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Oct 29, 2013 08:53 AM

Abe & Louie's

Taking my guy to A & L for his birthday this weekend. Anything from aps to dessert that should not be missed?

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  1. There are two apps, which I love: the steak tartare and the lumb crab cocktail.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Small Plates

      I second the crab cocktail, but the crabcake is very good also.
      Don't miss the chocolate layer cke for dessert. My fav.

      1. re: CocoDan

        Can't go wrong with the crab cake; have not tried the cocktail.

    2. Been to A & L's twice this pat year and both times I've had the Swordfish Chop, and would get it again if it was available.

      11 Replies
      1. re: Infomaniac

        I've had the swordfish dish which was amazing. What is a swordfish chop?

            1. re: ScubaSteve

              That video gives a great look at the bone in chop.

              BTW. it is the same part of the fish that a hamachi or yellowtail collar or Kama is. You can also get it from whole salmon. Right "behind" the head. It's often the best part of the tuna but can be very pricey and a bit of work to get at with a whole tuna..I use a spoon.

              Very high fat content.

              A& L's version is a standout.

              1. re: shaebones

                The swordfish chop comes on the bone, and has a ginger soy glaze that works perfect for me on this cut. I think it's one of their signature dishes.

              2. re: Infomaniac

                Big 2nd on the chop, had it several times, excellent and not available anywhere but A&L's.

                1. re: treb

                  They serve the swordfish chop at Atlantic Fish Co. have for years.

                  1. re: StriperGuy

                    same group -- formerly bbrg, now tavistock.

                    have had that chop at clio.

                2. re: Infomaniac

                  I love the swordfish chop as well. BUT, I don't really like the sauce. It's a tad too sweet for me. I love ginger and I love soy, but the two combined in this sauce doesn't quite work for me. Instead, I ask for the chop, with minimal saucing (since I'm usually sharing it with someone). This way, it's a win win for my DC and me.

                  Lastly, I've always really liked the fried clam appetizer at A&L.

                  1. re: beetlebug

                    Adding the caveat that I haven't been to A&L since before the sale of the restaurant.

                3. One cautionary word from someone who is not an A&L fan but has friends who adore it: they have noted a modest but distinct decline in both food and service since the sale of the restaurant to Tavistock. (Several longtime staffers apparently left to join the revitalized Stockyard, for one thing.) I haven't been back since the change of ownership, myself.


                  25 Replies
                  1. re: MC Slim JB

                    I searched about the sale. What a sordid tale. How did it all play out with his kids? Did his health return?


                    1. re: MC Slim JB

                      I agree with that. I used to find the food at Abe and Louies overpriced but at least it was well-executed.The last two times I went I had pretty unremarkable meals. I can't comment on the steaks, but I don't recall complaints in that department. I had some overcooked swodfish and a whole table full of unremarkable sides (burnt mushrooms, overdone shoestring potatoes, lobster mac and cheese that tasted of neither lobster nor cheese, etc). Everyone at the table was wondering why everything was so off until someone remembered the sale, so we chalked it up to that.

                      1. re: MC Slim JB

                        Yes. I was a fan until the sale... But they have totally jumped the shark after.

                        1. re: C. Hamster

                          A difficult outcome for my friend and golf partner of almost 40 years, Charlie Sarkis, whose restaurants brought comfort and good chow to untold multitudes. A gentleman who doesn't drink, smoke, or swear.

                          1. re: C. Hamster

                            And screw you in the turn too. A friend at work said he paid 29 dollars for cod at Atlantic, the other night, i nearly choked on the blood from biting my tounge so hard.

                            Not that the atmosphere is the same but the last time i spent around that much on a seafood platter at morses fish they gave me so much food i had to laugh.

                            Makes 33 or so for a swordfish chop at A&L look like a deal.

                            1. re: hyde

                              cod is no longer plentiful and cheap, so am not sure of your point?

                              1. re: hotoynoodle

                                I honestly had no idea. It seemed like gouging to me.

                                My usual position on fish are that they are all better off left in the ocean. It pretty much all tastes the same to me, is generally expensive, does not reheat well and if people are paying 30 dollars for cod in a restaurant it may be time to re-evaluate our position on how we feel about fishing out the oceans and the end times for seafood.

