Considering the bountiful variety of delicious critters swimming in the waters just off the coast of Boston, it seems ludicrous that the Puritans chose to subsist on baked beans and bread. As the crown harbor of New England, the Hub is, after all, a haven for some of the best seafood restaurants in the nation. Panorama offers the following suggestions on where to sample traditional deep-sea delicacies and discover what makes Boston the seafood capital of the East Coast.
“The lobster roll is a quintessential New England summer food,” says chef-owner Andrew Wilkinson of Skipjack’s, (500 Boylston St., 617-536-3500). Accented with celery, mayonnaise, white pepper and a touch of lemon, his version of the “sacred recipe” features a heaping portion of lobster meat between two grilled and buttered rolls.
If you’re fond of outdoor dining, grab
lunch at Stephanie’s
(190 Newbury St., 617-236-0990). Their tasty
lobster salad is served on a brioche roll
and is a perfect companion for an afternoon
of people watching.
Wild card: For a truly authentic seaside dining experience, head to James Hook & Co. In addition to the live and squirming 20-pound lobsters they sell, this family-run waterfront shack also churns out simple and delicious $10 lobster rolls.
If you’re only going to have one meal in Boston, make it a steaming bowl of our renowned chowdah. The award-winning concoction made by Legal Sea Foods (255 State St., 617-227-3115) has been served at every Presidential inauguration since 1981.
Wild card: For a hearty bowl of clam and corn chowder, head to the New England Soup Factory (2 Brookline Pl., Brookline, 617-739-1899). For $4.95, you can treat your taste buds to a cup of their secret recipe, but you might be tempted to take home a whole gallon ($37.95).
When it comes to local oysters, the raw bar at Jasper White’s Summer Shack, (50 Dalton St., 617-867-9955) has little competition. The menu offers between 10-12 New England varieties per night, including legendary chef-owner Jasper White’s favorite Cape Cod Wellfleets.
Wild card: Boston laws prohibit traditional cocktail happy hours, but the dollar oysters at 28 Degrees (1 Appleton St., 617-728-0728) are the next best thing. The tasty bargain starts at 5 p.m. each night and begs to be washed down with one of the bar’s distinctive, expertly-chilled drinks.
Folklore has it that SCROD is an acronym for “Small Cod Remaining On Dock.” In reality, this New England term connotes the freshest whitefish available. Have it the traditional way—baked with lemon chive butter sauce—at Turner Fisheries (10 Huntington Ave., 617-424-7425).
Wild card: If you like your scrod a bit more multiple choice, the “Zazzle” menu at Legal Test Kitchen (225 Northern Ave., 617-330-7430) is your answer. Choose to have your scrod grilled, fried, baked or crumbed with one of four eclectic house sauces.
With their burst of texture and flavor, fried clams make for the ultimate harborside treat. Follow in the steps of early Bostonians and try the sweet fried clams at the Union Oyster House (41 Union St., 617-227-2750), where notables like Daniel Webster have been sitting down to plates of shellfish for centuries.
Wild card: A short walk from Nahant Beach on the North Shore is the century-old Christie’s Restaurant (17 Lynnway St., Lynn, 781-598-1122). It may be off the beaten path, but this hidden gem purveys some of the best fried clams in the area.
Tender, sweet and succulent, local scallops are a New England seafood staple. Try the grilled New Bedford jumbo sea scallops at McCormick & Schmick’s (Faneuil Hall Marketplace, 617-720-5522).
Wild card: For a more exotic flavor, try the pan-seared sea scallops at Chart House (60 Long Wharf, 617-227-5658), where the bivalves come in a soy-ginger broth with spinach and bok choy, and are topped with a coconut ginger sauce.
If Boston’s endless spectrum of aquatic cuisine leaves you salivating but undecided, your best bet is to try a bit of everything. The clambake at Dolphin Seafood (1105 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, 617-661-2937) includes a cup of chowder, lobster and an array of shellfish, and is bound to satisfy every aspect of your curious palette.
Wild card: If you’re in the mood for something that looks like it was lifted straight from a beachside bonfire, try the Summer Shack clam bake at Jasper White’s Summer Shack. Served in a bucket and wrapped in netting, this delicious conflagration of lobster, shellfish, potato and corn is as rustic as it gets.
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