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dinner in Boston, steamers in Boston

  • l

Hi, I used to live in Boston but that was many, many years ago and haven't been in over 10 years so I know a ton has changed. My husband and I will be there for about 24 hours later this week. We are staying at the W near Chinatown/Theater District and want to go to a very good restaurant for dinner AT THE BAR -- we prefer to pace out courses and share things and getting good recs from servers and always feel that sitting at the bar is best for that unless we're going to a very upscale, prix-fixe-type place.. Any ideas? Teatro looked kind of good -- I see it's same owners as Mistral, which actually was a hot place when I lived there 15 years ago! I also saw Toro was recommended by Eater. Just want a good atmosphere where we can sit at bar and good food, type of cuisine and price doesn't matter.
Then, the next day we'd like to go somewhere for steamers for lunch. All I remember is Union Oyster House -- any other ideas? We'll be leaving for Newport, RI that day. Thanks in advance.

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  1. Like you, I also prefer eating at the bar. Some of my favorite bar/dining places in Boston are: Toro, Island Creek Oyster Bar, Row 34, Tavern Road, Shojo, JM Curley, Alden & Harlow, Craigie on Main and West Bridge.

    For steamers, maybe you could look at Yankee Lobster or Legal Harborside.

    6 Replies
    1. re: Matt H

      If you can get steamers at Row 34 or ICOB, and I think you can, I'd do that. Both are great. I think Neptune Oyster in the N. End is also great for seafood, but it gets busy. I don't recommend Union Oyster for anything other than a quick photo opp and maybe a few oysters and a beer at the oyster bar.

      1. re: CportJ

        I have been to Row 34 many times and don't recall steamers ever being on the menu.

        I also wouldn't steer anyone toward Union Oyster House

        1. re: C. Hamster

          Yeah, looks like both have steamed littlenecks but not steamers (soft shell clams). I'm good for one or two orders of steamers a summer, but after that, I'd definitely prefer littlenecks myself.

          1. re: CportJ

            I don't recall any steamed clams but then again I'm usually in extreme oyster intoxication state -- unfit to consider most of the rest of the menu

            1. re: C. Hamster

              I looked on their online menus, but sometimes those vary from what's on offer.

    2. As much as I enjoy Teatro (in fact, just recommended it this morning in another thread), I don't like the bar there. It is small and because the restaurant entry is small and narrow, it often gets very crowded and loud by the bar area. It may not be exactly what you had in mind, but given that you are staying at the W, I would consider Shojo which is a very short 3 min. walk from your hotel. Excellent Asian fusion and cocktails. http://shojoboston.com/

      1 Reply
      1. re: Gordough

        I agree that Teatro's bar is crowded.

        Troquet could be a great fit: very close to your hotel, views of the Common for a Boston-specific feel, excellent food and wine, good bar seats. Definitely the kind of place where the servers will engage with you and help you choose.

        Erbaluce is another new-ish restaurant with great food nearby, though I can't picture what the bar looks like.

      2. There are specific things, like craving steamers, for which I will always love the Summer Shack.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Carty

          if you go to Summer Shack, get the pan roasted lobster, one of my favorite dishes in Boston.

        2. Q Hotpot is a fun share-able meal, and I believe they have bar seating, but I could be wrong on that

          1 Reply
          1. re: devilham

            Q has a small bar but you can't do hotpot there. They have tables in the bar area where you can do hot pot though.

          2. Bistro du Midi isn't far and they have a nice bar and great bartenders.

            1. Thanks, all! I'll report back!

              1. Erbaluce is my favorite bar dining in your area, super close to your hotel. They won't have steamers, but they do great work with shellfish and seafood in general, and often have razor clams or some other shellfish in broth.

                1. I love eating at the bar at No. 9 Park, a short walk across the Common from your hotel. It's always a treat and the food is wonderful. The truffled gnocchi with lobster & peas is incredible (if they have it).

                  1. Thanks! We went to island oyster last night -- one of the recs here and loved the whole thing! Q. We're leaving boston shortly and were going to stop at one of these spots for steamers, but since we're heading to newport, would we better off stopping at a little spot along the way rather than in Boston? Can't find much online. Thanks!

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: lsla

                      Maybe Back Eddy in Westport, MA (nice, on water) or Flo's in Middletown, RI (clam shack, right next to Newport)?

                      1. re: CportJ

                        how is the Back Eddy these days? It's been a few years since Chris moved on after setting it up. Loved the stuffies

                      2. re: lsla

                        Suggest you try the Lobster Pot in Bristol just over the Mount Hope Bridge. Located right on the water overlooking Bristol Harbor.

                        More casual would be Anthony's in Middletown; fish market and clam shack.

                        1. re: lsla

                          Probably too late now, but my favorite place for clams on the way to Newport is the Liberal Club in Fall River. They are littlenecks and not soft shell style and you can get them plain or sauteed in garlic and oil. I recommend the latter and ask for some pops to dip in the broth. Good red chowder here too, although on the salty side sometimes.

                        2. Well it's too late for the OP, but I think Legal is the way to go for steamers. I think they farm them, so they are never sandy. Unless things have changed.

                          4 Replies
                          1. re: Bellachefa

                            Just curious- does 'farming' steamers mean they never touch/grow on the sand? That is not true for oysters (at Island Creek, anyway) but i don't know about soft shell/steamer clams. If there's an info source you like about farming clams, would you plse link it? thx.

                            1. re: opinionatedchef

                              I honestly don't know. Years ago, I was was told by the staff that Legal sourced farmed steamers. That is why they are white and not the gray silver often found in dug clams. They may have been full of malarkey and telling a tall tale, but I have only seen very white soft shells at legal. But when properly handled, those dark gray shelled clams freshly dug, have some of the best flavor. I just know that steamers at Legals are always pristine and an easy bet.

                              1. re: Bellachefa

                                WHOI has info. I think you can put them in mud once they are large enough instead of sand. With quahogs harvested from sand, we just put them in saltwater with corn meal to get them to suck in the corn meal and spit out the sand.

                                1. re: Bellachefa

                                  It appears, if i understood this correctly, that soft shell clams are all grown-on in sediment on sand 'flats'. The complex process to farm them- reads just like the oyster farming process described in Shucked.