The weather is finally perfect here in Boston (any of you New Englanders who are already complaining about the weather please keep your thoughts to yourself 😉 ). Sunny days = time to start exploring the restaurant scene in Boston, especially the Seaport – after all, who wants to walk across the bridge from South Station in the winter?
Disclaimer: all opinions are my own. I was not invited or compensated by Row 34 Boston for this review.
First up is a go-to spot for oyster lovers: Row 34 – if you aren’t an oyster fan, don’t click away yet, there’s food there for you too! If you like oysters and have been in Boston, chances are you’ve been to or at least been recommended to dine at Island Creek Oyster Bar in Kenmore Square. Started by Skip Bennet, Island Creek farm started in Duxbury, MA and has grown into a restaurant-joint venture, first at Island Creek Oyster Bar and now at Row 34. At both of these locations you will get fresh, local oysters, which I’ve been told are of the highest quality. Unfortunately I am not an oyster person (and therefore also forgot to take a picture of the oysters my dining companions ordered), but everyone who did try the oysters were very impressed. A direct quote from Bry, “We ordered 3 different types of oysters and I never expected to really taste any differences. But each one tasted unique, and I also found that the three sauce options perfectly enhanced the flavors.”
We were starving from walking around all day, so to start ordered 2 orders of cornbread for the table. Oh my word. I never thought a trendy seafood joint would have the best cornbread, but it was finish- every-last-crumb-on-my-plate good. I almost forgot to take a picture of this too as I was busy making sure Bry didn’t finish it all before I got to my third second serving. Served in a cast-iron skillet, the cornbread was warm and moist, but yet still had a bit of texture. But the best part? The maple butter melting on top. I’m not usually a bread and butter kind of girl but I was making sure each bite of this cornbread had a nice maple-butter coating on top.
If you’re a chowder fan, the clam chowder is definitely worth getting as it is different than many clam chowders I’ve tried before. There was an ample amount of clam meat and the potato pieces were perfectly soft, but what really made this chowder stand out was it’s smokey flavor. So unique! It was also thicker than many clam chowders I’ve had before, so if you’re getting a few appetizers or sides, I recommend sharing it with a friend.
One of the downsides of our visit to Row 34 was how long it took to get our food. I’m not sure if they lost our order or if the kitchen just got behind, but to ease our rumbling stomachs our waitress sent us over their Lettuce Cup appetizer on the house. After the cornbread, this was the second best thing I tried at Row 34. I never would have ordered it on my own as “crispy oysters” is beyond my food comfort zone. But I can guarantee you that the next time I dine at Row 34 I will be ordering this appetizer. Lightly fried oysters and pickled vegetables are placed on top of a fresh lettuce leaf and then drizzled with a slightly spicy aioli sauce. SO GOOD. Creamy, crunchy, tart, and spicy all at once. Don’t let the fried oysters scare you!
Three out of the six of us dining went with the Creamy Lobster Roll. The good: the hot dog bun was loaded with lobster meat and the mayo wasn’t overpowering. I also liked how soft and not at all burnt the bun was. The not-so-good: too many extras for my taste (onion and celery pieces), not overpowering but I would have preferred to have just the lobster meat and mayo. It’s also hard as earlier that week my parents and I went to Alive and Kicking Lobster where you will eat the best lobster sandwich in Boston (well, technically Cambridge). The lobster sandwich at Alive and Kicking Lobster was overflowing with fresh lobster meat and was tossed in just the right amount of mayo, nothing else. So I guessed I was a bit biased, but still happily polished off my plate.
Overall thoughts? Row 34 has a fun, bare-bones atmosphere that fits in perfectly with the old loading-dock area. The appetizers and sides are worth the trip alone along with the great wine list. One thing worth noting: Row 34 only serves beer and wine – no cocktails or hard alcohol.
Happy 4th of July and whether you are barbecuing or enjoying al fresco dining, here’s a toast to good food shared with friends and family!