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Jan 11, 2013 08:07 AM

Granary Tavern - is it the right choice?

Group of 8 old friends convening to eat, drink and be merry - including a chef from a leading restaurant in Memphis - criteria are that we need to be within walking distance of the Custom House, dine around 8-9p on Saturday night, carry on a conversation, and be able to dine on fresh oysters - Granary Tavern is our leading contender for now but I haven't been there and can't find much posted yet - any experiences there or alternate recommendations to share?

FYI: As chains, Oceanaire and M & S are out of the running. ICOD is on the back burner as an alternate if the group can deal with getting to / from Kenmore square and dining late (10p only available).

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  1. Granary Tavern is owned by the same people as Coogan's, Hurricane O'Reilly's, Clery's etc. In other words, it's not a culinary destination. If you're expecting good food you will surely be disappointed.

    How tight are you sticking to the walk to Custom House criteria? You surely can't do that from ICOB. The food at City Landing is perfectly fine. Not sure on the oysters though. If you just want oysters and some simple seafood stuff, you could do worse than Legal's Long Wharf in that neighborhood.

    2 Replies
    1. re: mkfisher

      Have you been to Granary? - I am told it is a horse of a different color from Clery's and Jose McIntyre's, but definitely looks like pub food - culinary expectations will not be high if we end up there - firsthand CH feedback on food and drinks tried would be really valuable.

      Yes, the alternate option at ICOB will definitely require more than walking and may be too late as well, so seaching for the best compromise - Legal probably falls within the chain prohibition.

      1. re: rlh

        Yes, I've been. Just for after works drinks though (beer only for me). Maybe it is indeed a horse of a different color - that very well could be true. That being said, that group owns 8(?) places and they are all very similar. Why would anyone think Granary Tavern is any different?

    2. Granary Tavern might be more ambitious than the rest of the restaurants owned by Glynn Hospitality Group, but that's not saying much. The Globe slammed it pretty hard recently.

      Near the Custom House, I rather like the menu at Nix's Mate in the Hilton Downtown. Raw bar, some touristy Boston cliches, but some real cheffery on the menu, particularly around seafood, from a former Neptune Oyster chef.

      1. The food at Granary is OK. I've was happy w/ the chicken and waffle, steak frites was meh, and one of the flatbreads was decent (similar to Trade, IIRC). it's a cool space. Is it destination dining for and out of town chef? nope. Will you be able to carry on a conversation? nope. It is loud as shit in there. I think you should look elsewhere.

        Not sure how any of the above posters could slam a restaurant they've never eaten at just because of the management group. Very unprofessional, in my opinion.

        4 Replies
        1. re: Beachowolfe

          BTW, If this place was opened by Brian Poe or Jody Adams people would be talking about how the imaginative flatbreads are and the locally sourced beef.

          1. re: Beachowolfe

            My husband and I enjoyed our brunch there and are looking forward to returning. He had chicken and waffles, which were good but the chicken was kind of dark and overcooked. It was good enough that we'd give it another try, though. Added points for using delicious Giannone chicken. I had the sausage gravy and biscuits, which I enjoyed and would order again. I liked the addition of a sausage patty, which seemed to be house-made, on the side.

            We really liked the space, which wasn't noisy a little after 10 on a Saturday a.m.

            1. re: Beachowolfe

              i would be talking about how good the food tastes not about the sourcing or the imagination. But i am from the midwest; we think differently there.

              1. re: cambridgedoctpr

                Not sure I get your point. Giannone chicken is delicious, and so citing the source to me is worthwhile.

          2. Stopped in briefly and easily ruled it out last night - way too loud - just a high output after work / happy hour / sports spectating pub with adequate looking food - still trying to come up with oysters and conversation options that don't require transit other than walking...and we have post-Hilton employee PTSD that means not trying that this time (but filing for future groups!)

            1. if it weren't prime time Sat night, I'd said try Neptune, which yo could walk to. You will never get in at that time, however.

              As someone whose grew up in NC and used to live in Memphis but hasn't been there in a while, I'd say anything like sausage and biscuit or chicken and waffles is not going to work for any chowhound from the south, let alone a chef.

              I realize chains are out, but you could still do far worse in that neighborhood than Legal. MC Slim is a respected local restaurant critic. I'd follow him with Nix's Mate, though I haven't tried it myself I will when I get a chance.

              Also perhaps check out City Landing. It's in a space right behind Legal as mk fisher says below. I don't think any oysters, though.

              4 Replies
              1. re: Madrid

                Funny - after vetoing Granary with two of the six for tonight last night, we went and waited two hours for Neptune - which was awesome as always and worth every second we waited - ended up with 3 dozen oysters for 3 people (Kusshi and Island Creek were our favs) - perfectly shucked, experted served with great wine advice - yes, I still love this place but you are so right that there is no way six will get in on Saturday night, at all.

                1. re: rlh

                  glad neptune worked! I wish I could go more often, but the few times I have been, I could understand the criticisms about the space, crowd, lack of rezs, but I was lucky not to have the indifferent or worse service and always found the food outstanding.

                  some six people will get in at that time Sat night, you just don't know it will be your group. At least it isn't cold and the out of towners might like walking around and drinking in the North End.

                  since I have a good friend in Memphis and hope to go back before 2015...which restaurant is your chef at?

                  1. re: Madrid

                    Iris is the Memphis spot (the exec chef there, not my friend, trained under John Besh at August in NOLA - sounds great!)

                    We did not attempt Neptune but instead had a great time catching up for several hours with an on-time reservation at Legal Long Wharf - nice service, relatively quiet in the dining room (but not the bar) due to NFL playoffs (and we had two ultimately very sad diehard cheeseheads in our group...), fresh raw bar (not as awesome in variety or as expertly schucked as Neptune), good wines at reasonable prices and tasty dinner choices (simple things like chowders, lobster rolls, tuna burger, salads, etc.).

                    I still think Island Creek would have been the perfect choice had it been closer and available before 10p that night...something for next time.

                    1. re: rlh

                      thanks...the Iris menu is very intriguing. I"m glad Legal worked for you. I do get why locals criticize Legal, but I think the tuna burger is more than passable, much better than typical pub grub, and the chowder is also fine, for us at least, especially needing a child friendly place (and yes, I do wish I could raise him as a chow pup, but I only got to be his mother when he was 7 and after an unusually difficult beginning). The rolls yes are made at industrial scale off site, but are much better than at other places.

                      hope you get to try IC soon.