                                1. re: hyde


                                  atlantic cod population is near to decimated from fishing technology that was well-ahead of bungled sea management. this is not news.

                                  you're paying well over $30 for steak at abe's. should we stop eating cows too?

                                  1. re: hotoynoodle

                                    well, cows are not fished out, but steak is not very healthful.

                                    1. re: hotoynoodle

                                      well, actually, yes.

                                      Most of my friends and family who are very committed to environmental causes gave up eating beef years ago. I cant go that far but source all of my meat locally and happily pay a premium to the farmers that raise it. (well, maybe not HAPPILY, but pay it I do)

                                      That said, i have to ask, why so hostile? I was simply amazed that people are blithely paying 30 dollars for a piece fish that around 1980, my mothers fish guy was throwing in to her order for free.

                                      Im sure an Abe & Louie steak has gone up 100% in the same time frame but not 1000%.

                                      I am clearly naive about what fish costs, it is substantially worse than I thought. But as americans I have no fear we will do the right thing, and relentlessly continue eating them until they are gone for good.

                                      Passenger pigeon pie anyone?

                                      1. re: hyde

                                        am not exhibiting hostility, sorry if i was misconstrued. you blithely tossed around some statements that show you don't know much at all about fish and even less about the state of our local fisheries, which collapsed in the early 90s. cod was very nearly extinct. even in the 80s, cod was hardly baitfish.

                                        commercial chicken has remained static in price for decades due to battery-farming methods, however, wild stock like cod doesn't have the possibility of being squeezed into ever smaller cages eating more antibiotics to grow bigger faster. it remains a legal catch. there isn't much of it. people still want it. many, like you, have no idea the economics behind food on their plate. supply & demand, what the market will bear, all that, ya know?

                                        1. re: hotoynoodle

                                          Actually, i have a pretty fair knowledge of the economics of what goes on MY plate, snarky reference aside, its just that its not fish, mostly because i find it vile.

                                          But you are welcome to my share, you can have it all. I have learned not to weigh in on anymore threads about fish.

                                          1. re: hyde

                                            am not trying to shoot you down, but it's a dorky enough board that posting about stuff on which you don't have a good handle will get a call-out. sorry.

                                            1. re: hyde

                                              Why on earth you would one "weigh in" on threads about something that one doesn't eat as a whole. Would a lifelong vegetarian post a comment on a thread about favorite cuts of steak?

                                              1. re: justbeingpolite

                                                ok, so this got further afield than i ever saw happening.

                                                My initial observation was that i thought my friend spending close to 30 dollars for a piece of cod was absurd. I have since been schooled that I have no idea what I am talking about.

                                                Its always nice to feel like an asshole for expressing an opinion. But I owned up to my naivete and thought we had moved on.

                                                The truth is I have been eating fish for years, you cant grow up in the Boston area without every other person trying to convince you its great. It is only in the past ten years or so I have come the revelation that I never really cared for it and the multitude of problems with its environmental impact.

                                                So, I stopped eating it.

                                                This precludes me from ever offering a thought about it ever again.

                                                My comment about americans was more a generic opinion (there it is again!) about our propensity to consume something ( american bison , passenger pigeons, oil) until it is gone rather than actually consider the ramifications of our actions. I could have said "japanese" but no doubt would have been called out as a racist for singling out a ethnic group to which i do not belong.

                                                I accept that americans do not overfish. Now. One has to be honest and say this has not always been the case.

                                                I do know one thing, fish sucks. The other thing would be that I did not think that I could care less about it, but I have been proven wrong once more.

                                                im out.

                                          2. re: hyde

                                            I don't know why you single out Americans.

                                            Fishing is a global industry. There are international treaties to try to maintain the sustainability. Most American fishermen strictly abide by them because the penalties are enormous.

                                            Other countries are not so compliant.

                                            Do a google seach for Libya/tuna for example.

                                            1. re: 9lives

                                              Americans certainly do not overfish. They may overbuy though.

                                              1. re: Bellachefa

                                                I know a couple of local pro chefs who would dispute the notion that Americans don't overfish, using our own Georges Bank as a prime example.


