enough to take home an entire meal for the next day. They start you off with free apps, including chicken wings and little spinach pies, then come around with popovers which are totally addictive. As a main, I had an excellent prime rib that was done exactly as I requested, my wife had a lobster pie that was mostly claw meat--she counted 7 claws-- did not have too much breadcrumb and was not overly buttery--the lobster was exceptionally sweet and tender. Others at the table got the fish preps which I did not taste, but they said were really good. Baked Alaska for dessert was really an icecream pie, huge piece was shared by the four of us, we did not finish it, but is was just so-so.

Service was really friendly and compentent. If you want an apathethic waitperson with attitude, go elsewhere.

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  1. Glad you liked it as do many others but that old-school style while appreciated by some isn't a typical hounds' hangout. The few times I ate there I thought the 'free' apps were gross-a-tosis and by the time the main came out I was already in a bad food coma and it had no appeal or taste. I give it three "ewwwww!" s.

    1. I like the Continental. Their baked stuffed lobster is one of my favorites. I've mentioned that a few times on this board over the years. A friend of mine loves their crab pie which I've tasted. It is very good. It does suffer from a 1960s decor, but at least it's a pretty clean 1960s decor. I don't eat all of the free appetizers they offer but am selective and do enjoy their popovers. Glad you liked it.

      1. Totally agree. One needs to evaluate the experience for what it is. We go there several times a year, are warmly recognized and greeted, receive special service from our favorite waitress and consistently enjoy our experience. It does not pretend to be innovative cuisine; basic food and lots of it. In my opinion, they serve the best baked stuffed lobster in the Boston area. Huge lobsters, stuffed with lobster and bread crumbs. Again, very basic, but consistently perfectly cooked. As to the age of the staff, that is one of the charms. They work hard and steady and are attentive and respectful. We love them all. Chowhounds, if you haven't been there, you should go - but go for whaat it is and enjoy!

        1 Reply
        1. re: RichardinJP

          I agree. While the Continental is not one of my first choices in the area, it is for some of my family members who live in the Saugus/Lynn area so we've had many family dinners and parties there. I think they may be owned by the same people who own Angelica's in Middleton. Same complimentary apps..nothing really spectacular except for the service and the baked stuffed lobster.

        2. If I'm looking for old school comfort cooking that is reasonable, I head over to The Century House in Peabody. They have an excellent burger and acceptable lobster roll. As for Continental, those apps aren't free, they just appear to be free.

          6 Replies
          1. re: treb

            Treb...I don't understand your last comment. I find the prices to be very reasonable.

            1. re: catsmeow

              If you compare their menu prices you'll see that those apps are built into their entree prices. They can't give them away cause they're a part of their bottom line food cost.

              1. re: treb

                Nothing is free, and you could say the same for every restaurant offering something complimentary before meals. Bread/rolls, dips, butter, sugar. The cost of all these has to be absorbed somewhere on the menu.

                The fact that the Continental offers a little more than the norm is probably a good reason they are still in business.

                It might not be a chow worthy destination, but their offer of these complimentary items certainly attracts people who remember them for this.

                1. re: Infomaniac

                  Completely agree, everything is built into the food cost model and you're correct it's what is most likely keeping them afloat and what they do best, yay blue hairs! I always thought of Contintental as a lesser General Glover (man I'm dating myself).

                  1. re: treb

                    OMG, too funny! GG House is another famous prime rib and popover place.

                    1. re: treb

                      I think the blue hairs go for the early bird specials- onoy 12.95 for entree, soup or salad, potato, dessert and coffee/tea. Add on the passed appetizers, and that is a lot of food for 13 dollars!