                                                1. re: MC Slim JB

                                                  I disagree with your local pro chefs. Unless they're buying illegally fished fishes. Compared to the rest of the world in regards to fishing, the USA is and has been heavily regulated.

                                      2. re: hotoynoodle

                                        I did a little research on cod recently.

                                        Atlantic cod in the Western Atlantic is certainly not plentiful or cheap.

                                        The "best" is line caught from small boats that go out for the day and return each evening with their catch. I'm sure some have heard of "Chatham Cod," which may or may not actually be from Chatham. Scituate has a small fishing fleet. Deauxave even names a lobster dish after the name of the boat it was caught by??

                                        I was surprised to read that some of our "fresh cod" comes from Iceland, and the Eastern Atlantic. It is not as expensive as cod from our local waters,clearly not as fresh or as tasty.


                                        Aside from simple line caught which is best and pricey, that cod could have been caught by long line or dragging large nets along the bottom. People that know more than me have determined that long lined tastes better..and has less environmental impact.


                                        All cod may be created equal but they are not eaual by the time it gets on your plate..:)

                                        1. re: 9lives

                                          I do find the recent add by shaw's disturbing Fresh Wild Haddock in big print.....previously frozen in small print.

                                          1. re: Bellachefa

                                            It was fresh right up to the point it was frozen? It was a sassy fish?


                                              1. re: Bellachefa

                                                Cape Cod Fish Share brings great quality fish from the Chatham Fish Pier to many locations in Greater Boston.

                                                1. re: CportJ

                                                  Agreed. I occasionally buy cod from CCFS.

                                                  Bacco in Park Sq sometimes has it available. I recall it being in the $20+- range ' which is a fair price.

                                                  Far less expensive than diy..but not as much fun..:)


                                2. not that it should affect you, but i think that i can dry age and cook a steak just as well as any steak house downtown, and it does not take a lot of work. you can cook it on a cast iron pan or even better on the barbeque.

                                  i still occasionally go to steak houses but not on my dime.

                                  22 Replies
                                  1. re: cambridgedoctpr

                                    Can I ask why you need to tell people this almost every time there is a post about a steakhouse?
                                    I'm not making this up's totally irrelevant don't you think?

                                    1. re: cambridgedoctpr

                                      As someone who unwillingly finds himself dining in a lot of them, I share this irritation with the enduring popularity of expensive steakhouses. Is there a more interchangeable, dull, low-technique, high-swindle-factor category in high-end dining?

                                      Seems a reasonable target for a Chowhound's enduring pique, like muttering darkly about giant-portion fat/salt/sugar-calorie-bomb casual-dining chains.


                                      1. re: MC Slim JB

                                        Or say single tortilla tacos?

                                        I kid I kid :)

                                      2. re: cambridgedoctpr

                                        Most people can open a bottle of beer at home but sometimes you want to go to a bar. Same thing, no?

                                        1. re: LeoLioness

                                          Same thing, if you are planning to quaff about 20 brewskies.

                                          1. re: LeoLioness

                                            Yeah, but my local gets $3 for a beer. A&L charges forty-eight smackers for frickin' filet mignon from a commodity producer.


                                            1. re: MC Slim JB

                                              Okay, if you want to talk markup, a glass of wine then. (Yes, I know a glass of wine is the least cost-effective thing to order)

                                              I'm not a big steakhouse person either, but I've never understood the "I can make it at home better, for less money" line *when it has nothing to do with the original request*, which is the case here. I can make scambled eggs and coffe at home but somtimes I want to eat breakfast in a diner.

                                              1. re: LeoLioness

                                                It's not just the question of markup, or what I can do at home. I don't dry-age my own steaks, for instance, so there's one thing I genuinely value at a luxury steakhouse and wish more bothered to offer.

                                                It's devoting an evening from a finite number of them to yet another cookie-cutter steakhouse meal when a world of more interesting possibilities lies just down the street.


                                                1. re: MC Slim JB

                                                  I agree. With the predictable offerings of apps, salads, sides, and meat cuts, there is very little chance for a good surprise at a steak house, but plenty of room for disappointment.
                                                  To the OP's query, the swordfish chop seems reasonably priced for a hard to find item. Gets good feedback, although I have not had it but I hope to.

                                                  1. re: MC Slim JB

                                                    I understand that completely and it's certainly a valid stance. I'm just not sure what it, or cambridgedoctpr's post has to do with the original request.

                                                    1. re: MC Slim JB

                                                      Like??? Its not too late to change my reservation. Was unaware that A & L was sold and that the the food and service has declined.

                                                      1. re: shaebones

                                                        As I said, my report is second-hand, and my friends are still going back. But a modest adjustment of expectations may be in order. Given a choice, I prefer Grill 23, but it is not perfect, either.


                                                        1. re: MC Slim JB

                                                          Noted. Will post about wherever we wind up.

                                                          1. re: shaebones

                                                            I had a great 22 ounce delmonico and kona dry aged sirloin at Capital Grille a couple weeks ago.

                                                            We ordered 3 steaks for 5 people and they served it to us family style and cut it up for us. It was a nice touch on their part.

                                                            Highly recommended.

                                                          2. re: MC Slim JB

                                                            I have been to Abe & Louie's twice, once before the change in ownership and once after. The service was terrible both times. The first time service was inattentive and the surf portion of the surf and turf was forgotten for half the table. We barely received an apology for the mix up. It made me feel personally embarrassed because I was being treated by out of town guests, in from Belgium, who just wanted a good American steak and New England lobster. I thought the steak was no better than I've had made by home cooks, but I am not a frequent steak eater. (I have only once been blown away by a steak at a steakhouse, at Cowboy Star in San Diego.)

                                                            The second time, post-sale, service was startlingly inattentive. I was at a large table with a group of very hungry Navy pilots who had just been in the woods doing training exercises for weeks. Getting an extra chair and getting drinks each took 20 minutes. Finally we took to chasing down our waiter if we needed anything. The group had been at the restaurant more than an hour before our waiter took our order. I thought the food was fine, but overpriced, especially considering the service.

                                                            These were both busy nights, probably Fridays, but I won't let out of town guests convince me to go there again.

                                                  2. re: LeoLioness

                                                    i would rather go to a restaurant where it took some real skill to put something on the table.

                                                    And if i go for a beer, rare due to the carbos, i want something on tap which i cannot drink at home.

                                                  3. re: cambridgedoctpr

                                                    I don't go to steakhouses often, but to defend them, I am usually disappointed when I order a steak from a Bistro or even a place like Hungry Mother, Ten Tables, or other smaller chef owned restaurants. After tasting the steak, I always say, "man, I should have went to Grill 23 or Capital grill for the Ribeye, and it's the same price"

                                                    Most restaurants only give you 6 or 8 ounce portion of a cheap cut like bavette or hanger and charge you $30. So it's not more expensive to eat at Grill 23, where you can get a a 18 ounce 100 day dry aged prime ribeye for $51! I always split the steak half with my wife since a 9 ounce portion is plenty. The steak only cost me $26 and is much better quality and bigger then the Bistros.

                                                    So if you want steak, go to a steakhouse and split the steak in half instead of ordering from a bistro!

                                                    1. re: Torolover

                                                      Or get the $29 Brandt Farms prime skirt steak frites at Grill 23 for your own self.


                                                      1. re: MC Slim JB

                                                        Corby Kummer just recommended the $19 flatiron steak at Tavern Road as one of the best steak bargains in the city.

                                                        1. re: CportJ

                                                          I'm a bigger fan of Tavern Road overall than Kummer is in that review, but I haven't tried that steak. Nice price.

                                                          The $25-$26 prime steak frites (three different cuts to choose from) at Boston Chops are a good deal in my book, too.


                                                          1. re: MC Slim JB

                                                            Agreed on the steaks at Boston choppers. Good flavorful chewy cuts (depending on what you order) and perfectly cooked. The popovers don't hurt either.

                                                            By contrast I went around the corner to gaslight recently and got a jaw workout tough steak. Their bearnaise helped though.

                                                            I like making steak at home in my cast iron.

                                                  4. The Best reason to go to Abe and Louie's is the cougar hunt on Friday and Saturday nights, that and the male counterparts with the horrific rugs and dye jobs.